West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle jail sites http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:31:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Sounders help Nature Consortium with their goal: West Duwamish Greenbelt restoration http://westseattleblog.com/2013/02/sounders-help-nature-consortium-with-their-goal-west-duwamish-greenbelt-restoration/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/02/sounders-help-nature-consortium-with-their-goal-west-duwamish-greenbelt-restoration/#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2013 03:42:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=140423

In the West Duwamish Greenbelt, steps away from the south end of the South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) campus, a delegation from Seattle Sounders FC took the field – well, the forest – this afternoon. They were there to help the Nature Consortium in the West Seattle nonprofit’s ongoing quest to help heal and restore the city’s longest stretch of contiguous forest. Their task today: Plant trees that NC obtained through the Forterra C3 grant, in which the Sounders are a founding partner. (From left in our photo, Sounders team members Alex Caskey and Babayele Sodade; Nature Consortium’s Monica Thomas; Sounders’ Andy Rose, and Sounders rep Jessica Hancock)

P.S. You can help out in the forest too – find out how here – and the NC also would love to see you at SODO Park on March 21st for their next gala fundraiser, Deep Roots (with WSB among the co-sponsors) – ticket info here.

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West Seattle jail-site-fight postscript: City/county long-term deal http://westseattleblog.com/2011/04/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-postscript-citycounty-long-term-deal/ http://westseattleblog.com/2011/04/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-postscript-citycounty-long-term-deal/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2011 18:13:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=69900 Just a few years ago, the Highland Park Action Committee led the fight against what originally were two possible sites in West Seattle for a new city jail – which was said to be necessary because the county would soon be unable to house city inmates. The plan eventually was dropped, but there remained the lingering possibility a city facility might be needed. A deal announced this morning appears to shelve that potential need for at least twenty years – news release after the jump:

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
today announced a long-term agreement in principle for use of the King County Jail
as the primary provider of bed space for the City’s misdemeanor inmates over the
next two decades.

“With the County jail next door to the City’s courts, it just makes sense for us to
provide space for City inmates awaiting trial,” said Executive Constantine. “We’ve
worked hard to create a durable agreement that keeps costs down and protects the
public, and I thank the Mayor and City Council for their partnership.”

“Over the past year, I have heard concerns from the community about holding inmates
outside of the city,” said Mayor McGinn. “I looked at the books and spoke with the
County Executive. This new deal saves Seattle money and supports a more equitable
environment for public defenders and low-income inmates.”

The statement of principles signed by the Executive and Mayor, for negotiation of a
new Jail Services Agreement, calls for:

* A commitment from King County to provide Seattle with up to 228 jail bed
spaces in 2012, rising to 335 by 2030.

* Reasonable and predictable fees for services that financially benefit both
jurisdictions.

* A commitment to work together on diversion, alternatives, other population
management mechanisms, and population forecasting.

The agreement in principle maintains significant operational advantages well into
the future for Seattle’s courts, law enforcement, and attorneys. The downtown
Seattle location of the County’s correctional facility is adjacent to the City’s
municipal justice center and is thus uniquely positioned to house the City’s
pretrial inmates.

“The proposed jail services agreement is ideal for the City because it utilizes the
jail facility closest to our courts,” said Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess,
chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee. “It’s also good for
taxpayers, who won’t be asked to build a new jail-at a cost of nearly $200
million-for at least twenty more years.”

Last May, the City ended its process of siting a new regional municipal jail for
misdemeanor offenders after receiving commitments for the housing of city inmates
from the County from 2017 to 2020. Today’s action calls for negotiations on an
agreement to extend the duration of that commitment from 2012 to 2030.

For the County, the agreement in principle provides for predictable use of its jail
capacity, leading to greater operational efficiency through economies of scale.

“A lasting partnership between the City and the County allows us to make the most of
our existing facilities and work together to find efficiencies that keep our
detention facilities safe and affordable,” said County Councilmember Bob Ferguson,
Chair of the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “This
agreement is the culmination of continued efforts by King County and Seattle to find
a cooperative solution for our area’s long-term jail space needs.”

The statement of principles reflects the long-standing interest by the City and the County in a wide variety of diversion, alternative and re-entry programs. These programs ensure efficient use of public funds by safely keeping low-risk populations out of jail so that capacity is available for those who pose a serious risk to public safety. Through the proposed agreement, the City and County would maintain and strengthen their collaboration on diversion, alternative and re-entry programs as well as on jail population forecasting.

“This is a winning agreement for all,” said King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. “The agreement makes the best use of our county’s resources as well as providing for long-term security for our residents by using alternatives to incarceration. King County and Seattle officials agree that alternatives such as mental health and drug court, relicensing programs and community correction programs are more effective than incarceration. It has been this paradigm shift that has been most effective in keeping our jail population down and using our money for treatment rather than building new jails.”

The principles outline unique mechanisms that allow for flexibility by both jurisdictions to accommodate changes in jail population forecasts and contracting. These mechanisms would help ensure that enough capacity is available in the long term, that new capacity is not built unless needed, and that, if jail populations decline, neither jurisdiction would face ongoing, unmitigated financial consequences.

When fully developed under the terms of today’s agreement in principle, the Executive and Mayor expect to formally transmit the proposed new Jail Services Agreement to their respective County and City Councils by June 15.

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Highland Park Action Committee celebrates ‘a big turning point’ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/highland-park-action-committee-celebrates-a-big-turning-point/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/highland-park-action-committee-celebrates-a-big-turning-point/#comments Thu, 27 May 2010 10:11:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=38682

(All photos in this report are by Dina Johnson unless otherwise credited)
Billy Stauffer said he’d chain himself to a bulldozer before he let a jail get built anywhere near his Highland Park home. That was an oft-cited memory as the Highland Park Action Committee honored Stauffer and many others Wednesday night, while using part of its regular meeting to formally celebrate the end of a two-year fight against the possibility a new city jail would be built near their neighborhood – or anywhere else in the city. (If you missed the news, city and county leaders announced two weeks ago that various factors would eliminate the need for a new jail for at least 10 years, so the site-selection process was ending.) Every person singled out had a special contribution. One of those who shared the memory of Stauffer’s vow was Eddie Sherman of Pacific Plumbing Supply (close to the Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way site that was still on the jail-location list when the process shut down):

Sherman lauded HPAC for being a true “action committee,” persistently pursuing their goal. “If this fight hadn’t been taken up by your group,” he told chair Dan Mullins, “it never would have gone anywhere – I felt like I wasn’t alone. It was just a small group, able to make a big punch to stop this entire thing.” The 2008 forums at which Sherman and others spoke so passionately were recalled during the semi-ceremony. One of the honorees, local teacher Laura Drake, was ribbed a bit for the nationwide fame she gained because we and others put her fiery June 26, 2008, speech on video, where it was widely linked:

Drake’s outrage drew cheers and tears. But at Wednesday night’s meeting …

… it was all about cheers, as the tight-knit group celebrated their success. And the theme that Drake had sounded in that speech two years ago – that Highland Park is a “fragile neighborhood” – resurfaced when Rory Denovan, then-vice chair of HPAC, spoke for a moment after accepting his certificate: “Everybody knows this neighborhood has gotten dumped on traditionally, but this, I feel is a big turning point … I think it would be wise to start thinking about alternative uses for those (formerly under consideration as a jail location) sites.”

“Grocery store!” shouted more than a few people.

Also overheard, the popping of champagne corks, as more names were read and certificates presented. Kay Kirkpatrick, Shawn and Nicole Mazza, Ken Knoke, Rebecca Chu, Becca Fong, Blair Johnson, Carolyn Stauffer, chair Mullins himself, former chair Dorsol Plants (who had to scrap plans to be at the HPAC meeting because, we’re told, the Food Bank put out an emergency call for volunteer help) …

Dina Johnson – photographer and artist/designer extraordinaire, who has contributed many photos to WSB coverage of Highland Park events and designed all of tonight’s certificates (but didn’t, she was teased, make one for herself) – is shown above (center) with Monica Cavagnero (left), another honoree, and Diane Tchakirides. And Geraldine Schwarz, also currently active West Seattle-wide with the WS Blockwatch Captains Network, talked about the intensity of the effort:

“It was on my mind, everything everyone was doing every second …for two years. What you have done is given this neighborhood a chance, it really has a chance.”

Also, the group whose 90-year-old HQ is also HPAC’s meeting place, Highland Park Improvement Club, got a collective award for partnership, accepted by president Rhonda Smith:

And WSB got a certificate too – “for their tireless determination to seek the truth and inform their readers,” it read. Below, your editor here took a break from the keyboard to pose with it:

(We are humbled by the honor, but all we did was cover the story – from the first word in early May 2008, to the final word when we sat in the front row at the County Executive’s conference room and rolled our little blue video camera as KCE Dow Constantine made the announcement this past May 13.) The jail-fight celebration concluded with a special cake:

That’s the design Dina Johnson created for the signs the group printed and put up around the area. (She also keeps the HPAC website, where this archive tells some of the story of the 2-year jail-site fight. Still in the mood to celebrate? It was suggested that revelry could continue during a dance Saturday night at HPIC, with singer Lauren Petrie, 7-10 pm, $5 admission.

PARK ARTIST: Other agenda items for HPAC last night included the group’s chance to meet David Boyer (above, with HPAC’s Kay Kirkpatrick), the Reno wind-driven-movable-sculpture artist chosen by the city to create art for the new parkland atop the West Seattle Reservoir lid. He showed photos and videos of his work, including this video of a San Diego-installed work:

>

Boyer explained his work “blend(s) the natural and manmade environments”; he hasn’t disclosed an official concept for the Highland Park creation yet.

FOSTER PARENTS HONORED: Chair Mullins let the group know that two Highland Park women who serve as foster parents, Amy and Jennifer Hallmon, had received an award from the organization AMARA for their service. You can read more about it here.

DELRIDGE DAY WALKING GROUP: HPAC is putting together a group to walk to the ReFRESH Southwest (Delridge Day/Sustainable West Seattle Festival), leaving from Highland Park Improvement Club by 10 am or so on festival day (June 5th) – “Bring everybody!” exhorted Nicole Mazza. They’re hoping to gather the biggest group to walk to the event – which could mean a prize. (Here’s what we published the other day about your chance to do something similar, even if you’re not in Highland Park.)

(WSB iPhone photo)
SPRAY PARK: Carolyn Stauffer, spearheading the campaign for Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund money to make the upcoming Highland Park wading-pool-replacing Spray Park even better, said that while the newly announced project ratings have the spray park relatively high on the list – it’s not currently marked for further study. But she gets to present it to the Levy Oversight Committee on June 14th, so all hope is not lost.

SUNDAY MARKET: HPIC president Smith mentioned the call for vendors for a new outdoor summertime market in the club HQ parking lot, but said she’d suggested that its name be Highland Park Sunday Market instead of West Seattle Sunday Market. Overall, much enthusiasm was voiced for the market concept.

HIGHLAND PARK ELEMENTARY MEMORABILIA? Margaret Young is retiring after 29 years and looking for old photos and other memorabilia, particularly from school reunions.

FIFTH-GRADE PLAY: Laura Drake said 60 fifth-graders from Highland Park Elementary will perform “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” based on the 1972 movie, 7 pm June 4th, all welcome.

EARTHCORPS AT WESTCREST: Rory Denovan invited all to join in a special work party to remove invasives, 10 am-2 pm July 31st at the park. (More at earthcorps.org.)

The Highland Park Action Committee meets the fourth Wednesday of the month, 7 pm following an informal potluck, Highland Park Improvement Club HQ at 11th/Holden.

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Followup: “No new jail,” say county and city – so what’s next? http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/followup-no-new-jail-say-county-and-city-so-whats-next/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/followup-no-new-jail-say-county-and-city-so-whats-next/#comments Fri, 14 May 2010 06:39:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=37572

Tonight, the Highland Park Action Committee toasted the end of their intense two-year fight against a potential jail in West Seattle – that’s current HPAC chair Dan Mullins at left, with former chair Blair Johnson and photographer/webmaster/sign designer Dina Johnson, celebrating at Triangle Tavern. We had asked Mullins earlier for his thoughts on this morning’s announcement by King County Executive Dow Constantine (here’s our as-it-happened report – and here’s our previously unpublished clip of the start of the announcement):

Mullins’ reaction afterward: “As difficult as it has been fighting the prospect of a huge jail being built it our neighborhood, some good has come out of it. Our little neighborhood has become much more organized, people have a stronger sense of community and a better understanding of how our government works. And City Hall now knows who we are and where we are and that we are vocal.” (His e-mail to the Highland Park list was a little more exuberant, with the subject line NO NEW JAIL/GOOD JOB, EVERYBODY!)

So now what? There was some concern in the comment section following this morning’s story, regarding the language of the official announcements – suspended, proposed, etc. Toward the start of this short clip from this morning’s announcement, the mayor was a little more definite in the term he chose:

We spoke later with Katherine Schubert-Knapp and Catherine Cornwall, both of whom worked on the city of Seattle’s part of the jail project. The official announcement warned that if future projections suggest more capacity will be needed, jail planning could have to restart as soon as 2013. Could any of the work done this time around be reused, we asked? Answer: Basically, no. But they both stressed that the proposed regional cooperation brings the process to a whole new stage – if the need can truly be handled between a combination of county beds, plus beds from other facilities such as the south end jail that’s opening next year, and alternative sentencing. Regarding the “proposed” languaging, Schubert-Knapp notes that since so many governmental entities have been involved in this, the respective councils have to sign off on the plan – King County Council, Seattle City Council, etc. – but that’s not expected to be any kind of speed bump. Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata, who headed the council’s Public Safety Committee during much of the site-search process, also seemed vehement that it’s over:

A variety of documents are now linked to the North/East Cities Municipal Jail website, which also carries a stern notice that it will not be updated from this point forward. We asked Cornwall and Schubert-Knapp if any particular study or report had triggered today’s announcement; they say the county’s decision to offer a longer contract extension, coupled with a second year of data showing lower jail population, comprised the game-changer. And of course, the city and county both have new elected leadership, in McGinn and Constantine, this year; Constantine had declared in June that if he were elected, the jail project “will not happen”; McGinn also had voiced, during his campaign, opposition to the idea of a new jail.

But long before the campaigning, the Highland Park Action Committee was in action, with research as well as passion. If you missed our stories from the period in 2008 when Seattle was considering its own new jail, with two of the four proposed sites in West Seattle, this report (with video) from a June 2008 meeting tells virtually the whole story of how things were going in the heart of the fight. Even then, as we wrote, projections were showing jail populations dropping. And now, watching those populations is paramount, warns the summary document released today:

While this proposed approach creates additional time to plan for our region’s future jail needs, it is not a long-term solution for our region’s jail capacity needs. The county and cities will need to regularly track the region’s jail population trends and use of jail capacity and be prepared to resume planning for new capacity by 2013 or even sooner if trends indicate the need for additional capacity before 2020.

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BULLETIN: No new jail; county to extend contract; site search ends http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/happening-now-awaiting-jail-planning-process-announcement/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/happening-now-awaiting-jail-planning-process-announcement/#comments Thu, 13 May 2010 16:18:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=37499 FIRST REPORT, 9:13 AM: As mentioned last night, a “significant development in the regional jail-planning process” is promised this morning. It’s been two years since Seattle announced it needed new jail space, and started looking at sites that currently include one in West Seattle (West Marginal/Highland Park Way) as part of what’s become a regional effort. We’re at King County’s Chinook Building downtown, expecting to see a group any moment that we’re told will include County Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Mike McGinn. As soon as the “development” is announced, we’ll add it here.

9:20 AM ANNOUNCEMENT: The headline on the news release reads, “Proposal to extend jail contract clears way for cities to consider shelving plans.” Jail contract may be extended thru 2020, Constantine announces. Mayor Mike McGinn says that means an end to the jail-siting process. “This is good news, Seattle,” the mayor said, after Executive Constantine announced the proposal to extend the agreement. “Today as a region we will work together to do this.” Shoreline’s mayor has also spoken; that city was under consideration as a jail site. Details of the proposal, from a news release handed out here: King County is offering the cities 150 jail beds through 2020. In addition, they are proposing creation of “a regional jail planning and management group.” Negotiation of this proposed agreement will start next year. Councilmember Nick Licata says “We have pulled the plug on the jail-siting process – and I can almost hear the cheers.” (As we read further into the news release, however, it warns that if there is an indication for new capacity after 2020, the jail-planning process may have to resume as soon as 2013.)

9:34 AM: They’re taking questions now. We asked Constantine, what do you tell the people of Highland Park (and elsewhere) who went through two years of anguish – not to mention the time and money spent by the governments – was it all for naught? We have his entire answer on video and will add it later, but bottom line, he said, he wished it hadn’t played out that way, but it did, and it’s time to move on. (added 9:57 am, here’s his entire answer on video)

Regarding the possibility of needing new space in the future, he notably mentioned the possibility of adding on to the regional county jail complex in Kent. He also said that part of this regional jail process would involve figuring out who has space where so that it could be used more efficiently – including the new jail that is being built by the south end SCORE group. Constantine also said that a future process would be conducted more “rationally” – saying this one seemed to have been “sudden” (regarding the 2008 disclosure that more space was needed and planning for a new site would commence immediately).

10:35 AM UPDATE: We talked with two key behind-the-scenes people after the room cleared, and will include their perspective in a followup story – what’s next, and what’s to keep this all from revving up again in a few years? Meantime, the county has published the full news release about today’s announcement on its website – you can read it here.

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Heads up, Highland Park (etc.): Jail-related news tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/heads-up-highland-park-etc-jail-related-news-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/heads-up-highland-park-etc-jail-related-news-tomorrow/#comments Thu, 13 May 2010 04:54:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=37436 Not all media events are worth mentioning ahead of time. But given the history of the jail-site fight in West Seattle, particularly Highland Park, dating back 2 full years now – we thought some would want to know about a media event announced for tomorrow morning. Here’s the exact wording of the advisory sent to us and other news outlets:

On Thursday, King County Executive Dow Constantine will announce a significant development in the regional jail planning process.

He will be joined by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan, King County Council Chair Bob Ferguson and Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Shoreline is one of the “North/East” King County cities that banded together a year and a half ago. It’s also home to one of the six sites that the group has been looking at – three are in Seattle (including Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way SW in West Seattle), one in Bellevue, and one in unincorporated King County – though the need for new jail space recently moved further into the future). The announcement is scheduled for 9:15 tomorrow morning at the County Executive’s HQ downtown; it is NOT a public event, but we’ll be there and will bring you details of the announcement immediately.

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West Seattle jail? Still possible – but not needed before 2017 http://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/west-seattle-jail-still-possible-but-not-needed-before-2017/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/west-seattle-jail-still-possible-but-not-needed-before-2017/#comments Wed, 17 Mar 2010 19:13:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=32502 A new development in the jail-site fight: The planning process for a new municipal-misdemeanor jail is still moving ahead, with a West Seattle site (Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way) among the 6 possible locations. However, the potential need for that jail (in which Seattle would partner with other cities) is moving further into the future. Last fall, the city and county agreed to a 3-year extension of the contract for the county to handle misdemeanor offenders; by the time the proposal got to the Seattle City Council Public Safety and Education Committee today, it had become a 4-year extension, through the end of 2016. (Here’s the council bill; here’s an explanatory memo.) It doesn’t cover all the city’s expected needs for that time, warned council staffer Peter Harris, so they will need to keep contracting with Yakima (and possibly the new south-end jail) for some space. But the agreement requires the city to confirm that it has no expectation that King County will be able to handle its misdemeanor-offender needs beyond 2016, which means the jail-planning process continues, though Councilmember Sally Bagshaw noted, “There’s little stomach for building a new jail.” (As noted earlier, Bagshaw is in West Seattle tonight, guesting at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at 7 pm.) The committee voted unanimously to approve the 4-year extension; it goes now to the full council.

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Highland Park Action Committee: Fast vote; police change; more http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/highland-park-action-committee-quick-election-police-change-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/highland-park-action-committee-quick-election-police-change-more/#comments Thu, 28 Jan 2010 12:54:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=28369

They’ve worked hard on tough issues, like a possible city jail in their own backyard, but the Highland Park Action Committee has a sense of humor too – as evidenced by their New Year’s Eve parade (WSB coverage here) and by their newly re-elected leaders’ decision to ham it up for a post-election photo last night. (From left, chair Dan Mullins, secretary Michael Shilley, vice chair Nicole Mazza, treasurer Shawn Mazza.) They were re-elected in a flash tonight – nobody else was nominated, a quick motion to re-elect them passed, applause ensued, on to other business, which included news of an important role that is getting a new face – read on:

That’s Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Adonis Topacio, who also got a round of applause tonight during the meeting in the Highland Park Improvement Club building. He told HPAC it’s his last meeting in Highland Park, because he’s moving to a CPT beat in western West Seattle (as noted in our coverage of last week’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council). From hereon out, new Community Police Team Officer Jill Vanskike (new on the CPT but a longtime officer) will take over the Highland Park area.

As for the crime roundup presented by Officer Topacio tonight – he focused on graffiti-vandalism reports, including word of at least 11 incidents at Highland Park Elementary. However, he said, those incidents had not been reported to police – and “we don’t know it’s occurring, if you don’t report it.” He also mentioned a break-in at a “recreation building” in Highland Park that had “obvious signs of arson, and smoke damage on the side … someone set some plastic stuff on fire.” Chair Dan Mullins then told the story of recently having interrupted what looked like a case of gas siphoning about to happen outside his home: Officer Topacio said he hadn’t heard of that particular crime in the area in a while, but reminded everyone to call 911 when something suspicious is happening.

Numerous quick updates comprised most of the rest of the meeting:

NEW YEAR’S SUCCESS: Chair Mullins recounted highlights of the aforementioned New Year’s Eve neighborhood parade – well-attended (he estimated 75) despite the rain – followed by the fiery “rosemary comet” performance in the HPIC parking lot afterward (our report from that night has video of that as well as the parade – see it here).

JAIL IN HIGHLAND PARK? “It’s been nice not having to talk about it for the past few months … with the new mayor, county executive, city attorney, nobody is for it … but it hasn’t gone away completely yet,” Mullins said, sharing information about e-mail received earlier in the day from what’s currently known as the Northeast Cities Municipal Jail Project: The e-mail included an update on the timeline for the Environmental Impact Statement that’s the next major part of the longrunning process; it’s now expected to be made public in the second quarter of this year (see “hot info” atop this page), and that’s when a new round of public meetings will be triggered.

SPRAY PARK AT HIGHLAND PARK WADING POOL: HPAC got an update from Carolyn Stauffer, whose effort to seek Parks and Green Spaces Levy Opportunity Fund money for the spray-park project was detailed here Tuesday night (before the meeting, she said she’d received lots of e-mail in response to that call for notes of support). Many wondered why other conversion projects were slated for more city money out of the gate than HP, like Georgetown – as Stauffer put it, theirs “is going to be fantastic, while ours is going to be like a garden hose” unless supplemental funding is found. Other discussion ensued regarding how the HP pool came to be targeted for conversion in the first place (from our coverage last year, we later found this Parks document that shines some light). Delridge Neighborhoods District Coordinator Ron Angeles asked if Stauffer had considered applying for a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant; she said that might be her next resort if the Opportunity Fund grant doesn’t come through, but she’s not trying it first because NMF requires rounding up major commitments of “matching” time and money in the neighborhood.

WESTCREST RESERVOIR PARK PROJECT: Mullins reminded the group of the next public meeting about the plan for expanding Westcrest Park onto the new acreage being created as the adjacent reservoir is covered – Saturday, February 6, 10 am-noon (more here). “We’ve got a lot of opportunity at that park,” he said. “They’re going to design it by what they hear from the public.”

FOREST STEWARDS NEEDED: Green Seattle Partnership is having an orientation March 13 for people interested in being forest stewards – Mullins says he’ll be signing up. He pointed out that every little bit of help for our greenbelts can make a difference – one area of restoration, invasives removal, etc., at a time. (Find out more about the orientation/steward program by going here – note that Westcrest and Lincoln are among the parks listed as needing help.)

DUWAMISH RIVER CLEANUP COALITION: Some of the upcoming events it’s promoting include a two-hour boat tour with members of the city’s “design community” on February 3 (tickets available here), noon-2 pm, leaving from Harbor Island Marina. (Other activities and updates: duwamishcleanup.org)

ARTS FUNDING SUPPORT: Two HPAC members will be in Olympia this morning to support two arts-funding bills making their way through the State Legislature, both involving lodging taxes. One is HB 2912 (info here), the other is SB 6661.

DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOODS DISTRICT COUNCIL RETREAT: Mullins will be among those attending a retreat February 20 involving members of the DNDC, which convenes reps of community and neighborhood groups from around eastern West Seattle – the area the city calls the Delridge District – each month. Ron Angeles gave HPAC an overview of the council.

ALSO FROM RON ANGELES: February 6 is Neighbor Appreciation Day, as declared by the city, with various events expected. (Among them, we noticed later on the city website, tours of all neighborhood fire stations, 11 am-3 pm – more info here.) He joined Mullins in urging participation in the Citizens’ Budget Conference coming up at Seattle Center this Sunday (as announced here January 12) – organized by the volunteers who comprise the City Neighborhood Council (which incidentally is led by West Seattleites Chas Redmond and Jim Del Ciello), though city leaders and department heads are expected to be there to listen to how citizens want to see their money spent.

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: This is now a tradition at HPAC meetings. In the spotlight this time, White Center’s Proletariat Pizza, opened 4+ months ago by a Highland Park couple. One of them was scheduled to be at the meeting to talk about the restaurant, but had to cover for a sick employee, so vice chair Nicole Mazza talked about the business and its roots in the community, including being mentored by Full Tilt Ice Cream (WC) and Zippy’s Giant Burgers (HP), and supporting other local businesses, including FT (serving their root beer) and Big Al Brewing (serving their beer). Proletariat Pizza was served before the meeting – which is always preceded by a potluck – and a gift certificate was raffled off before the meeting ended.

(Highland Park Action Committee meets at the HP Improvement Club building the fourth Wednesday of the month, potluck 6:30 pm, meeting 7 pm.)

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No new jail (in West Seattle or elsewhere)? Potential next step http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/no-new-jail-in-west-seattle-or-elsewhere-potential-next-step/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/no-new-jail-in-west-seattle-or-elsewhere-potential-next-step/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2009 06:51:40 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22614 On the eve of Dow Constantine‘s swearing-in as King County Executive, we are reminded that he declared five months ago there’d be no new jail for municipal misdemeanor offenders if he got the job. As you may recall, Seattle originally was looking at two West Seattle sites for a possible jail to house misdemeanor offenders the county was at the time saying it wouldn’t be able to handle after 2012; then Seattle partnered with a few other regional cities to continue pursuing the project, and kept one West Seattle site (West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way SW) under consideration. Now, county councilmembers have approved a three-year extension for providing jail services – which buys time, though the jail-planning process continues in parallel. Read on for the county’s official announcement:

The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved a three-year extension to continue housing city jail inmates in County facilities. The agreement caps two years of negotiations on the contracts with cities, which were set to expire in 2012.

“We appreciate the work of our cities in partnering with us on how best to provide for the public safety needs of our community in the most cost-effective manner,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, chair of the Council’s Law and Justice Committee. “This agreement formalizes the cooperative relationship we wish to continue among the county and cities. It also acknowledges that we all will continue our efforts to plan for additional jail capacity and will utilize alternatives to detention in order to prioritize existing capacity for those who truly need to be detained.”

Lambert said the success of the Adult Justice Operation Master Plan in reducing jail populations through the use of alternatives to incarceration has extended the time that King County will have capacity in its detention facilities and allows extension of the contracts with cities.

“The fact that we have space within our facilities is proof that the ‘paradigm shift’ the County started a decade ago is working,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “Alternatives to incarceration are giving people who need treatment more than a jail cell the help they need. This contract will allow the cities and the County to ensure that there are cells available for those inmates who must be in a secured facility.”

Upon receiving promising jail capacity reports two years ago, the council asked the executive to negotiate a three-year extension to the current contract to allow time for planning with the cities about how to house their misdemeanants in the future.

The new contract must be approved by participating cities that intend to continue housing inmates in county detention facilities until Dec. 31, 2015. The agreement includes a new rate model that requires full-cost recovery, including:

· A new, lower, daily rate
· A new lower rate for inmates in work education and release
· A revision to booking fees, and
· New charges associated with inmate medical and mental health services and one-on-one guarding of inmates who need to be at Harborview or other medical facilities.

Lambert also has requested the new County Executive to review capacity projections and propose an amendment to the agreement as soon as possible to extend contracts to 2016, which is the earliest date that new jail capacity could become available.

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City jail in West Seattle? Next round of meetings moved back http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/city-jail-in-west-seattle-next-round-of-meetings-moved-back/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/city-jail-in-west-seattle-next-round-of-meetings-moved-back/#comments Tue, 03 Nov 2009 00:07:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22067 There hasn’t been much news about it for a while, but a West Seattle site — West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way — remains on the list of possible sites for a regional jail to hold misdemeanor offenders from Seattle and several other north/east King County cities. And the city sends word this afternoon that the timetable for the next round of public comment has just moved back – the draft Environmental Impact Statement won’t be out till February, so public meetings aren’t expected till late February/early March. The process is laid out here; that’ll mean a full year elapsing between the last meetings and the next ones.

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West Seattle jail-site fight: New city study out today http://westseattleblog.com/2009/08/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-new-city-study-out-today/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/08/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-new-city-study-out-today/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2009 04:12:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=19594 The planning process for a potential new municipal misdemeanor-offender jail to serve Seattle and several other King County cities has been proceeding fairly quietly, but proceeding nonetheless. West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way remains one of the sites on the list. Now, the City Council has released results of a study they ordered on whether drug treatment and other diversions could reduce the need for jail beds – read on for their news release, plus links to two documents related to the report itself:

First, the toplines, in the city news release:

Today, the Seattle City Council released a jail capacity study that it had requested through a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) during last fall’s budget deliberations. The SLI asked city policy analysts to assess whether the city’s use of jail beds could be reduced by adopting more treatment-focused approaches for lower-level drug offenders.

The study analyzes changes in Seattle corrections policy for lower-level drug offenders and the likely effects those changes would have on jail use. It looked at providing new treatment services to all of Seattle’s current drug offenders and evaluated reducing jail time for Seattle’s lower-level drug offenders.

On their own, these approaches are unlikely to offer Seattle and other cities in the north and east sectors of the county, reductions that would significantly alter jail planning efforts. Lead time required for jail planning is approximately seven years.

By law, cities are responsible for the cost of jailing individuals arrested for misdemeanors within their jurisdiction. Currently, Seattle, along with most other cities in the county, meets these obligations by contracting for jail space from King County. The county is legally responsible for the cost of jailing individuals arrested for felonies (including most drug offenses) and felons sentenced to serve up to one year.

Prior to the study, King County informed Seattle that it would not extend its jail space contract beyond 2012 because its projections indicated the county would need those jail beds for its own inmates.

Final comments from the Jail Capacity Advisory Group will be included as an addendum to the study. The Advisory Group is comprised of numerous leaders from the criminal justice field. Their input and review helped inform the staff analysis. The Council’s Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee will review the report at its Sept. 15 meeting.

Here are two documents sent along with that news release:
Jail capacity study memo
Jail capacity “fact sheet”

The overall status of the Seattle/”northeastern cities” jail-site-search process is here; it also addresses the more recent discussion that King County might offer an extension to 2015. According to the timeline on the website, a draft environmental-impact statement isn’t expected before December, and public meetings would be scheduled early next year. P.S. City Councilmember Tim Burgess published reaction to this on his website, saying he believes Seattle should not build its own new jail – but should continue working with others in the region, and that King County should continue to be the service provider.

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Dow Constantine says no new jail if he’s elected Executive http://westseattleblog.com/2009/06/dow-constantine-says-no-new-jail-if-hes-elected-executive/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/06/dow-constantine-says-no-new-jail-if-hes-elected-executive/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2009 19:32:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=17898 We’re not yet publishing every back-and-forth in every key race – our in-the-works Election page will be your HQ for that, if you’re interested – but since this is a major issue for West Seattle, here’s the statement just issued by King County Council Chair Dow Constantine‘s County Executive campaign regarding the latest developments in the continuing process of a potential new Seattle-and-other-cities misdemeanor-offenders jail (with a West Seattle site remaining under consideration) – he says if he’s elected KCE, there won’t be a need for a new city jail – read on:

After interim King County Executive Kurt Triplett announced late last week that the County will offer a short-term extension of its jail contract with the cities, King County Executive candidate Dow Constantine, who chairs the King County Council, issued the following statement today regarding the need for a new jail:

“Executive Triplett’s offer to work with the cities of King County on an extension of our jail services contract is a good first step, but we need to go much further. My fellow councilmembers and I called on the Executive to extend the contract last summer, as it was apparent even then that our jail population would continue to remain well below historic projections. But given the present situation, a short-term extension is a bureaucratic Band Aid when what we really need now is an entirely new diagnosis of the problem.

“As Executive, I will work with the cities on a long-term extension to our current jail services contract. It is not reasonable to ask the cities to participate in a regional conversation if we are unable to provide them with this stability. Second, I will call on local stakeholders to join me in expanding our community corrections capacity, to more efficiently and effectively provide for public safety.

“We absolutely must explore every alternative to spending hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on new jail cells, especially in a time when the state is laying off 3,000 teachers and kicking 40,000 people off basic health. We also need to work together as a region to provide services effectively and efficiently. It makes no sense to have groups of cities provide some jail services, while the county provides others. As I called for in my statement to the City of Seattle in April, King County needs to step up as a leader and work with all stakeholders to provide integrated criminal justice services to the entire region.

“King County currently provides a range of alternative corrections services that keep communities safe and reserve jail space for violent or otherwise dangerous inmates. These smart alternatives include Drug Court , Mental Health Court , and our work release and work crew programs. Expanding these programs improves safety, reduces the need for new jail space, cuts recidivism and saves the taxpayers millions of dollars compared to the cost of operating a new jail.

“Let me be clear about this: Building a $200 million worth of jail cells that we may not need for decades makes no sense, and will not happen if you elect me King County Executive.”

If any of Constantine’s opponents in the KCE race issue statements on this, we will publish those too.

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West Seattle jail-site fight: County to offer “multi-year extension” http://westseattleblog.com/2009/06/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-county-to-offer-multi-year-extension/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/06/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-county-to-offer-multi-year-extension/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2009 22:47:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=17757 We reported in April that the Seattle City Council had sent the county a letter asking for an extension of at least 10 years in the contract for the county to handle misdemeanor inmates – the same inmates the county had said it couldn’t handle after 2012, touching off a push to build new municipal jails (with a West Seattle site under consideration by the “north/east cities”). Now comes word the county will offer a “multi-year” extension – read on to see the official news release just received from the county, followed by a response on behalf of Seattle and the other “north/east cities” (indicating the jail-planning process will NOT be halted):

King County is preparing to offer a multi-year extension of contracts
with the 36 cities it provides jail services to after a new analysis
shows a decline in jail use. The new analysis of jail bed use seems to
indicate a trend where construction of new jail space can be slowed,
allowing the cities and county more time to explore how best to meet
future needs.

The county has seen a dramatic drop in felony bookings since late 2007.
If the trend continues, the county’s two jails will reach capacity later
than the original projection of 2012. In 2001, the county notified its
contract cities that they would have to find other jail space after
2012. The cities are currently planning construction of new jails.

“This drop in jail use gives us an opportunity to take a more
collaborative and regional approach in examining options for future jail
space needs,” said King County Executive Kurt Triplett. “Jails are very
expensive and it is important that we make the most cost-effective
decision for the region.”

The cities and county have been in negotiations since August of 2008
about a possible extension of the 2012 deadline.

King County has combined space for 3,039 inmates at its jails in
downtown Seattle and in Kent. It is believed that programs such as
alternatives to detention and a prosecutorial change in which crimes are
filed as misdemeanors or felonies have helped contributed to the
decrease in daily jail populations. Additionally, the jail has seen a
25% drop in bookings by Seattle police, its biggest user of jail space.

“If the trend holds we will have capacity to continue our city contracts
beyond 2012, but we have to be very careful so that we are not caught
short of space in the future” said King County’s Director of Adult and
Juvenile Detention Kathy Van Olst. “Our proposed contract extension will
provide more certainty for the cities that depend on us. It will also
give law enforcement, corrections, courts and jail officials time to
dive a little deeper into the calculations, assumptions and booking
policies and craft a long term solution that will work most efficiently
and cost-effectively for the whole region.”

Jail managers have met with Seattle’s police chief and they agree that
the drop in bookings from Seattle police will eventually reverse.

All cities in the county, with the exception of Enumclaw, Kent, and
Milton contract with King County for jail space. The contract cities
have formed two groups, one looking to construct a jail in the south
part of the county and the other looking at a Seattle or north county
location for a jail. Each facility would need approximately 640 inmate
beds.

Right after we published that, this came in on behalf of the north/east cities:

The North/East Cities planning group appreciates King County’s
responsiveness to our request for an extension of our jail contracts. An
extension would give the cities some breathing room and time to do
additional work around our jail needs and siting process. We look
forward to seeing the county’s specific proposal regarding the extension
as we understand the county will be offering 300 beds through 2015.
While this will give us a more realistic development schedule, it does
not address the issue of long-term jail capacity. The cities will
continue discussions with the county on solving our long-term jail
capacity needs.”

The NEC is in the midst of its environmental impact statement (EIS)
process and will issue its draft EIS in December. Public meetings
regarding the Draft EIS will be held in January 2010. The final EIS will
be issued in the second quarter of 2010. For more information on the
project, log onto http://www.necmunicipaljail.org/

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Seattle jail-site search: New information on “scoping” process http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/seattle-jail-site-search-new-information-on-scoping-process/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/seattle-jail-site-search-new-information-on-scoping-process/#comments Fri, 29 May 2009 01:27:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=17284

View Larger Map

Haven’t heard much lately on the jail-site search – aside from the City Council asking the county to reopen the issue of whether they can keep handling the misdemeanor inmates for a few more years, therefore delaying the potential need for this jail – but the process continues, and a West Seattle site (Highland Park/West Marginal Way, Google Street View above) remains on the list of six sites under regional consideration. Just got an official update late today from Katherine Schubert-Knapp, noting that new information is now available in the “scoping” process – which identifies what the Environmental Impact Statement for the project will have to look at. The announcement notes that the timeline has slid:

Based on the feedback received during the EIS Scoping period, the NEC will be adding the following items to the scope of the EIS: air quality; populations and housing; and an analysis of the possible impact of a jail on property values and public safety. These additions, along with the complexity of some of the analyses, have impacted the EIS schedule. The NEC now plans to release the Draft EIS in early December 2009, and hold Public Meetings in January 2010. The NEC plans to release the final EIS in the second quarter of 2010.

Documents including the EIS Scoping Summary are now posted on the website set up for the jail-site-search project.

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West Seattle jail-site fight: Council delivers letter to county http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-council-delivers-letter-to-county/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/04/west-seattle-jail-site-fight-council-delivers-letter-to-county/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2009 20:45:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=16049 We were first to tell you about the plans for City Council President Richard Conlin and City Councilmember Tim Burgess to send the county a letter, asking for an extension of time before the county ends the city’s contract to handle misdemeanor inmates; the looming end of that contract is why the city’s been looking to build a new jail, with a site in West Seattle (Highland Park Way SW/West Marginal Way) among those under consideration. Today, the letter’s been delivered, according to this announcement we just received from Councilmember Burgess:

The Seattle City Council delivered a letter today to King County Executive Ron Sims and King County Council Chair Dow Constantine requesting a “ten-year (or longer) extension of the current agreement” that provides jail beds for misdemeanor prisoners arrested by Seattle police officers.

The letter from the Seattle City Council is attached, along with King County Ordinance 16200 (which states that “it is the intent of the council that the county should continue to be the primary regional provider of secure detention”) and the King County Executive’s signing letter for Ordinance 16200.

Read the letter here. It’s a three-page letter, followed by the six-page ordinance.

ADDED 4:13 PM: Statement from Mayor Nickels (we have also requested one from County Council Chair Constantine and are told it’s in the works):

“I appreciate the support of the City Council in urging King County Executive Ron Sims and the King County Council to continue to provide regional detention and community corrections programs. The city of Seattle has long advocated for a long-term extension of the current agreement with King County to house our misdemeanants. However, King County has maintained that it doesn’t have long-term jail capacity and a new facility must be built. For months, we have been engaged in a process with cities in northeast King County to find another option. If King County determines that it now has the capacity for a long-term contract, we would welcome a new agreement.”

ADDED 5:09 PM: And Constantine’s statement is in:

“I appreciate this letter from the Seattle City Council. I think we all acknowledge that incarceration rates have been trending downward in King County and that the rush to build a large misdemeanant jail—or two—now seems premature. We need to explore every alternative before we spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money. The numbers indicate that a new jail may not soon be needed, particularly if we increase the capacity and use of less expensive alternative programs, drug and mental health treatment, and housing.

“In King County, our average daily jail population is far below projections in part because of our diligent work in creating and promoting alternatives to incarceration. If we are going to spend more money in this area, it should go to programs that divert people from a life of crime.

“The right thing to do now is for the county to work not just with the city of Seattle, but with all regional stakeholders to revisit our projections and develop a plan that meets our shared long-term jail needs. The important thing is to begin this dialogue immediately.”

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