Opening Light Rail Stations, Tiny Homes, Tree Legislation, and City Budgets

Friends and Neighbors,

Next week our new light rail stations open in Roosevelt and the U District! Whether or not you’re preparing to wake up at 4 AM on Saturday, October 2 to ride one of the first trains at the new stations, I hope you will check them out soon and help our region meet its goals to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion.

This newsletter also contains updates about the city budget and community events as well as my ongoing efforts to improve public safety, address homelessness, protect Seattle’s trees, and more in District 4.


Ready to Ride? New Light Rail Stations Open Saturday, October 2


 On Saturday, October 2nd as Sound Transit begins expanded light rail service, the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association presents the “RNA Stage” from 10 AM till 4 PM at Roosevelt Station at 12th Avenue NE and NE 66th Street.  Join neighbors and friends as we celebrate exciting new developments in the Roosevelt community.  Live music, food, and fun for all! And many thanks to Roosevelt leader Jim O’Halloran for the tangible progress on the community-driven vision he helped to organize over a decade ago!

University District:

Organized by The U District Partnership, Graduate Hotels presents the U District Station Opening Festival and $3 Food Walk on Saturday, October 2.  As hungry participants ascend from the new U District Station, they will be greeted by an outdoor festival featuring over 40 U District restaurants serving $3 menu items across the neighborhood. Visitors can pick up a $3 Food Walk Menu and entry form at any participating restaurant (see or the U District Partnership tent at NE 43rd Street and Brooklyn Avenue. Big Time Brewery is serving up a beer garden for the festival outside of their location on the Ave between NE 41st and 42nd. Come grab a pint and some $3 bites!

The nearby Xfinity Main Stage will feature hours of home-grown talent from north Seattle and beyond, including the nationally acclaimed Roosevelt High School Jazz Band. Other outdoor performances will include the Husky Marching Band, a lion dance by Seattle’s Mak Fai Kung Fu Club, and Taiko Kai, a student-organized Taiko drumming group from the University of Washington.

UW welcomes students and employees back to campus this same week, and Sound Transit projects this new station will be one of the busiest with nearly 12,000 people using it each day.

My office will continue to encourage both our Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to do more to connect Wallingford to the U District, especially with more pedestrian-friendly connections — including the 45th Street / I-5 overpass.

King County Changing Northeast Seattle Bus Routes  October 2:

We have heard concerns from parents of Roosevelt and Lincoln High Schools and other transit riders about the East-West bus route and have forwarded that feedback to King County Metro. Fortunately, King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski is very attentive and shares our concerns. Metro’s Service Planning and Scheduling teams are aware of the overcrowding and are making adjustments for supplemental service to be assigned on the trips that run during school-bell times. King County Metro will continue to monitor the ridership levels on those trips and will make further adjustments, if necessary.

In addition to the supplemental service, beginning October 2, 2021, all southbound trips on Route 62 will begin at Magnuson Park. On weekdays, in the morning peak-time direction, the Route 62 will operate every 8 to 15 minutes. The new Route 79 – see Metro’s Get Ready Page – will provide new east-west service between Magnuson Park, View Ridge, Wedgwood and Roosevelt Station along NE 75th Street. This should also help to alleviate overcrowding events on Route 62 with the service change starting October 2.

Here more tools and resources to help adjust to the changes:

  • This Metro Matters blog post has information regarding new routes, timing, links to more information, and more and can help riders understand the new changes.
  • Metro’s service change page covers all route changes and restorations in English, Spanish and Chinese, as well as a video that briefly describes what’s happening.
  • Metro’s “Quick Start” website focuses on North King County and Link connections changes.
  • Metro’s Customer Information Office comment form is available online, and specialists are available at 206-553-3000 if a rider has any questions about the service change.  Metro’s Twitter account, @kcmetrobus, is also staffed by Customer Service staff who can often assist customers in real time.
  • The new service is designed to align with the three new light rail stations opening – Roosevelt, U-District, and Northgate. Riders who will travel using both buses and trains can avoid paying two fares if they transfer using an ORCA card and should review the available ORCA card options.

Overall, these changes will bring Metro’s service to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels and deliver nearly 11,400 bus trips each weekday. Bus ridership has gradually increased throughout the summer, with a recent September peak of ~183,000 daily boardings. In the coming year, King County Metro plans to restore further routes and trips.

Join us for a D4 Budget Town Hall October 14

Mayor Durkan will transmit her $6.5 billion budget proposal on Monday, September 27. Then, as required by State law, your City Council has approximately two months to review, amend, and adopt a balanced budget.

To help to explain the Mayor’s budget proposal for Seattle and the budgeting processas well as to provide one of many opportunities for feedback, I will host a budget Town Hall for our District 4.  We’ll be joined by our City Budget Director, Dr. Ben Noble.  I know that homelessness continues as a top concern in our District and so I’ve invited Marc Dones, the head the of new Regional Homelessness Authority to describe the mission and plans of this important new regional organization. I voted for the creation of the RHA because I believe homelessness is a regional problem that requires regional solutions. (Hearing from the RHA supplements our Town Hall earlier this year, which featured our City’s Human Services Department’s evolving role in addressing homelessness.)

To RSVP to the online/virtual Budget Town Hall, CLICK HERE to receive the Zoom call-in link and submit questions about the city budget. See you on October 14 for the virtual Budget Town Hall for our District 4 !

Keep reading this newsletter for more on the City budget process!

Headaches and Headway Repaving 15th Ave NE near Roosevelt High School

While I’m excited about all the infrastructure improvements in our district, I wanted to make everyone aware of this unfortunate timing from SDOT regarding the 15th Ave NE and NE 65th Street intersection that will be under construction Oct 1 through Oct 3 (and closed to east-west traffic), as we celebrate of the Roosevelt light rail station Saturday, Oct 2.

Here is SDOT’s rationale for doing the work that weekend (Oct 1 to Oct 4) at that intersection:

  • SDOT wants to do it on a weekend because weekday bottlenecks would be worse.
  • The overall project has been delayed already due to delays in concrete delivery and other reasons. SDOT has received assurances that the concrete WILL be available this weekend – once a crew starts concrete pouring, they need to finish it.
  • There are at-home Husky football games on the Saturdays of Sept 18, Sept 25, and Oct 16 and doing it then would create bigger traffic jams.

After becoming concerned about the 15th Ave NE project missing its deadline of Sept 1 when Roosevelt High School re-started, I personally went to the site to meet with SDOT officials to walk the area and ask tough questions about the delays. Before I visited, the project was going to be extended even longer. By assessing the bottlenecks, we were able to spur it forward.  SDOT’s has general phone number for the project: (206) 775-8718. For SDOT’s website on the 15th Ave NE repaving project, CLICK HERE.

See the Homes of our New Tiny Home Village!

To provide relief and hope for some people experiencing homelessness in our District, we are glad to see the recent activity at the future Tiny House Village. You may have noticed the first tiny houses have arrived onsite at Rosie’s Village in the U District. Set up has begun with the village scheduled to open mid-October. Next week we are planning a “Grand Opening” event. The site at 1000 NE 45th Street will have approximately 35 tiny houses. The land is being leased for free from Sound Transit by the City of Seattle with annual renewals through May 31, 2024. For more information, contact the nonprofit LIHI.

College Inn Pub Reopens

The College Inn Pub reopened its doors this summer after being closed for more than a year. Many are excited to see this old school “watering hole” open for business again. With a strategy of retaining the heritage and original feel of the pub, as described in this Eater Seattle article, the new owners took great pains to restore the physical space and systems while maintaining the historic character of the pub. Fun fact: The College Inn Pub is located in the basement of a Tudor Revival-style building erected for the 1909 Alaskan Yukon Pacific Exhibition that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Cheers!


One More Chance to Enjoy the U District Summer Outdoor Music Series

I enjoyed the first outdoor concert on Sept 9 and you can enjoy the last street concert on Wednesday, September 30 at 6:30 pm on The Ave (University Way NE) between NE 42nd and 43rd Streets in the heart of our U District near the new light rail station. As the organizers pitched the event, they said, “Come for an exuberant sonic journey and dance in the street to the Brazilian rhythms of En Canto.” You can complete this survey from the organizers.

I also visited a couple of businesses on this block who wanted to share their concerns about the partial street closure because their customers tend to drive. Learn more about events at this link:

Enjoying 45th Street in Wallingford

Councilmember Pedersen outside The Octopus in Wallingford this month after enjoying their “Ruby Mainsail.”

This week the neighborhood blog Wallyhood reminded us of the joys of visiting 45th Street stores and restaurants in Wallingford. I quickly took their advice and visited the Octopus Bar which has both indoor and outdoor seating. (Proof of vaccination required.) For their extensive menu, CLICK HERE. For other Wallingford places to enjoy, CLICK HERE.

Help Keep Kids Safe: Become a Crossing Guard

When meeting with the School Traffic Safety Committee to hear their annual report, I obtained the most recent figures on vacant positions for school crossing guards: they need everyone’s help fill nearly 50 positions! According to the Seattle Public Schools website, crossing guards are needed at Bryant Elementary, the John Stanford International School, Thornton Creek Elementary School, and 30 other schools. Our beloved crossing guards work approximately 2 hours each school day and are “safety super heroes” to the next generation. To apply, CLICK HERE. For the annual report that discusses both successes and challenges with keeping kids safe as they journey to and from our public schools, CLICK HERE.


Mayor Durkan will transmit her $6.5 billion budget proposal on Monday, September 27. Then, as required by State law, your City Council has approximately two months to review, amend, and adopt a balanced budget.

In some ways, the budget is simple: it’s supposed to reflect our values / priorities as a City and the expenses cannot exceed the revenues. In other ways, the budget is complicated. Our 1,575 page City budget includes an 825-page operating budget (focusing on the flexible $1.6 billion “General Fund”) as well as several capital projects including for transportation and utilities (incorporated into a 750-page Capital Improvement Program). Various requirements from voter-approved tax levies must be maintained for affordable housing, education, libraries, parks, and transportation as well as the requirements tied to grants from federal, state, and regional government sources. As with many organizations, most of the costs of city government are personnel expenses: the compensation, employment benefits, and pension payments for the 12,000 city government employees who implement the programs and policies adopted the City Council and Mayor. These costs are often already baked because they’re tied to 30 different, multi-year labor contracts negotiated by 5 of the 9 City Councilmembers and Mayor’s team that serve on the Labor Relations Policy Committee (LRPC) and meet behind closed doors as permitted by federal labor laws.

Despite all the drama during the annual “Fall” budget process, typically the City Council makes adjustments amounting to less than 10% of the overall budget proposal carefully crafted by the Mayor and her 40 departments. Yet these relatively small fiscal changes often highlight key policy areas such as public safety and homelessness. For example, a majority of the City Council unfortunately used the budget process last year to eliminate the important Navigation Team that previously engaged with unauthorized homelessness encampments.

To review the budget we adopted last Fall for this calendar year of 2021, CLICK HERE. For my editorial regarding the positives and negatives of that 2021 budget, CLICK HERE. To participate in our Budget town hall on October 14 (please see the D4 section of this newsletter), CLICK HERE.


Photo by Amy Radil, KUOW. “Maria Batayola chairs the Beacon Hill Council. She said she hopes a poll showing strong voter support for new tree regulations spurs the Seattle mayor and city council to act.”

Poll Demonstrates Strong Support for Trees

Last week, environmentalists held a press conference in our district to release poll results indicating very strong support for various tree protections they would like to see implemented by City Hall. I was chairing my City Council Committee at the time of their press conference, but KUOW News contacted me afterward and I was happy to provide this statement of support for the news article.

I agree with the environmentalists who spoke out today that City Hall should not need [to see] such strong polling results to do the right thing and save Seattle’s trees. The Durkan Administration should immediately deliver the tree protection ordinance that was required over a year ago by City Council Resolution…In the next couple of weeks, I plan to work with colleagues to produce an ordinance requiring registration of tree cutters to increase transparency, accountability, and the proven environmental justice benefits of a flourishing urban forest.”

New Legislation to Register Tree Cutters

As we await the comprehensive tree protection ordinance from the Durkan Administration, some environmentalists floated an idea to impose a moratorium to prevent the removal of larger exceptional trees. Upon further consideration, the consensus seems to be that a moratorium could have the perverse impact of developers “rushing to cut” trees while they waited for the City Council to approve the moratorium (and it was not clear that a majority of the Council would vote to enact the moratorium anyway).

An additional idea that has surfaced is to require tree service providers/tree cutters/arborists to qualify and register 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 newsletter last month, we asked constituents whether we should, in the meantime, at least require tree cutters to register with the city government — and we received a lot of positive feedback. Thanks to everyone who wrote to us! Separately, the poll mentioned above shows that a tree cutter registration program is supported by a whopping 75% of the Seattle voters surveyed.

Working with our Central Staff and City Attorney’s Office, we crafted legislation for discussion. To view a preliminary version of the bill to register tree cutters for better transparency and accountability, CLICK HERE. While the City Council is about to enter into its 2-month budget deliberations, we thought it would be a good idea to provide the bill to the public for informal input now.

Councilmember Dan Strauss, who chairs the relevant Land Use & Neighborhoods Committee, has indicated initial support for this concept– his support is appreciated and will be vital to secure Council approval.

Tree-Friendly Oversight

I am still considering proposing a consolidation of all tree protections under the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE). Presently, Seattle’s tree ordinance delegates most tree regulation implementation to a department largely funded by real estate developers through permit fees—the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI). When we asked the Executive a year ago for proposals to unify tree protections under a more environmentally sensitive city agency, we received what seem to be excuses. (For our request, CLICK HERE. For their response to our request, CLICK HERE.) During last year’s budget, we had considered a “proviso” to hold back part of SDCI’s funding until they delivered the tree protection ordinance. It might make sense to revisit this leverage. Here’s another idea: rather than spending money on consultants to debate organizational chart charges, we could simply create the position of “Chief Arborist” within OSE who would need to approve the removal of any exceptional trees (which are typically larger trees that provide the most environmental and health benefits).

Executive Action Needed

Many have asked, why can’t City Council craft its own comprehensive tree protection ordinance as the legislative body of our city government? Here’s a key reason: because implementation of tree “protection” rules is scattered across various Executive branch agencies and our City Council Central Staff has just one person available to work on this complex issue, it was decided the Executive branch would be the best originator of the proposed bill. Hence the 2019 Resolution from City Council directing the Executive to deliver the ordinance in 2020. The comprehensive tree protection ordinance is long overdue and we will continue to press the Durkan Administration to produce the required tree protection ordinance asap– and you can help us:

To call into the Land Use Committee to voice your views on the Durkan Administration’s quarterly tree update report and presentation this Friday, September 24 at 2:00 p.m., CLICK HERE to register for public comment.

For a recent KUOW story about tree protection, CLICK HERE. For my blog that tracks the ongoing saga of striving to save Seattle’s trees, CLICK HERE.


During the past 20 months, I have been assigned to chair a beefy City Council Committee monitoring departments comprising half of the City’s $6.5 billion budget: Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, and Technology. For our Committee agendas CLICK HERE. This keeps me and my team busy and makes it difficult to spend as much time as I would like on additional issues important to our district such as homelessness and public safety. The good news is that, for City Council’s “budget season” when we have October and November to review, amend, and adopt the City’s budget for the next calendar year (2022), we all take a break from regular committee business so all Councilmembers can focus on the budget.

Discount Internet for Students

School is back in session and I’m sharing news about affordable internet for students. The City of Seattle’s Information Technology department, utilizing the Internet for All plan and Resolution, which I sponsored and the Council passed, emphasized affordability as a major component when it comes to closing the Digital Divide.  Through Internet Essentials from Comcast, some students can get home Internet with 2 months without cost, thanks to the Emergency Broadband Benefit which I’ve written about previously.  The offer ends June 30, 2022. The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.


Initial Efforts to Address Police Staffing Crisis

On Monday, September 13, 2021, I offered two amendments to our mid-year budget to address the record-breaking departure of officers and detectives (attrition) from our Seattle Police Department and the disturbing increase in response times for 9-1-1 emergencies.

“We need to take swift action after losing hundreds of emergency responders, including community policing officers needed to prevent crimes and detectives needed to solve crimes. In addition to our continued investments in human services programs, I am hopeful a majority of City Councilmembers have recognized the slowing of 9-1-1 response times and the benefits of community policing require us to keep this modest funding to retain and hire officers and detectives.”  — Councilmember Alex Pedersen, before the vote.

Unfortunately, my modest proposal to boost efforts for retaining and recruiting officers did not get a majority of support from my colleagues on the City Council.  I appreciated some Councilmembers supporting my $1.1 million amendment (Option B) to invest the un-allocated dollars from SPD’s budget toward increased recruitment and retention efforts. But at City Hall we need 5 votes among the 9 Councilmembers to pass most legislation. Although we missed the opportunity to get results quickly, I am hopeful that a majority of Councilmembers will follow-through on their words to provide additional resources to recruit and retain officers so we can address the staffing crisis and officer wellness this November when adopting a City budget for 2022.

For my earlier press release explaining my public safety amendments, CLICK HERE. For a clip from KIRO News, CLICK HERE.

Adding a Crime Prevention Coordinator for North Seattle

I want to thank the Councilmembers who serve on the Finance Committee for approving my midyear budget amendment to add a Crime Prevention Coordinator to our North Precinct. Unlike my amendment to boost recruitment and retention of officers and detectives, this amendment passed.  North Seattle has been without a Crime Prevention Coordinator for over a year so, in addition to urging the Durkan Administration to fill the position (which should happen soon), I wanted to address the backlog in requests.  Moreover, the NORTH Precinct is, by far, the largest precinct in the city and, therefore, warrants a second position. As stated on SPD’s website, “Crime Prevention Coordinators (CPCs) are experts in crime prevention techniques. You can contact your CPC to inquire about general crime prevention tips, get involved or start a Block Watch group, request their presence at an upcoming community meeting and to discuss ongoing crime concerns in your neighborhood.”  Until the two positions are filled, you can request a CPC, by emailing their supervisor Sgt Welte at

Public Safety Panel in District 4

Last week I joined an impressive panel in our Council District at Sand Point Community Church to discuss public safety with State Rep Javier Valdez, State Senator Manka Dhingra, DeVitta Briscoe of Not This Time, Paul Benz of the Faith Action Network, and Monica Alexander of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. (For DeVitta Briscoe’s Op Ed describing her family tragedies and courageous efforts for police reform, CLICK HEREA lesson from my losses: We cannot afford to completely dismantle the police.”)  I want to thank my Legislative Aide Malik Davis for his work in preparing for the panel. We focused on the implementation of the various new State laws on police reform and the hopes for more effective public safety and crime prevention. I emphasized the need for sufficient staffing to implement the reforms required by the federal consent decree and for City Hall’s labor negotiators to  roll up their sleeves to tackle the substantive work of revamping the police contract that expired over 9 months ago. Many in the audience expressed their desire to have Seattle leaders do more to retain and recruit community police officers and detectives as we scale up effective alternatives to some emergency calls.


Forthcoming requirements for proof of vaccination

Regarding vaccinations, here is an important message from the Mayor’s Office issued recently:

“As we continue to be one of the most vaccinated cities in American with the lowest cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we are seeing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge across our region and country driven primarily by unvaccinated individuals in the region and state.

It’s clear that we must act now – and act boldly – to change the trajectory of the virus and keep our communities safe. That’s why King County is issuing a Local Health Order to implement a vaccination verification policy across our region to keep our residents and businesses open and safe.

Beginning October 25, 2021, across King County, customers will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or negative test within 72 hours, to enter:

  • Outdoor events with 500 people or more (such as professional and collegiate sports and entertainment events)
  • Indoor recreational events or establishments regardless of size (such as professional and collegiate sports, performing arts and live music venues, movie theaters, museums, gyms, and conventions)
  • Restaurants and bars. This does not apply to outdoor dining, take-out customers, and places that aren’t primarily used for indoor dining such as grocery stores. Small restaurants and bars, defined as those with seating capacity for less than 12 people, will phase in on December 6, 2021.

We know that vaccination requirements are an effective tool to decrease COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. An analysis from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that the vaccine verification policy at restaurants, bars and gyms/fitness centers alone could have a significant positive impact, preventing between 17,900 and 75,900 infections, 421 and 1,760 hospitalizations and 63 and 257 deaths locally over six months with the order in place. You can find more information on this new King County policy at

The City of Seattle is proud to implement a vaccination verification policy, both for our residents, and as an employer. Vaccination verification is the right thing to do for our workers, our customers, our economy, and the health and vitality of our city.  As a City, we innovated and brought nation-leading testing and vaccination sites to our residents. Every step of way we have followed the advice of public health officials and scientists.”

For the Mayor’s September 20, 2021 statement on vaccination verification, CLICK HERE. For the Washington State Department of Health’s latest mask requirements, CLICK HERE.


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 or to all 9 Councilmembers at 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

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

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