In November 2013, Seattle voters approved a district election system for our Seattle City Council. This event was the key factor in my decision to run for a seat on the council. 

I was born to a first-generation Mexican-American father and a Blackfeet Native American mother. I am an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, and I grew up on the Puyallup Reservation. 

Early on in my life, I understood the benefits of leadership living in the community of the people they represent. I am thrilled to be the first to advocate directly for the people of North Seattle by delivering increased access to the council.

In our first 100 days in office, we set out with three goals to deliver on the promise of district representation. First, we aspired to create momentum around the three major capital projects planned for our district. Second, we planned district tours of major enterprises in North Seattle. Third, we opened a district office, where our constituents could speak with my staff and myself without the need to travel downtown to City Hall. All of our goals break new ground in District 5.

 

Meeting growth

District 5 is experiencing rapid growth. Nowhere else is this more apparent than in the magnitude of our district’s three capital projects, all currently in the planning and development stages: a new police station, a pedestrian bridge running east/west over Interstate 5 and a second light rail station. 

The first of these to be completed will be the new North Precinct police station, at North 130th Street and Aurora Avenue North (state Route 99). This station will serve the entirety of Seattle north of the ship canal. 

Our community has long struggled with pockets of property crime and concern regarding police response times. The new station will be able to help address these problems due to its increased size (and hence, the ability to base more officers than our current overcrowded station) and its location (near the main property crime and narcotics hot spots in our district). It is likely that one way to help lower our police response times will be to hire more officers, and this station will be able to comfortably accommodate all growth projections for our police force. 

Our second project due to come online is our Community and Commerce Bridge, connecting the future light rail station and Northgate Mall with North Seattle College and the west side of I-5. I have been hard at work organizing key stakeholders in the Northgate area to evaluate the current design and proposed function of this bridge, to ensure that we get the best bridge possible for our community. Only by talking to the community can we maximize the return we receive from light rail at Northgate Station. 

Finally, I have been advocating for our district’s second light rail stop, slated for Northeast 130th Street and I-5. This station would serve the Lake City, Bitter Lake and Haller Lake communities.       

 

In the community

My second goal was to go on multiple in-depth tours of the critical social, economic and cultural assets of District 5. My aim is to educate myself about their function and to give them the opportunity to bring their respective challenges and opportunities before city government with the hope we could help them solve problems. 

I am happy to say we have already completed our first such tour, and it was a rousing success! We visited Northaven Senior Living and heard about its innovative senior care practices and plans for expansion. Then we went to North Helpline (12736 33rd Ave. N.E.), a critical social services provider serving thousands in our community with rental assistance, emergency food and medical care. 

We next went to Mary’s Place, an overnight shelter for homeless women and families, which achieves high rates of rapid rehousing due to the wraparound care they provide their clients. 

We ended the day at the Shanty Tavern and heard about the colorful history of the Lake City Way institution, which has existed in the same location for more than four decades.

Our third goal for our first 100 days was to open an office in District 5, where our constituents could access city government in a convenient centralized location in our District. We succeeded in securing space in North Seattle College (9600 College Way N., Room 1451). 

I am proud to say our grand opening of our office on March 4 had more than 70 community members in attendance. We asked our community members what they would like to see out of our district office, as well as the main issues they cared about in our neighborhood. 

Starting Friday, March 11, we will begin holding regular office hours on Fridays in our district office; kindly contact our district director Sabrina Bolieu at sabrina.bolieu@seattle.gov if you would like to set up an appointment.     

I am proud of what we have accomplished so far, and I am excited to continue working for you!

 

DEBORA JUAREZ represents District 5 (North Seattle) on the Seattle City Council. To comment on this column, write to CityLivingEditor@nwlink.com.