Year-End Results & Happy Holidays!

Friends and Neighbors,

As we all look forward to the new year of 2022, this December newsletter looks back at this past year of 2021.

As the COVID pandemic persists, I will continue to communicate with my constituents to understand their priorities while hopefully navigating a less pisive political climate.  I will continue to offer sensible solutions for progress on key challenges such as community safety, the homelessness crisis, and our aging infrastructure — while being accountable to neighborhoods with a wide range of viewpoints.  Like many of my constituents, I look forward to a political reset next year when I hope the City Council collaborates effectively with our new Mayor and new City Attorney so that, together, we focus on meaningful points of unity to solve problems for Seattle.


Thanks to the small, but mighty communications team at City Hall for designing this summary of my highlights from 2021.

For highlights from my first year in office (2020), CLICK HERE.

2022: Lots to Do

I acknowledge we at City Hall have a lot of unfinished business for 2022.

The homelessness crisis persists even as we encourage the new Regional Homelessness Authority to produce the results we know it can.

Our police department enters 2022 struggling with a lack of community policing officers and detectives while their expired employment contract is still awaiting long overdue reforms and our City remains without proven alternatives in place to address emergencies.

We look forward to re-opening the West Seattle high bridge in the summer of 2022 and ensuring the massive environmental Ship Canal Water Quality project stays on time and on budget.

As we celebrate the renewal of our Seattle transit measure and the opening of new light rail stations, we are eager for our Seattle Department of Transportation to accelerate concrete improvements for Seattle’s bridges, sidewalks, and crosswalks.

We also need to re-open both the Magnuson Park and Laurelhurst community centers to the public.

Another year has passed without new regulations to protect our shrinking tree canopy that we need for public health and our environment.

Without first addressing the shortcomings of the Mandatory Housing Affordability program, I’m concerned that speculative real estate investors and interest groups are attempting to convince policymakers to provide another profitable phase of supply-side, trickle-down, blanket approaches to zoning, rather than directly addressing the actual needs:  require the construction of very low-income housing (under 50% of area median income); prevent displacement of people on fixed incomes; and make sure the transit, school capacity, sewer lines, and fire stations are paid for by the for-profit private sector before it benefits from City and State government giveaways.

I’m hopeful that 2022 will have City Hall acknowledging the need to manage the escalating costs of government personnel, so that we can deploy more resources into the most vulnerable communities.

And much more to do!

DISTRICT 4 Holiday Spirit

Presents for Rosie’s Village

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As promised after the pies he served up for Thanksgiving to residents of Rosie’s Tiny Home Village, Councilmember Alex Pedersen handed out warm hats featuring Seattle teams for the December holidays. The Kraken hats were the most popular, but we still have loyal Seahawks fans. In collaboration with many colleagues, Councilmember Pedersen obtained the site, the legislative authorization, and the ongoing funding for this Tiny Home Village in the heart of our University District. Anyone can help out the residents of Rosie’s by contacting the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). To volunteer, email or visit To donate, email

Annual Decorations Along Candy Cane Lane

Once the sun sets, a fun outdoor activity for neighbors in District 4 and beyond is strolling or rolling through “Candy Cane Lane” to see the holiday lights aglow on nearly every home.  You can make canned food donations at the end of the road.  (Enter at Park Road NE a.k.a. 21st Ave NE off NE Ravenna Blvd.)

Holiday Stars Gleaming Bright in U District

From the University District Partnership: “You may have noticed, things are looking brighter in the neighborhood these days! Last week, our holiday shooting stars were installed to mark the winter season! Additionally, UDP was awarded a Department of Neighborhoods grant to install year-round tree lights on the south section of the Ave from 41st to 45th. We’re excited to see more activations in the future – stay tuned!”

The University District Partnership (UDP) is the “program manager” for the Business Improvement Area (BIA) in our University District. With legislation in 2020, we extended this BIA to provide its traditional cleaning, marketing, and outreach services and added to its scope the prevention of displacement.  Thank goodness for the hard work of all Seattle BIAs during the pandemic! Our neighborhood business districts are the heart and soul of many neighborhoods and they can benefit from your shopping locally during the holiday season. For the U District Partnership’s latest e-newsletter, CLICK HERE.  Small businesses in District 4 may also be interested in the news from our City’s Office of Economic Development (OED): CLICK HERE.

The Arts are Open During the Holidays

Join us in celebrating the holiday season with The Arts Are Open Holiday Gift Guide, a list of gift ideas that support our local arts organizations and artists!


(This is the Committee currently chaired by Councilmember Pedersen, so we provide extra information on its issues.)

New Director for Seattle’s Dept of Transportation (SDOT)

On Friday, December 17, Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell announced SDOT leadership changes:

“Today, I am announcing that when I take office in January, I will be making a change in Seattle Department of Transportation leadership. We will embark on a robust national search for a new director who is aligned with my vision for this critical department. As we embark on that search, I will appoint SDOT Chief of Staff Kristen Simpson to serve as interim director. Kristen has let me know that she will not be applying for the permanent position.

“Going forward, my vision is for a Seattle Department of Transportation that centers equity throughout our transportation network across every street and sidewalk, in every neighborhood and community. We must create a balanced transportation ecosystem – increasing safety and decreasing travel times by bolstering transit, improving sidewalks, protecting bike lanes, and recognizing the role of cars and new electric vehicles.

“From Vision Zero to net zero, we will prioritize climate resilience and lead at the intersections of accessibility, reliability, safety, and sustainability.

“I want to thank Director Zimbabwe for his service and dedication to the City of Seattle. His leadership and quick action closing the West Seattle Bridge no doubt saved lives and has put the bridge on track to open in mid-2022. His response to the pandemic – thoughtful and meaningful efforts like Stay Healthy Streets and oupoor dining permits – should be celebrated. I wish him all the best in the future.”

As Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, I issued the following statement praising the outgoing SDOT Director:

“Sam Zimbabwe is that rare leader who not only has it all, but also gives it his all. Sam Zimbabwe is a strategic visionary as well as a problem-solver. He’s a compassionate, tireless, and effective manager who kept organized a 1,000-person department that invests $700 million a year on over 6,000 miles of roads and sidewalks in our State’s largest city. He can zoom up to a high-level to articulate a compelling vision of increased mobility and decarbonization and then zoom down to inform you which block recently received curb cuts. Thanks to Sam Zimbabwe as the head of Seattle’s Department of Transportation, hundreds of thousands of people can travel safer, more efficiently, and in more environmentally friendly ways.

“After he enjoys a well-deserved break from the daily deluge of transportation challenges large and small, I believe any other jurisdiction in the world would benefit greatly from Sam’s leadership at the helm of their organization just as our City of Seattle has for several years. It has been a humbling honor to work with Sam Zimbabwe and I wish him the very best in what I’m certain will continue to be an impressive and impactful career.

“I look forward to working with Mayor-Elect Harrell’s appointment for interim Director of SDOT, Kristen Simpson, and I look forward to a thorough confirmation process for a permanent director of SDOT consistent with City Council Resolution 31868.”

Here are some initial thoughts for this important department for 2022:

  • I believe that our Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will want to focus on the basics that increase safety and mobility for the most people in equitable and environmentally friendly ways.
  • SDOT will want to deliver projects on time and on budget such as fully restoring the West Seattle high bridge by mid-2022.
  • If SDOT wants City Hall to ask voters in 2024 to renew the Move Seattle property tax , they need to make more progress on projects promised to voters in 2015 such as bridge seismic repairs, better connections to light rail including improvements to enable safe walking and biking across the NE 45th Street overpass, and more sidewalks / crosswalks in south Seattle and Lake City along with stronger rules to require sidewalk repairs throughout Seattle.
  • SDOT needs to go beyond just acknowledging Seattle’s urgent needs for our aging bridges from the 2020 audit by fast-tracking designs and construction contracts for bridge safety upgrades and to lock in low interest rates for the bridge bonds Council authorized for May 2022.
  • SDOT needs to deploy dollars from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District strategically to encourage more people to ride transit. SDOT should embrace the City Charter district system of representation because district Councilmembers have their ears to the ground and know where the transportation pain points are that many of their constituents want addressed, including Vision Zero pedestrian safety projects.
  • Centering equity should include rigorous statistical analysis of direct input from marginalized people rather than just vocal interest groups or selected focus groups, and it likely means dropping expensive, disruptive, and redundant transportation projects that most low-income residents aren’t actually asking SDOT to prioritize.


Power Solution for Wastewater Treatment

I’m pleased the City Council last week approved legislation I supported to provide an expedited solution to prevent harmful discharges of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound. Many thanks to our Land Use Committee Chair Dan Strauss for making time in his committee to ensure Council Bill 120215 would get approved before the end of the year.


Federal Broadband Support: a small piece of Internet for All

In addition to providing funds to expand internet connections in rural areas throughout our country, new legislation adopted by Congress during the Biden Administration will reduce the digital divide by extend subsidies that lower internet costs for consumers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking input on how to implement the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the low-income broadband program created by the infrastructure bill signed into law November 2021. The new program replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program that we reported on in a previous newsletter. Over 8 million households nationally and over 13,000 households in Seattle are utilizing the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) to afford essential internet connectivity for participating remote learning, remote work, telemedicine, and social connections

While the EBB paid up to $50 monthly toward the cost of broadband service, the ACP will pay $30 a month toward broadband (with $75 a month in high-cost areas if the broadband provider can demonstrate that the $30 rate would cause economic hardship for the provider). To review the letter your Seattle city government provided to the FCC regarding implementation of the new ACP, CLICK HERE. While initial comments to the FCC were due December 8, the public may reply to comments it sees as late as December 28. For the FCC invitation to comment, CLICK HERE.


ICYMI: Seattle Times Columnist Researches Programs to Address Substance Use Disorder

Accomplished public servant and journalist Alex Fryer published two important pieces on substance use disorder in the Seattle Times last week:

  • For “ A generational opportunity to invest in substance use services in Washington state,” CLICK HERE.
  • For “Managing the meth crisis: Paying users to go clean could change lives and communities,” CLICK HERE.


City Report on 2020: The City’s Human Services Department (HSD) finally released their Annual Report to the Community for 2020:

  • 18,823 households received homeless services and 3,414 households either moved from homelessness to housing or prevented from becoming homeless, including those in District 4.
  • In District 4, Mercy Magnuson’s low-income housing project had received $2 million in capital funding in 2020 for the current childcare center there —and it won a national tax credit excellence award for outstanding affordable housing developments and organizations. The childcare center is operated by Denise Louie Education Center and at least 20% of the spaces in the center are reserved for children of low-income families.
  • In District 4, $1.5 million helped with the rehabilitation of a new space for the ROOTS youth shelter that we displaced after the U District was upzoned by the previous City Council.
  • For more on Rosie’s Tiny Home Village in the U District, CLICK HERE. I helped to secure its funding in 2020.

By the Numbers: City of Seattle Emergency Rental Assistance Funds

Between July and October 2021, the City of Seattle, in partnership with United Way of King County, Urban League, Wellspring, and numerous community-based organizations, provided over $23 million in Emergency Rental Assistance to over 5,000 households. This assistance is one of many ongoing City-led measures supporting residents impacted by COVID-19, which include the $16 million Seattle Relief Fund announced last month.

Rental Assistance funds can be access through United Way of King County’s Rent Help Program by visiting Get Help with Rent | United Way of King County (

Regional Homelessness Authority: The new King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA), led by Marc Dones, is ready to unify and coordinate what was previously a fragmented and ineffective approach and to use relevant data and best practices to bring more people inside faster. For more on KCRHA, CLICK HERE.


CM Pedersen visiting Katterman’s Pharmacy on Sand Point Way earlier this month to get his booster.

Last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) 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.
  • 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.

From the Mayor’s Office, December 20, 2021:

As Omicron Spreads, Mayor Durkan Highlights Expanded Testing and Vaccination Resources for Seattle Residents

SEATTLE (December 20, 2021) – As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads around the country and in King County, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan urged Seattle residents to get boosted, wear masks, and get tested at the first sign of possible exposure. At our partner sites, hours and locations have been expanded to meet testing demand…

Seattle – we know how to make it through the latest wave of the pandemic: get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask, limit indoor gatherings, and get tested. Over the holidays and into 2022, Seattle has free, easy and accessible testing available and Seattle has been leading the way with nearly 50% of eligible inpiduals boosted. During this latest surge, we can limit the spread and help keep our loved ones and community safe,” said Mayor Durkan. “Thanks to the collective action of our residents and our health care partners Seattle continues to have the lowest cases, hospitalizations, and deaths of any major city in the country.”

City of Seattle vaccination clinics have administered over 320,000 doses of life-saving vaccines including 54,000 booster doses. In Seattle, 90% of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 50% of eligible residents who have been fully vaccinated also have received boosters. Clinics included the largest civilian-led site in the country at Lumen Field for initial vaccines, the Amazon Meeting Center clinic in South Lake Union which provided an initial surge for boosters, and smaller neighborhood clinics throughout the city which ensured an equitable vaccine distribution. The Rainier Beach clinic will be open as normal December 21 from 1 – 7 p.m., closed on December 23, open on December 30 from 1 – 5 p.m., and will resume operations on January 4, 2022. The West Seattle clinic will re-open January 7, 2022. The South Lake Union clinic administered its final vaccines on December 19.

I know this news of a new surge of cases is coming after two long and exhausting years of our community working so hard to protect one another. As we reconnect with family and loved ones over the holidays, now is an important time to take steps to reduce our risk to get through this unprecedented surge as safely and healthy as possible,” said Dennis Worsham, Interim Director, Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Testing sites include fixed locations with UW Medicine in Aurora, SODO, Rainier Beach, and West Seattle, as well as seven Curative kiosks placed throughout the city. In partnership with the City, UW Medicine has also opened a site at City Hall that is now open to the public. Appointments are encouraged at all locations and sites will only be closed on Christmas Day. Curative has also extended hours at their Northgate, Gas Works, and Mount Baker testing sites for additional hours December 21-23. Over 1.3 million tests have been administered at City of Seattle, UW, and Curative sites since their launch in 2020 and approximately 60% of all Seattle residents have used the test sites at least once. For more information about any of the sites, including UW Medicine, please visit:

For more information, visit the City’s vaccination website at The site contains vaccination information in seven languages, and in-language assistance is also available over the phone.

Even as more residents get vaccinated, public health measures like social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands remain critical. Please continue to follow all public health guidance, and visit this website from Public Health – Seattle & King County for more information.


Holiday Tips for COVID Safety

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Public Health – Seattle & King County both have tips for a safer holiday season:

  • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission. Oupoors is safer than indoors.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit the CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations

Thank you Jenny Durkan and Welcome Back Bruce Harrell!

I am very grateful to Mayor Jenny Durkan for her steadfast leadership and her generous public service for Seattle. Being a big city Mayor is automatically among the most difficult jobs in America and she led our dynamic city during some of our most difficult times. In addition to her many accomplishments, she assembled and inspired great teams of city government leaders who cared about Seattle and gave it their all. It has been an honor to serve at City Hall with her, and I look forward to staying in touch and seeking her wisdom during the next adventures of her distinguished career. We also welcome back to City Hall Bruce Harrell as Seattle’s new mayor.


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.

NEW IN 2022:  Our City Council meetings moved to Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. Even after we return to in-person meetings at City Hall, the public will still be able to call in their comments at City Council meetings – this is an important permanent upgrade for public input. I would have supported moving our main Council meeting to the evenings to enable more people to visit us, but the technological upgrades will enable public commenters either to travel downtown to City Hall or to call in — typically a more convenient option for those who work during the day. We also updated our City Council rules & parliamentary procedures in hopes of improving the efficiency of the City Council, which includes a new option to enable Councilmembers to “abstain” (not vote) on items unrelated to actual city government business (such as international affairs).

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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