Harrell emphasizes housing issues in state-of-the-city address

by Patrick Regan

Seattle’s new mayor made clear this week that housing and issues that affect home values will be major pieces of his administration. 

Mayor Bruce Harrell, who took office Jan. 1, outlined his priorities during his state-of-the-city address to the city council.

“It seems like every day I hear stories … of rising rents and an inability to pay bills or find housing,” he said. 

“I believe in going back to the basics. That’s where good governance begins. The basics include efforts like our housing first policy. Fixing a pothole. Making sure our sidewalks and parks are safe for children and families to use. Making sure we enforce our criminal laws against those who are harming others.”

Harrell touched on several plans that can influence home values, including preschool programs, policing and criminal justice reform and a regional approach to what he called the homelessness “crisis.”

“Along with systems reform, we need new units of housing, and I am aggressively pursuing alternative shelter options, considering a wide array of opportunities, including leasing and buying existing buildings,” he said.

Seattle’s skyrocketing real estate costs and shrinking housing inventory have been well documented. The mayor did not directly address those issues, but he talked about efforts “to build walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods with a housing supply that meets the needs of the future.”

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