Murray Threatened to Pull Police Over Jungle Policy, Text Messages Show

“We are losing the ability to control our streets,” warned the Mayor.

Mayor Ed Murray really, really didn’t want Sally Bagshaw to interfere with his plans to clear out the Jungle, new text messages show.

“If you do resolution on homelessness restricting our ability to deal with the rapes and other violent crime and the bike chop shops down there in the jungle,” the mayor texted Bagshaw last month, “I will stop all clean ups throughout the city and pull police off enforcement. We are losing the ability to control our streets.”

He later texted, “Scott Lindsey [Murray’s public-safety advisor] said you won’t speak with me because I will yell at you. I have always been with staff when I meet with you and I have never yelled at you.”

The texts were reported by David Kroman of Crosscut, Dan Beekman of The Seattle Times, and Heidi Groover and Ansel Herz of The Stranger.

The text messages add a fascinating new twist to our earlier coverage of the back-and-forth between Murray and Bagshaw over whether and when to clear the Jungle, an archipelago of unpermitted homeless encampments along I-5. Murray sent the texts during his trip to China last month, immediately prior to a pair of dueling press conferences staged by the mayor and councilmembers. As we reported previously, Murray sought to portray the Council as delaying humanitarian aid to the Jungle, while Bagshaw and her Council colleague Mike O’Brien argued (as this paper has) that clearing the Jungle without having sustainable shelter or housing lined up amounts to homeless Whack-a-Mole. In the following days, Bagshaw martialed her nuclear-grade pleasantness to rope the mayor into agreeing to an edited, but basically intact, version of her resolution, which indefinitely delayed plans to clear out the Jungle. (Yesterday we learned that describing Bagshaw’s pleasantness as “nuclear-grade” has earned her the City Hall moniker of “Nuke,” after Tim Robbins’ character in Bull Durham.)

This is hardly the first time the mayor’s legendary temper has leaked into public. Two years ago, The Stranger’s Anna Minard reported that Murray called her, “yelling and rambling,” to complain about her coverage of his work on the city’s gender pay gap. Also two years ago, Josh Feit reported that a “[r]ed in the face” Murray admonished his $15 minimum-wage task force that “Now you’re just fucking with me” when they hit a hiccup in reaching a final deal for raising the city’s minimum wage.

But while Murray’s open (behind closed doors) aggression may unsettle some denizens in our city of passive aggression, it could have been worse. At least Murray didn’t go full-Wiseau:

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