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Dunn Proposes Condemning City Hall Park, Next to Courthouse, As Public Safety Hazard

Summary

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Tuesday introduced legislation asking the King County Executive to condemn City Hall Park as a threat to public health, safety, and welfare.

Story

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn on Tuesday introduced legislation asking the King County Executive to condemn City Hall Park as a threat to public health, safety, and welfare. City Hall Park is located directly adjacent to the King County Courthouse and is under the jurisdiction of the City of Seattle.

The park hosts a large homeless camp and is the site of repeated violence, including high-profile cases of assault and homicide. Last week, on June 17, a man was stabbed to death at the park.

King County employees should be able to return to work without fearing for their lives, plain and simple. While I have sympathy for those who are experiencing homelessness, there is nothing compassionate about looking the other way and letting violence against people of all walks of life continue,” Dunn said. “These dangerous crimes are not being committed because of homelessness — they’re being committed by criminals who are allowed to flourish without any repercussions.”

A survey conducted by the King County Prosecutor’s Office resulted in 160 out of 220 employees commenting about their concerns about Courthouse safety. King County receives 2 to 5 reports per week of assaults on employees.

Dunn’s legislation asks King County to explore acquiring the condemned property and re-purposing it as a meeting or event space for the King County Courthouse. It also requests that the County connect residents of the park with other housing options.

If approved, King County would have to report back to the King County Council on the condemnation process by September 1, 2021.

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