Seattle | KNKX

Seattle

Mike McGinn
Elaine Thompson / AP

When Seattle residents get their primary ballots in the next few weeks, they are going to see a list of 21 people hoping to lead the state's largest city. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Seattle City Council members heard from dozens of speakers Wednesday evening during the first public hearing at City Hall on a proposal to enact a citywide income tax.

Mayor Ed Murray and council members Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant unveiled the legislation Monday evening. The council passed a resolution in May saying it planned to consider and pass an income tax ordinance by July.

The current proposal is a two percent tax on income more than $250,000 per year for individuals and more than $500,000 for couples who file their taxes jointly. 

Ted Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council approved a tax on sugary beverages in a 7-1 vote Monday. 

After months of debate, the council passed a 1.75 cents-per-ounce tax on beverage distributors. The drinks affected include soda, sports drinks and energy drinks.

Diet drinks, baby formula, medicine, weight-loss drinks and 100 percent fruit juice were explicitly exempted. It's unclear whether syrup-flavored coffee drinks like lattes will be included.

Paula Wissel / KNKX

Seattle and King County have released a report on the area's homeless population that will be used by officials and service providers to determine how resources should be allocated.

The 2017 point-in-time count was taken on Jan. 27. Volunteers canvassing the county counted 11,643 people living outside, in cars, in emergency shelters and in transitional housing. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A deal has been reached between the owners, a developer and two nonprofits on a valuable piece of property in Seattle's Central District.

Lake Union Partners has agreed to buy the old Midtown Center property on 23rd Avenue and East Union Street for $23.25 million.

The property is one of the last full blocks of undeveloped land in the city and lies at the historical heart of Seattle's black community.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday to increase civilian oversight of the police department in a unanimous vote.

"There really is unity around this," Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said. "When we do get together and we do listen to each other, we can come up with this kind of solution."

The legislation calls for additional civilian staff for the Office of Professional Accountability, the agency responsible for investigating individual cases of officer misconduct.  

Ted Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is digging into how best to proceed with a tax on sugary drinks proposed by the mayor last month.

The city wants to accomplish two things with the tax. The first goal is to encourage healthier choices by making drinks like soda more expensive and less appealing. The second is to use the new revenue source to pay for programs for low-income children.

Tom Banse

The city of Seattle is partnering with a car-sharing company to install more charging stations for electric vehicles.

ReachNow is headquartered in Seattle and run by BMW. They have invested $1.2 million to install 100 new chargers in 20 locations around the city.

"That increases the density of electric charging infrastructure that makes it easier to own and use an electric car in Seattle," ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield said.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Two security officers who work on the Amazon campus in Seattle say their hours were cut after they marched to the company's headquarters on May Day.

The Service Employees International Union filed a complaint Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of Abdinasir Elmi and Betiel Desta.

Elmi and Desta are employed by Security Industry Specialists, a California-based company that contracts with Amazon.

"This problem has been going on for a long, long time. This is not the first time," Elmi said.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In the week leading up to May Day, Seattle prepared for the worst. For the past five years, peaceful May Day marches have been overshadowed by violence and property damage.

Those demonstrations unfolded peacefully for the most part this year. In the end, five people were arrested. Two of those people were released and three face charges for assault, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.

KNKX spent the day with demonstrators around the city. Here is how May Day unfolded in Seattle.

Preparing For The Worst

Simone Alicea / KNKX

When it comes to issues of public safety, it's usually good for neighbors to get together and talk about it.

That's what Sara Mae thought. She owns 701 Coffee on 23rd Avenue and Cherry Street in Seattle's Central District. 

She recently held a community meeting at the shop to talk about how to make the neighborhood safer. She says there's been a recent spate of shootings, which are up citywide.

But what erupted in Mae's coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon gets at the core of what it's like to live and work in a place that has been upended by change. 

Simone Alicea / KNKX

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a law that would allow for-hire drivers, including drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft, to unionize in Seattle.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik's granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday stopping continued implementation of the law until two lawsuits make their way through court.

Will James / KNKX

Instead of a property tax to fight homelessness, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he will now pursue a countywide sales tax increase.

Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Monday that Seattle and King County will coordinate to provide homeless services. 

That effort includes a proposed 2018 ballot measure to increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent.

Elaine Thompson / AP

There will be no criminal charges against two Seattle police officers who shot and killed 46-year-old Che Taylor during an arrest last year in the Wegwood neighborhood.

Taylor was black. The two officers who shot him are white. The decision comes after a King County inquest last month into his death.

County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said that process and other evidence keeps him from pursuing criminal charges under the law. Specifically, the prosecutor said the officers reasonably believed their life was in danger and their fear justified their actions.

Will James / KNKX

Seattle police say the city sees about 300 demonstrations every year, but it now seems the rest of the country is following suit.

From the nationwide Women's March to spontaneous demonstrations at airports, more people are reportedly becoming more politically active by going to protests.

The First Amendment grants people the right to gather, but there are limits to that protection. 

Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Plans for a special homeless shelter in Seattle called the Navigation Center are underway now that the city has found a location.

The city announced yesterday that the center will occupy the Pearl Warren Building on 12th Avenue South and South Weller Street.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray affirms the city's "sanctuary city" status at a November press conference.
Elaine Thompson / AP

Seattle and many other "sanctuary cities" are pushing back on the latest executive orders signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump.

The orders deal in part with Trump's campaign promise to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. It also gives broad power to federal immigration authorities, imploring local law enforcement to participate in a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

That requirement is problem for a city like Seattle, which does not allow police or other agencies to ask about a person's citizenship status.

Will James / KNKX

The Seattle women’s march on Saturday was a massive outpouring of frustration — and show strength for the forces opposing President Donald Trump. 

But some marchers acknowledged it did very little to bridge the deepening political and cultural divide in America — nor was it really intended to. 

“This particular march is about healing ourselves as women," said one participant, Evelyn Dickinson.

Seattle Women's March Stretches More Than 3 Miles

Jan 22, 2017
Will James / KNKX

At one point Saturday, Seattle's women's march against President Donald Trump stretched from the starting point at Judkins Park all the way to its terminus more than three miles away, at Seattle Center.

It was a sea of pink hats and eye-catching signs that spilled through a city where just 8 percent of voters backed Trump on Election Day. "A woman's place is in the resistance," one placard read. 

Jeff Chiu / AP

Ride-hailing company Uber is suing Seattle to block the city's new driver unionization law.

The ordinance passed by the City Council allows taxi drivers and drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to join a union.  The city has spent the past year writing the rules for how that happens. 

Those rules went into effect Tuesday, the same day Uber filed the lawsuit in King County Superior Court.

"Looking up Thomas towards Space Needle" by Alan Wu is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Local designers and developers are going to try to "hack" Seattle's snow problem.

The city is hosing the "Let It Snow" hackathon Thursday night to come up with better ways to communicate when conditions get icy. Thirty participants will use the transportation department's winter weather map and other city data.

A sign that reads "15 Good Work Seattle" is displayed below Seattle City Hall, right, and the Columbia Center building, left, Monday, June 2, 2014, after the Seattle City Council passed a $15 minimum wage measure.
Ted S. Warren / AP

Seattle has been a national leader in passing labor standards like paid sick and safe time, a $15 minimum wage and secure scheduling. But these laws meant to help workers can leave businesses struggling to keep up.

Wendy Gillihan owns Gryffin Consulting and helps businesses comply with Seattle's labor standards. She also sits on the mayor's Labor Standards Advisory Commission. 

Seattle Ethics and Elections Comission

Registered voters in Seattle have begun receiving notices about 'democracy vouchers,' the result of an initiative passed last year to change the way local campaigns are financed.

Seattle voters approved a property tax that is expected to raise $3 million each year for 10 years to pay for each registered voter and other eligible adults to receive four $25 vouchers. 

Supporters of secure scheduling  march in downtown Seattle in April.
Working Washington

The agency in charge of enforcing Seattle's citywide labor laws is being expanded.

The Office of Labor Standards will be getting a boost in next year's city budget to more than double its staff. The office investigates violations of city labor ordinances and educates workers and businesses about complying with the relatively new laws.

Workers move a spool for the Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma. Tacoma's growth rate in construction employment surpassed Seattle's in the past year.
"Murray Morgan bridge spool" by Scott Hignst is licensed under CC by 2.0

More people are getting into the construction industry throughout Washington state, but especially in Tacoma, according to a new analysis of federal data from the Association of General Contractors of America.

The organization looked at how  many people were employed in construction between September 2015 and September 2016.

In Seattle, blackberries are as much a part of the view as the Puget Sound — the twisting brambles so ubiquitous, they're as likely to vex gardeners as delight them.

The tale behind the city's blackberries turns out to be equally tangled. It starts at the end of the 19th century, at a time when American life was changing dramatically.

People were moving from rural areas to towns and cities, including Seattle. Industrialization was creating a new middle class.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle's University Village last year.
Elaine Johnson / AP Photo

Part of the convenience of shopping online is having your spoils delivered to your door, but online retailers are opening more and more physical stores.

Consider the bookstore Amazon opened in Seattle's University Village last year. Now the retail giant is beginning to build drive-up grocery stores where customers can pick up online orders.

Jon Pack

Comedian Mike Birbiglia is in Seattle Friday Aug. 5 for screenings of his new film “Don’t Think Twice” at SIFF Cinema Uptown. Birbiglia wrote, directed and stars in the movie that focuses on six friends who are part of an improv group called The Commune. His name might be familiar because of his contributions to public radio shows such as This American Life.

Birbiglia says he decided to use improv in the movie because it's his "first love."

Since the early 1990s, Seattle jazz lovers have had (and continue to have) the highly rewarding opportunity to see and hear the development of a great talent — pianist and composer Nelda Swiggett.  When she recorded with her first band, Room To Move, her lyrical improvisatory and composition skills were already on display. 

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Home prices in the Seattle metro area jumped almost 10 percent in December compared with a year earlier. A forum hosted by the real estate brokerage and tech company Redfin Wednesday evening will examine how the city can remain livable for people of all incomes in coming years. 

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