By The Skanner News | The Skanner News Published: 22 February 2023
Seattle – Tuesday, Mayor Bruce Harrell delivered the 2023 State of the City Address. Speaking in the shadow of the Space Needle from Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, Mayor Harrell laid out his One Seattle vision for the future of the city. Detailing actions being taken to address immediate issues like Downtown activation, public safety, and homelessness, the mayor also highlighted ambitious efforts, bold ideas, and long-term plans to create the safe, welcoming, and thriving Seattle of the future.
“Since taking office, our focus has been on the core City government services. These are the services the people of Seattle rely on every day, and those efforts must continue,” said Mayor Harrell. “As we work to make Seattle safe for everyone, address homelessness, revitalize Downtown, and build a healthy city for all, we recognize the future Seattle is the one that we’re building today. Once again, we must embrace the boldness and innovation that our city is renowned for, turn policy into progress, and unite to build One Seattle together."
Key highlights include:
- The Downtown Activation Plan – immediate activation strategies to make downtown safer and more welcoming, such as filling vacant storefronts and a future Executive Order addressing fentanyl and synthetic drugs; along with long-term transformational enhancements, ranging from converting office space to housing to creating a linear arts-entertainment-culture district.
- The Civilian Assisted Response and Engagement Department – a third public safety department to work alongside Police and Fire, expanding our public safety toolkit to better meet the needs of our residents, especially those with behavioral and mental health needs.
- Launch of Neighborhood-Focused Unified Care Team – New UCT teams will launch next month, bringing a neighborhood-level focus to helping those experiencing homelessness connect with places to go and providing services to keep city public spaces clean.
- Building More Housing – To increase needed housing the City will advance a bold housing levy, permitting reforms, the Comprehensive Plan Update, and more to build on improvements to design review; the foundation of a housing subcabinet; and a $250 million affordable housing investment in the budget – the largest of its kind.
- Vision Zero Improvements – In the coming days, Mayor Harrell and SDOT Director Spotts will share early actions addressing Vision Zero goals, along with further details of a $25 million federal grant to implement safety improvements in underserved neighborhoods.
- Taking Climate Action – Bold new policies to address climate change, build climate resilience, and deliver environmental justice, including new clean buildings, tree preservation and planting, and Seattle’s Green New Deal investments in Resilience Hubs and electric heat pump conversion.
- Hiring 26 Park Rangers – a massive expansion of the program, with rangers helping improve safety in parks and serving as ambassadors and guides to residents in needs. Park Rangers will help keep parks welcoming and accessible to all, building on the work of the Unified Care Team in reducing the number of parks and green spaces significantly impacted by encampments by 70% since 2021.
- 2023 One Seattle Day of Service – will occur on May 20th, 2023, building on 2022’s successful community-building volunteer event.
- Rainier Playfield Ballfields Restoration – in preparation for the All-Star Game, the Seattle Mariners are funding and partnering with the City to renovate and restore the Rainier Playfield ballfields.
A summary year-end report is available here: Building One Seattle: Mayor Bruce Harrell, Year One – 2022.