Mayor Jenny Durkan will be giving her first State of the City address at Rainier Beach High School at 11 a.m. She is expected to announce a plan to give free ORCA cards to high school students and Seattle Promise scholars. Watch live above and follow along below. I'll be updating this post with any news from Durkan's address.
11:08 AM: City council president Bruce Harrell is speaking right now now, shouting out a number of officials in the audience, including city council and school board members. He dropped a Black Panther reference.
11:16 AM: Mayor Durkan is speaking now. She noted that the City of Seattle is named after chief Seattle. "We should always remember that the city of Seattle resides in the Coast Salish territories," she said.
11:23: Durkan has outlined her priorities in five parts.
1. Housing affordability, "a crisis that threatens the soul of our city.
2. Delivering city services “better and smarter.”
3. Racial and social justice
4. Standing up to Trump
5. "Seizing the awesome opportunities we have to build a more vibrant and better city for the next generation."
11:29: Durkan gave pretty Durkaneque talk on housing. "We need to speed up permitting, add density and add housing in every part of this city,” Durkan said The mayor touted her announcement in December to invest a record $100 million in affordable housing, and asked the council to pass her plan to create a pilot program providing rental rental assistance for the unhoused. She also noted the Seattle-King County partnership on homelessness called One Table.
11:35: Durkan just announced her plan to give free ORCA cards to high school students, promising to give free passes to 15,000 Seattle high school students, as well as Seattle Promise scholars. "Right now, for too many students in Rainier Beach and on Lake City Way and other parts of our City, getting to school or work means an unsafe trip or a long walk in the cold and rain. This is wrong. Here’s what is right: That each student in Seattle has access to affordable, reliable transportation,” she said. The mayor deliberately chose to give her speech at Rainier High School, which first launched a campaign to get free ORCA cards.
11:39: Durkan is touting her program to give Seattle high school graduates two years of free college tuition, which is modeled after an existing 13th year scholarship program, which gives on year of free tuition. She asked recipients of those scholarships to stand up. “Free college helped change the arc of their lives,” she said.
11:44: Durkan on a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: "This year, I intend to work with Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, employers, and others to make it a reality. The time for talk is over.”
11:46: Durkan is celebrating a city employee who plowed snow as most Seattlites celebrated the holidays.
11:50: Durkan is getting riled up talking about gun control. "Schools are meant for joy and learning. They are not meant for lockdowns and mass shootings,” she said, though she did not give any specifics about gun control policies.
11:53: Here comes police reform. Durkan notes that a federal judge declared the Seattle Police Department in compliance with its federal consent decree. “And yet we’re not done. We must continue to get better. Lasting reform requires deep, cultural change,” Durkan said. She talked about the process of selecting a new police chief and announced an online community survey on what Seattleites want. Get on that, people!
11:55: I am guessing we will not hear anything in this speech about an employee hours tax.
11:58: Durkan says she wants to build twenty green buildings. And she also started her anti-Trump portion of her speech. "To the lesser Washington, let me be clear: When the lives of people and the environment we chair are under attack, we will never ever back down."
11:59: We are about to learn what this means: "Seizing the awesome opportunities we have to build a more vibrant and better city for the next generation.”
12:02 p.m: It means buildings and infrastructure. "Alaskan Way Viaduct will finally come down, and it will be amazing,” Durkan said. “Everyone will know Seattle by it’s waterfront.” She also talked about the MOU with Oak View Group to renovate KeyArena, touting her effort to attract an NHL team and bringing back the Sonics. Starting March 1, Seattleites can start making deposits for NHL season tickets.
12:03: Durkan is wrapping up now.
12:04: She is finished. What Durkan didn't mention: An employee hours tax or any new progressive revenue, unions for Uber and Lyft drivers, the word "Amazon," homelessness sweeps, speculation, labor law enforcement. Am I missing anything? Put it in the comments.