UPDATE: Bruce Harrell says he will ‘decline’ staying on as mayor, will return to City Council presidency

(Seattle Channel screengrab from Mayor Harrell’s announcement. Archived video is added below)

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:

Trash removal
Youth detention center
Business retention
Data management

Here’s the archived video of this afternoon’s announcement:

8 Replies to "UPDATE: Bruce Harrell says he will 'decline' staying on as mayor, will return to City Council presidency"

  • Admiral Mom September 15, 2017 (5:04 pm)

    Wow! Lots of news. I guess Burgess will finally get his chance to be mayor. I’m sure they’re going to elect him since he has the shortest term remaining. I just read the article about him in Seattle Met and it was all about how he never ended up being the mayor. Pretty ironic. On a side note, I’m soooo darn happy that we’re going to get a clean up around the city. It is definitely filthy!

  • clark5080 September 15, 2017 (5:16 pm)

    Not a suprise to me.

  • Mark September 15, 2017 (6:25 pm)

    Burgess is likely, and if chosen I would hope he brings back the pragmatic center left that has unfortunately disappeared.  Maybe a focussed effort to clean things up!

    • Paul September 15, 2017 (7:16 pm)

      I couldn’t agree more. It seems like both parties have drifted to the extremes. We need leaders who can govern from the middle where the majority of the electorate is.

  • GOP in WS September 15, 2017 (6:42 pm)

    Competing for Amazon HQ2 is lip service at best and delusional at worst. Does the city council even know what it means to be pro-business? Is an income tax on high wage earners still on the agenda?  

  • TJ September 15, 2017 (8:36 pm)

    The city council pro business lol? Two vocal anti-capatilists, and the rest might as well be as they spend all of their time being social justice warriors rather than truly running the city. And why on Earth would anyone want Amazon HQ2 here? People already crammed in here, and this would be another excuse to try and expand HALA boundaries to accomodate “the people that are coming”. This region needs to absorb growth, not Seattle. I was just in Ellensburg, and it seems like a perfect place for that. So much room all over out there to grow. Time to end the madness here.

    • WS Guy September 16, 2017 (5:19 am)

      Ellensburg?  How about Tukwila?  There are acres of low-density land right around the Tukwila ST station.  The reason HALA targets Seattle neighborhoods is developer lobbyists and NGO cronyism.  Amazon’s change in plans will not affect HALA, because HALA wasn’t about housing in the first place.

  • TJ September 16, 2017 (8:25 am)

    I know my suggestion of Ellensburg isn’t realistic, but my point is agreeing with you WS Guy that there are places all around Seattle that could handle Amazon HQ2. We can’t here. Strange area here in Seattle. All the jobs centered downtown, with nothing besides service, food, etc…jobs in West Seattle? I still can’t figure out with a population base as big as West Seattle why we don’t have a hospital on the peninsula?

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