Updates from Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

Can't see this message? View it in your web browser

Banner with text King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, District 2

Hello Residents of King County District 2,

This is your friendly neighborhood King County Councilmember, Girmay Zahilay. I hope you and your loved ones stayed healthy during the record heat wave this past week. On my end, I spent the weekend making sure people without AC could access cooling centers and partnering up with Safeway to deliver free cold waters to areas in need:

I am also happy to inform you that effective June 30th, Washington State is opening back up! All industry sectors previously covered by guidance in the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery or the Safe Start Reopening Plan may return to usual capacity and operations, with limited exceptions for large indoor events (any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants in an indoor, enclosed space.) To read Governor Jay Inslee’s full statement, click here. As a reminder, you can always find your nearest vaccination site at our King County Public Health website or Washington State’s COVID Vaccine Finder.

Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

Huge news: this week, the King County Council passed the Just Cause Eviction and Tenant Protection Legislation that I and Councilmember Kohl-Welles have been working on for over a year! This legislation will protect the thousands of tenants in unincorporated King County who suffer the highest rate of “no-cause” evictions in our region – meaning many of our neighbors who were being pushed out of their homes for no justified reason will have more housing stability.

We are not in normal times. There’s a pandemic, our planet is on fire, and our housing crisis continues to leave people on the streets. Keeping people indoors is more important now than ever. Strong tenant protections are critical and I’m proud we were able to advance them through this legislation. Read more about what the new laws do here.

Bus Route Updates in the University District and Eastlake

The RapidRide Roosevelt Project, now called Rapid Ride J, will upgrade Route 70 to provide high-quality service connecting Downtown Seattle with the neighborhoods of Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, University District, and Roosevelt. King County Metro is partnering with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to enhance transit connections and upgrade existing bus routes to Metro RapidRide service. It will be an electric trolley fleet route, with quick and direct transfers to Link light rail at the University District and Downtown stations. It will also provide improved connections to the Seattle Streetcar on Fairview Ave E, and connections to the Burke Gilman train, Westlake Cycle Track, and protected bike lanes on Roosevelt Way NE and 9th Avenue . For more project information visit SDOT’s website or email RapidRide@seattle.gov.

Ranked-Choice Voting

I introduced legislation last week seeking to amend the county charter to allow ranked-choice voting for county positions. The measure would allow voters to rank their candidates in order of preference, instead of voting for just one candidate for public offices such as King County executive, assessor, director of elections, prosecuting attorney and county council.

Ranked-choice voting promotes coalition-building and civility in campaigning and captures more information on a voter’s preferences. Click here to learn more about implementing ranked-choice voting in King County.

Skyway Town Hall

On June 17th, my office held a virtual town hall to discuss the various issues pertaining to Skyway. These meetings are an opportunity to hear from elected and appointed King County leaders and department staff members about how your local government is delivering services. Topics included Skyway community concerns and needs, affordable housing and anti-displacement, Metro Skyway investments, Skyway Park improvements, the Community Investment Program, and morw. To watch the recording, click here.

People’s Town Hall on Restorative Justice in Rainier Beach

We participated in a virtual People’s Town Hall uplifting the restorative justice work led by our Rainier Beach community. We heard about the sustainability and benefits of restorative justice from two young adult leaders and discussed ongoing Summer safety work with community leaders. Watch the recording here to learn more.

Gun Violence Response Update

The King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective (“The Peacekeepers”) launched June 4, 2021 with a Skyway Community Lock Box Giveaway event at the Grocery Outlet parking lot providing about 100 residents with a lock box and information to safely store firearms. Recognizing the rising rates of gun violence in our region, The Peacekeepers seek to increase awareness and provide community-based solutions to stop gun violence by working on the principles of intervention, prevention, and restoration.

The King County Executive introduced to the County Council $1.47 million in investments to prevent gun violence and scale up The Peacekeepers’ work. These priority investments are meant to center our most impacted communities in the solution by expanding ongoing community-led safety work. Click here to learn more about the proposal to reduce gun violence.

COVID 7 Budget Passed

A seventh round of emergency funding in response to COVID-19, this time totaling more than $631 million, was recently approved by the King County Council.

The supplemental budget, funded largely by the American Rescue Plan Act will provide support for a variety of services as King County looks toward recovery from the pandemic and its many collateral impacts. These investments include funds for housing stability and homelessness services, food security and access, mental and behavioral health, economic recovery, and workforce support, childcare and access to justice.

Of the total, $367 million will come from King County’s allocation of ARPA funds, $16 million from the General Fund, and $249 million from various revenue sources included state and FEMA grants. You can read the full legislation here.

Public Transportation Options

Riders will soon have more public transportation options as buses, trains and ferries in our region are returning to full capacity and opening all seats starting in July. For more information, click here.

Upcoming COVID 8 Budget

Just as the COVID 7 supplemental budget was being passed, my Council colleagues and I began working on the COVID 8 budget supplemental. COVID 8, as currently drafted, invests in these key areas:

• Continues the County’s COVID-19 response by readjusting public health investments to continue key pandemic response operations, while ramping down other services to meet evolving community need, including closeout costs for isolation and quarantine sites and hotels which served community throughout the pandemic,

• Dedicates $18 million for community supports by investing in a more resilient and equitable economy, connecting underrepresented and dislocated workers to job opportunities, creating community engagement capacity in BIPOC organizations, investing in culturally appropriate services for rideshare workers, and providing support for immigrant communities who have not been able to access federal benefits,

• Allocates over $90 million for rental assistance,

• Supports County service delivery through investments which support operational adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic,

• Provides additional resources for the criminal legal system to begin addressing the backlog of criminal and civil cases that have built up over the course of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Skyway Community Van Coordinator

King County Department of Local Services is seeking a Skyway Community Van Coordinator to provide administrative and project support for the Skyway Community Van Program. This role requires public outreach for the Community Van program, recruitment of riders and volunteer drivers, trip scheduling and coordinating, tracking, and reporting on ridership and interaction with the organization at all levels as well as external partners. This position will provide residents with information about public transportation options available in their community. The application is open until July 20, 2021. First round of interviews are tentatively scheduled for the week of August 2, 2021. Click here for the Skyway Community Van Coordinator position description and application information.

OLEO Finalists

The King County Council announced this week that is has narrowed its search for a new director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) down to two finalists. Tamer Abouzeid, an attorney, mediator, community organizer and policy professional, and Eddie Aubrey, a civilian police oversight manager and a former police auditor, judge, prosecutor and police officer, have been named as finalists for the job.

The two candidates will participate in two virtual community meetings in July: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 13 and noon to 2 p.m. on July 14. The candidates will speak to prepared questions and then take questions from community members until time runs out. More info on these meetings will be posted on the Council’s website.

Once those meetings are complete, community members will provide input via online surveys and the candidates will be interviewed by the OLEO Director Recruitment Advisory Committee and then by the Council’s Employment Administration Committee. The committee will then send one finalist to full council for approval.

Help us grow our reach!

My team and I send email updates like the one you’re currently reading once a month and we want to ensure we’re reaching as many of you in our community as possible. If you know anyone who would like to receive these updates, please be sure to send them to over to my County Council website to subscribe for my email newsletter!

And as always, for more frequent and daily updates, you can check out our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages. For the latest news, resources, and opportunities to engage with your King County government, follow me on the social media channels of your choice:

Facebook: facebook.com/Councilmember.Girmay
Instagram: @councilmember.girmay
Twitter: @CMGirmayZahilay


Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

Email: girmay.zahilay@kingcounty.gov
Phone: 206-477-1002
Website: http://www.kingcounty.gov/zahilay
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/councilmember.girmay
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMGirmayZahilay
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/councilmember.girmay/