Protesters in city hall. Photo by Alex Garland.

Bunker? Blocked.

The mayor and some councilmembers walked back a proposed, expensive new police station. For now.

Mayor Ed Murray announced today that the city will “update” its plans to construct a new, $149 million police precinct in north Seattle. Black lives activists have been fanning public pressure against the project all summer, arguing that funding for the unprecedentedly expensive precinct would be better used to build affordable housing.

Those activists just won. For now.

In a press release, Murray and his council allies on the precinct project—Tim Burgess, Debora Juarez, and M. Lorena González—announced that “the City will review the proposed new North Precinct facility, citing concerns around equity, cost and community needs. The City will…conduct a Racial Equity Toolkit review of the proposed precinct, and review…project cost.”

Murray summarized his current stance on the project: “I remain committed to replacing the aging precinct in North Seattle and am prepared to consider multiple design options, if it is determined that is the best path for the community.”

The precinct’s council supporters each emphasized that they still believe the existing north Seattle precinct, which is about 30 years old, needs to be replaced. Still: “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to slow this down and do it right,” said Juarez. “We listened,” said Burgess. Based on community feedback and cost concerns, “we want to take another look at the component parts of the building and even redesign some of them in an effort to lower the cost.” González said that for the same reasons, she’s reached the “conclusion that the only responsible next step is to return to the drawing board.”

Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien, the precinct’s strongest critics on the council, responded via press releases to the news by thanking the #BlackLivesMatter and #BlockTheBunker activists whose “sustained and intense public opposition and protests” Sawant credits for “forc[ing the mayor and council] to retreat from their previous insistence on building the most expensive precinct in the country.”

Here are more council reactions via Twitter:

This post has been edited to clarify that Sawant and O’Brien’s reactions were via press release.

More in News & Comment

County Officials to Use Downtown Seattle Jail as Homeless Shelter

The facility will house between 125 and 150 people, allow for 24-hour access, and likely won’t require that individuals be sober to stay there.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

All nine justices found the use of capital punishment in Washington state unconstitutional and racially biased.

Incarcerated and Infirmed: How Northwest Detention Center Is Failing Sick Inmates

Inadequate medical care plagues immigrants at the facility, but ICE claims otherwise.

DNA Under Girl’s Fingernail Leads to Attempted Kidnapping Charge

Teen scratched man’s face after he forced her into vehicle near Kent

Executive Constantine Reforms Police Deadly Force Inquest Process

The changes come after community members and advocates called the system biased in favor of law enforcement.

Anita Khandelwal Nominated to Lead King County Department of Public Defense

Prior reporting had indicated that county leaders wouldn’t support her for the job due to her public opposition to the new youth detention center.

Executive Dow Constantine Proposes $11.6 Billion Budget

With King County’s finances already stretched thin, Constantine’s budget largely maintains current services while making investments in transit, law enforcement, and juvenile justice reform.

Secure Gun Storage Ordinance Approved by King County Council

A Bellevue-based gun rights group has already vowed legal action in response.

Cliffhanger Ahead in 8th Congressional District

Polls show Kim Schrier and Dino Rossi in close race for open Congress seat