Jail-sites fight: Highland Park reaction to city announcement

As reported here this morning, Seattle and other “north and east King County cities” are now looking to team up on construction of a new misdemeanor-offender jail, because of the cost savings suggested by preliminary results of a new feasibility study. The Highland Park Action Committee, which has been leading the opposition to the two West Seattle sites on the city’s “final four” list of locations, has now weighed in with its reaction

Here’s what HPAC chair Dorsol Plants sent in response to our request for comment:

It has been the position of the Highland Park Action Committee that a regional solution is not only the best answer to where to site the jail, but the answer on how best to use taxpayers’ money. We agree firmly with the study’s findings that one jail for all the cities of King County is the best way to do this, and had strongly advocated that the city of Seattle go back to the table with the King County Council to reach an amicable agreement.

Clearly, if the regional solution is the direction the city is beginning to strongly consider a new study for jail sites must be conducted. It is very clear that the present 4 sites were picked for only a Seattle jail; demonstrated in how a jail in the south end of Seattle would not be advisable with just how cumbersome it would be for the King County cities located to the north and east. With this in mind, we strongly advise the city reopen all 35 sites in addition to adding any more that would be viable option for a regional solution.

That list of 35 sites can be viewed here. Meantime, city spokesperson Katherine Schubert-Knapp has clarified that there are actually two feasibility studies under way – the one to answer the question of “low-rise jail vs. high-rise” (theoretically if the latter is a better deal, it would open up more site possibilities) is separate – she says official results of both are due before the end of this month.

1 Reply to "Jail-sites fight: Highland Park reaction to city announcement"

  • RWright July 9, 2008 (11:29 pm)

    A high-rise jail would occupy less land, and require less manpower (security officers/jail employees) to secure the perimeter (high-rise = one city block. low-rise = seven acre perimeter).

    The calculations should include the costs of transportation (gasoline, vehicles, manpower x time), as well as ‘building costs’. As transportation is very expensive the jail should be located in the most efficient location over time.

    It may be cheaper to build ‘the structure’ in the burbs. Is it most efficient/cost effective to Seattle/King County taxpayers to maintain over the next 20 years? Those costs may easily wipe out any savings on a low-rise structure located next to family neighborhoods, schools, and senior housing.

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