UPDATE: Mayor Durkan on reopening plan, George Floyd protest plans

4:48 PM: After briefings by Gov. Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine about reopening the economy, it’s now Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s turn. She’s first addressing the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Notes as it goes.

She expresses grief and sympathy, promises continued improvement for SPD – whose Chief Carmen Best is standing behind her – and acknowledges protest plans in this city.

The chief then speaks, saying, “A few days ago, we all watched the tragic murder of George Floyd. .. What really bothers me about this … is that everyone there, including the officers, showed a grave indifference to life.” She says the SPD will support “peaceful protest.” She’s followed by Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “As the mayor and police chief have said, this was wrong.” He adds that SFD has a plan – that he hopes won’t be needed – for responding to fire and other emergencies during protests. The mayor stressed that they’re not expecting violence here, but have to be prepared.

4:57 PM: Now on to the COVID-19 economic reopening and King County’s plan to pursue a “modified Phase 1” reopening. For 12 weeks, she says, Seattle has been “a model for the rest of the country” as well as starting out as “the epicenter of the pandemic.” As reopening begins, she stresses,”we can’t relax all the restrictions simultaneously.” Mask-wearing, distancing, etc., are vital to keep the virus from spreading.

The mayor says she knows business owners and others have lots of questions. She is now taking Q&A from reporters. First: Will the mayor attend any of the George Floyd protests/events? She hasn’t decided yet.

5:10 PM: Most of the other questions have focused on the preparations for expected Seattle demonstrations rather than the reopening.

Regarding outdoor dining space expansion, the mayor says a plan is being worked on right now with multiple departments as well as communities – she says it’s another potential opportunity to “turn the streets” into something community-enhancing.

At 5:14 pm, Durkan wraps up to say that everything was going great until “the bottom fell out” when the pandemic hit, and now it’s time to “build resiliency” and help people, because we are “not out of the woods” – even the George Floyd protests don’t worry her so much for a violence potential as for a virus-spreading potential. “I believe in Seattle, I believe we can come through this (and be) better than we ever were before.”

NOTE: Since the video feed has now gone back to regular Seattle Channel programming, we’re replacing with a screengrab from the briefing until archived video is available.

7 Replies to "UPDATE: Mayor Durkan on reopening plan, George Floyd protest plans"

  • R May 29, 2020 (7:14 pm)

    Regarding expansion of outdoor dining–what a great opportunity to have a European vibe in the junctions after a certain hour & maybe weekends, when streets are closed to cars and outdoor dining is extended into the streets.

    • Anne May 30, 2020 (7:34 am)

      Street dining sounds great-but  could be problematic as California Ave is a main North/South arterial ( along with 35th )  -especially for emergency vehicles.  Expanding sidewalk dining  could work -but social distancing will still be a requirement so more sidewalk space would be needed. Also -guessing pick-up zones would still be in play.?  Sure hope so as our family has really appreciated those zones-making it really easy for us to order  from several different restaurants in WS. 

    • dana May 30, 2020 (1:32 pm)

      1000% agree. Closing California would be AWESOME. Emergency vehicles clearly already have a plan (Sundays) and I would imagine as things open up those quick pick up spots won’t be needed as much anyway.

  • TreeHouse May 30, 2020 (8:33 am)

    I would absolutely love if they closed California Ave in the junction to cars entirely and expanding dining out to the street. That would be really cool! 

    • Anne May 30, 2020 (10:40 am)

      Once again-do you really think they’d close off a main arterial? Would think Fire Dept /emergency vehicles might have some input on that. 

      • Brian May 30, 2020 (3:02 pm)

        This is a flawed argument based in fantasy. In practice, a vacated street would still allow access to emergency vehicles. Try again with something that stands up to the tiniest level of scrutiny if you’re going to play these what-if games. 

  • Dana May 30, 2020 (1:24 pm)

    Closing off California for more outdoor dining with social distancing is probably necessary for businesses to thrive. People want to support our local businesses, be outside and be safe. There are obviously emergency contingency plans in place as we have the farmers market there every Sunday.Further, making Alki one way with nose-first parking by Constellation Park would allow for expanded and safe outdoor seating.We need to think out of the box so we can support our businesses, enjoy life and be safe.Further, I think Seattle should give incentives to businesses who allow those who can to work from home to keep our air cleaner and traffic congestion down, especially with the situation we find ourselves in with the W. Seattle bridge.We can do this Seattle!  Lets be opportunistic and optimistic and make change for the better!!

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