Whoops: Seattle mayor sends correction after mourning activist who wasn't dead

UW instructor and former Seattle Department of Neighborhoods head Jim Diers is very much alive, despite an erroneous statement by Mayor Ed Murray he had died. (UW photo) | Zoom
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of Jim Diers' death have been greatly exaggerated. The saying comes to mind after Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's office sent out a statement mourning the death of the former head of the Department of Neighborhoods. Just one problem - Diers isn't dead.

In the statement, Murray said: "I'm very saddened by the death of Jim Diers. He was an innovator in bringing communities together and made a significant contribution to the foundation that makes Seattle special. His work with neighborhoods was passionate and progressive. His service to this city was unmeasurable. My thoughts go out to the Diers family. He will be missed."

But about 30 minutes later, Murray's office sent out another statement making clear Diers hadn't died.

"The Mayor's office was mistakenly informed of the death of Jim Diers. He is alive and well."

A check of Diers' Facebook page shows he is indeed alive and well, recently posting several photos in the past week from Ontario, Canada.

We've reached out to Diers for comment, but the University of Washington professor, neighborhood activist and author was too busy living to respond. He did, however, post the following statement on his Facebook page:

"I'm getting inundated with messages asking if I am alive. Apparently, the mayor issued a press release mourning my death. I genuinely appreciate the mayor's concern, but I want to assure you that I am very much alive.

I returned from work in Ontario at 1:00 this morning, participated in a conference call at 6:00 a.m., gave a talk in Tacoma, and am now preparing to teach my class at the UW tonight. I'm dead tired today, but otherwise, I'm feeling great! Thanks, everyone, for your concern but I really don't have any time for death."

The mayor's office has not responded to requests for comment. Seemingly his staff confused Diers with Joe Dear, the former head of the Washington State Investment Board and past Chief of Staff for Washington State Governor Gary Locke, who died Wednesday of prostate cancer at the age of 62.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
Top Stories

  • Does This Make Sense?
    Jason Rantz questions Inslee's plan to fund transportation with carbon pollution tax

  • Big Release
    Michael Medved takes a look at whether the latest Hobbit film is worth your interest

  • Holiday Map
    Find holiday events, Santa photo opportunities, and light displays
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.