Council to discuss summer parks operations and programming to slow spread of COVID-19, Final day to take the Fire and EMS ballot measure survey, and more!

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this week in kirkland

May 15, 2020

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City Council to Decide Summer Parks Operations and Programming to Slow COVID-19 Spread and Meet Human Service Needs at May 19 Meeting

City Council

During their May 19 meeting the City Council will vote on a resolution implementing strategies for reopening parks facilities and summer programming that respond to community concerns, human service needs, and public health and safety requirements to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Following Governor Jay Inslee’s May 1 announcement of his four-phased “Safe Start” reopening Washington plan, the City Council held two emergency meetings on Friday, May 8 and Tuesday, May 12 to evaluate how the Parks and Community Services Department could best serve the needs of the community during summer time while also helping slow the spread of COVID-19.  During the meetings the Council evaluated potential summer programs, facility and field rentals and events against guiding criteria, including: protecting community and employee health and safety; community needs during the pandemic; new financial challenges faced by the City from the pandemic; staff capacity to support programs and services; and creating certainty for families, organizations and vendors to plan. 

The Council and City Manager developed preliminary recommendations for reopening restrooms and sports courts and offering new virtual programming.  In response to community concerns, the recommendations include reallocating recreation staff to support social distancing throughout the summer at crowded waterfront parks. The recommendations also make City facilities and recreation staff available to support food and sheltering programs for low income families and people experiencing homelessness.  Finally, the recommendations include restricting summer programming, facility, and field use to slow the spread of the virus and save money by avoiding hiring summer staff. These summer operation recommendations are set forth in proposed Resolution 5424 that will be voted on at the May 19 Council meeting. The Council is seeking public feedback on the preliminary recommendations and the resolution.

Supporting Community Needs

As part of the proposal City recreation staff and Green Kirkland Partnership staff will be reallocated to serve as parks ambassadors and to support ongoing or emerging parks monitoring and human service needs during all “Safe Start” phases this summer. Parks and Community Services staff may offer virtual programming free of charge during the summer, including online instructional programs, art and science events, and virtual community-building social, cultural and athletic events.

“Safe Start” Phase 1

Parks, trails, beachfront parks, dog parks, docks and piers, Marina Park moorage, boat launches, the Marina Park restroom and the cemetery are currently open. These decisions comply with Phase 1 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.  All open parks and facilities will remain open throughout the summer consistent with Phase 1 guidelines.

“Safe Start” Phase 2

When Phase 2 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan is authorized, Parks & Community Services will reopen all public park restrooms, picnic shelters, tennis and pickleball courts and may allow park vendors to operate in City parks.

“Safe Start” Phase 3

When Phase 3 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan is authorized, Parks and Community Services will reopen all park playgrounds, park pavilions, sports courts for basketball and volleyball, and allow informal use of athletic fields. Staff may also offer “Pop-up” programming in the parks.

Summer Facility Closures and Program Cancellations Through September 1, 2020

  • The Peter Kirk Pool shall be closed for the summer season.
  • The Peter Kirk Community Center and the North Kirkland Community Center shall be closed for public use through September 1, 2020 except to provide selected senior services and support for human service needs.
  • All public, private and non-profit special events that use City facilities and infrastructure are cancelled through September 1, 2020. Special events may be rescheduled after September 1 if authorized by the Governor’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.
  • Green Kirkland Partnership restoration events are suspended until September 1, 2020.
  • All current parks recreational programming is cancelled through September 1, 2020 to allow City recreation staff to prepare for COVID-19 modified programming after September 1.
  • Formal athletic field scheduling and rentals by organized sports leagues and programs are suspended through September 1, 2020.

The agenda for the May 19 meeting will be available on the City website prior to the meeting. The meeting can be viewed in real time via the live stream on the City website, and is televised on Comcast Cable Channel 21 and Frontier Cable Channel 31.

As always, the Kirkland City Council welcomes public involvement at its meetings and would like to encourage community members to take advantage of its available options for remote participation. Public comment can be provided in advance by email to Public comment can also be provided by leaving a voicemail at (425) 587-3090.

Comments received by 3 p.m. on either the voice or email accounts will be played or read into the record during items from the audience, subject to the Council protocol of a limit of three speakers on each side of a particular issue, for a maximum of three minutes each. Comments received on these accounts after 3 p.m. on the day of the Council meeting will be provided to the Council the following day for their consideration, and copies placed in the meeting packet file.

Council will accept live spoken commentary under 'Items from the Audience' at the May 19 regular meeting via a Zoom computer or telephone connection. Comments will be subject to the Council protocols mentioned above and may be superseded by prior commentary received via the published voice and email links. Please call 425-587-3190 and leave a message before 5 p.m. on the day of the Council meeting with any questions, and the City Clerk's Office staff will return your call.

Newsletters will Now Come on Mondays and Wednesdays

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we've increased the distribution of our weekly newsletter to make sure that we are keeping you informed on the most recent health and public safety updates. We now believe that we're able to reduce these newsletters to two a week. Starting the week of May 18, newsletters will arrive in your inbox on Mondays and Wednesdays. We appreciate your continued efforts to stay informed and engaged with your city government. 

Kirkland Fire Department to Restart Multi-Family Fire Inspections

Kirkland Firefighter performs safety inspection

In order to focus resources on emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” initiative, the Kirkland Fire Department temporarily halted fire inspections earlier this year.

However, at this point in the pandemic we believe that we can safely balance our obligation to “stay home” with our obligation to take proactive steps to protect the community, and resuming fire safety inspections is an important part of fulfilling this obligation.

Starting next week, community members may see firefighters performing these inspections in multifamily structures, such as apartment buildings. As always, we will only inspect public spaces within these buildings and will never enter individual living spaces.

Please rest assured that all necessary safety precautions will be taken, including wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and practicing good hand hygiene. Firefighters performing inspections will arrive at the building in a fire engine. We are aware that fire engines are really cool, and usually when the opportunity presents itself, we love being able to allow children to get up close to these incredible vehicles. Unfortunately, because of the ongoing pandemic, we just can't do that right now. But please, don't hesitate to give us a waive or a friendly hello from at least six feet away. 

Kirkland Voted Best City on the Eastside

Best of 425 Magazine

Thank you readers of 425 Magazine for voting Kirkland the best city on the Eastside! You can read all the bests by visiting

National Peace Officers Memorial Day

Today is National Peace Officers Memorial Day. Please join the Kirkland Police Department in honoring & remembering the officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, while also remembering the loved ones & friends they left behind.

national peace officer memorial day ceremony

May 15 Final Day to Take Fire and Emergency Medical Services Ballot Measure Survey

For the past four years the City Council has explored a potential Fire & Emergency Medical Services ballot measure to improve response times throughout Kirkland. Our community safety advisory group, formed last October, recommended that the Council place two property tax measures on this year’s November ballot.  The first measure would build a new fire station and seismically retrofit and renovate our existing fire stations. The second measure would hire new firefighters, who are also emergency medical technicians. These recommendations were made in February, just before the virus outbreak in Kirkland.

The Council recognizes that COVID-19’s economic impact makes this a difficult time for new taxes. But every investment recommended by the advisory group also reinforces the City’s ability to serve the community during the pandemic. So, the Council is asking our residents whether Kirkland should keep exploring these ballot measures.

No final decision has been made. The Council is asking for your input to help guide their decision. Please help us by filling out this brief survey. For more information about the potential measure, please watch our video

Chief Joe Sanford image

Take the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey by May 21

Business owners, nonprofits, and independent workers are encouraged to participate in the new COVID-19 Business Impact Survey published today by the City of Seattle Government Office of Economic Development, Greater Seattle Partners, and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. By taking the survey, you will inform regional efforts to support businesses, nonprofits, and independent workers in recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

This survey builds on an earlier survey and will measure potential changes to COVID-19 impacts over time, seek to further understand operational changes businesses have implemented since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and evaluate the impact private and public funding have had on the ability of businesses to stay afloat.

The survey will be open until May 21. The survey is available in the following languages: Amharic, Chinese - Traditional, English, Japanese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese

COVID-19 business survey image

Upcoming Virtual Events

Online plant walk image

Green Kirkland Partnership Online Plant Walk

Thursday, May 28, 7 to 8 p.m.

Join the Green Kirkland Partnership for an online plant walk and natural area tour on Thursday, May 28, from 7 to 8 p.m.

You’ll see fun plants, cool habitat features and learn about steps that volunteers are taking to restore a natural area at one of your local Kirkland parks. Visit the Green Kirkland webpage for more details and to register.

7 Hills of Kirkland

7 Hills of Kirkland: Shifting Gears

May 1 through May 30, 2020

Virtual Event

7 Hills of Kirkland is now virtual! 

Visit the Attain Housing website today to learn more about digital participation in 7 Hills of Kirkland, and to experience firsthand what can be done to transform a negative situation into an opportunity! Rather than just a one-day event, 7 Hills of Kirkland takes place throughout the entire month of May, featuring cycling challenges, weekly mileage and elevation goals and community support.

Riders who join the challenge will enjoy GPS routes, rider leaderboards (to spark your competitive edge), games, contests and amazing prizes from all your favorite Kirkland businesses, To register, visit the website!

Kirkland Urban

KU Kids at Home by Kirkland Urban

10 a.m., Saturday, June 13

Virtual Event

KU Kids is now virtual! This free, family-friendly series takes place on the second Saturday of the month from now through August! Join in the fun at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, as Julie from Clown Buggie Entertainment takes over Kirkland Urban’s Facebook page to host a craft-a-long creating melted crayon art on canvas and answering questions along the way. To participate, guests can pick up a free craft kit on Thursday, June 11, from Shake Shack, Mud Bay or Restore at Kirkland Urban. Follow Kirkland Urban on social media (@kirklandurban on Instagram and Kirkland Urban on Facebook) for more details as they are announced, or visit the Kirkland Urban website!

Cancelled Events

In alignment with the recent extension of Gov. Jay Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, and because continued physical distancing is critical to halting the spread of COVID-19, the following events are cancelled:

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)
Thursday, May 21 through Monday, May 25
Kirkland Performance Center
350 Kirkland Avenue
For more information on SIFF, including Virtual SIFF Cinema, please visit:

Recycling Collection Event

Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
11605 132nd Ave. N.E.
For more information, visit:

The Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce
All Chamber events through May 21 are cancelled
For more information, visit:

Kirkland Performance Center
All Kirkland Performance Center shows have been postponed until further notice
For more information, visit: