King County Courthouse 3rd Ave entrance reopens early after safety concerns
After closing in early December for safety concerns, the 3rd Avenue entrance at the King County Courthouse reopened ahead of schedule Monday morning.
The original plan to close the entrance came down in an order from Judge Jim Rogers, shutting the doors through Jan. 1, 2020 after an assault on an attorney and a King County Metro bus driver. Judge Rogers has since rescinded that order, opting instead to move the reopening to Monday at 7 a.m.
It reopens now in the wake of a $600,000 boost from King County Council to fund improvements to security. The money covers two deputies for on-street security, more screeners, a marshal to keep the 4th Avenue entrance to the courthouse open all year long, and for outreach workers outside the courthouse to try to help get those causing the most trouble connected with services.
Courthouse employees have told stories involving attacks outside the 3rd Avenue entrance for months now, from verbal assaults to sexual harassment.
“In the last four-and-a-half years having worked here, the number of incidents that have happened to me individually has far outnumbered anything that I’ve experienced in even far more dangerous situations sitting in the company of convicted murderers,” Court Operations Supervisor Nadia Simpson recently explained to a King County Council committee.
“For those of us who work in the courthouse it’s not if we’re going to get assaulted, it’s a matter of when,” she added.