Mayor Bruce Harrell Delivers State of the City Speech, Commits to Action on Public Safety, Homelessness, and Shared City Priorities
In address to City Council, Mayor Harrell lays out key issues facing City, rejects divisiveness, and highlights “Back to Basics” good governance approach
Seattle – Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell delivered his first State of the City address. Joined by members of his executive team and delivered directly to City Council for the first time since 2016, Mayor Harrell laid out the significant challenges facing the City and his vision for a collaborative approach to solve them.
“Our priorities do not have to contradict – instead of looking at differing opinions as mutually exclusive, we can look to the politics of and: A-N-D,” said Mayor Harrell. “The right number of officers AND the right kind of officers. More housing AND vibrant, unique neighborhoods. Climate justice AND new jobs. Diversity AND commonality.” Rejecting divisiveness, highlighting a “Back to Basics” approach, and committing to work with the City Council to drive substantive change and noticeable improvement, Mayor Harrell laid out key issues facing the City and his plans to address them:
Addressing Crime AND A Comprehensive Approach to the Problem: Facing a rise in violent crime and a 40% increase in gun violence, Mayor Harrell committed to immediate action to concentrate on areas with high crime, holding offenders accountable and creating a holistic effort to support neighborhoods through social services and community engagement.
More Officers AND the Right Kind of Officers: With SPD staffing depleted, Mayor Harrell is rolling out a new campaign to recruit the next generation of Seattle Police officers, including 36 new officers through a special Seattle-only class at the training academy.
Safety AND Reform: Mayor Harrell shared more information about his efforts to create a third public safety department, joining Seattle Police and Fire, along with his commitment to changing the culture at SPD and reaching an end to the federal consent decree.
Helping People Living Unsheltered AND Restoring Parks and Making Sidewalks Accessible: Later this week, Mayor Harrell will make an announcement of a new regional initiative with the Regional Homelessness Authority. He also shared early efforts to strengthen the City's response to the crisis through internal systems improvements, more transparent updates to the public, and a clear focus on restoring public spaces.
Return AND Recovery: As COVID cases decline, Mayor Harrell announced that City employees will begin returning to office in mid-March, joining the 65% of City employees who have worked in the field and in-person during the pandemic, and that the City will ramp up recovery efforts through distribution of federal and state resources.
A Budget That Is Financially Sound AND Supports Our Values: With the potential for a $150 million gap between 2023 expected revenue and expenditures, Mayor Harrell called for a number of strategies to address the foreseeable shortfall, praising incoming Budget Director Julie Dingley and pledging to work with City Council to solve the problem.
Small Business Support AND Worker Protections: Mayor Harrell shared his focus on supporting small businesses, improving worker protections, and creating a Seattle Jobs Center, so the City can support better alignment between employers and employees through increasing access to jobs, workforce development, and apprenticeships.
More Housing AND Vibrant, Unique Neighborhoods: Mayor Harrell shared information on the early stages of the Comprehensive Plan Update, including giving all communities, especially communities of color, a voice in shaping the future of Seattle, as the City works to build walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods with a housing supply that meets the needs of the future.
Further, Mayor Harrell restated his commitment to strengthening equity in the City, sharing key priorities around access to education through Seattle Preschool Program and Seattle Promise; access to health care through his Healthy Seattle initiative; and increased City support for women- and minority-owned businesses. Learn more and read the details from Mayor Harrell’s State of the City Address here. “Clearly, the challenges facing Seattle are bigger than me alone. The path forward requires empowering each other – my executive team, our department directors, and the City Council. It means engaging our greatest resource – the people of our City – in the solutions we want to see,” said Mayor Harrell. “We can change the narrative in our City AND make Seattle a better place for the people who call it home.”