Mayor Murray names Seattle Municipal Court nominees

Mayor Ed Murray announced his nominations of Anita Crawford-Willis and Adam Eisenberg to fill two current vacancies on the Seattle Municipal Court. Mayor Murray’s selections follow the recommendations of four finalists vetted by the Seattle Municipal Court Selection Committee that included representatives from several local Minority Bar Organizations. The nominations, for terms expiring January 14, 2019, are subject to confirmation by City Council.


“Seattleites deserve thoughtful, passionate, and qualified judges on the Seattle Municipal Court,” said Mayor Murray, “Anita Crawford-Willis and Adam Eisenberg reflect these values and are committed to justice for all Seattle residents. They both bring judicial experience and have demonstrated throughout their careers a dedication to social and racial justice, diversity, and inclusion. I look forward to working with Council on moving these nominations forward. I would also like to thank David Perez, John Fetters, Chalia Stallings-Ala’ilima, and Abigail Caldwell for their diligent service on the selection committee.”

Anita Crawford-Willis will fill the Position 4 vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Judith Hightower. Crawford-Willis currently serves as an administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings in Seattle and serves as a judge pro tem on the Seattle Municipal Court. Crawford-Willis graduated from the Seattle University School of Law and began her career as a public defender. The hallmark of her career has been her leadership in mentoring and empowering students of color in their pursuit of careers in public service. She has been an active member of the King County legal community for the past 25 years and serves on the Board of Regents for Seattle University.

“Seattle Municipal Court is the highest volume court in the state and a judge on this court must be able to handle a variety of matters efficiently, without sacrificing a party’s rights,” said

Presiding Judge Karen Donohue of the Seattle Municipal Court. “Judge Crawford-Willis is uniquely qualified for the role by virtue of her experience in the courtroom as a public defender and judge pro tem, along with her work outside the courtroom mentoring women and young people of color pursuing careers in law. She will be an exceptional addition to our bench.”

Adam Eisenberg, who will fill the Position 6 vacancy created by Judge Steve Rosen’s election to the King County Superior Court, currently serves as a magistrate on the Seattle Municipal Court and teaches art and cultural property law at the University of Washington Museology graduate program. Prior to entering law, Eisenberg worked as a film and television journalist in Los Angeles and is a published non-fiction author. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and served as a criminal prosecutor prior to being appointed commissioner and then magistrate judge on the Seattle Municipal Court. Eisenberg is an active member of the King County legal community and serves on the board of directors of Q-Law, an association of legal professionals dedicated to informing the public and courts on legal issues impacting the LGBTQ community. Eisenberg has also worked extensively on domestic violence issues outside the courtroom.

“Magistrate Eisenberg brings a wealth of life and legal experience that would make him an ideal judge for the Seattle Municipal Court,” said Barbara Madsen, Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court. “I became personally acquainted with Adam through his work on domestic violence. He has worked tirelessly to educate members of the public and judiciary on the impacts of domestic violence and is deeply committed to social justice. Magistrate Eisenberg will bring an accomplished and broad perspective to the bench.”

Mr. Sumeer Singla and Judge Anne Harper will remain as finalists from which Mayor Murray may select from should new vacancies arise during the remainder of his term.

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City prepares to open severe weather shelter

In anticipation of cold weather, the Seattle Human Services Department will open the emergency co-ed adult shelter at the Seattle Center Pavilion (305 Harrison St.) from Sunday, December 4th through Thursday, December 8th. This shelter will be open from 7 PM to 7 AM and has room for 100 people. King County is also expanding capacity for 50 additional men at the King County Administration Building shelter (500 4th Avenue) from Sunday, December 4ththrough Tuesday, December 6th. Both shelters are operated by the Salvation Army.

The National Weather Service is forecasting below freezing conditions late Sunday evening into the middle of next week, which could create a possibility of snow and ice in Seattle. Currently, the National Weather Service forecast predict that snow could potentially arrive on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday morning. For the most current forecast, please visit the National Weather Service website.

In the event of snow and/or ice, City emergency planners urge residents to prepare their homes for cold weather, build emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles, and not to drive unnecessarily. For more information on how to prepare for winter weather, please visit Take Winter By Storm. Additionally, for up-to-date information pertaining to impacts in the City of Seattle please sign up for AlertSeattle at

The City of Seattle continues to monitor forecasts and City departments are preparing operations to respond to impacts from snow and ice.

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Mayor Murray receives Education Summit recommendations aimed at addressing opportunity gap

Mayor Ed Murray introduces recommendations from the Education Summit Advisory Group.


Today, the Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group, comprised of 32 representatives from Seattle Public Schools, the City of Seattle, community leaders, parents, business and philanthropy, presented a set of recommendations aimed at ensuring all Seattle students are set up for academic success, post-secondary education and future careers, with an emphasis on improving outcomes for African American/Black students. These recommendations reflect the mission laid out by Mayor Ed Murray earlier this year to address the opportunity gap in our schools, and the Advisory Group’s “north star,” which envisions “a city where all children of all races and ethnicities can thrive and succeed.”

The Mayor’s Education Summit Advisory Group was developed to formulate recommendations in response to feedback from over 1,300 people from 20 community conversations, nearly 200 online survey responses and 500 attendees of the day-long Education Summit held in the spring.

“The Advisory Group delivered ambitious recommendations and we will develop an equally aggressive action plan to ensure every one of our students has access to opportunity,” said Mayor Murray. “We will need collaboration to address these disparities, which is why the relationship being built between the City, the School District and the private sector is so important. By forming this partnership and implementing an action plan together, we can make real progress in making sure every student will graduate ready to thrive in our growing economy.”

Advisory Group Final Report
Advisory Group Recommendation Summary Handout

The Advisory Group recommendations include a variety of programs for students of all ages, from early learning through high school and beyond. The group concentrated its work in four areas: improving access to high quality learning opportunities and programs; creating positive, supportive and high quality teaching and learning opportunities; providing authentic family and community support and engagement; and strengthening post-secondary access and attainment. They have identified criteria for prioritizing the recommendations, including those with the greatest potential impact on the opportunity gap facing African American/Black students and other students of color, those that can be implemented in the short-term and those where the City can have the greatest impact.

“Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle are committed to eliminating gaps in educational access, removing barriers to success and improving academic outcomes for students who have been historically underserved,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “Eliminating opportunity gaps is the issue of our time and together, we are committed to this vision. As a district we can’t do it alone. Working together, we can ensure every student thrives and succeeds.”

When Mayor Murray first issued the challenge at the Education Summit this spring, he called on the group to develop solutions that would address disparities for African American/Black students and other students of color. A recent Stanford University study ranks Seattle as having the fifth-worst gap in achievement between African American/Black and White students among major cities. Several recommendations addressing this need are already reflected in investments in the Mayor’s 2017 budget proposal. Those include:

  1. Expanding the My Brother’s Keeper mentoring program for African American/Black male students from Aki Kurose Middle School to five additional middle schools.
  2. Expanding the innovation school model, which has been successful addressing disparities in middle schools around attendance, behavior and curricula, to a high school.
  3. Broadening the City’s Summer Learning Program to serve an additional 200 students, with an emphasis on programs offering culturally specific curriculum.
  4. Investing in post-secondary programs that ensure students who graduate from high school remain engaged during the summer and successfully enroll in college.

“Melinda Gates put it best when she said, ‘Education is the key to opportunity, and the opportunity is not equal,’” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “In order to close the achievement gap and build a pathway to success for all children, especially students of color and those from low-income families, we need to make direct investments at three levels. My goal is to be able to tell every child in Seattle they can go to preschool when early brain development is critical, have the tools and mentoring to graduate from high school, and the opportunity to attend a college even if they can’t afford the tuition. The work of this Education Summit has been unprecedented in bringing all stakeholders together to achieve a common purpose of helping our students, teachers, parents, and administrators.”

“Alaska Airlines believes that quality education is the foundation that enables kids to accomplish great things,” said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines. “We want to make sure ALL our students are provided a quality education so that they are adequately prepared to take full advantage of the vast career opportunities available right here in our own backyard.”

“So proud to live in a city that is committed to social justice and equity for all,” said Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, President of Seattle Central College. “The willingness of our mayor, school leadership and community members to come together to address opportunity gaps in our city is inspiring. The recommendations offered today respond to the needs identified in community conversations and subsequent advisory group meetings.”

Mayor Murray and the Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning, in partnership with the Seattle School District, community, philanthropy, and the business community, will release an action plan in early 2017 outlining the next steps for implementation.

To read the full recommendation report or an executive summary, please visit

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Pavement to Parks project creates new open space in Rainier Vista

Today, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), in partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), hosted a grand opening for a new Pavement to Parks project in the Rainier Vista neighborhood. The new park space includes planters, seating, turf mounds, and a street mural designed by local youth.

 “This project is a great example of the positive outcomes that come from collaboration between government and the community,” said Mayor Murray. “We are activating an open space in way that is driven by the community, improves safety and livability and reflects the cultural diversity in Rainier Vista.”

This Pavement to Parks project repurposes a portion of S Genesee St., between 29th Ave S and Jill Place S, for an expanded park space in the neighborhood. Built under SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program, the project uses low-cost, adaptable materials to test a public space on the street before permanent changes take place.

 “The Pavement to Parks project in Rainier Vista provides a great example of the benefits of the Adaptive Streets Program,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “By working with residents to install experimental and low-cost safety enhancements, the City is better poised to quickly respond to the specific needs of the neighborhood, while allowing time to review community feedback and performance data before making the enhancements permanent.”

 Rainier Vista community members requested that SDOT close the block in response to speeding traffic in the neighborhood. SDOT included the project as a 2016 Pavement to Parks installation to increase space for play and community activities, while reducing speeding on surrounding streets and improving pedestrian safety. SDOT and the Rainier Vista Neighborhood Traffic Safety Committee gathered ideas for the design of the project last spring and learned of strong support for the project during outreach events.

 “I’m proud of the community engagement by Rainier Vista residents that led to this project, and the partnership of the Seattle Department of Transportation in making it happen,” said Andrew Lofton, Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director. “The new park solves what was a traffic safety issue and, with its colorful new mural painted by youth, provides a vibrant play area and neighborhood gathering place.”

SDOT will evaluate the Rainier Vista Pavement to Parks project over the next two years. If successful, SHA will work with the City to build the project as a permanent park extension in the neighborhood.

For more information about SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program contact Susan McLaughlin at 206-733-9649 or, or visit

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Mayor Murray answers your questions on housing affordability

Housing affordability is a major issue across the city, and a key focus for my administration, City departments and community stakeholders. I recently joined Robert Feldstein, my director of policy and innovation, for a Facebook chat about our efforts under the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda to create and preserve thousands of affordable homes, and to address your questions. Watch the video below, and scroll down for a recap, answers to additional questions, and information on how you can get involved.

Why is Seattle facing such a housing affordability issue? 

As our economy and population grow, housing prices and rents have skyrocketed. As a result, thousands of families and workers – particularly lower-income people and among communities of color – are unable to afford the cost of living in Seattle. The thing that’s driving our affordability crisis is our booming economy. We’re anticipating growing by 120,000 people and 115,000 jobs over the next 20 years. If people weren’t moving here for jobs in our booming tech sector and the many attributes that make Seattle a great city, we wouldn’t have an affordability problem. But the answer isn’t to stop growth, but to plan for it and increase affordable housing supplies and reduce displacement.

What is Seattle doing to create more affordable housing?

In late 2014 I convened a group of stakeholders to look at this issue and come up with a set of recommendations. We adopted a multi-pronged approach – our Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) – that includes developer mandates, capital investments through a renewed housing levy, expansion of multifamily tax exemptions, prioritization of surplus property for affordable housing projects, a new set of tenant protections, building preservation programs and other anti-displacement measures.

Through HALA, our goal is to build 50,000 new homes over the next decade, including 20,000 affordable homes – something that’s never happened before in Seattle.

How we get to 20,000 affordable homes: 

  • Capital investments and partnerships with low-income housing providers through the renewed Housing Levy (expected to produce 7,500 units over the next 10 years)
  • Mandating commercial and residential developments build or fund affordable housing (+6,300 units)
  • Preservation property tax exemption (+3,300 units)
  • Expanding tax exemptions for new multifamily developments that agree to set aside 20-25% for affordable units. (+2,100 units)
  • Use surplus properties for affordable housing either by redevelopment as affordable units or proceeds of sales used for that development elsewhere (+1,100 units)
  • Exploring voluntary employer Housing Fund program, as has been done by some companies in Silicon Valley
  • Negotiating with the federal government to allow Medicaid benefits to be used for eligible supportive housing residents
  • Expanding down payment assistance and other homeowner programs

How much progress has been made?

Since the start of 2015, more than 4,400 units of affordable housing have opened, been funded or are under construction. In just the last few weeks we’ve broken ground on more than 200 units of affordable housing developed in partnership with Bellwether Housing in the University District and South Lake Union. In October, 112 affordable units opened at Plaza Roberto Maestas, an El Centro de la Raza project near the Beacon Hill Light Rail station made possible in part through an $8 million Housing Levy grant. More than $34 million in Housing Levy and other funding will be awarded in December.

How can we ensure equitable distribution of affordable housing? 

As part of our Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan, we conducted a Growth & Equity Analysis to ensure growth strategies address the needs of marginalized residents and are applied equitably. As we guide affordable housing development through HALA, we’re focusing on urban villages throughout the City – 28 areas with access to high-frequency transit, parks and schools. Zoning incentives, developer mandates, expanded multi-family tax exemption programs, Housing Levy and other City funding of new construction and preservation projects are being applied in a geographically equitable manner so affordable housing options might bring people together, rather than drive them apart.


What’s considered affordable and who’s eligible for assistance?

Housing is generally considered affordable to a household if it costs no more than 30% of a household’s income. More than 107,000 Seattle households pay more than 30% of their income for housing, and more than 46,000 Seattle households spend more than half their income on housing.

We’re focused on range of affordable options to assist people with no income, to those on fixed incomes or who need assistance buying their first home. Most programs that are part of HALA are targeted at households with incomes up to 30%, 60%, or 80% of area median income. For instance, the MHA program – developer mandates – require housing be made available to households earning under 60% of area median income – about $38,000 for an individual or $54,000 for a family of four.


Why not adopt rent control?

Rent control is prohibited by the State of Washington. Overturning it would take years and not address current affordability crisis, nor ensure more affordability (see: San Francisco). While that may be a fight worth having, right now we’re focused on acting to ensure neighborhoods are economically diverse and provide affordability for all incomes.


What’s the City doing to protect tenants?

In just he last year we’ve passed several measures to protect renters:

  • We expanded Source of Income protections and are working on reducing housing barriers for those with criminal records. Under new rules, property owners may not refuse to rent to tenants with Section 8 subsidies or alternative sources of income such as disability, Social Security or child support
  • Property owners may not give move-in discounts or other favorable terms for tenants who work for certain employers.
  • We adopted a “first in time rule” which requires property owner to rent to the first applicant who meets necessary screening criteria.
  • Property owners may not raise rent if their building is substandard and/or not up to code.


How do developer mandates work?

For the first time the City is requiring developers of commercial and residential projects contribute to affordable housing by building it onsite, or paying for its construction elsewhere in the City. This will generate more than 6,000 affordable homes in the next decade. Since our goal is to steer development and reduce displacement in urban villages, upzoning could allow for an additional couple stories of building capacity, and developers would need to make even greater investments in affordable housing to take advantage of that capacity.

Developer mandates are being phased in, and already apply downtown and in South Lake Union. Zoning changes to support MHA are being implemented in 28 areas identified as urban centers, urban villages or areas already zoned for apartments and commercial buildings. Mandates are not being applied in areas zoned for single-family housing, but the City is exploring how more types of housing might be supported in these areas.

On Oct. 17, I joined seven councilmembers in announcing proposed updates to MHA aimed at producing even more affordable housing and addressing growing displacement risk in several neighborhoods. Changes include:

1) Adopting a tiered approach in areas such as the U District that are receiving a development capacity increases greater than the typical one-story increase proposed as part of original MHA. This would support higher development capacity – potentially several additional stories – that would be tied to even greater developer investments  in affordable housing.

2) Moving some areas at higher risk of displacement – including the Central District, Chinatown/ID and parts of the Rainier Valley – into zones with higher developer requirements to reflect updated market conditions and stem displacement.


What areas will get higher MHA requirements?

The U District, which has gone through more than five years of community planning, is the first neighborhood where we’re proposing zoning changes tied to MHA requirements. With light rail opening in we’re focusing future housing and employment density in areas with the most accessibility to the station. Our proposal for zoning changes in U District are accompanied by other city investments in open space, transportation and services to ensure a walkable, equitable, vibrant urban center.

Under new proposals to increase affordable housing production through MHA, Chinatown/International District, Central Area and parts of Rainier Valley would be moved to a High-MHA designation to reflect updated rent data and the City’s analysis of higher displacement risk.

North Beacon Hill, North Rainier, and Columbia City, Northgate, and Crown Hill development would be moved from low-MHA requirements to medium-MHA requirements.

Mandatory Housing Affordability proposed implementation area


Won’t mandates discourage development, or lead to even higher prices? 

Increasing development capacity is one of the ways we can achieve greater affordability. The MHA program is based on an exchange of value: Through upzones, developers can build more market-rate units to meet demand, and must make greater investments in affordable housing to do so. Those units must be built onsite as a set percentage of building size, or fund development elsewhere through the Housing Levy, affordable housing partners and other programs that ensure equitable development or housing preservation throughout the city. We project that increased performance requirements will lead to an additional 200-300 affordable housing units on top of the original program goal of 6,000. The MHA program can be re-calibrated to guard against unintended consequences, and we’ll be closely monitoring the affordable housing production and making changes as necessary.


How is the City encouraging more family-oriented housing?

Multifamily tax exemptions have helped create thousands of units of affordable housing designed for families. We’ve expanded that program to every neighborhood, so more two- and three-bedroom units can come on line and be available to more families.


What about micro-housing?

Small housing units are a good, lower cost option for many tenants. Innovative builders have made Seattle a national leader in micro-housing. In 2014, the City Council passed new regulations to clarify how the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections regulates this type of housing, ensuring greater design review. The City continues to encourage both Small Efficiency Dwelling Units (SEDUs) that have a minimum size of 220 square feet, and in certain locations (i.e. urban villages) Congregate Residences that can have shared kitchens and can be even smaller. We are continuing to monitor production of SEDUs and Congregate Residences, and expect to evaluate how they can be a part of the housing solution in the future.


How can we preserve neighborhood character?

I understand concerns that density and taller buildings may detract from neighborhood character. The City is working hard to ensure that upzones do not come at the expense of livability. We provide incentives for historic preservation and are directing growth to the core of urban villages to avoid large buildings right next to single-family homes. We’re applying new development standards for attractive and varied buildings, and implementing new affordable housing requirements and incentives to encourage a variety of housing types. HALA and urban village plans such as the one adopted for the U District after much public input contain incentives and requirements for open space, historic preservation, social services, and other community priorities. Along with affordable, family-oriented housing options, we’re working to increase commercial affordability so more people can work near where they live and have easy access to restaurants, shopping and services. As the city grows, we must maintain the uniqueness and high quality of life made possible by diverse neighborhoods and are working with neighborhoods to get that right. To weigh in on urban village plans and zoning proposals, visit Hala.Consider.It.


Is there state and federal assistance for affordable housing? 

Housing affordability is an issue facing every county. We need the state to expand the housing trust fund to $200 million. You can help by contacting state legislators about this issue. And we need the federal government to recognize that fully funding opioid treatment and anti-poverty measures will better allow cities to address issues of homelessness and housing affordability. These issues are connected.


What’s the public process on HALA and how can I be involved?

The public engagement process for HALA started in July 2015, followed by a citywide kick off in January 2016 for the HALA community focus groups comprised of over 180 participants who have met monthly to provide the City with feedback. City staff have attended over 70 community meetings and have had thousands of in-person contacts as well as a strong online dialogue like my recent online Q&A.

Beginning in November, the City will hold five community meetings throughout Seattle to share more about the proposal and receive feedback from residents. For those who cannot attend a meeting, or to review the proposals and weigh in, visit Hala.Consider.It.

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