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We’re in the briefing room next to the mayor’s office at City Hall downtown. A media briefing with the next steps on the jail-site search process is about to begin – and we’ve just been given a list of the six sites that are now under consideration, including sites that other cities partnering with Seattle have brought to the process. The Myers Way South site in southeastern West Seattle is OFF the list, but the Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way site (Google Street View imagery above; here’s a conventional map) is still ON the list, along with two other Seattle sites (King County Jail Annex at 5th/Jefferson, and 1600 W. Armory Way), one in Bellevue, one in Shoreline, and one in “unincorporated King County” (13225 NE 126th). More after the briefing. Next steps include a series of public forums next month — none of which is set for West Seattle, though there will be a “scoping” meeting at South Seattle Community College January 13th as part of the environmental-review process. Also, a new website is mentioned in pre-briefing material: www.necmunicipaljail.org (though it’s not up as of this writing – the jail-process communications team says it should be up within the hour) — and the one-sheet given to the media says “no decisions will be made until 2010.” 10:23 AM UPDATE: The public forums, it’s been explained, are for the newly identified sites – West Seattle and Interbay already had forums. The aforementioned website has just gone live, and it includes this link to the official news release from today’s briefing. Seattle spokesperson Catherine Cornwall, who has led this briefing, says the studies explaining why the Myers Way site is off the table and Marginal/Highland still on, are on the new website (we will search out direct links shortly). One of the big reasons why Myers is off the list, Cornwall added, is a concern about wetlands in the area. Here’s our video clip with her explanation:
(video no longer available due to Blip.tv’s closure)
ADDED 12:45 PM: Just in – a statement from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine.
“I’m very pleased with today’s announcement. The Myers Way site has been removed from the list, in part because of the environmental issues – issues which I also cited in my June 2 letter to Mayor Nickels. I wish the Highland Park Way site was not still on the list. Instead of a Seattle-only effort, this is now a regional process with King County and suburban cities having a seat at the table. The expanded site list now includes possible locations across the region. I am particularly happy to see promising sites on the Eastside, and in Downtown Seattle adjacent to our existing jail.”
ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: The city’s jail-site communications team calls our attention to the Resources page on the new jail-info website, if you’re looking for various studies and reviews, including analysis of why the Myers Way site was taken off the list, while the Highland Park Way/Marginal Way site is still under consideration.