Lawmaker calls for Seattle to give county control of City Hall Park following closure

Aug 16, 2021, 5:44 AM | Updated: 11:04 am

City Hall Park Seattle...

A homeless encampment in Seattle's City Hall Park. (Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)

(Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)

In the wake of a clearance and closure of Seattle’s City Hall Park, King County could soon aim to take full control of the park itself in the days to come.

Clearance of downtown Seattle homeless camp wraps up

The downtown Seattle park is currently closed for the next 2-3 months, following work from the JustCARE program to move over 70 people who had been camped out in the area into shelter spaces. Those efforts had come partly as a result of concerns voiced by neighboring King County Courthouse employees regarding safety conditions in the area.

As work begins to repair and restore City Hall Park, King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles has introduced legislation that would look to transfer its ownership away from Seattle and over to the county.

“It is time for us to reimagine this space to ensure that it is safe for people to congregate, recreate and traverse safely for years to come,” Kohl-Welles said in a news release. “We can also take this moment to think big about its future use. I strongly believe that this property should be managed and owned by the County rather than the City of Seattle because of its close proximity to the courthouse and other county campus buildings.”

Kohl-Welles proposes a variety of uses the county could employ for the park, including a conversion into an expanded “civic campus” and the construction of on-site affordable housing. The county’s new role would also include “planning to provide support and relocation to any future encampments that might crop up on the site.”

Any such action from the county council would also require the approval of Seattle city leaders. In the interim, Kohl-Welles is asking County Executive Dow Constantine to provide a report with his own input by Nov. 15, while the county council begins discussing the legislation in committee.

Chronic homelessness reaches crisis levels in King County

Other King County Councilmembers have proposed taking other actions regarding the park. That includes a proposal from Councilmember Reagan Dunn to not only have the county assume control over City Hall Park, but also condemn it as a public safety hazard. Dunn has since further called for the neighboring courthouse to limit access to everyone but employees and those with “necessary business.”

Councilmember Kathy Lambert also requested that Executive Constantine “declare deteriorating safety conditions around the King County Courthouse an emergency,” while proposing several new measures to allow “security staff to adequately protect themselves, employees, and the public.”

MyNorthwest News

Image: A Renton Police Department vehicle...

Julia Dallas

Teen turns himself in after deadly Renton shooting

Renton police were sent to reports of a shooting after a 16-year-old man called in saying he shot someone.

9 hours ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

10 hours ago

Photo: The Gorge Amphitheater campgrounds....

Julia Dallas

Families of Gorge shooting victims suing festival organizers

A lawsuit against Live Nation alleges the entertainment company did not enforce measures to prevent the Gorge shooting.

14 hours ago

Camas, Washington. (Photo:

Bill Kaczaraba

From mill town to top-ranked living destination: Washington city stands out

Once a mill town, Camas, Washington, has earned accolades as one of the premier places to reside in the United States.

15 hours ago

Photo: At 6:39 a.m., Eastside Fire crews extinguished most of the fire at a Snoqualmie business....

Julia Dallas

Crews put out fire that engulfs Snoqualmie business

The flames took over a business in the 8100 block of Railroad Avenue Southeast in Snoqualmie Sunday morning.

18 hours ago

Costco vs. Boeing...

Bill Kaczaraba

A study in contrasts: Costco vs. Boeing

In the state of Washington, two corporate giants stand out: Costco and Boeing. A recent poll conducted by Portland-based DMH Research sheds light on how we perceive these companies and other major players like Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft. The study, obtained by MyNorthwest, polled 500 adults across the region. The poll measured residents’ “perceptions of […]

1 day ago

Lawmaker calls for Seattle to give county control of City Hall Park following closure