Seattle councilmember says a West Seattle jail site is one of the 2 “most likely”

UPDATED FROM ORIGINAL FRIDAY MORNING VERSION: covered a Magnolia meeting Thursday night regarding the proposed jail site in Interbay. That site’s original report said that Burgess thought the Interbay and “South Seattle” sites were the most likely ones of the “final four” — since there is no “South Seattle” site, but rather two West Seattle sites (Highland Park Way SW/West Marginal Way and Myers Way South), we contacted the Magnolia Voice editor (a veteran journalist who I worked with for years in Seattle citywide media), who reported he’d said Myers Way (which she confirmed when we checked with her again just now). However, Councilmember Burgess left a comment on this post saying he had mentioned the “First Avenue South Bridge” site, and pointing to a post on his own blog from early August in which he said Interbay and “First Avenue South Bridge” were the sites most likely to meet the criteria. No site is identified as “First Avenue South Bridge” on the city list; the Highland Park Way SW/West Marginal Way site is the closest to that bridge. We have a message out to Councilmember Burgess to clarify that’s the one he describes as “First Avenue South Bridge.” and will update this again if/when we hear back. *Note that we have not amended the comment thread below, so it refers to the original version of this post, up through my response to Councilmember Burgess’s comment; anything after that would be responding to this updated post.* UPDATED SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Councilmember Burgess’ reply to our request for clarification of which site he meant:

Correct, the West Marginal site which is about 1.5 blocks off the southwest corner of the bridge. The site is partially owned by the city and partially owned by WSDOT which used it as a staging location when the bridge was repaired a few years back. I refer to it as the First Avenue South Bridge site because that helps people understand the geographic location better than the intersection.

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12 Responses to “Seattle councilmember says a West Seattle jail site is one of the 2 “most likely””

  1. I wander what the future residents of the Senior citizens complex would say? The residents should know before they move in about their new neighbors that will be added across the parking lot. Then they can thank the city of Seattle properly. Does anyone know how many feet the jail will be away from the senior complex? How high of a risk does this put our most vunerable residents when the inmates are released?
    What a mismatch, Seattle..go figure.

  2. The jail will not only impact the senior center, but all of White Center. There is no reliable transportation from this site for inmates that are released. They are either going to make their way up the hill to downtown White Center (just what we need), or scatter in the nearby residential areas, or greenbelts. This certainly is cause for concern. Isn’t is just like Seattle to take advantage of one of the most vulnerable areas. What a great way for the city to thank the residents of these neighborhoods for all their hard work to make this area safer, cleaner, and better place to live – dump a jail in their backyard. Much thanks to Seattle.

  3. It will be a preview of what is to come from Seattle. How much will my property value go up when there is a jail down the street?

  4. Yes, it is nuts to put a jail basically in an isolated hole (being the site of a former gavel pit) with 449 units of housing for low and moderate income seniors. Not only that, when Seattle built the Fire Training Center right next door to this potential jail site, they illegally filled in wetlands. See these two articles

    I hope anyone in White Center or the rest of North Highline who thinks annexation to Seattle would be better than Burien, takes a good long, hard look at this jail site situation. It very likely is a example of what can be expected in the future if Seattle annexes any or all of North Highline.

    It is a well know fact that Seattle is simply running out of buildable land and that North Highline has a lot of buildable land. As I mentioned on an earlier thread, at the 12-11-06 Seattle Council meeting Seattle Councilmember Richard Conlin stated that his reason for wanting to annex the area was, “The people [of North Highline]come with land. The fact is that makes it more valuable. We can make more people, but we cannot make more land.”

    You gotta wonder what other undesirable things similar to jails that Seattle will want to site in North Highline’s neighborhoods.

  5. No new jail, no where. We should be spending this money on preventive measures – more police on the beat, more social services, and more educators. Locking more people up isn’t going to fix anything and a new facility will cause more problems than it solves. I don’t want a new jail in White Center, and I don’t want one anywhere else, either.

  6. Sara, I agree that more money should be spent on preventative measures. Seattle has actually done a pretty decent job reducing the number of people they book–down 40 percent in the past 10 years.

    So, if you don’t think any new jail should be built ever, what do you think should be done about the state laws that require mandatory booking for misdemeanors such as DUI and domestic violence assault and for people with outstanding warrants? There are also state laws that require mandatory incarceration for certain felonies.

    Do you think these laws should be repealled and, if so, how would you do that? I don’t think there is any chance at all that the Legislature will repeal those laws because it would likely be political suicide for any legislator to vote for that.

  7. Sorry, but your “correspondent” got it wrong. As I have said all along, it is the site near the First Avenue South bridge and Interbay, NOT the Myers Way site, that score the highest in my review of the four sites, but I have not chosen any site. And I won’t make any decisions on a site until the process of evaluation is complete.

    You can read my views on this topic at this blog posting:

  8. Councilmember Burgess, thanks for posting.
    In my main role as editor/co-publisher as West Seattle Blog (I assist with news coverage for White Center Now), I had sent you a request for comment/elaboration yesterday, and hadn’t received a reply other than asking for the link, which I promptly provided.

    A map suggests the Highland Park Way site is the closest to 1st Avenue So, although we have covered multiple meetings and briefings on the two West Seattle sites and have not previously heard it described as the “First Avenue South Bridge site” – the city site’s name for it is Highland Park Way SW and West Marginal Way:

    Thanks for posting and we will e-mail you directly to make sure we are not making an erroneous assumption re: “First Avenue South Bridge site”=Highland Park Way/West Marginal.

  9. Mr Burgess is “correspondent” anything like “effective politician”?

  10. Alcina, I definitely believe those laws need to be amended, and that it will indeed be a tough sell. Our entire system is stagnant, outdated, and responsive rather than preventive. And yes, everyone thinks they have to sell a “tough on crime” image to get re-elected. And they should be tough on crime, but the system we have in place obviously isn’t working. There’s also room for way more community service and other options instead of jail time for non-violent offenses. There’s a lot of clean-up work that this city could use, and why not have the DUI convictions put in a week of that instead of a week in jail? Or stick folks on a Habitat for Humanity crew for a month, instead of in jail? Make ’em do something for the community they have offended, and give them some stake in it’s well-being.

    I don’t necessarily think there should be no jail time at all for many things, but I do think there’s a lot more we, on both societal and governmental levels, can do to make it so we don’t get to that point in the first place. And if we do get to that point, how do we make it rehabilitative and educational, versus just killing time and then back on the street to the same old thing? (And I am still speaking of the minor level stuff, which is what they say this new facility is for, not the big deal crime.) I don’t have a lot of answers for you here, just ideals that I would like to see, and it’s why I watch and listen and speak up and vote.

    The proposed siting of the new jail is the tip of a much bigger social iceberg, and one that we can all work on by being involved with our neighbors, our communities, and our government. And by not letting Seattle make the south end even more of a dumping ground for things they don’t want to deal with anywhere else. And especially not the Myers site or anything else near the 1st Ave South Bridge, which is right on the edge of the city limits, and will greatly impact King County residents who don’t have representation on the Seattle City Council.

  11. Yes, it is extremely interesting that the West Seattle Sites are directly across the border from unincorporated King County. It appears that the city believes it can dump whatever it wants in this area as the people across the border have no say on the City council. We have more low income housing in this are than any other part of the city -we have transitional homeless housing as well – it seems like we have absorbed enough of the city’s problems – keep it on the southside so not to upset the sensibilities of the weathlier areas. Just look at how Magnolia residents are fighting the transitional housing at Fort Lawton. Why shouldn’t they absorb some of this?

  12. Sara, I think we agree that there are often better ways and there is a need for action. Here is a perfect example. Because of the overall revenue shortfalls (now est. at $90 million), right now King County is considering cutting
    the incredibly successful Drug Diversion Court which keeps people out of jail and gets them the treatment they need.

    As this article from The Stranger points out, the Drug Diversion Court actually ends up saving the taxpayers money.

    I urge everyone to email these elected officials and tell them you don’t want the Drug Diversion Court’s budget cut.
    King County Executive Ron Sims
    Our KC Councilmember Dow Contstantine
    KC Councilmember Kathy Lambert–Chair of Law, Justice, and Human Resources Committee

    King County will be determining what stays in and what gets cut out of the budget during the next two months.