City jail project: Highland Park plans to fight the sites


Those are some of the 100-plus people who packed the Highland Park Improvement Club on Monday night to find out why two of the four potential city-jail sites are in their backyard (previous WSB coverage here), and to decide what to do about it. One revelation in a city rep’s presentation particularly galled them — hear about it, and see the map we made afterward, straight ahead:

This was scheduled to be a regular, albeit early – because of Memorial Day next Monday – meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, which doesn’t even have a chair at the moment, though previous chair Blair Johnson stepped up to lead the group for this well-attended meeting. The sudden city revelation of two nearby potential jail sites for misdemeanor offenders – which include some cases of domestic violence, prostitution, even DUI – has galvanized neighbors in the past week or so.

The city sent a two-person delegation to the meeting — Doug Carey is a manager on the jail project, Cynthia Scheiderer is a communications consultant. Carey did all the talking — and question-answering — while Scheiderer took copious notes, promising they’d be written into the official record.

One point Carey made repeatedly — it’s not that the city WANTS to build a jail, but some bureaucratic twists and turns (explained here) involving the county may force them into it, though even the man at the top isn’t thrilled about the prospect:

That didn’t really win Carey any sympathy. Particularly as he tried to answer questions about how the city’s original list of sites was trimmed to four — these two, plus one in Haller Lake, and one in Interbay. Unpopular answers included: No public process involved in trimming the list down to the “final four” (the previous lists of 35 and 11 are linked from this page); no immediate availability of information on the reasons the semifinalist sites were taken out of contention; and no already-existing process in which the proximity of schools had been examined in relation to the jail sites (which one attendee described as “insane”). So we did a rough version of that sort of examination after the meeting, with the help of online mapping, and here’s what we came up with:

View Larger Map

The blue markers are the possible jail sites; the push-pin markers are area elementary schools. According to the “get directions” feature on Google, none is any closer than a mile – by driving route – to either site (click each school marker to see what we found out).

But that’s not the only factor that concerned the Highland Park crowd. Many others came up, including the fact that if this possible jail is supposed to open by 2013 – isn’t it unwise to build it on this side of the bay, when that’s shortly after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is scheduled to come down? In response to the various concerns, Carey offered a challenge – got a better site? The city, he says, is all ears:

Once the city reps were done, an energetic round of “community discussion” ensued, and the energy all went into gearing up for a fight. Many loud voices of opposition rang out, including one man who had told the city reps directly, “We will STOP this.” An oft-heard concern: Neighbors have worked hard to revitalize their neighborhood, and are worried about how its improving image could be damaged, as well as about the safety issues.

Still wondering why Seattle might need this jail? Here again is the city’s explanation. There also seems to be some tension with the county as a result; though Carey said “I’m not here to incite you against King County government,” he also suggested inquiring with King County representatives. (The county councilmember that represents West Seattle, Dow Constantine, plans to write a letter of opposition to Seattle city government, as first reported Monday afternoon here on WSB.)

WHAT’S NEXT: Highland Park neighbors are organizing to oppose the potential jail sites, and vowed to work on door-to-door campaigning, flyer distribution, and web updates, among other things. They will meet again at the HPIC on June 2nd. Meantime, the city promises public meetings will begin soon, possibly by late June; you can have your say via their website, till then. (Find it here.) They promise other public hearings in later stages, too, involving environmental reviews of the project, and the City Council process that would result in a vote. You can also watch the Highland Park Action Committee website for updated information, and of course we’ll pursue more followups here.

60 Replies to "City jail project: Highland Park plans to fight the sites"

  • CB May 20, 2008 (7:26 am)

    This is a perfect example of what is wrong with Seattle. Anytime there there is a public project like a new highway, airport expansion or mass transit project, the self righteous NIMBYs of Seattle come out in mass. It’s this kind of selfish behavior which is slowly turning this city into a mess. No new Alaskan way viaduct, and now no new jail. Seriously, what’s next… Are we going to outlaw running water?

    Stop thinking of yourself, and start thinking about the greater good of the community. We all have to make sacrifices in life. You can’t have effective law enforcement with adequate jail space. I’d take a jail over drunk drivers any day.

  • Lucy May 20, 2008 (8:12 am)

    Why are three of the proposed sites in “poorer” areas of Seattle, areas where neighbors have struggled mightily with drug dealers, prostitution and other problems near their residences? All that seemed to be going away. A jail in Sodo, South Seattle or South West Seattle seems like a slap in the face by the government.

    I don’t know a lot about Haller Lake and how close the proposed site is to schools. There are perhaps more costly options for the city, as in expanding the downtown jail, or buying land across Lake Washington. I think the second option is silly, since cops will have a longer drive to get Eastside. It takes police away, which isn’t good.

    Does anyone know, if floors can be added to the King Couty Jail downtown? Can the lower floors be used, while construction goes on above? I’m not an engineer and don’t know these things.

    It did sound like one area across from the court house downtown got sold out for money, money money.

    Yes, this is nimby, but look at where governments put these things, usually in the poorer areas, where people are too busy working to put up a fight.


  • cc May 20, 2008 (8:37 am)

    CB, We are not saying “no new jail” what we are saying is “no new jail in a residential area put it where it makes sense like downtown (where most jails are) near where the allready in place criminal justice system is. I personally am not against a new viaduct, that is the point when people bought near the viaduct it was there, they knew what they were getting. That is not the case with the residents of Highland Park when they bought there was no jail. When people buy condos downtown they know what they are getting the good and the bad and make their choice with that information.

  • Kayleigh May 20, 2008 (8:47 am)

    Sorry for a slightly off-topic comment, but my computer is showing lines through all of this text when it’s on the front page(and all of the stories preceeding it—but not in this view.)

  • baumer May 20, 2008 (9:18 am)

    no jail until we get our monorail.

  • jai May 20, 2008 (9:43 am)

    CC, to say the proposed sites are in a residential zone is quite a bit misleading, no? There are way more residences in a much closer proximity downtown than either of these proposed sites.

  • 34th and Thistle May 20, 2008 (9:43 am)

    The city rep is right in one sense: assuming that a jail _has_ to be built, it has to go somewhere.

    And, to answer Lucy’s point re: “Why are three of the proposed sites in “poorer” areas of Seattle?” a jail is not going to be sited in Laurelhurst.

    So, if Highland Park residents want to keep a jail out of the industrial area along 99, they need to do more than say “heck no!” They should agree on an alternative site that they think is better, and preferably doesn’t have organized opposition, and advocate _for_ that one.

  • Alcina May 20, 2008 (9:59 am)

    Did Carey say anything last night about why Seattle is not putting the Municipal Courts into this same building with this new jail, wherever it ends up being built? There is nothing on the City’s website about this.

    Since there is a cost, and of course risk, involved transporting prisioners to and from court, it would seem rather logical to build courts and the jail in the same facility.

  • Lucy May 20, 2008 (10:22 am)

    what is the feasability of adding floors to the existing downtown structure? That is my main question.

    I also think the city could shell out money in an area with million dollar homes, an area that hasn’t recently come up from a ton of crime. The key is to build up and, even in the wealthiest area of Seattle, to keep it away from playgrounds. It hass to have the least social impact in an area.

    I really think the Haller Lake site is most logical, since it is along 99, but I need to see how close to schools it would be there. A jail along 99 or 5 makes a ton of sense for the police.

    In West Seattle, it would be traffic lunancy. We have the South Bridge, which already goes up for canal traffic. It doesn’t make sense from that standpoint.

    Lucy, who used to canvass for PIRG in Maryland and DC and was always going into poorer areas and being told that the organization listens more to people with money. What the hell do I say to that? It is true. The idea of shoving this off onto poorer areas will shame the city in the media.

  • WSB May 20, 2008 (10:33 am)

    Alcina – He said there was a possibility that there might be “a” courtroom in this facility.

  • WSB May 20, 2008 (10:50 am)

    P.S. As I noted at the meeting last night when some folks started talking about “media coverage” (WSB was the only media outlet in attendance), there are citywide-media outlets who read this site and often use it as a jumping-off point for further coverage. First one to write about our writeup is the Seattle Weekly’s “Daily Weekly” (penned by West Seattleite Mike Seely), link here.

  • Huindekmi May 20, 2008 (11:08 am)

    Out of curiosity, I took a look at the other two proposed sites.
    The Interbay Site is adjacent to a public golf course with the nearest residences being across the street. The nearest school is Coe Elementary, which is 1.2 miles away (driving distance). McClure Middle School is 1.5 miles away. Catherine-Blaine Elem is 2.2 miles away.
    The Haller Lake site is adjacent to a cemetery, a hospital and a large number of residences. The nearest schools are Northgate Elem (1.1 miles), Ingram High School (1.2 miles) and Broadview-Thompson Elem (1.1 miles).
    Of the four sites, the Highland Park Way/W. Marginal Way site is the most industrial, and furthest removed from residences, parks and schools. It’s separation is further enhanced by terrain, given the greenbelt and steep hill between the site and the nearest residences.
    Unless someone can identify a truly better site that meets all of the criteria (available space, affordable, industrial, distance from residences/parks/schools, etc.), I’m guessing that this site will be chosen.

  • denny May 20, 2008 (11:52 am)

    I’m not thrilled that we have to spend tax money on building jails. I’d like to see us reduce that need.
    But that being said, it’s a stretch to say the site on W Marginal is in or near a residential area.

  • K May 20, 2008 (11:53 am)

    Huindekmi – as a correction to your assessment…..Highland Park Wy./ Marginal site is directly kitty corner to the Duwamish Greenbelt (a City Park property)…there is a trail leading from the site (visible from the potential jail site) to the Riverview Playfield, which is at the top of the hill. This is an area that sees a lot of volunteer restoration work (mostly school children).

    Another correction – industrial is not one of the criteria and in fact is counter to one of the City’s goals to preserving industrial lands for industrial purposes. A commercial or downtown setting seems more appropriate for a jail since beneficial developments can be built up around it (i.e. Kent facility).

  • C May 20, 2008 (12:05 pm)

    one other important point made in the meeting last night is that we are not interested in pitting our seattle neighborhoods against each other, which has seemed to start to happen in this comment thread. A jail does not belong in ANY of the four proposed sites- all are too close to residences, schools, and parks: which the city did not even map.
    You are obviously not residences of Highland Park if you think that this site is not near a residential area- on the contrary- this site is the gateway to our neighborhood and is less than a mile from homes and parks.

  • Benski May 20, 2008 (12:28 pm)

    Jails should be in the downtown area and that’s that. I work in Interbay and I can tell you the opposition to building a jail there is going to be just a strong as it is in the HP.

    The reality is that most people with children don’t live downtown (yet). HP and Interbay are essentially suburbs with kids and families. HP has come a long way. Adding a jail to it would seriously compromise what has been happening here.

    It’s really about what a neighborhood can ultimately withstand. HP would be far more damaged by this jail than downtown. The residents here would be hurt financially and spiritually.

  • Ken May 20, 2008 (1:02 pm)

    NIMBY BS knows no bounds. If you want to torment someone over the monorail, target Ron Sims AND Greg Nickles.

    Both sites are fine. WTF do you think goes on in a jail that will effect “The Children”?

    They are buildings with parking lots and lawns, with perhaps a higher amount of concrete in them than the current buildings.

    Lets hope you would fight a WalMart with the same intensity and exaggeration.

  • Concerned Parent May 20, 2008 (1:04 pm)

    HP is trying to improve it’s reputation and by adding a jail facility is not going to help. I live close to the green belt area and I know that area will be conducive for people to hide. How about if they look for an area that is closer to downtown.. perhaps the port area or more in the SODO area.

  • Benski May 20, 2008 (1:13 pm)

    I definitely WOULD fight a WAL-Mart with even more vigor Ken. I’m not being a NIMBY at all. We’ve got all kinds of crappy ass things that other hoods don’t want in HP already.
    A jail won’t directly affect children at all. It’s the indirect effect of what a jail will do to the hood that will drive good people away. It creates an undesirable atmosphere Ken. It creates a negative idea of our neighborhood. It turns it into a place that people don’t want to live in. How about locating the jail some place that can withstand the blow?

  • Huindekmi May 20, 2008 (1:16 pm)

    Siting downtown pretty much fails on availability and affordability.

  • SP May 20, 2008 (1:27 pm)

    HP, you should contact the communities near you, such as South Park and Georgetown. I know they are watching this as well and have already asked some tough questions.

  • d May 20, 2008 (1:36 pm)

    From the info packet distributed by the City reps at the meeting in Highland Park. Please excuse the length of this post here – thought maybe some would be interested –

    The 35 Sites Initially Identified:

    1) City’s Haller Lake Shops on Stone/Ashworth
    2) Puetz Golf on Aurora
    3) City Light North Service Center
    4) Northwest Industries, glass manufacturing
    5) Former Northwest Center for the Retarded
    6) Port of Seattle Pier 90-91 No. Terminal
    7) City’s Charles St. Shops
    8) MacMillanPiper, Southern Alaska Forwarding
    9) Qwest, office park at 8th Ave/Airport
    10) City’s AIrport Way Center at S. Walker
    11) Port of Seattle Terminal 5 Parking Lot
    12) Rabanco Recycling at Third
    13) Industry, NE Corner S. Spokane & Colorado
    14) Industry wholesale, SE corner S. Spokane & Col
    15) City Light So. Service Center, 2-4th ave. S at Spokane
    16) Business park SW corner of 1st Ave S @ So. Dakota ST.
    17) Freight Forwarding, NE Corner of East Marginal Way So. & Diagonal Ave So.
    18) City’s Westbridge Shops, 4100 block of West Marginal Way SW, west side
    19) Federal parking lot, NE corner of East Marginal & S Hudson St.
    20) Warehouse, garage, NE corner of Colorado Ave. S. & S. Hudson St.
    21) Business park, warehouse, Se corner of S Dawson St. & 5th Ave S.
    22) Business park, NW corner of S Front St. & 6th Ave S.
    23) Consolidated Freightways, NE corner of Marginal Way S & S Michigan St
    24) Business Park, NE corner of S Michigan St & 6th
    25) Vacant, SW corner of Highland Park Way SW & 2nd Ave SW
    26) Industry, job training 7200 block of 1st Ave S., east side
    27) Planned SPU facility, NE corner of S Kenyon St & Occidental Ave. S
    28) Industry warehouse, SE Corner SW Kenyon St & Detroit Ave
    29) Former dump NW corner of 5th Ave S & S Sullivan St
    30) City excess land, 9501 Myers Way SW
    31) Office, warehouse, SW corner of S Barton St & 10th Ave S
    32) City Light Duwamish substation, 9600 block of West Marginal Way S, east side
    33) AG Warehouse, SW corner of Airport Way S & S Norfolk St.
    34) Industry, warehouse, SW corner of MLK Jr Way & Norfolk St.
    35) Seattle Police Training Range, So of S. Boeing Access Rd., east of East Marginal

    11 Sites for Further Analysis:

    a) Puetz Golf driving range & shop
    11762 Aurora Ave. No.
    b) Northwest Industries, glass manufacturing
    W Jameson St at 24th-26th Ave W, north side
    c) Former Northwest Center for the Retarded
    1600 W Armory Way
    d) Port of Seattle Terminal 5 parking lot,
    Harbor Ave SW, So of SW Florida St.
    e) Federal parking lot
    NE corner of East Marginal Way S & S Hudson St.
    f) Vacant land at 1st Ave S bridge
    SW corner of Highland Park Wa SW & 2nd Ave SW
    g) Planned SPU facility
    NE corner of S Kenyon St & Occidental Ave S
    h) Former dump
    NW corner of 5th Ave S and S Sullivan St.
    i) City excess land,
    9501 Myers Way SW
    j) City Light Duwamish substation
    9600 block of West Marginal Way S, east side
    k) Ag warehouse
    SW corner of Airport Way S & S Norfolk St.

  • CFL May 20, 2008 (1:48 pm)

    Pardon my ignorance… but what is “NIMBY”?

  • d May 20, 2008 (1:51 pm)

    I guess there is a limit on post length – I just tried to copy the list of 35 potential sites which was distributed at the HP mtg last night. There is also a list of 11 sites for further analysis.

    Dang, that took a long time to type out too…Urgh. Anyway, here is the list of 11: I don’t know if the original 35 are listed online….I’ll have a look see.

    a) Puetz Golf Driving range & shop
    11762 Aurora Ave No.

    b) Northwest Industries, glass manufacturing
    W Jameson St at 24th – 26th Ave. W, north side

    c) Former Northwest Center for the Retarded
    1600 W Armory Way

    d) Port of Seattle Terminal 5 Parking Lot
    Harbor Ave SW, south of SW Florida St.

    e) Federal parking lot,
    NE corner of East Marginal Way S and S Hudson St.

    f) Vacant land at 1st Ave So. bridge
    SW corner of HIghland Park Way SW & 2nd Ave SW

    g) Planned SPU facility
    NE corner of S Kenyon St & Occidental Ave S

    h) Former dump
    NW corner of 5th Ave S and S Sullivan St

    i) City excess land
    9501 Myers Way SW

    j) City LIght Duwamish substation
    9600 block of West Marginal Way W, east side

    k) AG warehouse
    SW corner of Airport Way S and S Norfolk St.

  • d May 20, 2008 (1:52 pm)

    So sorry folks for the repeat
    BIG delay in that post….thought it was dumped.

    My bad.

  • Benski May 20, 2008 (2:12 pm)

    A NIMBY is an acronym for, “Not In My Back Yard.”

  • d May 20, 2008 (2:16 pm)

    The List of original 35 Sites and 11 Sites for Further Analysis I just copied from the City’s HP Meeting handouts show up on the Safari browser, but not on the Firefox browser.

    Off topic, kind of I’m not a techie – what’s up with that?

  • Huindekmi May 20, 2008 (2:25 pm)

    Looking over the list of 11 candidates, I’d recommend that they take another look at the Federal Parking Lot site at the corner of E. Marginal Way and S. Hudson St. Compared to the Highland Park Way site, it’s even further from residences, schools or any sort of recreation. It’s right on 99, so it has arterial access and transit. It might be getting closer to Georgetown than some would like, but the site would impact the smallest number of people of any of the sites as far as I can tell.
    I wonder why it was disqualified? Too expensive? Environmental concerns? A need to provide replacement parking facilities?

  • d May 20, 2008 (3:14 pm)

    Huindekmi –

    That’s a good question – I just wonder in general what the elimination criteria were for each list. It would be helpful to know so folks can problem solve here. I mean that in the best way, btw. LOTS of smart people here. That’s why I am here and reading and TRYING to learn from you all.

    But, I think folks get frustrated about offering meaningful input if there isn’t enough information flowing. At least that is my frequent perception. Maybe I’m wrong.

  • Bart May 20, 2008 (3:24 pm)

    Ken, it’s not just a concrete building with a fence, it’s a location from which violent and drug offenders are routinely released directly onto the street.

    Kind of the point, I think.

  • d May 20, 2008 (3:28 pm)

    About the Meyer’s Way Site –

    DPD Project #3006264 sign was still up this am when I finally drove over there to look. The sign says three six-story residential buildings and one two-story building are part of the plans for the low/moderate income elderly housing. That’s a large complex of elderly by most people’s reckoning.

    Now, that MIGHT give some folks pause. I mean, there might be some concern in some corners for a vulnerable population next to the Meyer’s Way site – literally up against the fence line.

    Releasing misdemeanants around THESE folks residences?????????

    Hmmmm. Do over.

  • Huindekmi May 20, 2008 (4:32 pm)

    The criteria used to winnow down the lists is shown on the city’s website.
    To make it onto the list of 35, the sites needed to be:
    * Not located in residential zones;
    * Have easy access to arterials; and
    * Already 7 acres in size or could be assembled from adjacent properties.
    The criteria used to trim that down to 11 were:
    * Site Size
    * Site Access
    * Site Configuration
    * Public Transportation
    * Compatibility with Surrounding Uses
    * Geotechnical Conditions
    * Environmental Conditions
    * Extent of Current Development
    * Business and Tenant Displacement
    * Acquisition Costs
    * Site Development Issues
    I haven’t found anywhere where they state the rationale for and against each site.

  • C May 20, 2008 (4:51 pm)

    that’s because, as revealed in the meeting last night with the city official, those decisions (which sites didn’t make the cut) where made behind closed doors with no public access to meeting minutes. there was a suggestion at the meeting that some of the sites are ripe for developer interests, or could be money generating sites for the city.

  • baumer May 20, 2008 (5:53 pm)

    Ken, you really need to ease up with your NIMBY name-calling BS. I am probably many other people on this site would fight a Wal-Mart with that much vigor. I would actually fight a Wal-Mart with more vigor than I would a jail. HP isn’t in my back yard, I don’t travel through there very often, I don’t live there, so as far as the NIMBY aspect of it goes, it doesn’t affect me at all. However, I do feel for the plight of the people in those neighborhoods. In the 6 years I have lived here, I have seen the two proposed areas go through an incredible revitalization, yet still unable to shake negative stereotypes of those areas. A jail there is only going to reinforce that. it is another aspect of the poor city planning that goes on around here, and I do think that Greg Nickles and Ron Sims have failed the people they are supposed to represent greatly and need removed from office ASAP. If municipal court facilities were added, something that West Seattle residents could benefit from instead of just a jail, my opposition to it would go. If West Seattle were to break away from Seattle and become its own city and therefore needed a jail, my opposition would go. The fact is, the other neighborhoods tend to look down on West Seattle a lot, and the only reason a lot of our issues are paid attention to are because of this great website. We got jacked on the monorail deal, we have gotten jacked on schools, we are getting jacked on the viaduct deal and other transportation issues, and I don’t feel that we should be saddled with a potentially unnecessary jail that generally affects neighborhoods in a negative manner without gaining something in return. It has nothing to do with a NIMBY attitude, it has everything to do with how does this benefit West Seattle. If that makes me a NIMBY, then so be it, and you can take that acronym and cram it with walnuts.

  • 34th and Thistle May 20, 2008 (6:08 pm)

    Is anyone out there planning to file a state law public records request for the city records reflecting the narrowing down of the jail sites?

    I’d think that at least the records, meeting minutes, etc., for going from 11 sites down to 4 would be very useful in organizing to advocate for a new location.

    Maybe that’s something WSB should do.

  • d May 20, 2008 (6:39 pm)

    Baumer – thanks for taking the time to say that. I know you didn’t say it for me and we might not agree entirely, but you articulated what I KNOW folks in Delridge, Westwood, Genesee, etc., etc., have articulated to me over the course of the past few days.

    What happens when the Weed and Seed funds evaporate this year? THe Southwest PRecinct won’t have much to work with….to continue trouble-shooting Delridge. The consequences of Delridge losing the grip they have gotten on crime is a grim scenario for me to contemplate. Add to this the released misdemeanants walking the 15 minute walk up the hill into Highland Park north or HIghland Park south, down Holden or Roxbury for another 15 minute walk and boom! Now, they are in YOUR backyard West SEattle.

    Are you ready, as residents or businesses to fight the vagrancy of chronic alcoholics, prostitutes, druggies, domestic violence and thieves on a day to day basis? Because all of the hundreds of misdemeanants that have been shipped over to Yakima will now be here.

    Can you guess what long-suffering businesses downtown will tell you about leveraging Nuisance complaints? Pretty sad scenario. Now, what magic do you offer to RESIDENCES in Highland Park, Riverview and Delridge to cope with all of this. What terribly obvious solution to co-habitating with criminals when the $ 225,000.00 annual disbursement from Federal funds is GONE and SPD SW has fewer resources than they do now.

    I’m not missing a thing. Downtown hasn’t been able to ever find a durable solution to containing the relentless vagrancy.

    Some residences can’t cope. Some won’t care. Some care and can cope, but they will sell and they will leave anyway because they have the mobility and means to do so.

    It would be a lamentable mistake for West Seattle to let it all fall apart.

    Highland Park is the canary in the mine.

  • baumer May 20, 2008 (7:34 pm)

    This may just be the conspiracy theorist in me coming out, but I wonder how much of the decision to look strongly at the two WS sites, esp Myers Way, is some sort of retaliation for the city’s failure to annex White Center, or if it fits in to some future plan to make sure it gets annexed into Seattle, and doesn’t remain independent or become annexed by Burien.

  • C May 20, 2008 (8:46 pm)

    34th and Thistle- How do you file that state law public record request?

  • k May 20, 2008 (9:33 pm)

    When I can see my neighbor’s house in the initial photo posted by WSB of the W. Marginal Way site then it’s my residential area!

    The cities of King County that need to build the jail (because the county one is full) should get together like our southern neighbors Kent, Auburn, et-al. and build one structure together. That way multiple sites can be considered. Bellevue, Kirkland and a few other munis are all in the same boat as the city of Seattle. Can’t we pool costs and have a greater diversity of sites?

  • cc May 20, 2008 (11:23 pm)

    Jai Clearly you do not know how close homes are to these sites on foot they are very close, everyone says by car they are this or that may I point out these guys/gals getting released from jail did not get to bring their car with them and if they dont have a ride they will be walking and possibly broke and need to get somewhere..walking. and the drug attics may need a fix after being locked up for a few days and with no money where to they get it? answer from breaking in to our houses /cars /businesses!!!!!!! another released individual a prostitute may need to turn a quick trick for some cash to get where she needs to go so whose streets will she be walking to do that? ours. This is what we dont want not to mention property values, quality of life, etc.

  • d May 20, 2008 (11:44 pm)

    I appreciate WSB creating the map indicating the location of nearby schools with push pins. You sure did not have to do that, but you did. The only problem that nags at me is that people might get the impression that a “driving distance” provided via google is meaningful. I don’t really think DUI’s and prostitutes will have their cars brought up by a valet or kept in a Park N Ride during their “visit” to Le Chateau Grande. So, really just out of curiosity, I looked at more fun things to do with Google maps and thought maybe the distance in feet as the crow flies – or perhaps the released criminal walks through greenbelt trails and residential streets- might be a more meaningful measurement. Criminals will be walking to a bus, not driving, away from the jail.

    From the West Marginal site, the distances are:

    5,251.41 ft to the Highland Park Elementary at 11th & Trenton
    1,640.14 ft to Riverview Park Peewee League Baseball FIelds
    3,750.16 ft to South Seattle Community College President’s

  • d May 21, 2008 (12:00 am)

    There is new activity at the HPAC website for folks who care.

    If they get it set up for discussion soon, we will want to move over there, so check it out. And, use google and the links WSB has graciously and assiduously provided here. You can search from the main page for keywords, particularly jail sites and Highland Park if you are just getting caught up here on WSB.

    Thanks again WSB –

  • Huindekmi May 21, 2008 (5:32 am)

    So, when misdemeanor offenders are released from the jail, they won’t be driving or even walking along the street, they’ll be flying like a crow???

  • d May 21, 2008 (7:27 am)

    Huindekmi –

    I was way tired when I wrote that last night. But, another thing I meant to mention and forgot was to suggest that people view that same pushpin map with the satellite view. One can view the map that way by clicking on the SAT button.

    Or, folks can drive over to Highland Park and the jail sites and see them for themselves and eliminate any and all question, if they really want to know what the heck people are talking about.

    Just a thought.

  • Lucy May 21, 2008 (7:50 am)

    This may be an idiotic question, but what is the feasability of adding floors to the downtown jail? Can the building be used safely, wile structure goes on above. Can we have temporary arrangment with King County jail until the downtown jail is renovated?


  • lipbone May 21, 2008 (7:57 am)

    In my search for more information, I found this report regarding jail site selection done by an architect. It is basically a guideline for cities and states running through the site selection process. It makes a few interesting statements and sources a number of studies to back up its findings.
    2004 Jail Site Evaluation Guide
    There are a number of issues that aren’t discussed or addressed in the report. I haven’t read the source material nor have I researched the author’s credentials. Still, I recommend reading it.

  • d May 21, 2008 (7:57 am)

    Well, many of them ARE frequent flyers with the court systems, so I will say yes.

  • 34th and Thistle May 21, 2008 (9:29 am)

    Here’s the Mayor’s office page on public records requests:

    Also, one other thing to advocate for could be – I’ve heard of other cities doing this – that all prisoner releases be done from the existing (downtown) facility. The new jail would be a place to sleep, but not where people would be released on to the street.

    This would have to be worked out with King County.

  • KatHP May 21, 2008 (9:36 am)

    As I’ve stated in another comment section on this issue, my first reaction is one of dread and frustration. I live in the greenbelt only halfway up HP Way. I still feel that way and do not want a jail just down the hill. I’m not worried about escapes, but where people go once they’re released and need to find quick money, etc. However, my tendency is to be empirically-minded about things so I thought I would start to do some literature research on community impact from new jails.

    Keep in mind this information is only from one afternoon’s worth of time on the internet – I’m sure there are other resources out there, but at this point I haven’t had time to look further.

    I will say that most of the research I’ve come across indicates that, with few exceptions, that a new jail site in a community does not correlate with higher crime rates and does not correlate with lowered property taxes. On the other hand, the research I’ve run across so far has been carried out by those associated with criminal justice (either through a university or a study supported by the US Dept of Justice). I’m not saying they necessarily have an investment or agenda in skewing results that would indicate that new jails don’t cause increased crime, etc, but it does make me wonder. Kind of like a pharmaceutical company sponsoring its own study on a drug they’ve created.

    Here are some of the research links I’ve found:
    Groot & Latessa (2007), The Effects of a New Prison on the Local Community, U. of Cincinnati Center for Criminal Justice Research
    US Dept of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, An Information Brief: Issues in Siting Correctional Facilities
    Impact of Corrections Facilities: Public Safety, Quality of Life, Politics. Detention Reporter, Issue 83, Sept 1990, pp. 3-10

    Admittedly, some of the research was done on prisons, not on jails. And none of the studies I’ve found have to do with the Puget Sound area. Given this, it’s still some interesting information and results that one could to translate to any area of the US where a jail could be built. Validity can always be questioned because the studies were in different parts of the country, but nonetheless, there you go.

    I’m hoping someone with more time than me can find some more research studies that have been done on this issue; they may show different results, they may not. I was surprised at what I found. But somehow, I’m still not comforted. I suppose being a parent and worrier wins out over my empirically-based mind?

  • KatHP May 21, 2008 (9:38 am)

    Oops, I meant to say in post above that new jail construction wasn’t found to correlate with lower property VALUES, not taxes. Sorry about that.

  • M May 21, 2008 (10:07 am)

    I wonder where the backyards of those complaining about a so called NIMBY attutude are located…my guess is that they are miles from Highland Park. I spent some time on the HPAC website and already they have several valid arguments that go way beyond NIMBY and even proximity to schools. In looking at the original list of proposed sites 2 of the 4 finalists are in areas that are either “vacant land” or “city excess land”. That sounds like they’re just looking for the least expensive option. I’m all for having my tax dollars spent frugally but I don’t think that meeting a budget should be at the top of the list – it needs to make sense for the community as a whole.

  • d May 21, 2008 (10:58 am)

    34th & Thistle –

    you may be on to something – the release being done downtown?????? THAT is an interesting idea.

    City and county peeps….are you listening? Social service providers…are you listening?

  • KK May 21, 2008 (12:35 pm)

    I still believe that transportation and access are critical points that need to be included in the basic planning process-especially keeping in mind growth in traffic patterns and access during emergencies such as the next big earthquake. Since W. Seattle area has traditionally had less development than other parts of the city, we have a higher increase in the amount of development we are now going through-just look at the huge backups on 99 and the W.Seattle high bridge and think what it looked like 10 years ago. This WILL continue. Also remember that Viaduct replacement/removal starts shortly (around the time this new jail needs to be on line). Do we want this facility to be part of the upcoming mess? What about the access to courts and hospitals recommended in the criteria review above. I don’t think the west side of the Duwamish is a wise placement. Also wondering about the building difficulties the city had with the Safety Training facility already built on Meyers Way (anyone know details?)
    Finally just a reminder that at the meeting it was noted that about 30% of the inmates being released are homeless, with no residence to go back to-it is nice to know they will have a place to camp in our greenbelt. Perhaps we can use their help in ripping out the invasive ivy!

  • Benski May 21, 2008 (2:57 pm)

    I don’t think investigating adding to the additional structure downtown is stupid at all. Rounding up drug users, vagrants, drunks and hookers and then shuttling them to the HP, now THAT is stupid. It’s just a short (albeit strenuous) jaunt up HP Way to our community. The city of Seattle needs to stop dumping on South Seattle and realize our community is one of the most vibrant and exciting in the city.

  • BORN&RAISED WEST SEATTLEITE May 21, 2008 (8:51 pm)

    This is the typical problem when jails or prisons are trying to be built.I can understand the prison situation in someones back yard but jails are necessary and we just built the new West Seattle police station.Don’t you think they want to keep the police stations and the jails close to each other? The state government needs to work on the crime problems and how to solve that situation, rehab, work release,extended sentences for 3 strikes your out and drug cases, etc and we won’t have to keep spending millions on places to keep offenders. This state sends hundreds of prisoners out of state because it is cheaper in rural Oklahoma,Arizona,and other states to house our offenders then in Washington.I live only a few miles away from where they are talking about building a new jail and I am not happy about the areas either, but don’t you all see the bigger picture here? Nobody wants this in there neighborhoods!! The Department of Corrections and our polital people need to hear some flack for letting this go on for so long and not doing anything about it!!This will continue on until there is change in the judicial system!!

  • BORN&RAISED WEST SEATTLEITE May 21, 2008 (9:07 pm)

    Oh ya …e-mail Sharon Nelson on this issue and you will see the big picture….

  • fiesty May 23, 2008 (9:09 am)

    All this talk about NIMBY- let’s talk about another term that is related here: environmental justice. Environmental justice is the concept that industry, waste sites, etc are traditionally placed in low income, minority populated areas. Now a jail may not be emitting toxic chemicals, but it does change the overall feel of the environment of Highland Park. For example- both of these sites are adjacent to parks. Do you really want your kid playing out at the park next to the jail? Westcrest Park has lots of trails that dog walkers and others use- and already has enough ‘colorful’ characters- do we really need to throw a jail in to the area to add to all that?

    There is no way the city would even attempt to place a jail in Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Greenlake, Laurelhurst, etc- because the public outcry about the safety issues and impact to land values would sink it in a heartbeat (look what happened when the Zoo tried to build a parking lot). Why shouldn’t Highland Park- a neighborhood of diverse folks who just want to live in a normal, safe environment- fight the city from putting a jail in the middle of a residential area? I mean, look- we already deal with all of the air pollution from the industry on the Duwamish (ever noticed that weird smell in the air sometimes?). Plus we get to deal with the City’s half assed plans to develop around here (throw more townhomes on Delridge with no parking and no increased capacity for traffic or commercial areas- GREAT IDEA!). I think we’ve taken enough for the team.

    And shame on you Seattle for not making this open for public debate. You owe it to us, the taxpayers, to let us participate in this kind of decision. I can’t believe the audacity of the city to do this all behind closed doors.

    I think the key will be to come up with solid, logical arguments why the site shouldn’t be located in our neighborhood (e.g. the viaduct) and useful input why another proposed location would be a better option.

  • fiesty May 23, 2008 (9:35 am)

    And speaking of environmental justice- city has to go through SEPA process . .”SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) requires a look at alternatives and provides opportunities for community input. The City will ensure that the full range of community involvement and input required by the SEPA process is met. The SEPA process is expected to begin this summer.” More opportunity for voices to be heard. . . . .

  • nwveggie May 24, 2008 (2:07 am)

    This is an issue for all of West Seattle….just like it won’t be much of a jaunt for released offenders to reach our parks and schools, its not much farther for them to easily reach the Westwood or other regular WS hotspots…this might be getting our urgent notice here in HP, but this issue really affects more folks than realize it.

    What was the stat I heard at the meeting? The jail will house 400+ beds holding criminals with a turnover of 90-120 days on avg? That’s a lot of druggies and prostitutes coming to West Seattle, many without homes to go back to after they’re released.

    Let’s get our flyers out beyond just our HP neighborhood…

  • d May 25, 2008 (4:18 pm)

    Hey folks –

    Just a reminder for those interested:

    The Highland Park Action Committee website is now active.

    If you are at all able, think about downloading the flier which is available on the “Jail Response” page of the website, make some copies and hit the streets around your block to notify folks about the next meeting. Not everyone has computers.

    Highland Park Action Committee

    7:00 PM
    Monday – June 2

    1116 Holden SW
    at the Highland Park Improvement Club

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