Murray applauds Council approval of affordable housing tax exemption change

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement upon the passage of an extension of the Multifamily Tax Exemption for developers of small apartments proposed by the Mayor’s Office:

“The council’s approval of changes to the Multifamily Tax Exemption program represents a smart improvement to a tool that helps private developers include below-market rate apartments in their projects. I’m pleased that after weeks of hard work by my office, the Office of Housing and the Council, today’s action will encourage the production of more affordable units in Seattle.”

Severe Weather Shelter open through New Year’s Day

With temperatures dropping below 25 degrees overnight, the City of Seattle Human Services Department will open its emergency cold weather shelter at Seattle Center.

From December 29th through January 1st, the Severe Weather Shelter at the Seattle Center Rainer Room will be open to adult men and women over the age of 18. The shelter is open from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Referrals are not needed.

The Rainier Room is located at 305 Harrison Street, just north of Key Arena.


Mayor Murray releases statement on 10th and Dearborn encampment

Mayor Murray released the following statement regarding encampment siting today:

Our experts at DPD concluded that there’s a high potential for landslide at the proposed site at 10th and Dearborn for the next legal encampment for homeless people in Seattle, and that this potential poses a significant health and safety hazard for encampment inhabitants.

We simply cannot ignore these risks.

Concerns about the site’s landslide potential were raised by City Council staff and confirmed by geotechnical engineers with DPD after performing a review of historical sliding from the Seattle Landslide Study, geologic maps, and existing geotechnical studies near the site.

At my direction, DPD has asked encampment organizers not to relocate from their current property, and has requested the Low Income Housing Institute, the lease-holder of the current encampment site, to provide an extension while alternatives are explored. There is a possibility that either with mitigation or using only part of the 10th and Dearborn site this property could be used.  But so far, the City has not seen such a plan.

It’s important to make clear: DPD neither favored nor objected to the site before the landslide risks of the proposed site were apparent.  The City, by ordinance, does not have a role in selecting the location of legal encampments – in fact, the City’s role is only to ensure safeguarding public safety, health and welfare through the permitting and regulatory process. Due to the risks for landslide, DPD is fulfilling its role by declining to issue a permit for this site as currently proposed – and I agree with this decision.

I hope encampment organizers and LIHI will continue to work with the City on a complete solution that ensures the safety of encampment inhabitants.