SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan shared what the city has accomplished over the last two years and her vision for the future during her her third State of the City address Tuesday.
The mayor touched on several issues, including homelessness, education, and public safety, according to excerpts from a prepared statement.
"Today, I want to talk about with all of you about taking action and making progress. In the last two years, together we have taken bold action to make our progressive values real in people’s lives. Because of our shared actions and commitment, I can tell you today the State of our City is strong and resilient. Yes, we have challenges.
"But we have the values, the talent, and the determination to meet them. It is important to remember that progress is rarely easy. It often means setbacks. And progress takes the tireless work, commitment, and vision of some truly remarkable people."
Public safety was once again pushed to the forefront of city debate after a deadly shooting in the city's downtown core in January.
"We know one of the fundamental functions of our city government is public safety. We must do more to increase public safety. But to achieve that, we cannot act like the other Washington - we cannot create false choices in order to achieve holistic community safety. For many people, increased public safety means more police officers, changing our gun laws, and a criminal justice system that deals better with repeat offenders. Many others believe we need more economic opportunity for youth, more intervention and diversion programs, and more behavioral health treatment. My answer is: We need all of the above."
Frustrated downtown Seattle business owners and workers addressed the city council after the shooting, saying they don't feel safe with the frequent crime.
Meanwhile, the city - along with the region as a whole - continues to try and curb the number of people living on the streets.
In December, the Seattle City Council approved the creation of a Regional Homelessness Authority, which combines resources from the two jurisdictions.
"We know that government, philanthropy, and employers have a shared responsibility to help our most vulnerable neighbors," Durkan's statement reads. "We believe that in a region as prosperous as ours, no one should experience homelessness, and that everyone should have access to safe and affordable housing. That’s why we have focused so much energy and action on our homelessness and housing crisis. This enormous challenge is a generation in the making, and there is so much more to do.
"It’s also important to know that, yes, we are making some progress. For the first time since 2012, the annual Point in Time Count showed a decline in the number of people living unsheltered. We have transformed our shelter system to one that provides more 24/7 services and a path to housing. We have provided permanent housing to more people than ever before. And with our regional partners, particularly King County Executive Dow Constantine, we are beginning a new era in the fight against homelessness: a more unified regional approach to replace our fractured, siloed system. But one truth remains: For both our low income and middle income neighbors, we need more affordable housing in every part of our city and region. We must do more."