Budget Amendments Unleashed

October 2021 newsletter

Friends and Neighbors,

City Hall is knee-deep in our process of analyzing Seattle’s budget proposals for 2022. We received Mayor Durkan’s balanced budget proposal on September 27 and, after feedback from constituents and careful review, my team and I put forward several initial amendments to address priorities. Read on for my work so far on the budget and watch our recent District 4 Town Hall. I look forward to more of your feedback.

Even during this busy budget season, our other work continues. This month we opened the tiny home village in the University District to address homelessness, introduced a bill to improve accountability of tree cutters, and made progress on transportation projects in District 4.

Happy Halloween and please vote by November 2!


Did you catch our Budget Town Hall?

On October 14, 2021, I enjoyed hosting a Budget Town Hall for District 4 constituents. In addition to a presentation from Seattle’s Budget Director Ben Noble, I invited the new CEO of the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority (RHA) Marc Dones. I know homelessness remains a top concern for constituents and CEO Dones was able to convey the vital mission of the new agency. Homelessness is a regional problem that requires regional solutions using proven best practices. This new RHA is in the best position to implement the smartest solutions learned from across the nation.

For more about the RHA, CLICK HERE. To view the Budget Director’s presentation, CLICK HERE. To view the Town Hall, CLICK HERE.

Rosie’s Village Opens!

The Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), Sound Transit, Seattle’s Human Services Department, the University District business community, neighbors, and I recently celebrated the Open House of “Rosie’s” Tiny House Village, which will provide safe and supported living spaces for unsheltered neighbors.

We are proud that these 35 units on NE 45th Street constitute the first village on Sound Transit property. Named for the adjacent street of Roosevelt Way, Rosie’s Village case managers will help residents obtain permanent housing, employment, health care, food security, and other services. Each tiny house has electricity, overhead light, and a heater and the village has kitchen and restroom facilities, onsite showers and laundry, 24/7 security, and a counseling office.

During the City’s budget process last year, I secured this additional funding for capital and operating costs to reduce homelessness here. I engaged with Sound Transit to ask if this publicly owned land could be used to site a tiny house village to bring more unhoused neighbors inside – and they said, Yes! My office worked with Sound Transit and LIHI to prepare the site, including passing emergency legislation to allow the project to move forward with urgency during the double crisis of homelessness and COVID.

This new tiny home village is an inspiring example of partnerships among governments, nonprofits, and community to address our most pressing crisis— homelessness. By working together and leveraging publicly-owned land, we’re creating a place, forging a path, and instilling hope for dozens of unsheltered people to come off the streets, stabilize their lives, and transition to permanent housing. I’m very grateful to both Sound Transit and the Low Income Housing Institute for enabling us to finally finish this life-saving project.

— Councilmember Alex Pedersen,
September 28, 2021.

For a link to the press release, CLICK HERE. For a link to the video of the open house remarks, CLICK HERE.

The Arts at S.P.A.C.E. Magnuson Park

The Magnuson Park Gallery and friends are pleased to mark its 7th Anniversary with several events: (1) an art exhibition by two indigenous artists, Harmony Hoss and Janice Jainga Lonergan through November 12; (2) an art pumpkin fundraiser through October 29 (CLICK HERE); and (3) the return of “The Bridge” radio show Thursdays at 3:00 pm on SPACE 101.1 FM where hosts Sue Donaldson and Jean Godden interview fascinating guests and celebrate everything that sustains the proverbial bridges among our communities.

Progress on Transportation Projects Impacting District 4

“Pardon our Progress!”

  • SDOT expects to complete the Sand Point Way NE sidewalks and crosswalks project in the next couple of weeks, except for the signal work near NE 74th Street and Sand Point Way (the main entrance to Magnuson park) which should be done in November. (See image above.)
  • SDOT is currently focusing on preparing the road for final paving for the 15th Ave NE paving project, which is scheduled for the first week of November. Once paving is complete, SDOT will focus on curb ramp work at 4 intersections: NE 55th, 56th, 80th Streets and Cowen PL NE. The project team will also add temporary striping to the new road surface. The project should be complete January 2022.
  • While closures to repair the Montlake Bridge have been reduced to just a few more weekends when Husky Football is out of town, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will continue work on the western section of State Route 520 near the Montlake Bridge through 2023! For info on the weekend bridge closures, CLCK HERE.  For WSDOT info on 520, CLICK HERE. Here are some upcoming closures, subject to change: (1) Tonight, tomorrow, and October 31 through November 5, the northbound lanes of the Montlake Bridge will be closed overnight. (2) The Montlake Bridge, Westbound SR 520 off-ramps to Montlake and Lake Washington Blvds, and Lake Washington Blvd between Montlake Blvd and E Foster Island Rd will be closed between 10:00 pm on October 29 and 5:00 am on November 1.

I know this construction is disruptive and, at the same time, we appreciate WSDOT and SDOT completing the repairs and improvements.


I am grateful to all the city budget officials who worked hard to craft the Mayor’s balanced budget proposal and for the steady hand of our City Council Budget Chair. Regarding the current numbers at this midpoint in our review process, I believe this budget might unfortunately fall short on community safety and bridge safety. I am hopeful key amendments could be adopted to make the budget acceptable. Please see below for my initial list of amendments that our office put forward. I also co-sponsored several smart amendments crafted by my Council colleagues. I hope a majority of my Council colleagues will approve my amendments and that the final amendments other Councilmembers sponsor put the budget on stronger footing, rather than create additional challenges.

Community Health and Safety

Bridge and Infrastructure Safety

  • Boldly boost investments in bridge safety to respond to city audit: bridge bonds build back better! (For a recent Seattle Times editorial supporting my amendment, CLICK HERE.)
  • Redirect Center City Connector funds to transportation safety priorities
  • Increase understanding of wear and tear on Seattle’s streets
  • Implement pedestrian/bike safety Improvements on I-5 overpass connecting Wallingford and U District light rail

More For District 4

Good Government and Fiscal Responsibility

  • Optimize cybersecurity for our information technology and operational technology
  • Consider cost savings in budget to redeploy to other priorities
  • Add to City Auditor team to increase accountability & results with taxpayer investments (co-sponsor)

Equity and Environment

For a link to the Mayor’s proposed budget, CLICK HERE. For a helpful Powerpoint summary from her Budget Director, CLICK HERE. For the budget amendments we got approved during last year’s process, CLICK HERE and HERE. For my assessment of last year’s budget CLICK HERE. For a link to our recent Budget Town Hall video for District 4, CLICK HERE.


(the Council committee I chair)

Councilmember Pedersen addresses the crowd excited about the new light rail station at the University District on Brooklyn Ave NE and 43rd Street NE.  Would be great to see buses on Brooklyn in the future, too!
(photo by Alabastro Photography, October 2, 2021)

U District and Roosevelt Rail Ready to Ride!
Saturday, October 2 was a fun and exciting day in District 4 as we celebrated the opening of the new light rail stations. If you haven’t yet experienced these new options to get to Northgate, Downtown, and beyond, I hope you try them out soon! For Sound Transit route info, CLICK HERE. For my blog on bus route changes, CLICK HERE.

Here’s an excerpt of my remarks at the grand openings:

“Today is a game-changer for how we travel around our city and how we protect our planet…Today we can finally celebrate the opening of 3 new light rail stations in North Seattle, including these impressive new stations here in the heart of the University District and Roosevelt neighborhoods. 

Welcome to the future of fast, frequent, and pollution-free transit!

…After thanking the voters and the taxpayers of three counties and 50 cities who made Sound Transit 2 possible, let’s lift up the heroes of the new stations and the miles of tunnels connecting them with our growing regional transit system – the heroes are the workers who built it.”

Councilmember Alex Pedersen, Chair of Seattle’s Transportation Committee and elected representative of District 4

October is Halloween AND Cybersecurity Awareness Month 

Get ready to re-boo your computer because October is not only Halloween, but also Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It’s good idea to recognize this issue the same month as Halloween because cyberattacks can be scary when we’re not aware and protected.  We need to be vigilant against internet and email scams at home and at work where cybercriminals can infect computers or try to extract sensitive information.  Businesses, all levels of government, and their vendors must invest sufficiently in cybersecurity to protect our personal information as well as vital services and operations. For low-income residents who worry about accessing affordable reliable internet, cybersecurity is another layer of concern. That’s why our City budget must include not only cybersecurity for city government departments but also for vulnerable residents. As part of our Internet for All Action Plan, we want to increase the Technology Matching Fund AND add “Digital Navigators” who can help people new to computers not only gain access to the internet but also learn how to protect themselves online. Cybersecurity awareness helps us all ensure our internet access is about positive connections to jobs, education, health care, and vital services.

Surviving Power Outages

In District 4 and throughout our city and region, this past week’s severe windstorms brought down power lines and interrupted electricity for many hours. Approximately 44,000 customers within our city lost power and over 100,000 customers throughout the Puget Sound region lost power. I’d like to thank the frontline crews of Seattle City Light for working through the nights to retore power to thousands of customers. I’d also like to thank our Fire Department for rapidly addressing any electrical fires. If you experience a new power outage, you can call (206) 684-3000 and press 1, then 1 again. To see where there are power outages and whether City Light is already aware of your outage, CLICK HERE for their outage map. For downed power lines, call 9-1-1 and stay far away from downed lines because they could still be electrified and/or a fire hazard.

We know those without power suffer and that’s why our City Light crews will always work as quickly as they can to restore service safely. The storm and our response to it is another reminder of the vital basics of city government, such as electrical power, clean water, clear roadways – and the need to maintain our basic infrastructure to keep us safe and our economy moving.

For a Seattle Times piece on surviving a power outage, CLICK HERE.


A mature tulip tree before it was cut down. (photo with tree advocate by Seattle Times, republished in Crosscut; other photos from Investigate West)

Have you ever been jolted by the roar of a chainsaw in the neighborhood, witnessed a mature tree being chopped down, and wondered whether the company removing the tree is even authorized?  On October 18, I was proud to introduce, with Councilmember Dan Strauss as co-sponsor, a bill that will finally require tree service providers/tree cutters/arborists to register with the City government and have their business contact information available to the public online. If the public can see who is authorized to cut down trees, it would help to increase accountability and transparency and ideally protect more trees. Large trees provide numerous environmental and health benefits which cannot be replaced by the saplings planted by developers after they clear-cut a site. In our August newsletter, we asked constituents whether we should require tree cutters to register with the city government. In addition to the positive anecdotal feedback, we also saw statistically significant feedback from a recent poll indicating 75% of voters support a tree cutter registration program.

To review Council Bill 120207 as introduced on October 18, CLICK HERE.  We will consider this bill after our Fall budget season when we also expect to receive the comprehensive tree protection ordinance, which was due from the Durkan Administration last year. For more about trees on my blog, CLICK HERE. For current info on how to report illegal tree cutting, CLICK HERE.


Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, President of Seattle Central College, showing us how it’s done at one of the ballot drop boxes, though a regular mailbox works, too. (photo from Seattle Central News)

As you can see from this map, if you want to use a reliable, last-minute Drop Box instead of a regular postal service mailbox, King County has placed them throughout the area including in District 4: Magnuson Park, the University District, and near Gas Works Park in Wallingford. There’s also one on the east side of Green Lake.

Help King County achieve historically high voter turnout this year! Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday November 2 or returned to a drop box by 8:00 pm that day. For the King County Elections website with more information and ballot box addresses, CLICK HERE.


King County Vaccine Verification Launched October 25

The COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading fast. As of October 25 in King County, proof of vaccination (or a negative test result) will be required for everyone ages 12+ at outdoor events of 500 or more people, indoor recreational events or establishments, restaurants, and bars. As of September 13 in Washington state, masks are required for everyone ages 5+ at outdoor events with 500 or more people, and continue to be required in public indoor spaces. For more information, please see our Current COVID-19 guidance page.

This requirement will help to protect customers and workers, protect our health care system (read a statement of support from the healthcare community), and prevent business closures as the Delta variant continues to spread in King County. You can read this Public Health Insider blog post for more information, and view the Local Health Order.

For a Seattle Times article on the vaccination requirements, CLICK HERE.

City Employees Vaccinated!

Leading by example, your city government employees achieved incredibly high vaccination rates: over 94% vaccinated with 99% submitting required paperwork. For the press release from the Mayor, CLICK HERE. For the related Seattle Times article, CLICK HERE.

King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program Accelerated

King County has simplified and improved its Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program in recent weeks, increasing payments that will keep King County residents safe in their homes and prevent homelessness. The number of households receiving rent payments increased for the fourth week in a row, paying $7.7 million last week and reaching a total of $46.3 million in payments in 2021. Last week’s $7.7 million in payments is the largest amount processed in one week so far.

A total of 4,656 tenants have had their rent paid, and more than 14,172 tenants have applications being processed. King County has also launched a new program designed to intervene in eviction proceedings. This year’s payments are in addition to the more than $37 million distributed in 2020.

King County is committed to supporting tenants and local property owners alike to get through the financial hardships of this lingering pandemic,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We moved with urgency to implement new federal rules and reassigned dozens of staff to process a flood of applications. Today, our community partnerships are strong, our data system is working well, and our team is getting millions of dollars out weekly to stabilize both landlords and tenants across the county.

Small Business Stabilization Fund

The Office of Economic Development is investing an additional $4 million to stabilize micro and small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 by providing cash grants through the Small Business Stabilization Fund. The Stabilization Fund will provide $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 grants to be used on operational expenses such as rent, wages, equipment and more.

For this new round, the Small Business Stabilization Fund will support small businesses with up to 50 full-time equivalent employees and accept applications from those who received a Stabilization Fund grant in past rounds. The deadline for applications is November 9, 2021.

For more information on eligibility and required documentation, and to apply for a grant, visit seattle.gov/SmallBusinessStabilizationFund.

The Office of Economic Development is available to provide technical assistance, language access services, disability accommodations, materials in alternate formats and accessibility information to support eligible applicants in completing this application. Businesses can access support by calling 206-684-8090 or emailing oed@seattle.gov.


City Council Meetings on the Internet

Listening: Even though City Council is not currently holding meetings in person in order to follow public health guidelines, you can still follow along by listening on your computer or phone by CLICKING HERE. You can also listen on your phone by calling 253-215-8782.

Commenting: You can also submit public comment by sending an e-mail to me at Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov or to all 9 Councilmembers at council@seattle.gov. Please remember to add “For City Council Meeting” in the comments. Now you can also phone into the meeting to speak directly to the Council live. For the instructions on how to register and call in, CLICK HERE. Sign up begins two hours prior to the meeting start time.

Virtual Meetings with Your Councilmember Pedersen

I continue to schedule virtual in-district office hours, so we can chat by telephone or via Webex. Please continue to sign up through my website or by CLICKING HERE so I can hear your ideas, concerns, and requests. You can also just send an e-mail to alex.pedersen@seattle.gov

For previous e-newsletters, visit my blog by CLICKING HERE.

We are getting through this together, Seattle!

With gratitude,




Councilmember Alex Pedersen
Seattle City Council, District 4

Email: Alex.Pedersen@seattle.gov
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