Budget Results and Happy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2021

Friends and Neighbors,

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you can reconnect with loved ones during the holidays.

I know most of City Hall is thankful for adopting another annual budget to keep your city government operating in 2022 — to deliver clean water and electricity, upgrade Seattle’s infrastructure, create more affordable housing and effective outreach for those experiencing homelessness, and improve community safety. I know this sounds like I’m trying to “put a positive spin” on our City budget. I truly believe, however, that the final, amended budget contains positive things for our district and all of Seattle. At the same time — as with all budgets — it has significant shortcomings. This week’s Seattle Times article summed up the budget well: “unenthusiastic consensus.” Considering today’s tumultuous political climate — on top of the ever-present mix of opinions and ideas that is our shared challenge amid the complex context of self-government — I believe this week’s “unenthusiastic consensus” is a win.  To decide for yourself, please continue reading about the City budget, District 4, and more.


New Low-Income Housing on Top of New Transit: Moving Seattle Forward

District 4 City Councilmember Alex Pedersen  (left) and graduate school intern Gabby Lacson (2nd on left) on the roof after a tour of the new low-income housing project (Cedar Crossing) built on top of the new Roosevelt Light Rail Station. Thanks to the leaders of the nonprofit developers/operators Bellwether Housing (Susan Boyd, middle) and Mercy Housing (Joseph Thompson, right) for partnering on this transit-oriented development. Check out those solar panels!

This month I toured the new “transit-oriented development” for low-income residents called Cedar Crossing in our District 4. This welcoming new low-income housing project follows in the footsteps of Gossett Place and the Marion West projects built by LIHI, Abora Court built by Bellwether Housing, Mercy Magnuson built by Mercy Housing, and other low-income housing projects in District 4.  Cedar Crossing, which is nearly complete thanks to partnership between nonprofits Bellwether and Mercy Housing, will offer 253 affordable apartment units on top of the new Roosevelt light rail station.  ALL of the units will serve low-income, very low income, and extremely low-income residents.  It will have high quality childcare on the ground floor as well as space for nonprofits and retail (such as a restaurant). My favorite part of the tour was the roof with several solar panels that will power part of the building. It is everything we could hope for in a transit-oriented development. The nonprofits hope to begin pre-leasing the residential units early next year and open next summer.

Fixing the University Bridge

Standing by the aging University Bridge on November 17, Councilmember Pedersen speaks to King 5 News about City Council finally accepting his proposal to boldly boost funding for bridges – up to $100 million in bonds that can be deployed by the incoming Harrell Administration and leveraged with federal and/or state dollars.

Here are my remarks about Seattle’s bridges during final passage of the City Budget:  

“In keeping our City moving forward, I’m very grateful for the adoption today of Council Bill 120224 which is the companion legislation for my Council Budget Action SDOT-505-A-002 to build back better with a boost of bridge bonds. Bonds will enable us to finally address the growing backlog of vital bridge safety projects in the wake of the closure of the West Seattle Bridge and the subsequent audit of Seattle’s bridges that confirmed many key bridges are in poor condition. We were reminded of the vulnerability of our aging bridges again with the recent malfunctioning and temporary closure of the University Bridge, a multimodal bridge that may someday be the key to installing a new bus rapid ride line.  Bonds will enable us to fulfill more promises of the Move Seattle Levy by restoring some of the seismic upgrade projects cancelled by SDOT. Bonds can increase safety on multiple bridges on the project list we requested and received from SDOT. Bonds can also boost the capital-heavy line items identified by the City Auditor as being historically underfunded. Authorizing these bonds will enable the incoming Administration to seize the window of opportunity when interest rates are at historic lows.

“Today this Council delivers the authority for bridge bonds and, early next year, we expect the new Administration to use that authority to keep our infrastructure safe, to keep our economy moving, and to keep our communities connected.”

— Councilmember Alex Pedersen, November 22, 2021.

Our aging University Bridge was stuck in the upright position Nov 12 and 13, 2021. SDOT reported electrical problems. Another reason to do more for our bridges now. (photo by Councilmember Pedersen)

Speaking of bridges, here is my statement on the malfunctioning and temporary closure of the multimodal University Bridge that connects the U District, Roosevelt, and other D4 neighborhoods to Eastlake and beyond (November 13, 2021):

After the devastating closure of the West Seattle Bridge and the citywide audit of bridges I ordered last year, City Hall should not need additional evidence to do more for bridge safety, but I’m hopeful the sudden two-day closure of the University Bridge – blocking buses, freight, commuters, bikes,  pedestrians, and emergency vehicles — finally propels our Seattle Department of Transportation to expedite how it addresses our aging bridge infrastructure. After a year of debate and delay to prioritize Seattle’s bridge network, I’m eager to have a majority of City Council finally approve my long-standing proposal to authorize a boost of funds needed to fix our aging bridges. I want to thank the workers who have been struggling to repair and reopen another broken bridge and to urge all City leaders to give them the help they need to do their jobs to keep all Seattle bridges safe and secure.”

For SDOT’s explanation of the University Bridge incident, CLICK HERE.

For Seattle Times coverage, CLICK HERE and HERE and HERE.

For the Seattle Channel video “Drawbridges of the Ship Canal,” CLICK HERE.

For my amendment to boost bridge funding that finally passed, CLICK HERE and, for its companion legislation, CLICK HERE.

Volunteering to Help Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness During the Holidays

Councilmember Pedersen (left) delivering and serving pies to residents of LIHI’s Rosie’s Village for Thanksgiving week. Apple pie won over pumpkin pie as the favorite.  Pizza can count as a pie, too, and, in that case, pepperoni won. Keep reading for how you can volunteer at Rosie’s in District 4 and other places helping those experiencing homelessness.

You can help neighbors experiencing homelessness this holiday season by volunteering at Seattle’s many Tiny House Villages. As you probably know, “Tiny Home Villages” provide shelter, safety, and community for inpiduals and families experiencing homelessness with case managers onsite who work quickly to transition residents into permanent housing. I was proud to support the opening last month of Rosie’s Village at NE 45th Street and Roosevelt Way, operated by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), to serve many of our unsheltered neighbors in and around District 4.

If interested in volunteering, please email volunteer.program@lihi.org or visit https://lihi.org/get-involved/. With winter approaching, you can also spread some holiday cheer by donating meals, hygiene items, or clean socks, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and more. Please contact community.outreach@lihi.org to donate. For to help those experiencing homelessness in Seattle, here is a list of other nonprofit volunteer opportunities from the Seattle Times: CLICK HERE.

Thank you and happy holidays!

Magnuson Park Murals:  Painting Seattle’s History of Flight

The next time you’re at Magnuson Park, check out their new History of Flight murals! This month I attended the unveiling of these brightly colored murals created by young artists, including several residents of Magnuson Park, under the guidance of local artist Sandy Bricel Miller. The paintings brighten the sides of the Old Gas Station (Building 41), which is located a couple of blocks inside the main entrance of Magnuson Park on NE 74th Street. For more information from our Parks Department, CLICK HERE.  For the Friends of Magnuson Park website, CLICK HERE.


Here are my remarks during final passage of the City Budget:

“Colleagues, as we know, the crafting of Seattle’s budget occurs during most of the calendar year, starting with proposals from each City department.  So I’d like to thank our Mayor, her department heads and their teams, and our City Budget Office under the leadership of Ben Noble. And, here in the legislative branch, many thanks also to our City Council Central Staff, our Information Technology Team, the City Clerks, the LA team in my office, and many others for their hard work under the deadlines of our rigorous Fall budget review process.  I’m especially grateful to our Budget Chair’s leadership and her grace in giving us the space to offer amendments and differences of opinion.

“As with all budgets that are crafted and amended by multiple teams with various perspectives and approaches, there are items that we and our constituents like (especially programs for those most in need in our Council districts) and there are items that we might NOT like (especially as we debate how best to fund public safety, increase accountability, and deploy some effective alternatives to our traditional emergency response systems). Regardless, we NEED a City budget approved and in place to keep our city government moving forward…Today I’ll be voting Yes.”

– Councilmember Alex Pedersen, November 22, 2021.

As should be expected with any budget, some of my amendments passed and some did not. Keep reading for a summary of my efforts for District 4 and Seattle. (Note: I also co-sponsored several amendments from my colleagues but, for brevity, I don’t list the co-sponsorships here.)

Community Health and Safety Amendments:

[*Note: the SPD figures moved around a bit as Budget Chair Mosqueda, thankfully, restored approximately $900,000 of the $1,300,000 expansion of the Community Service Officer program.]

Additional Thoughts on Police Budget:

Summary of table above: reductions since 2020 Adopted Budget for SPD: -$53,576,500 (-13%)

Fortunately, an effort to abrogate (delete) 101 vacant SPD positions failed last week. There were strong arguments made from both the proponents and opponents of that amendment. While it would have taken only 5 votes to delete those positions, it’s important to note that it would have taken 6 votes to restore them (or 7 votes if restored outside our normal Fall budget). We receive a staffing plan every 3 months from SPD and, with a new mayoral administration starting soon, it’s hard to predict how many officers we will have. So I believe deleting vacant positions would have been premature and might have conveyed the wrong message as a new Administration starts and we seek a permanent Police Chief.

Unfortunately, the budget adopted for SPD still lacked hiring incentives or additional retention incentives for our officers and detectives, which I believe are vital when over 300 officers and detectives have departed Seattle and 9-1-1 response times have increased.  (For more on this issue from a recent Seattle Times editorial, CLICK HERE.)

With 39 days left until the new administration begins, I look forward to collaborating with Mayor-elect Harrell and his team in reimagining policing and community safety in Seattle, which includes the most appropriate and effective responses to emergencies as well as proven “upstream” prevention programs.  As I have shared with you before, I believe the best path forward is to revamp the police union contract rather than cutting before alternatives are in place. The police union contract governs financial issues such as premium pay and the definition of overtime and crafting a better contract can also substantially strengthen accountability.

Bridge and Infrastructure Safety Amendments

  • Boldly boost investments in bridge safety to respond to City audit: bridge bonds to build back better! APPROVED.  A special thanks to Budget Chair Mosqueda for her collaboration and flexibility to get this done, knowing it has been a key priority of mine for over a year.
  1. SDOT-505-A-002-2022 is the Council Budget Action (CBA).
  2. Council Bill 120224 is the companion bill.

Good Government and Fiscal Responsibility Amendments

Equity and Environment Amendments

More For District 4

District 4 also won 4 Department of Neighborhood grants (from this year’s 2021 budget):

The Eli’s Park Project Teen Advisory Team stands in front of a mural they painted at the park (photo from Dept of Neighborhoods website).

Last week, the City of Seattle awarded $891,000 to support 21 community-initiated projects through Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF). Here are the winners from District 4:

$50,000 to The Eli’s Park Project for Phase 4 of Burke Gilman Park Renovation.

$50,000 to Friends of Troll’s Knoll (shared with District 6) for Phase 2 of Troll’s Knoll Art and Design.

$38,000 to University Heights Center for Elevator Installation

$50,000 to Historic Seattle Preservation Foundation for Phase 1B of the Good Shepherd Center Seismic Retrofit

For the announcement of all the grants in Seattle, CLICK HERE.

Key Budget Links:

  • For a link to the Mayor’s proposed budget for 2022, CLICK HERE. For a helpful Powerpoint summary from her Budget Director, CLICK HERE. For a link to our recent Budget Town Hall video for District 4, CLICK HERE.
  • For the Budget Committee agenda from November 18, 2021 which contains most of the amendments to the Mayor’s proposed budget for 2022, CLICK HERE. For the final Budget Committee agenda from November 22, 2021 that included technical corrections, CLICK HERE. For the final budget agenda voted on by the full City Council on November 22, 2021, CLICK HERE.
  • For the press release issued by several of my Council colleagues, CLICK HERE.
  • For a Seattle Times summary of the final budget action by new City Hall beat reporter Sarah Grace Taylor, CLICK HERE.
  • For an interactive tool on the Council’s amendments to the Mayor’s proposal displaying which Councilmembers sponsored which amendments, CLICK HERE.


Our next Committee meetings are Wednesday, December 1 and December 15 at 9:30 a.m.. For future agendas of all Council committees, CLICK HERE.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

November 21st was the “World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.” This solemn event and call to action were recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and throughout the nation. Here in Seattle, there were 26 traffic fatalities in 2019, 25 traffic fatalities in 2020, already 31 traffic fatalities in 2021.  By far, the largest percentage of traffic fatalities are not those who are driving, but rather those who are walking. In 2020, 14 of the 25 fatalities were pedestrians and, in 2021, 20 of the 31 fatalities were pedestrians.  Our Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) points out that, in 2021, nearly 30% of people killed in a traffic crash were likely to be experiencing homelessness, which is a sharp increase as compared to only 12% in 2019 and 8% in 2020.  In Seattle, we continue to pursue the goal of Vision Zero which is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by the Year 2030.  Despite increased efforts on a number of fronts by SDOT to increase safety infrastructure and other safety measures, the statistics here are grim and each fatality is a tragedy. The budget we approved for 2022 will add to the safety infrastructure for all modes of travel, with a focus on pedestrians who are most at risk.

Sound Transit seeks additional input on transit-oriented development near U District station

Earlier this year, Sound Transit asked for public comments on the future development of approximately 18,000 square feet of land near U District Station. Now, Sound Transit would like to share that initial feedback AND gather additional feedback to refine project goals. The site is currently leased to the City of Seattle at no cost for use as a temporary tiny house village (Rosie’s Village) while the property is prepared for permanent development.

The survey is available now through Nov 28. To learn more and complete the survey, CLICK HERE or visit bit.ly/UdistrictTOD. The survey is available in multiple languages.

Sound Transit recently opened new stations at U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. In 2022, Tacoma Link will expand to the Hilltop neighborhood. In 2023 trains will reach Mercer Island, Bellevue and the Overlake area. In 2024 Link light rail will expand to Federal Way, Lynnwood and Downtown Redmond.

Sound Transit is likely to seek a “vacation” (giving up) of the alley between the two parcels. For safety, I would want to make sure the Fire Department has no concerns about access for its emergency vehicles.I also believe the public benefit in exchange for vacating the alley should include maximizing the amount of “very low-income housing” (apartments serving households earning not more than 50% of area median income) and extremely low-income housing for formerly homeless inpiduals.

More information on Sound Transit’s transit-oriented development program is available at www.soundtransit.org/TOD.
Partner with the City to develop the Seattle Transportation Plan and Comprehensive Plan

The City of Seattle’s Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) want to partner with community-based organizations and small businesses to develop the Seattle transportation plan and the Seattle Comprehensive Plan Major Update.

To register for the upcoming sessions, CLICK HERE.

  • December 2, 6-7 PM: Information session 2
  • December 20, 2021, 4 PM: Proposals are due
  • January 2022 – Notice of award. 
  • January 2022- January 2023: Community engagement and plan development

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Help the Environment and Reduce Flooding — Adopt-a-Drain!

If you want to help keep a storm drain clear near your home or business, you can “Adopt a Drain.”  To learn how, CLICK HERE.


Take the Survey!

Seattle University is administering the 7th annual citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey, which is accessible at https://publicsafetysurvey.org/ from October 15th through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from those who live and/or work in Seattle. A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to help them better understand your neighborhood’s safety and security concerns. More information on the Seattle Public Safety Survey can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/police/information-and-data/mcpp-about.

Preparing for Winter Weather

Winter brings dangerous conditions, so let’s get prepared. Snow, ice, heavy winds, and cold temperatures make traveling difficult for buses, emergency vehicles, and you. Winter weather puts people experiencing health problems and homelessness at greater risk. Plus, cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst.

For tips, view our City of Seattle Winter Weather web page, which brings together important information from multiple departments.

If power goes out in your area, you can report the outage by calling (206) 684-3000. You can also view the status with our outage map.  For flooding and ponding issues, sewer backups, sewer overflows or blocked culvert or creeks, call the Seattle Public Utilities Operations Response Center 24/7 at (206) 386-1800.  Stay away from downed power lines and report them by calling 9-1-1.

Sign up for AlertSeattle. If you’re not registered to receive alerts, signing up is quick and easy! Simply visit Alert.Seattle.gov and click Sign Up to Receive Emergency Alerts, or text the word SEATTLE to 67283 to instantly receive text message alerts from AlertSeattle.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently approved vaccine boosters for everyone over 18 years of age. For more info, CLICK HERE.

  • To register to receive the vaccine or booster in Seattle, CLICK HERE. Information is also available in Amharic, Chinese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • For the most recent information on combatting COVID from King County Public Health, CLICK HERE.

More details below:

Free Vaccinations & Boosters

Free COVID-19 vaccinations are currently available regardless of insurance, citizenship, or immigration status. Booster doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for some people. Learn who is eligible to get a booster shot at kingcounty.gov/covid/vaccine.

The City of Seattle and partners are offering free and accessible first, second, and/or booster doses at hubs across Seattle. Learn more at seattle.gov/vaccine. Visit Public Health – Seattle & King County for additional vaccination locations or consult with your primary care provider, if you have one.

Vaccination Verification

King County requires vaccination verification for everyone 12 years of age and older. You must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a negative PCR COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours, or a negative rapid test result conducted on site in order to attend outdoor events of 500 or more people, indoor recreational events, or establishments, restaurants, and bars.

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has put together a Vaccine Verification Toolkit that provides businesses with resources to comply with King County’s new vaccine verification order.

Mask requirements

In Washington state, everyone 5 years of age and older, regardless of vaccination status, is  required to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, at outdoor events with 500 or more people, and in outdoor public places when six feet of distance is not possible.


If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get a free test, with or without an appointment, regardless of immigration or insurance status.

Need help?

If you need language interpretation, help finding a vaccination or testing site, or ADA accommodation, call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at (206) 477-3977, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Updates

The Small Business Administration announced the following major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

  • Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
  • Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
  • Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure main street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
  • Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

EIDL applications will close Dec. 31, 2021. Don’t wait, apply while funds are still available!

Need help applying or ADA/language accommodations? OED provides free technical assistance to businesses applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, please email OED@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-8090.

Shop to the Beat: musicians and small biz unite for the holidays

Are you a small retail business interested in having a free performance at your location? Shop to the Beat is a new recovery program created to support small businesses, local musicians and neighborhood business areas throughout the city. This program will match musicians and small retail businesses to provide in-store performances during peak hours, help increase foot traffic and sales for retailers, and provide competitive pay for musicians who were significantly impacted by the pandemic.

  • Small retail businesses interested in hosting a free performance can submit a short Shop to the Beat Application to share their contact information and music preferences by 12/17.
  • Local musicians interested in participating this holiday season can register with our partner at Gigs4U website by 12/17. Please enter the following referral code: S2B.

Visit the Shop to the Beat website for more information and to apply by 12/17!


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
Find It, Fix It


© 1995-2016 City of Seattle