Council to Vote on Controversial $149 million North Precinct Project This Afternoon

Council is unlikely to approve the project without further price reductions.

At their 2 p.m. meeting this afternoon, the Seattle City Council is expected to vote on a non-binding resolution supporting Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed $149 million north Seattle police precinct. Based on what councilmembers have told us, it’s unlikely that the resolution will pass without further reductions in the budget, at least.

The project has been in planning since 1998, and there’s consensus in council that the current, three-decade-old north precinct is much too small for the number of officers it houses. But the price tag on the project—which recently doubled—is unprecedented, and amid the current affordable housing and homelessness crisis more and more Seattleites have objected to the massive expenditure. Public testimony, overwhelmingly against the precinct, lasted about an hour at the last council meeting on the subject.

Councilmembers Debora Juarez and Tim Burgess said Wednesday that they plan to vote in favor of González’s resolution. Kshama Sawant has been outspoken in her opposition to it, but is visiting family out of country and will miss the vote. Mike O’Brien says he’s unwilling to commit to a dollar amount until he can see a Racial Equity Toolkit analysis and a more precise cost breakdown, and Herbold has asked for those same changes. Rob Johnson and Bruce Harrell both say that $149 million is still too high, but didn’t give specifics on what an acceptable number would be. Sally Bagshaw’s vote is a big question mark; when asked how she’ll vote, she replied “Wait and see! :)”.

Bottom line: because González’s resolution is being introduced and voted on the same day, it needs a supermajority of six yes votes, according to a council spokesperson. Right now there are only three yes votes, plus one wild card and four councilmembers who say they support the project but the price is wrong.

It appears that to pass, González’s resolution will need to significantly reduce the price tag of the north precinct, or amend her resolution to avoid any specific dollar figure.

UPDATE: During morning briefing today, González revealed that she’s amended her resolution in some pretty big ways. The biggest: no specific dollar amount on the budget. Instead, council will hash out the precinct budget alongside all of the city’s other budgets in November. The resolution also requires a Racial Equity Toolkit analysis and a third party review of the cost projections presented by the city.

UPDATE: At the council’s 2 p.m. meeting today, chambers were overflowing with rowdy protesters agitating against the north precinct project. At one point, those protesters briefly shut down the meeting, but it started back up after several minutes of negotiation between council president Bruce Harrell and audience members. Despite the removal of any specific dollar figure for the noth precinct project from the resolution, protesters vociferously opposed it. Mike O’Brien moved to table the legislation temporarily in light of the controversy around it; Harrell seconded that motion, but abstained from the vote, and the rest of the council voted against it. When the vote on the resolution came up, O’Brien was the only no vote. The resolution passed. The crowd exploded in boos and “Shame!,” and the lights dimmed as councilmembers made their way to their private exit.

More in News & Comment

The Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity filed an appeal to the Seattle Hearing Examiner on Monday evening. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Coalition Appeals Zoning Changes

The 26-group coalition filed an appeal against proposed upzoning that aims to increase housing affordability.

Jenny Durkan Sworn in as Mayor of Seattle

The city’s first female mayor in over a century began her first shift on a citywide tour.

Mastermind of State’s Biggest Ponzi Scheme Escapes From Prison

Frederick Darren Berg had been indicted for fraud in 2012.

Facing Cuts From City, Homeless Service Providers Request a Reprieve

Funding would be cut for at least 300 shelter beds in Seattle, as well as hygiene and support services.

What Has Changed in the Year Since the Passage of Seattle’s Hotel Worker Law?

According to hotel housekeepers on The Westin’s night shift, not much.

Activists and Politicians Rally for Stronger Tenant Protections

During the event, State Representative Nicole Macri announced that she will be introducing legislation to repeal a statewide ban on rent control.

Photo by Frank Kovalchek/Wikimedia
Reports of Assault in the Air Could Be Taking Off

As Randi Zuckerberg accuses Alaska Airlines of inaction, one Seattleite collects accounts of a problem she expects to become more prevalent.

The hummus comes one of five ways. Photo by Nicole Sprinkle
A New Hummus Bar on Capitol Hill Delivers Unexpected Brilliance

A lively atmosphere and fantastic food make Aviv a delectable destination.

Most Read