4:30 PM: Click the “play” button above for the live Seattle Channel feed of Mayor Bruce Harrell announcing his decision on whether to keep the interim mayoral position for the full two-plus months until the winner of November’s election is sworn in. He’s also scheduled to announce executive orders. It’s been two days since he became mayor following Ed Murray‘s resignation; city rules stipulated that the City Council President would ascend to that role but then have to decide within five days whether to keep it until the next election.
4:36 PM: Harrell has started not with word of his future intentions, but with word of the executive orders. He signaled Seattle’s intention to compete for Amazon’s 50,000 “HQ2” jobs. Another involves a partnership with King County to potentially change the plan for a $210 million youth detention center, and have the city “put some skin in the game.” Third, he said, involves the city having become – and this was his word – “filthy … as an elected official, I’m embarrassed driving around some of the areas of this city.” He says it’s time “to reset community norms” and is directing Seattle Public Utilities and other departments to “identify the 10 hot spots” in the city, and “then commit by saying how quickly we will clean those spots.” Fourth involves information technology. (We’ll add the documents when they’re available online.)
4:42 PM: Harrell has now made the big announcement – he’s declining the mayoral role beyond these few days, and will go back to being City Council President. This means the council will talk Monday afternoon about who’s next, from among their ranks.
4:46 PM: He’s moving on to Q&A. First one is about the youth detention center – instead of building a “traditional” facility as has been planned, he wants the city to move toward “zero detention” by finding other facilities, maybe near the current site on Capitol Hill, maybe outside the city, maybe leased, maybe built, including support services. Next, he’s asked if he’s confident that councilmembers will choose someone else to be mayor, as soon as Monday – it’s on their agenda for Monday afternoon. Then he’s asked why he decided not to keep the job. “I really care about the city, and I think there are issues” – including the upcoming budget process – “that need my leadership.” Staying on as mayor through November would have cost him his council seat (though otherwise he has two years left in his term); he’s not elaborating on how that played into his decision. Next: Why issue executive orders, as a short-term mayor? “This work needs to be done, I don’t care who’s the executive, I don’t care who’s calling the shots, this work needs to get done.” The last question – whether his executive order stops the youth detention center from being built. No, but “if we do this right, the county may look at what’s being built, and pivot.”
4:56 PM: The event’s over. To be clear, Harrell’s announcement wasn’t a resignation – so he remains mayor until the City Council appoints one of its own. We will replace the video window that was embedded atop this story with a still image until an archived video clip is available.
6:12 PM: Here are the executive orders, in PDF, as received from the mayor’s office:
Here’s the archived video of this afternoon’s announcement: