Mayor Murray statement on Amazon announcement

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement regarding the announcement from Amazon:

 “Today is an exciting day for Amazon, one of Seattle’s original technology companies and one that has helped reshape our city over the last two decades. Seattle has grown in recent years, as one of the world’s most creative and innovative companies has firmly rooted itself in our city, and not just with the multiple office buildings Amazon has built in our downtown core. Amazon’s work in our community, willingness to invest in the core of our city, and recruitment and development of thousands of talented people have helped Seattle become an international technology and business hub.

 “My office will immediately begin conversations with Amazon around their needs with today’s announcement and the company’s long-term plans for Seattle. And we will coordinate with Governor Inslee to convene key business and community leaders to plan for our future growth and response to this announcement. I look forward to working with Amazon to secure their long-term, successful future in the heart of Seattle.

 “Though they won’t find one quite like it, it is telling that Amazon is looking for a city in the model of Seattle for its second home, similar to what major tech companies like Google and Facebook have done in building campuses here.

 “Seattleites should know Seattle is strong because we have a large, diverse economy. From technology to health care and biotech to forestry, major companies like Expedia and Weyerhaeuser call Seattle home—as do more than 700,000 people that make our city a vibrant, exciting place to live. We have worked with these companies—and those who work here—to make Seattle a great place to do businesses because it is a great place to work, and a great place to work because it is a great place to live. All of these companies, as well as our art, music, sports, recreation and leading progressive values have and will continue to make Seattle one of the world’s most desirable places to live and do business.

 “But, we also must know headwinds are coming. Unprecedented growth will not happen forever and my upcoming budget will reflect that. And current federal immigration policy makes it difficult for companies like Amazon to do business in the U.S., where they have employees who may not know from day to day whether they will be allowed to stay here. That is why we must fight these policies and remain a Welcoming City. Our values are why businesses continue to come here in record numbers.

 “I look forward to our city’s long partnership with Amazon, both for the thousands of people who work there and the company’s work in our community, such as Mary’s Place. Seattle will be home to Amazon and the many other companies that dot our city’s iconic skyline for years to come.”

 

 

 

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Mayor Murray statement on potential elimination of DACA

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement in response to reports President Trump is planning to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“Behaving like a flip reality TV show host who boosts ratings by dismissing people isn’t presidential, particularly when you’re threatening the real lives of hundreds and thousands of young people. Protecting immigrants and defending DACA is not only a moral issue, it is also an economic one. And our city has a vibrant economy because of the important contributions of all immigrants, including Dreamers and other undocumented individuals.

 “DACA recipients contribute 15.3 percent of their wages to taxes, which fund Social Security and Medicare. DACA recipients own homes and start new businesses, which contribute to the success of our economy and our communities.

“We need comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, but because of Congress’ failure to act, programs like DACA are critical in supporting people who grew up in our country. Seattle is a Welcoming City and we’ve already taken legal action against the president over his threats related to immigration policy. We will continue to stand with our friends and neighbors and ensure they know we want them to always call Seattle home.”

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City of Seattle, King County announce Legal Defense Fund awardees

Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the community organizations that have been selected to receive $1.5 million in grants as part of the Legal Defense Fund to provide legal aid to vulnerable immigrants and refugees.

“I signed legislation in April establishing a $1 million-dollar immigrants’ Legal Defense Fund because immigrants are being targeted by a presidential administration that has embraced White Nationalism,” said Mayor Murray. “Today, with additional money from our partners at King County, we are awarding those defense fund dollars to community organizations like the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Kids in Need of Defense, and West African Community Council, because they advocate for immigrants every day in what’s now a larger fight to preserve core American principles of Democracy.”
“We are sending a clear, united message to the rest of the country – and to the world – that King County remains an inclusive community where all are welcome to build a better future,” said Executive Constantine. “The funding we announce today will help our partner organizations defend the human rights of more immigrants and refugees who contribute to the prosperity and vibrancy of our region.”

Direct Legal Representation – Total awarded: $1,423,358
To qualify for these funds, organizations must have an attorney on staff who is able to provide direct legal representation for low-income immigrants and refugees living in King County or working in Seattle who are in detention, facing removal, or in danger of losing their immigration status.

  1. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) – $235,454
  2. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) / Colectiva Legal del Pueblo – $1,187,904

Community Navigation Services – Total awarded: $111,642
To qualify for these funds, organizations must be able to provide guidance and referrals for low-income immigrants and refugees living in King County or working in Seattle who are in detention, facing removal, or in danger of losing their immigration status.

  1. Filipino Community of Seattle – $30,000
  2. South Park Information and Referral Center (SPIARC) – $27,145
  3. West African Community Council (WACC) – $54,497

Over the course of two weeks, a panel comprised of members from the immigrant and refugee legal defense community, King County staff, and City of Seattle staff reviewed both written applications and oral presentations. Out of ten applications, five received awards.

Earlier this year, both the City and the County passed legislation authorizing these funds for legal defense and community navigation services, as President Donald Trump threatened immigrant and refugee communities through both his inflammatory rhetoric and unconstitutional executive orders.

In November 2016, Mayor Murray responded to the federal administration’s anti-immigrant actions by passing his Welcoming City Executive Order, which reinforced the City’s already existing policy that employees do not ask about citizenship status and serve all residents regardless of immigration status. The order also mandated funding for peer support groups and counseling for immigrant and refugee middle and high school youth, legal assistance for immigrant families with children in Seattle Public Schools, and a comprehensive public awareness effort around reporting discriminatory harassment. The City of Seattle also bolstered community collaboration, education, and access to know-your-rights information and resources and created the Inclusive and Equitable Cabinet to address threats to civil rights, including to immigrant and refugee communities.

In March of this year, Councilmembers M. Lorena González and Tim Burgess joined with Mayor Murray in announcing their intent to pass legislation creating the fund. Seattle joins Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago as cities that have created programs to fund legal defense and other immigrant legal services. Unlike in criminal trials, individuals do not have a right to legal representation in immigration proceedings. However, studies have shown that people who were represented in U.S. immigration court were up to ten times more likely to obtain relief.

“Congratulations to each of the awardees of Seattle/King County’s pilot Legal Defense Fund. It is my sincere hope that funding these organizations will provide much needed protections against deportation for families that have built lives in the Seattle area,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González. “These organizations are committed to defending the constitutional rights of immigrants and refugees by providing access to quality civil legal aid. Together, our community navigators and civil legal aid organizations are on the frontline of protecting immigrants and refugees from ongoing attacks by the Trump Administration.”

“Access to a knowledgeable and trained legal advocate is invaluable during trying times, and can mean the difference between families being torn apart or staying together, or determining whether residents are able to continue the livelihoods that they’ve build over decades. We know that legal counsel can change the course of proceedings, especially for immigration procedures in which people are not automatically afforded this resource in the normal course of events.”

The City now begins negotiating the contracts detailing each of the grantees’ scope of work. The grantee organizations are expected to start offering services under the Legal Defense Fund after September 30.

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Mayor Murray statement on Confederate monument in Lake View Cemetery

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement:

 “We must remove statues and flags that represent this country’s abhorrent history of slavery and oppression based on the color of people’s skin. It is the right thing to do. During this troubling time when neo-Nazis and white power groups are escalating their racist activity, Seattle needs to join with cities and towns across the country who are sending a strong message by taking these archaic symbols down.

 “The monument to Confederate soldiers in the Lake View Cemetery is located on private property. My office has called the cemetery operator to express our concerns regarding the monument. As we continue our ongoing proactive work to be an inclusive and welcoming community, we must also join the fight against the mainstreaming of hateful and despicable far-right political ideology.”

 

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U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Mayor Murray, Port of Seattle and SODO business leaders celebrate funding milestone for Lander Street bridge

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Mayor Ed Murray, Port Commissioner John Creighton and SODO business leaders announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that directs up to $10 million from the Port of Seattle towards completing the South Lander Street bridge project and $5 million towards solutions for a broader approach to ease traffic and improve safety on major freight and transit corridors throughout Seattle. The South Lander Street bridge is a critical project serving one of the busiest and most high-risk rail crossings in the country. The project is estimated to cost $123 million, funded through commitments from federal, state, and local partners. Last fall, the project was awarded a $45 million federal grant thanks to the advocacy of Senator Cantwell.

“Washington state loses millions of dollars in economic activity because of train, truck, and urban traffic congestion –at Lander Street alone. By moving freight faster, we can fuel our export economy and create good paying jobs,” said Senator Cantwell. “I’m proud to have helped secure the $45 million from the FASTLANE grant program which I championed in the FAST Act in 2015. I will continue fighting to fix our infrastructure to build strong economic growth and make our country more economically competitive.”

 “The City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the state of Washington, and federal leaders like United States Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell all came together around this vital infrastructure project because we are all committed to building a thriving, 21st Century economy that channels our booming $38 billon maritime industry,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “I’ve worked on this project dating back to my time in the state legislature, to support our industrial and maritime economy. Our shared economic values of mobility, safety, living wage jobs, and a clean environment all aligned around this bridge to the future.”

 “The Safe and Swift Corridor Program will create efficiency for freight, and continue the safe movement of cargo through our gateway,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton.  “This partnership will improve transportation for commuters, truckers, buses and bicyclists in these critical corridors.”

South Lander Street is an essential east-west corridor serving Port of Seattle freight, King County Metro buses, bicyclists, commuters and pedestrians. The corridor is closed for more than 4.5 hours daily due to rail traffic, impacting approximately 13,000 vehicles.

 The corridor is considered one of the most high-risk rail crossings in the state.  Since 2011, three fatalities have occurred between trains and pedestrians at the South Lander Street crossing and an average of 485 track violations occur daily as cars, pedestrians and bicycles cross the tracks when the safety gates are deployed.  The new four-lane bridge will provide safe connections for 1,400 pedestrians daily, primarily traversing between the SODO light rail station and area employers. This project will remove all at-grade access to the tracks at that location, improving safety for all.

The project is scheduled to break ground in early 2018.  For the latest updates on the South Lander Street project, click here.

 

 

 

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