The #BlocktheBunker movement wins.
In a joint announcement this evening, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and three City Council members said they're abandoning plans to push through up to $149 million in funding for a brand new police station in North Seattle during this fall's budget negotiations.
"There are real tensions in this community around race and policing, so I think we need to back up," Murray said.
Council Member Debora Juarez, who represents North Seattle, said it's time to "to slow this down and do it right."
"The only responsible next step is to return to the drawing board," said Council Member Lorena González.
“We listened," said Council Member Tim Burgess.
The decision represents a reversal for all four officials—political allies who'd pushed ahead with the project one month ago—and a testament to the power of the city's Black Lives Matter movement.
As recently as Tuesday night, Murray was passionately defending the project. The mayor insisted the new police station was vital to police reform, talking over a racial justice activist named Rashad Barber who questioned him during a public event on Capitol Hill about the failure of the city to engage in a racial equity analysis.
Last week, Council Member Kshama Sawant led journalists and activists on a tour of the existing North Seattle police station. Sawant concluded it was an "adequate," though not ideal, police station and urged the $149 million be spent on 1,000 affordable housing units instead. We saw crude anti-Obama stickers on officer lockers—the department said they were "inappropriate" and removed them.
"This is a clear example of how community organizing can move mountains," said Council Member Mike O'Brien. "It took the collective action of Seattle activists and members of the Black Lives Matter movement to bring the North Precinct to the forefront of civic consciousness."