An Update on the City’s Preparations Ahead of May Day

Seattle (April 30, 2021) – The City of Seattle is issuing an update for residents on preparations that City departments will be making in advance of May Day, happening this Saturday, May 1. The City of Seattle has a tradition of peaceful marches on May Day; however, we know that in some years, a few individuals who attend are intent on committing property destruction. City of Seattle department leaders have been coordinating closely over the past several weeks to minimize impacts, and the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, and other public safety agencies have been planning for contingency purposes only in order to be prepared for a wide range of scenarios. 

In the last ten months, SPD has also made significant changes to its crowd management policy to protect resident’s constitutionally protected right to free speech and assembly while assuring the protection of life, property, and the civil liberties of peacefully gathered groups.

Below please find an update on City departments: 

Office of Emergency Management: The City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has been coordinating with City departments, regional emergency management agencies, and Washington state.  At this time, OEM and City departments will be on standby should the need arise and are prepared for real-time coordination of any response with internal and external partners throughout the week leading up to May day and beyond, if necessary.

Seattle Fire Department (SFD): SFD is prepared to upstaff resources as needed to ensure firefighters and paramedics are ready to respond to fire, medical and rescue emergencies across the City once a scene is deemed secure. Additionally, SFD wants to remind the public that intentionally starting fires can have unintended consequences including severe property damage and loss of life. If you see an active fire occurring, call 911 immediately.

Office of Economic Development: The Office of Economic Development (OED) has produced a guide on  how to prepare and secure their employees and customers as well as their property to mitigate the impact of broken windows and graffiti, should that occur. OED, in collaboration with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), is also reminding property owners to be mindful of their dumpsters and carts should demonstrations occur, as those need to be put away to mitigate the impact of arson.

Seattle Department of Transportation: SDOT will be monitoring protests events and will coordinate response actions with other city agencies through the Emergency Operations Center. Should a greater degree of response become necessary,  SDOT ‘s Department Operations Center and Incident Management Team can be activated. The Incident Management Team provides an enhanced level of readiness and response for the department. Should demonstrations occur, restaurants, vendors, and retailers with temporary café, vending, or merchandise display permits and construction site managers are encouraged to bring in tables, chairs, and other furniture, secure their job sites, and remove temporary no parking signs to the greatest extent possible outside of work or business hours as a safety precaution. For real-time traffic information, visit @SDOTTraffic on Twitter.

Riders traveling by bus or light rail are encouraged to sign up to receive alerts from King County Metro and Sound Transit in the event that bus and train service face delays or disruptions. King County Metro: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/alerts-updates/signup.aspx. Sound Transit: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WASOUND/subscriber/new.

Seattle Public Utilities: SPU crews are reminding business to lock up any dumpsters, flammable objects, and any other objects or hazards should demonstrations occur. SPU Clean City crews stand ready to rapidly respond to any post-demonstration impacts including removing trash, litter, debris, and graffiti from impacted areas.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Department: Seattle Parks and Recreation crews will ensure that parks that have historically seen protests will be free of movable objects, such as tables and chairs.

Seattle Police Department: Following recommendations from community members, the Office of Police Accountability, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Federal Consent Decree Monitor, the SPD has implemented a number of reforms to its crowd control and protest management tactics. You can find a list of these reforms here.  Should demonstrations occur, the SPD is prepared to staff them appropriately as the need arises.

Seattle Public Library: The Library will be coordinating with the Office of Emergency Management and other city agencies as they monitor conditions on Saturday, May 1 and throughout the week so that we are prepared for anything that may impact our operations. We will close the garage at the Central Library at 6 p.m. on May 1 as a precautionary step, and will potentially modify hours of operation or services for curbside, in-building and restroom services as conditions warrant.