Updates from Councilmember Megan Dunn

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News from Councilmember Megan Dunn

July 2020

Megan Dunn's eNewsletter

CM Dunn Headshot

Snohomish County Council
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 609
Everett, Washington 98201
8th floor, Robert J. Drewel Building 
Phone: 425-388-3494
E-Mail: Megan.Dunn@snoco.org


Paula Rhyne, Legislative Aide

Dear Friend: 

As we head into this unprecedented Fourth of July weekend, I am taking the time to reflect on everything that has happened in our County and around our Country since I was sworn into office on January 6. I started off by assembling a team of advisors, meeting with the departments and shaking hands with close to 1,000 staff members! I toured the new Mukilteo Ferry terminal and met with the Deputy Director of NOAA in Washington DC to discuss the waterfront development. While in DC, I advocated for Federal support for responding to COVID, when at the time we had just three total cases. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my community during this tumultuous timeI am also more determined than ever to address the inequities in our system that have lead to disproportionate impacts to our communities of color

In this newsletter, I would like to share more about the County’s progress towards Phase 3, an update on our recent town hall discussion about race and equity, work that I have been doing with local human services providers responding to COVID, and an update on local events and news. 

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at Megan.Dunn@snoco.org or the council as a whole at contact.council@snoco.org and we can be a resource to you. 


Megan Dunn 

Happy Fourth of July

This Fourth of July weekend will certainly look different than any other Fourth of July weekend we have experienced. With parades and fireworks shows cancelled, and reminders that any gatherings should be less than 5 people outside of your household, it will certainly feel less festive than it has in the past, but there are still ways that we can celebrate.  

The City of Everett is encouraging people to decorate their porch, share festive messages on social media, and even dress up their pets! Fireworks are banned in the City of Everett and City of Mukilteo, but are allowed in some other cities and unincorporated Snohomish County on the Fourth of July from 9am-11:59. A complete list of areas and allowed times can be found on this flyer from the Snohomish County Fire Marshal, and this map shows where fireworks can and cannot be discharged on the 4th 

Snohomish County passed a fireworks ban in the Southwest County Urban Growth Area of Snohomish County this past December. Per State law, any ordinances that are more restrictive than state law do not go into effect for one year after adoption. So the ordinance adopted this past December does not go into effect until December of 2020. However, as it relates to this Fourth of July, if fireworks are being discharged outside of the allowed times or in areas that they are prohibited, you can call the Sheriff’s office at 425-407-3999 to report the activity. 

I hope that you have a safe, happy, and socially-distant Fourth of July! 

Happy 4th from Sassy!

Not Ready for Phase 3

Snohomish County would have been able to apply for Phase 3 at the end of June, but due to the volatile case count numbers and emergence of new cases, our County Health Officer and County Executive determined that it would be too risky and irresponsible to move to Phase 3 until the numbers show a more positive trend. Here is the statement from Executive Somers:  

“The current uptick in cases that we are experiencing is concerning. As we are seeing across the country, increased activity is directly related to increased infection rates,” said Executive Somers. “To move to the next phase, we need the community’s help by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Since we’ve made so much progress, now is not the time to backslide. We will continue to closely monitor the metrics and other counties in the region to track regional progress against COVID-19.” 

The Executive’s Office and Snohomish Health District have also stated in this press release that, “Even when Snohomish County reaches the next phase, allowing more businesses and activities to reopen, it will not mean it will be business as usual. There are guidelines that employers will need to follow through all of the phases. More detailed information is outlined in the Safe Start Plan. Businesses must also wait until they have industry-specific health and safety guidance before reopening within the proper phase. The governor’s office maintains a list of guidance for industries.” 

Let’s all do our part to protect our most vulnerable neighbors and our healthcare system. The quickest way to open our economy and get people back to work is by keeping our case count low. We can do this through following social distancing measures, washing hands, and wearing a face covering. You can protect customer service workers by wearing a mask and assume the good intentions of others.  

Face Covering Requirements

Washington State Department of Health now requires that people wear a mask or cloth face covering when you are in public and are unable to stay more than 6-feet away from other people. Face coverings, social distancing, and good hand hygiene is the best defense that we have against COVID. Wearing a facemask protects you and others from getting or spreading the virus.  

If you have any questions or concerns about face masks and the requirements, here is a link to a FAQ from the Washington State Department of Health. It covers how and when you should be wearing a mask, and when they’re not required or needed.  

Washington State recently distributed thousands of masks to Snohomish County. The County’s Department of Emergency Management recently received the masks and have distributed them to cities based on percentage of population who is below the federal poverty level, and the County will distribute face coverings to the unincorporated areas within the County. On this Coronavirus Response and Community Resource Hub webpage from Snohomish County, you can scroll down a little bit to view an interactive map showing distribution sites in the County. If you live within a city's limits, please get in touch with your city's offices for more information about their distribution process.

Snohomish County volunteers have really stepped up to provide masks for anyone who needs one. The team at Give Well Local through Providence Institute for a Healthier Community has a fantastic portal set up where you can find places that distribute masks. Volunteers with the Snohomish County Mask Brigade have made over 8,000 masks, and volunteers have distributed them to organizations all over the county. What a great showing of community!  

Which Mask to Wear

Race and Equity Listening Session

The Snohomish County Council is taking strides to address systemic racism which leads to many of the inequities that we see in our community. The Council recently hosted a listening session regarding Race and Equity in Snohomish County. Many callers joined and shared negative experiences that they have had with law enforcement and ways that the system as a whole has made it difficult for them to succeed. Other people who joined the meeting shared that they don’t believe that race plays a factor in a person’s success or how they are treated by law enforcement. 

I’ve been hearing many of the same questions from community members, so I started the session by asking questions on current practices and demographics so that we can all start on the same page. We heard that deputies are required to use comprehensive reporting – requiring officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force. And, ‘chokeholds’ are not allowed in the sheriff’s office but lateral vascular neck restraints (LVNRs) are allowed, and only to be used by trained officers and supervisors are notified when they are used. Sheriff deputies are required to attend critical incident debrief but it’s not clear that they receive counseling after being involved in a shooting or use of deadly force. I have received other questions from community members and asked our Data Analyst to provide more details so we have better understanding of current procedures so we can then identify the gaps we need to address. 

County Council must prioritize investing in programs that keep all our communities safe, this must include prioritizing community-led health and safety strategies and law and justice reforms. Based on comments we heard at the listening session, the police and sheriff’s department of our County must work to rebuild trust with our community. 

I am committed to moving meaningful policy change forward and will rely on community input and subject matter experts for any initiatives. I have committed to supporting the Snohomish County NAACP policy priorities and will work to address the inequalities we see in voting, housing, hiring, criminal justice, environmental justice, health and welfare and others. If you have any input on this matter or would like to talk more about your experiences with race and equity, it's important to me to listen and learn from you. Please don't hesitate to email me at Megan.Dunn@snoco.org. 

Emergency Coordination Center Visit

Recently I visited the Department of Emergency Management’s Emergency Coordination Center with my legislative aide, Paula, to sit in on their morning briefing, take a quick tour of the facility, and to drop off some individually wrapped treats for the hard working staff. Part of the site houses staff year-round, but when there is an emergency, like the Oso Landslide, massive flooding, and now COVID, the other half of the building that houses the Emergency Coordination Center and Joint Information Center activates and teams of staff members from the county come together to respond to the crisis event. 

Depending on the type of emergency, various types of teams are activated to address emergency support functions related to transportation, communications, housing, public health, search and rescue, hazardous materials and other important responses. Knowing how hard they have been working since the beginning of this pandemic, it was great to see the work space that they have been using to coordinate our county's response to this pandemic and keep our county safe and prepared. 

Thank you Department of Emergency Management, ESF Teams, Joint Information Center, Snohomish Health District, and volunteers!  

ECC Visit

Thank you ECC, DEM, and volunteers!


Their hard work is appreciated!

ECC Visit

Human Services Providers Calls

At the onset of the pandemic, it was immediately clear that many people were going to be need and that there would be a strain on our human services providers, especially in light of funding drying up. As businesses closed their doors and saw fewer customers, many of our local non-profits saw an increase in clients and people needing services. I quickly called together a group of local non-profit service providers so that we could work together and share resources, ideas, and work collaboratively to reduce the impacts this virus.  

Our first call was in early March, and between local service providers, representatives from the County, and representatives from the Health District, we had about 25 participants. Since then, we have expanded to a distribution list of over 100 local non-profits and advocates and our weekly calls usually have about 40 organizations joining to share information and resources. 

Each week, the County and Health District both provide updates and then we have a “deep dive” topic which has included: 

  • Food insecurity and food access  
  • Accessing housing and rental assistance 
  • Accessing COVID testing services 
  • Accessing and signing up for Unemployment (State Commissioner LeVine joined!) 
  • Services available to people experiencing homelessness 
  • The rise of abuse amidst COVID and how to report 
  • Sustaining our local agriculture and bolstering farms 
  • Services available to immigrant and refugee families 
  • Isolation and quarantine options for people experiencing homelessness 

I have heard from people who have joined the calls that these are have been imperative to open up communication between organizations and allow for better coordination for services. It’s also been a great opportunity for the County to ensure that we are not duplicating services so that we can be good stewards of taxpayers dollars.  

I am grateful for the incredible hard work that these organizations have been doing and continue to do, especially in light of their own organizational challenges to stay afloat when many haven’t been able to do their usual spring fundraising eventsThe work that these organizations do to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities is truly inspiring and Snohomish County is an even better place to live because of all the care and compassion that they have for our neighbors in need.

Thank you, human services providers! And thank you too to our Human Services Department! 

Continued Community Need

My office is continuing to hear from families who are struggling during this time due to layoffs and stalled unemployment claims. With the eviction moratorium sunsetting soon, there are many in our community who are still unable to make rent to retain their housing. I’m hearing that people’s cars have been repossessed and that people are unable to access clothing due to a lack of income. If you or someone you know are having a hard time making ends meet, here are some resources available to you: 

  • North County 2-1-1 can direct you to resources if you need assistance finding food, paying housing bills, or in need of other essential services. You can call the numbers 2-1-1, or find them online at www.211.org  
  • The County recently put together a resource hub for individuals and businesses who need assistance. Check out www.recoverywa.com to link you to resources available. 
  • Washington State’s Eviction Moratorium has been extended to August 1. If your landlord is trying to illegally evict you, you can complete this form with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to report it.  
  • Here is a link to the Snohomish County Resource Hub listing food banks, meal programs, shelter options, testing sites, and other information.  
  • Here is a link to a County Human Services Resource List regarding COVID 19 Response and Resources.  

If you are in need of services and need assistance navigating the system or have questions about what is available to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at megan.dunn@snoco.org and my office is more than happy to help direct you to the resources that can help you best. You are not alone in your struggles and we are here to help. 

Point In Time Count

In January, I joined staff and volunteers as we spread out all over Snohomish County to count the number of people who are experiencing homelessness. I volunteered for this effort to get first hand experience in understanding how the Point in Time Count works and what the struggles are to obtain this baseline data. The result of this year’s count documented 1,132 people in the County who were sleeping outside, in shelters, in encampments, or other areas. The number was up by 16 individuals from the 2019 numbers, but less than the anticipated increase of 10%. This number is also the highest that the County has seen since 2012. The data has been thoroughly analyzed and graphical analysis of this data and other data sets will be posted at this link 

We must address the lack of income based housing and transitional housing available to people. COVID has pushed people to the brink of losing their current housing and immediate resources are imperative to keep people housed. Without a safe and decent place to live, it’s nearly impossible for a person experiencing homelessness to get back on their feet. Considering that the median market rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Snohomish County is $1,451, it’s unreasonable to expect a person experiencing homelessness to save enough money for the first/last/deposit needed to move into a market-rate apartment in our region. To keep societal costs down, it’s important to provide rapid rehousing for people who lose their apartments, especially as we look ahead to the sunsetting of the eviction moratorium. I will continue to focus on ways that the county can assist in this endeavor.  

Point in Time Count Graphic

WSU Snohomish County Extension

WSU Extension has a number of virtual programs available this summer. You can check out programs like food preservationmaster gardeningand forest stewardship webinars. There are also opportunities to volunteer in-person for beach watching opportunities and clean-ups 

WSU Snohomish County Extension is such a great resource with lots of activities to help pass the time while we social distance. For a complete listing of their activities, here is a link to their program calendar 

WSU Extension

In Closing

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. I hope that it’s helpful and informative. I know that there is a lot of information out there and it can sometimes be hard to sift through all of it. There is a lot of work to do moving ahead as we battle a global pandemic and create a more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant place to live. It’s certainly not an easy task, but I came into office with my sleeves rolled up ready to take it on. Wwill continue to work to have a community where there is liberty and justice for all. 

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach me at Megan.Dunn@snoco.org, or my Aide, Paula, at Paula.Rhyne@snoco.org if we can be of assistance in any way.  

In Service, 


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