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.”

Local News

catalytic converter...
MyNorthwest Staff

Competing proposals for catalytic converter theft crackdown up for Thursday vote

Competing proposals from Democrats and Republicans to crack down on catalytic converter thefts are set for Thursday, Jan. 27. committee votes.
1 day ago
Redistricting, long term care tax delay...
MyNorthwest Staff

Long-term care tax delay inches closer to passage after approval from state Senate

The Washington State Senate voted to delay implementation of the new long-term care payroll tax on Wednesday. 
1 day ago
Rideshare companies...
Nick Bowman

Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative

Rideshare companies have poured over $2 million into a new PAC, in what appears to be the precursor for a Washington ballot initiative. 
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Earthquake early warning app now available in Washington

Washington residents can now download MyShake, an earthquake early warning app, and get extra seconds of warning.
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Suspect arrested in Pierce County hit-and-run that killed one 12-year-old girl, injured another

A Pierce County SWAT team has arrested a 32-year-old man believed to be responsible for a hit-and-run collision that killed one 12-year-old girl.
1 day ago
Bills, pickleball...
Nick Bowman

Pickleball, dinosaurs, and a state nickname: Lawmakers weigh trio of lighthearted bills

Among the bills under consideration during the 2022 legislative session are a handful of more lighthearted proposals from lawmakers.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Lawmaker calls for Seattle to give county control of City Hall Park following closure