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Last 21 Days: Urgent Action on Education, Homelessness, Free ORCA, Climate, and Reducing Gun Violence

In Recent Weeks, City Council Passes Five Major Initiatives Authored by Mayor Durkan

It’s been a busy few weeks. Following yesterday’s passage of Mayor Durkan’s bill to reduce gun violence in Seattle by requiring gun owners to responsibly store their weapons, five of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s major initiatives have passed City Council since June 18, including:

  • Two Years of Free 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. 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. Her long-term proposal for the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program passed City Council on June 18 as part of the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise plan.
  • Increasing Bridge Housing and Shelter Capacity by 25%: 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. On June 18, City Council unanimously passed additional legislation directing the property sale revenues to create more than 500 new shelter beds, to help address Seattle’s urgent homelessness crisis. On June 22, Mayor Durkan signed the bill into law. The legislation will increase the number of bridge housing and shelter units in Seattle by 25%, the largest single increase in the City’s history.
  • 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. On May 16, Mayor Durkan announced new legislation that would use existing funds to invest in the ORCA Opportunity program. Her legislation passed Council on June 25, and today she signed it into law.


  • Action to Address Gun Violence: In May, Mayor Durkan announced she had transmitted new legislation to the City Council that requires safe storage of firearms unless carried by or under the control of an owner or lawfully authorized user. On July 9, City Council, led by Councilmember Gonzalez, unanimously passed her legislation to reduce gun violence by requiring responsible storage of firearms.
  • Reducing Building Emissions to Fight Climate Change: Announced by Mayor Durkan in her first State of the City, Mayor Durkan’s proposal will offer additional height and floor space incentives for up to 20 major renovations in urban centers for significant upgrades in energy and water use, stormwater management, and better transportation efficiency based on the standards to create carbon neutral buildings. On June 25, City Council passed her legislation that would reduce carbon pollution from our City’s building sector, and Mayor Durkan signed it into law on July 2.