SEATTLE – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan laid out her vision of the state of the city and the state of the future. She chose to speak from North Seattle College to tout her plan to allow more students into the Seattle Promise program, which gives certain kids free college for two years.
The rest of her address was all about affordability and access.
“The state of our city is strong and resilient,” said Durkan.
Strong and resilient but struggling with a record number of people experiencing homelessness. Durkan says the city is spending big money to help them, and it’s working.
“The city served more than 25,000 households experiencing homelessness. In 2018, we helped more than 7,400 households move out of homelessness and into permanent housing; a 30% increase,” said Durkan.
Durkan spoke about not just homeless but low-income people being forced out of their neighborhoods. She says the city is working to keep housing affordable and to build more of it.
“We’ve invested over $710 million together with our partners for affordable housing. We’ve added 360 permanent new affordable homes and on track to add 3,600 more by 2022,” said Durkan.
The viaduct closure forced everyone to find alternate routes pushing many to take public transportation to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
“That transit must be affordable and reliable because we need transit to reach our climate goals and because it makes our lives better,” said Durkan.
That’s why Mayor Durkan says the city needs to invest more in transit services like light rail stations, buses, and a new proposal to give free Orca cards to students and low-income people.
“Working with King County Metro, my budget increased the city’s investment in services by 30% to help people have more options to get around and access to transit hubs,” said Durkan.
After her address, Q13 News asked for a brief follow-up interview with Mayor Durkan but her press relations team said she was unavailable. Durkan did not specifically address the opioid crisis in her speech. She did not offer any revenue sources to fund the many ongoing and new initiatives.