LOCAL NEWS

King County Council advances plan to ‘explore options’ for acquiring City Hall Park

Oct 6, 2021, 8:29 AM | Updated: 3:44 pm
City Hall Park Seattle...
A homeless encampment in Seattle's City Hall Park. (Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)
(Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH)

A King County Council Committee has advanced a plan that could lead to big change at City Hall Park in Seattle, but not without pushback.

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

The motion asks King County Executive Dow Constantine to report on possibilities for the county to acquire the park so it can handle its own security, rather than the Seattle Police Department. It also asks for a plan to relocate any current or future homeless individuals who set up camp at City Hall Park.

That last part struck a nerve with councilmembers Joe McDermott and Girmay Zahilay, who get the need for jurors, staff, and the public to feel safe, but say “the question is whether we address the symptoms of homelessness, or do we address the root causes of it.”

“I’m concerned that legislation like this contributes to a narrative about homelessness that I find dehumanizing,” McDermott said.

Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles — who co-sponsored Wednesday’s motion with fellow councilmember Reagan Dunn — stressed that this is only a motion asking for possibilities.

“This is not an either-or situation,” she said.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott says the motion now moves to the full council.

The report that has been asked for would involve an assessment that requires sifting through crime statistics, mapping nearby homeless shelters, and talking with people in the community. That would also include laying out “options for the county” to acquire and assume control over the park, as well as exploring “possible future county uses” for the area.

“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 recent news release. “We can also take this moment to think big about its future use.”

Constantine would have until Nov. 15, 2021, to complete and file his report.

City Hall Park is currently closed, following work from the city’s 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.

Chronic homelessness reaches crisis levels in King County

The park neighbors the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle, and has frequently been the site of homeless encampments, as well as a number of violent incidents. Some people — including courthouse workers — have said they no longer feel safe going to the courthouse.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott and KIRO 7 TV staff contributed to this report.

Local News

Election, ballot, polling...
Hanna Scott

New polling shows strong gains for Harrell and Davison, puts Mosqueda on notice

New polling from the Northwest Progressive Institute indicates that it's looking increasingly likely for a mixed outcome in Seattle’s general election.
16 hours ago
Seattle police, vaccine mandate...
Nick Bowman

SPD to terminate six officers over vaccine mandate, 103 await decision on exemptions

The Seattle Police Department reports that it has begun the separation process with six employees over the vaccine mandate for city workers. 
16 hours ago
Kshama Sawant recall, threatening emails...
Nick Bowman

Attempt to fast-track bill leads to heated back-and-forth between Seattle councilmembers

An attempt from Councilmember Kshama Sawant to fast-track a bill to require contractors to pay parking costs led to a contentious back-and-forth.
16 hours ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
MyNorthwest Staff

Climate Pledge Arena set for grand opening, Seattle Kraken debut

Climate Pledge Arena will open its doors for the first time under its new name this week, with a pair of concerts and the Seattle Kraken's home debut.
16 hours ago
Gadsden flag...
Nick Bowman

Police watchdog to investigate photos of SPD vehicles adorned with Gadsden flags

The Office of Police Accountability is opening an investigation into photos circulated on social media of SPD vehicles adorned with Gadsden flags. 
16 hours ago
religious accommodation...
Nick Bowman

Washington State Patrol terminates 127 employees over vaccine mandate

Washington State Patrol has terminated 127 employees in the wake of the newly-implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect on Monday. 
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
King County Council advances plan to ‘explore options’ for acquiring City Hall Park