City of Seattle

courtesy Mark Durall

There’s just one week left for the public to comment on preferred alternatives for completion of the missing link in Seattle’s Burke Gilman Trail. The nearly 20-mile trail extends from Ballard to Bothell and is one of the region’s most popular bike routes.

Walt Jabsco/Flckr

Why the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies have placed hidden cameras on utility poles in Seattle, or even where they are, remains a mystery. A federal judge has ruled that the city of Seattle is not allowed to release information about six surveillance cameras the city allowed the agencies to put up.

Courtesy City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the plan to clear out the crime-ridden homeless encampment known as The Jungle is not an inhumane “sweep.” But he says it still needs to happen as quickly as possible.

“For folks who are in particularly dangerous situations, we should move them. When people are being raped, when people are setting themselves on fire, we’ve got to go in and do something,” Murray said, “and unless someone is engaged in breaking the law, such as a sexual assault, we’re not going to criminalize homelessness.”

Courtesy City of Seattle

Seattle and state officials have announced plans to move people out of the notorious homeless encampment along Interstate 5 known as “the Jungle.” The area is beneath I-5, roughly between Dearborn and Spokane Streets, as well as in the Duwamish Greenbelt east of the freeway. The plan comes several months after a shooting at the camp left two people dead and three wounded.

AnnabelB / flickr

Hundreds of low-cost housing units and small businesses are threatened if proposed changes to zoning go through in Seattle’s University District. That’s according to neighborhood groups who are hosting a community forum with city officials Monday evening to voice their concerns.

Seattle’s University District is one of the city’s six main urban centers zoned for high density. It’s already growing rapidly, with change propelled by a new light rail station at the heart of the neighborhood.

realtor.com

Finding a place to rent in a tight housing market is stressful enough. Being turned down because you are retired or living on disability can make it even worse. That’s why Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he wants to outlaw discrimination based on a person’s source of income.

Columbia Legal Services attorney Merf Ehman says she recently had a case where a landlord flat out refused to accept any tenants who lived on retirement or disability benefits because, he said, he wouldn’t be able to garnish their wages if they didn’t pay the rent.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

The non-profit that set up Pronto, as it is called, will be shut down. But the city of Seattle is spending nearly $1.5 million to bail out its troubled bike share system. Seattle’s City Council voted 7-2 to pay off its debt and added in a bit more money to cover transition costs. Its days were numbered until the city stepped in to rescue it.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Energy efficiency and water conservation are important factors in keeping rental housing affordable. That’s the idea behind a new program launched in Seattle that’s demonstrating the concept nationwide, with an emphasis on multi-family buildings in high-cost urban areas.

Daniel X. O'Neil via Creative Commons

Despite strong leads for all of the incumbents in Seattle’s city council races, the new council will be younger and more diverse than the current one. That’s one likely effect of the new district elections. 

Women will make up the majority of Seattle’s new city council; and it will have two Latinas, one of whom is also Native American.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Seattle is using drivers' cellphones to help improve traffic flow around the city. KOMO-TV reports that the Seattle Department of Transportation has placed 200 flat disc antennas on top of traffic signal boxes throughout downtown Seattle and the Mercer Corridor.

When Wi-Fi is enabled on a wireless device, such as a phone, tablet or laptop, the antennas pick up the devices unique signal and track it. Seattle's traffic control center says engineers can then track the time it takes a device to get from one antenna to another and hopefully adjust signal timing to help traffic plow.

AP Images

Several advocacy groups are warning city officials throughout Washington to review their treatment of homeless people. The groups say bans against sleeping outside are unconstitutional if a person has no place to call home. 

The warning went out to Washington city attorneys, prosecutors and police agencies. It asks them to take a closer look at local laws that make it a crime to sleep or camp in public places.

Paula Wissel

Some of those giant ads on buildings in downtown Seattle may be coming down. The city sued outdoor advertising company, Total Outdoor,  charging it with violating the city’s sign ordinance.

Now, a settlement has been reached.

Seattle’s sign ordinance is a decade old and is meant to help beautify the city by limiting billboards. The city contended Total Outdoor defied the law by marketing space on the sides of buildings to corporate clients, such as Apple and T-Mobile.

Paula Wissel

Seattle wants to shut down all of the hookah lounges in the city because of ongoing violence near the clubs. The most recent example was the murder of Donnie Chin, a well-liked community figure in Seattle’s International District. But, club owners say it’s unfair to punish them for what happens outside their establishments.

Paula Wissel

Seattle is making it easier to track development projects in the booming city. An interactive online map on the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) website lets users click on any current permitted building project. There are more than 100 in just the downtown area.

A click on one of the blue dots brings up every document tied to a particular project, from the mitigation being done for building on a steep slope to the construction timeline to architectural renderings.

AP Images

It's been nearly a year since a train derailed under a busy Seattle bridge, tipping three oil tanker cars off the tracks in Magnolia during the morning commute. No one was hurt in the accident but the near-miss spurred city officials into action.  

A new resolution is going before the city council that outlines Seattle's wish list for regulations of crude oil shipments by rail. 

AP Images

A recent story in the New Yorker, which draws from the latest geological science,  says that within 50 years there's a good chance a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami will destroy a sizable portion of the Pacific Northwest and potentially kill 13,000 people in the process.

And according to, "The Really Big One," the odds of this Cascadia quake within five decades are one in three for a large quake and one in ten for a more massive one. 

So KPLU asked people on the streets of Seattle if they’re concerned about an earthquake and what, if anything, they’ve done to prepare for it. Click on the audio link (above) to hear their comments.

Paula Wissel

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the solution to disjointed planning in Seattle is to create a new city office to deal with the city's booming growth.  At a news conference, Murray signed an executive order creating a new Office of Planning and Community Development.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle school board members agreed to become partners in the city's new preschool program under an agreement that broadly defines the district's role in the pilot project.

Indeed while board members approved the document by a 5-1 vote Wednesday night, many also expressed concerns that the deal left too many unanswered questions about the district's role and responsibility in the program.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

 The City of Seattle has determined that some of the oil drilling equipment parked on the edge of Elliott Bay does not have the right kind of permit. This includes the large yellow platform called the Polar Pioneer.

The Port has appealed the decision. The City’s Hearing Examiner is scheduled to  take up the issue on June 3rd.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

 

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the Port of Seattle can't host Royal Dutch Shell's offshore Arctic oil-drilling fleet unless it gets a new land-use permit.

Shell has been hoping to base its fleet at the port's Terminal 5. Environmentalists have already sued over the plan, saying the port broke state law in February when it signed a two-year lease with Foss Maritime, which is working with Shell.

Donna Gordon Blankinship / AP Photo

A drill rig that could be used for oil drilling in the Arctic will arrive in Port Angeles on Friday and remain there for about two weeks before it heads to Seattle.

Protesters have said they plan to meet it when it arrives in Seattle in May.

In a statement, the Port of Port Angeles said the 400-foot Polar Pioneer will be off-loaded and then have equipment installed.

The Coast Guard says protesters will have to stay 100 yards away from the rig when it is anchored - and 500 yards away when it is in transit.

Elaine Thompson / AP

One of the biggest challenges Seattle faces is its transportation systems. The city is launching a series of talks at the library about the future of mobility. The aim is to get the public thinking about urban design as the population grows. 

Courtesy of SDOT

Seattle is joining other big cities with a new tool to make it easier to use public transportation. The city’s first TransitScreen is up and running at the Seattle Municipal Tower. The big screen display gives commuters in the building real-time information about their best travel options. And more TransitScreens are on the way. 

Brian Glanz / Flickr

Seattle’s City Council has declared the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day. They voted unanimously in favor of the resolution to replace city celebrations of Columbus Day and encourage other institutions to do the same.  

Mel Sheldon, former chairman of the Tulalip Tribe, was among many who testified in favor of the measure before the vote. To rounds of drumming and warm applause, he said thanks in his indigenous language, Coast Salish. 

"This initiative makes me proud. It makes all Indian people proud, because you're thinking about the future generations — the children, the little ones, who are not born yet," Sheldon said.

Brian Glanz / Flickr

Members of Seattle’s City Council and Mayor Ed Murray say they’re in favor of a resolution to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But the council postponed a vote on the measure. 

Members of several Native American tribes and their supporters rallied outside City Hall, then filled  council chambers to testify. They said Columbus brought genocide and slavery to the Americas and celebrations of him as a discoverer need to stop.

courtesy Dana Robinson Slote / Seattle City Council

Three tanker cars derailed at a Seattle rail yard early Thursday while carrying oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Anacortes.

No one was hurt and none of the oil spilled, according to Burlington Northern Santa Fe. But the incident spurred renewed calls from the city for a ban on oil train traffic near neighborhoods.  

In the wake of the deadly disaster in Oso, many people may be worrying about the potential for mudslides in their neighborhoods.

Jeff Roberson / AP Photo

Seattle may join several other cities in a campaign calling for a federal ban on the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms. A resolution on the issue has passed out of committee, and will be considered by the full council on Monday. 

The resolution calls for an end to routine feeding of antibiotics to animals, which critics say is leading to drug-resistant superbugs that harm human health. 

AP Photo

Seattle is getting serious about the possibility of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A symposium on income inequality called by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray honed in on the option as a key policy question.  

Several hundred people gathered at Seattle University for Thursday's symposium, which is part of the work of the mayor’s Advisory Committee on Income Inequality.

Erin Hennessey photo / KPLU News

Seattle is well-known as a city that loves its trees. The city even has a plan to increase its tree canopy to cover 30 percent of its open skies by the year 2037.

But the trees can sometimes get out of hand. Their powerful roots can be downright treacherous when they push through sidewalks.

So, what to do if you see one that has you worried? Or if you stub your toe on a bulging root? 

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