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In today's paper, I report on opponents to King County's plan to tear down the aging Juvenile Detention Center in the Central District and replace it with a new "Children and Family Justice Center." Some, including groups like Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, have met with county officials and are building a coalition to exert pressure on the King County Council to change its plans. Others have put up posters around the jail that exhort the community to "burn the Juvie down." Some anarchists intend to march against the jail on May Day (tomorrow), and I said they ought to think creatively and do more than make unstrategic calls for property destruction.

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And look, they fucking read my mind! These posters purporting to be an announcement by King County went up on poles around the detention center last night. They're a well-executed hoax (a friend of mine thought they were real). They manage to inform the public, offer an alternative of the future, and throw down the gauntlet to the local officials: if the new "justice center" doesn't lower racist incarceration rates, and if it intensifies gentrification and displacement in the area, this poster will seem remarkably prescient. And the politicians, not the anarchists, will look incredibly stupid. The text is below the jump.

King County Council has withdrawn its plans for the Children and Family Justice Center development project at 12th and Alder in the Central District. The $210 million project, approved in August 2012 by 7% of King County's total adult population, would have permitted developers to build upscale housing and retail around a redesigned juvenile court and detention complex. However...After careful deliberation of the facts, the Council concluded that the Children and Family Justice Center project would have resulted in:

The further displacement of long-time Central District residents. Increased pressures on the housing stock due to an influx of Seattle University students and affluent professionals, coupled with a recorded history of housing discrimination, has resulted in a 30% decrease in the black population of the Central District. The council determined that the development project would only exacerbate racial tensions, quality of life disparities, and economic inequality in the surrounding neighborhood.

The perpetuation of a racially and economically discriminatory criminal justice system. Study of King County's juvenile detention population statistics proved that though the imprisoned population has decreased slightly, the proportion of youth of color detained has increased over time. In addition, the Council determined that...[it] would not have addressed the social and economic root causes of juvenile crime.

Further, the Council determined that the project could not deliver on several of its stated objectives, including creating a diverse and thriving street life, improving security and safety, and supporting neighborhood plans, policies and aesthetics. Thorough analysis of plans revealed that the proposed development would decrease diversity, increase unwanted surveillance and police presence, and impose undesirable aesthetics on the neighborhood.

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Left with no other feasible options and due to the current facility's unsuitable condition, King County has determined to cease operations at the Youth Services Center on June 1, 2014. The buildings will be demolished and cleared by Summer 2015 to make way for much-needed green space.

There will be public input and volunteer opportunities as this new project progresses. In the meantime, we ask you to consider how you think the land at 12th and Alder could best be put to use to serve the needs of your community?

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