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Mayor Jenny Durkan’s First 100 Days in Office: Urgent Action to Create a More Affordable, Inclusive Seattle & Build Economic Opportunity

Seattle (March 8) –  In her first 100 days in office, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has taken urgent action to create a more affordable, inclusive Seattle, and build economic opportunity for all. As outlined in the first State of the City address, Mayor Durkan has moved quickly to advance her top priorities: addressing affordability and homelessness, and creating economic opportunity for all; delivering essential City services; building safer, more just communities; standing up for Seattle’s progressive values; and seizing opportunities to create a more vibrant City for the future.

“From day one, I told the people of Seattle that we need urgent action to address our shared challenges – and that’s what we’ve done together. We have tried new approaches, brought people together in new ways, and made new progress,” said Mayor Durkan. “But there is still so much more work to do, and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Over the next 100 days and beyond, I will continue to act with urgency to build a more inclusive, safer, and vibrant future for this City we love.”

Beginning with her five swearing-ins across the City on November 28, Mayor Durkan continues to bring City Hall directly to neighborhoods with her neighborhood walking tours, dozens of community events, and town hall meetings and forums.


Addressing Affordability and Homelessness, and Creating Economic Opportunity for All

Two Years of Free Community College through the New Seattle Promise College Tuition Program: On her first day in office, Mayor Durkan signed an Executive Order to create the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program, which will reduce the financial barriers that keep some Seattle public high school graduates from earning a degree, credential or certificate. Mayor Durkan’s actions were focused on fulfilling a key pledge during her campaign: expanding the Seattle Promise program in the Fall of 2018 to provide a second year of college for current 13th Year Promise Scholarship students currently enrolled at South Seattle College. And on March 7, Mayor Durkan signed a partnership agreement with Seattle Colleges and Seattle Public Schools to make that a reality for all Seattle Public School high school students in Fall 2019.

Proposing and Signing Her “Building a Bridge to Housing for All” Plan Into Law: In January, in her first major legislation, Mayor Durkan proposed “Building a Bridge to Housing for All,” her plan to use the revenue from the sale of an underutilized City property to address Seattle’s affordability and homelessness crisis. Following unanimous passage by the City Council, on February 23, Mayor Durkan signed her plan into law. The bills approve the sale of a City property and appropriates the proceeds to bridge housing for people living unsheltered, homeless prevention, and rental housing assistance for our most at-risk families, and extended support for short-term shelters and hygiene and emergency services.

ORCA Opportunity: Free Year-Round ORCA Passes to All Seattle Public Schools High School Students: At her first State of the City address, Mayor Durkan announced ORCA Opportunity, her plan to provide free, year-round ORCA passes beginning this year to all Seattle Public Schools high school students as well as Seattle Promise scholars by partnering with Seattle Public Schools, King County Metro, Seattle Colleges and the Seattle Department of Transportation. The pass would give students access to unlimited public transportation throughout the year.  For the first time ever, approximately 15,000 Seattle Public Schools high school students and Seattle Promise scholars will have access to free year-round ORCA passes.

$100 Million for Affordable Housing: In December, Mayor Durkan announced more than $100 million in investments to build and preserve 1,450 affordable homes in neighborhoods across Seattle, including the construction of 896 new homes in nine new buildings.

Executive Order to Help Families Struggling with Housing Costs and Launching of Housing Assistance: In her first official action, Mayor Durkan signed an Executive Order to quickly develop and implement strategies, to increase access to City affordability benefits, including rental assistance, that will assist lower income, housing cost-burdened households. In April, the City of Seattle will launch a Seattle Rental Housing Assistance Pilot Program specifically focused on preventing households from falling into homelessness while on the waitlist for longer-term assistance by maximizing the households’ options. In a pilot funded by Mayor Durkan’s “Bridging a Bridge to Housing for All,” this program will help households with incomes between 0-50 percent of the Area Median Income and who are on the waitlist for a Housing Choice voucher.

One Table: Regional Strategies to Combat Homelessness: Just three days after taking office, Mayor Durkan joined with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus to announce the creation of One Table, a new comprehensive effort focused on a regional strategy to combat homelessness made up of business, service providers, healthcare, faith community, philanthropy, labor, academia, community members and people who have experienced homelessness. The group is assessing the region’s current response to homelessness, including root causes such as escalating home prices, inequality and the need to expand mental health and addiction services. One Table participants have already met several times and plan to issue recommendations this Spring.

New Innovative Pilot Program to Help Seniors Reduce Their Energy Bills: Last month, Mayor Durkan announced a new innovative joint pilot program by the Seattle Office of Housing and Seattle City Light to help senior homeowners stay warm while reducing their energy bills. Under the pilot program, senior homeowners with electric heat already receiving help with their utility bills will be notified that they can now automatically qualify for energy efficiency upgrades to their home that provide additional utility bill savings, freeing up resources to pay for other important household needs.

Establishing the City’s First-Ever Small Business Advisory Council: On her third day in office, Mayor Durkan established the City of Seattle’s first Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC). Tasked with ensuring small businesses have a role in informing policies and programs as well as access to resources, the Council will provide input on the impact of City decisions, make policy recommendations, and help increase access to tools and resources available to small businesses. The Council held its inaugural meeting on February 21.


Delivering Essential City Services

Aligning, Simplifying and Standardizing City-wide Financial and Business Processes: On January 2, the City launched a new City-wide Financial Management System PeopleSoft (PS) 9.2, which replaces Summit, the City’s outdated financial system, and provides sophisticated tools based on industry best practices. It represents a landmark effort to align, simplify and standardize Citywide financial and procurement business processes.

Starting the Search for a New Leader at Seattle City Light: On February 1, Mayor Durkan announced the members of the search committee that will assist in a national search process to find the best candidate. The committee held its first meeting on March 7.

Moving Ahead on Light Rail to West Seattle and Ballard: In mid-December, with the support of all Seattle area Sound Transit Board Members, Mayor Durkan signed an agreement for an expedited plan to build the West Seattle and Ballard light rail extensions.

Maintaining and Preserving Our Roads, and Responding to Winter Weather: Under Mayor Durkan’s first 100 days, the City has made important strides in maintaining and preserving our City’s roadway infrastructure. In the last 100 days, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) filled 7,200 potholes, installed 128 new crosswalks, 360 new directional signs (like speed limit signs), and replaced 62 street signs. In addition, SDOT teams worked approximately 32 shifts over 16 days to respond to the threat of snow and ice from late December to early March.

Creating, Expanding and Improving Parks and Recreation Facilities: Over the last 100 days, Mayor Durkan has overseen the completion of 12 parks and recreation facility improvement projects, including the expansion of Summit Slope Park, the repair of sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail, and the renovation of the Georgetown Playfield Play Area. An additional 10 projects have begun during this time and are either in the planning or construction phase, including construction to renovate Prentis Frazier Play Area and Gas Works Park Play Area; planning to develop three land-banked sites into future parks; and planning to make upgrades to six community centers.

Increasing Access to Outdoor Recreation Opportunities: On Feb. 7, Mayor Durkan announced $3.1 million in new investments to upgrade the trail systems that connect the Arboretum with transit hubs and links to natural areas along Union Bay, as well as to renovate and expand playfields and outdoor recreation facilities for young athletes and families in Seattle.


Building Safer, More Just Communities

Progress on the Court-Ordered Consent Decree and Lasting Reform at the Seattle Police Department: In January, the City reached “full and effective compliance” with the Court-ordered consent decree. This week, the City also submitted a plan to the Court for how to hold and assess ongoing compliance for the next two years.

Executive Order on the Race and Social Justice Initiative: In one of her first official actions as Mayor, Mayor Durkan signed an Executive Order affirming the City of Seattle’s commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI). The Executive Order requires an extensive review of the City’s current implementation of the Race and Social Justice Initiative as well as recommendations for areas needing additional work. In addition, the action requires Department directors, personnel within the Office of the Mayor, and Mayor Durkan, to participate in implicit bias training.

Combating Harassment and Discrimination at the City of Seattle: On January 25, in a letter to City employees, Mayor Durkan announced that she is launching an extensive review of the City of Seattle’s harassment and discrimination policies. To conduct the review, Mayor Durkan will convene a City-wide Anti-Harassment Inter-Departmental Team (IDT) to identify areas for improvement and make specific recommendations on both short-term and long-term policy changes.

Vacating Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession Convictions: In February, Mayor Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes announced that the City of Seattle will move to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions prosecuted by the City before marijuana was legalized in Washington. In the coming weeks, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office will be asking Seattle’s municipal court to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession prosecuted by the City of Seattle.

Progress on Search for a Permanent Chief of Police: Mayor Durkan has moved ahead quickly on the search process for a permanent Chief of Police. In December, she announced the 25-member Police Search Committee that is comprised of a broad range of community leaders, including many with extensive and unique experience in criminal justice reform and policing. In her State of the City address, she announced that the City has kicked off public outreach by launching an online Community Input Survey to allow Seattle residents to provide their input during the search process. In addition, this week Mayor Durkan announced ten community workshops in all police precincts to assist the Police Search Committee with finding the best candidates.

Town Hall on Students Stopping Gun Violence: On her 100th full day in office, Mayor Durkan is hosting a Town Hall on Students Stopping Gun Violence at Chief Sealth International High School. The event will feature students, educators, parents, community advocates, and public health officials.


Standing Up for Seattle’s Progressive Values

Acting on Climate: In late January, Mayor Durkan held a weeklong series of events reaffirming Seattle’s commitment to climate action in the face of President Trump’s dangerous climate denial. After releasing new data showing extreme rainstorms in the Seattle area grew by 30 percent since 2003, Mayor Durkan opened Seattle City Light’s first curbside fast-charging stations for electric vehicles; toured new rooftop solar panels at Harborview Medical Center; and opened 156 new electric vehicle charging stations at the Seattle Municipal Tower. And in her February 20 State of the City address, Mayor Durkan committed the City to additional climate action, and announced she will propose legislation to create a new, City-wide pilot to encourage the building of 20 of the most sustainable and efficient buildings.

Protecting Our Immigrant and Refugee Neighbors: Mayor Durkan has kept to her commitment to protect Seattle’s status as a welcoming city and protect our immigrant and refugee neighbors. In late 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the U.S. Department of Justice sent letters to 29 U.S. cities, including Seattle, arguing that they may be violating federal law through their efforts to protect immigrants and refugees as a Sanctuary City. In December, Mayor Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes responded in a letter to Attorney General Sessions defending Seattle’s status as a welcoming city and demonstrating that the City of Seattle remains in full compliance with federal law. In late January, in response to threats from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice to subpoena King County for its commitment to protecting refugees and immigrants, Mayor Durkan said she was prepared for a legal fight with the Administration. And on February 6, Mayor Durkan issued a Mayoral Directive to ensure the City is prepared for any and all requests by ICE authorities. Moving forward, all ICE requests will be directed to the Mayor’s Office Legal Counsel, including requests for access to non-public areas in City buildings and venues as well as for data or information about City employees, residents, or workers.  In addition, Mayor Durkan ordered an assessment of City policies and practices – including but not limited to employment, law enforcement, public safety, IT, and social service delivery.


Seizing Opportunities to Build a More Vibrant City for the Future

Reimagining Seattle Center and Bringing NHL Hockey to Seattle: On December 6, Mayor Durkan signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the privately financed redevelopment of the arena at Seattle Center, saying it was the best path to bringing professional hockey to Seattle and bringing our Sonics back. Last month, Mayor Durkan met with the NHL Commissioner and the Oak View Group submitted its application to the NHL for an expansion team, and season ticket deposits became available on March 1, and surpassed 32,000 season tickets commitments in the first day.