SEATTLE, Washington — Last week, the city of Seattle announced that it would be making changes to crack down on "hazardous" RVs that line some city streets.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan discussed these new changes and other city issues on KING 5 News on Monday.
Vehicles deemed a hazard will be towed and destroyed on under the new rules, as opposed to being sold at an auction and increasing the likelihood of having those RVs back on the streets.
“There are some individuals who take RVs that have been towed away that are not suitable for habitation. These are health risk RVs," Durkan said. "They take them and rent them out for very cheap amounts. It’s like the worst of slumlords."
Durkan said the city is trying to do a lot more with outreach to those who are living in those vehicles by connecting them with services and employment.
“Our first focus is always how can we support the person who needs the help, but at the same time, we’ve got a real public interest in not having these health hazards in this community.”
Durkan on homeless camps
For years, many business owners have expressed frustration at having tents outside their buildings.
So can the city open up designated camp areas?
Durkan says there are some authorized encampment areas, which have now been turned into tiny home villages.
“I can't guarantee that we’ll ever have a place where there are no tents until there is enough housing and services for people. That’s something the city of Seattle can't do on its own,” she said.
Use of municipal golf courses
The City of Seattle has commissioned a study looking at the future of its municipal golf courses, which are the only public golf courses in Seattle.
There are four public golf courses, which equate to a little over 500 acres of land.
“We have these great treasures in the city and we should have a conversation about whether they are the best use of that source. We may determine that they are, but one thing I know we need is a lot of open green space, which those things really provide us with," Durkan said.
Durkan stressed the city is just examining all options right now and that nothing has been decided.
Paid maternity leave after the death of a child
The new law signed by Durkan on Monday expands the city’s paid family leave program to cover employees whose child has died.
Previously, Seattle city employees could only take paid leave if they were caring for another family member.
Employees could use paid sick or vacation time, but if that time is used up, they must either work, request donated sick time, or stay home without pay.
“We didn’t realize this hole existed in our law, and by bringing this forward, we’ve now been able to change it for all city workers,” Durkan said.
Reaction to two recent shootings in Seattle
Over the weekend, several shots were fired near the Van Asselt Community Center, and on Monday, there was a shooting near Second Avenue and Pine Street.
Durkan said these were the first instances of shots fired in the city in two weeks.
“We want everyone to know that we are working really hard and want to work with the community. If you know something about these shootings, please say something,” Durkan said.
The mayor said she and the Seattle Police Department have been focusing on anti-violence measures.