Hello neighbors and welcome to the official start of summer in the Pacific Northwest!
For those of you who couldn’t make it to the last RNA General Meeting, we wanted to share some updates electronically! We had our new councilmember in attendance to speak to the group, and updates on the reservoir. Read on, and hope to see you around the community!
Abel Pacheco Visits Roosevelt
On Tuesday, May 21, Councilmember Abel Pacheco spoke at the RNA General Meeting on the eve of his 1-month anniversary of his appointment to the Seattle City Council. Occupying the District 4 council position vacated by Rob Johnson, Pacheco is reaching out to neighborhoods to introduce himself and listen to community members’ thoughts on current events and neighborhood issues.
Community members’ questions ranged from land use issues to transportation policy. Pacheco spoke of his hopes to implement creative problem-solving strategies, and offer a new voice on public safety. Pacheco shared deeply personal stories that have shaped some of his key positions, and promised to invest in services for justice-involved youth. Perhaps his biggest responsibility will be working with Mayor Durkan and Council to develop the City budget – a process that begins with the Mayor’s proposals, likely to be issued in September. Pacheco vowed to “do the best job that I can do” and be of service to the community in this process.
Pacheco also shared his commitment to being transparent about his decision-making, values, and stances on key issues, while also committing to whole-heartedly listen and learn from community members. Pacheco described feeling “the weight of the responsibility” when sworn in, and was thanked for his willingness to serve.
“This will not be the last time I’m here,” Pacheco repeated throughout the evening. So watch this space as our new D4 Councilmember embeds himself more fully into the role.
Reservoir Seismic Update
Alex Chen from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) also provided updates on the Seismic Study – a lengthy investigation to better inform SPU’s plans for ensuring adequate water supply in case of earthquake or other natural disaster. Chen works in the department that manages the region’s drinking water system.
The threat of earthquakes poses unique challenges to water supply, and Chen described some disaster preparedness steps that SPU has already taken to protect regional water resources. For example, several city water facilities (such as the Maple Leaf underground reservoir and a reinforced facility on Queen Anne hill) have either already been seismically designed or are inherently better prepared for earthquake impacts. The Seismic Study, which Chen summarized in part, looked at vulnerability to earthquakes in the water system; most chapters of the Seismic Study can be downloaded on SPU’s website.
Chen described how the Roosevelt Reservoir is being maintained in its present form to maintain a large reservoir closer to population centers – to ensure access to water in case of distribution pipeline breakage. There’s no plan in the budget for the next 6 years to cap the reservoir and convert it into a park (in part to avert rate increase), as was done in Maple Leaf, But SPU remains mindful of the various benefits of such a plan, including an increase in potable water supply. Ultimately, the Roosevelt and Volunteer Park Reservoirs provide roughly an additional 1/2 day of emergency water supply in case of major seismic activity, and provide major benefits to the community in case of emergency.
In a question and answer session, Chen clarified that the recently declared drought in Washington State does not impact the water supplies in Seattle’s system. He also described how SPU was taking population increase, usage, and climate change consideration into the plan, and pointed to the release of the Water System Plan, which looks at future projections and management strategies.
Land Use: Jay Lazerwitz also provided updates on the potential changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) building codes and regulations, and discussed a recent roundtable event with constituents, representatives from the Mayor’s office, and councilmembers that addressed the issue. As legislation gets developed, a vote could take place in the next few months.
Roosevelt Business Community: Ian Hamilton also announced the launch of a revamped Business Group, and described efforts to engage the more than 200 businesses with sites in Roosevelt. The first meeting of stakeholders in the business community is scheduled for Friday, June 7th at 10am at Urban Luxe, 6105 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle 98115. The tentative agenda includes the light rail and TOD development, bike lanes and impacts on businesses, displacement, and input on how the RNA can help forge a community for local businesses moving forward. Open to business owners or managers in the neighborhood – those with a commercial presence and those with a home-based business. Come on down!
Stay tuned as the RNA hopes to organize a debate among District 4 Candidates later this summer, maybe as soon as June!