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Mayor Harrell Delivers 2024 State of the City Address: Persistent and Pioneering Progress

Focusing on innovation and collaboration to solve challenges, Mayor Harrell lays out key priorities for 2024

Seattle – Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell delivered his 2024 State of the City address outlining his One Seattle vision for the year ahead and detailing actions his administration will take to drive progress on the city’s most pressing challenges to create a safe, equitable, and thriving future.

Mayor Harrell delivered his remarks at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) located in the South Lake Union neighborhood of downtown to recognize Seattle’s history as a hub for innovation and how that spirit will define the future of the city. A summary year-end report detailing the Harrell administration’s work in 2023 is available here: Making Progress Building One Seattle: 2023 Year in Review

READ REMARKS AS PREPARED: State of the City 2024: Persistent and Pioneering Progress

WATCH: Mayor Harrell Delivers 2024 State of the City Address

 “In my first State of the City two years ago, I stressed a back-to-basics approach, defining a dedication to delivering the core municipal government responsibilities that residents expect and demand,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Just because something is a basic, there is still room for improvement and innovation. From our timber town roots to the tech boom, Seattle’s history tells us that it’s innovation and new ideas that break through logjams and cultivate hope. With our One Seattle model that’s focused on innovation and collaboration, we will continue to solve our greatest challenges and move Seattle into the future together.”

Key highlights from Mayor Harrell’s remarks include:

Expand emergency response options: Launched in 2023, the CARE department is staffed with behavioral health professionals. Mayor Harrell will seek to increase the capacity of the department to help more people in their moment of need and ensure highest priority incidents receive critical police and fire services.

Hire more police officers: Mayor Harrell and SPD continue to recruit officers and comprehensively review and improve application processes that haven’t been updated in decades, leading to the highest number of applicants in several years.

Advance public safety and public health solutions to the fentanyl crisis: Building on Mayor Harrell’s $7 million investment in capital improvements for treatment facilities to address the fentanyl and synthetic opioid crisis, the location and provider of a post-overdose recovery center will be announced next month to help more people access lifesaving treatment services following non-fatal overdoses. This builds on public safety efforts like arresting dealers and implementation of a public drug use ordinance, along with public safety innovations establishing Health 99 post-overdose response team, an expanded mobile medication delivery for opioid use disorders, and a new contingency management drug abatement program.

Build community-driven safety solutions: To ensure public safety solutions are built with the input of the communities most impacted by crime and violence, Mayor Harrell and City leaders will host a public safety forum in the spring to hear resident’s feedback and ideas on making Seattle a safer place.

Homelessness action: The Unified Care Team will continue helping those in need and ensuring sidewalks and public spaces are open, safe, and welcoming to all. Since the mayor took office, shelter referrals have increased by 83%, over one thousand people have come indoors, and tents on sidewalks and in parks have been reduced by half from over 1,000. There’s been a 41% decrease in gun violence incidents related to homelessness and 16% decrease in fires at encampments or lived-in RVs

Building needed housing: Mayor Harrell will release details of the One Seattle Comprehensive Plan in the next two weeks, advancing a housing strategy that allows new kinds of housing across the city, brings missing middle housing to every neighborhood, and expands density with a focus on areas with strong transit access.

More affordable housing, more quickly: 1,400 units of affordable housing opened last year and another 7,600 are in the pipeline, along with at least 3,100 more affordable homes funded through the Housing Levy passed by the voters in 2023. Following efforts to streamline design review and increase production of affordable housing to address the housing crisis, Mayor Harrell will be proposing new permitting improvements and incentives based on insights from housing experts.

Safe, reliable, and equitable transportation system: Mayor Harrell will share plans in the coming week that will form the foundation of the transportation levy renewal package to meet current safety and maintenance needs of Seattle roads, bridges, sidewalks, and transit infrastructure for years to come. 

Downtown revitalization: Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan has made progress to revitalize the city’s center with 83% of initiatives in progress in less than one year. To support downtown economic recovery, the Seattle Restored program puts small businesses and artists in formerly vacant storefronts, and recently received a $200,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase to help some of the 30 existing locations turn into long-term leases.

Fund more electric heat pump conversations: Following the passage of the Building Emissions Performance Standard (BEPS) which will reduce emissions from large buildings, Mayor Harrell will accelerate Clean Heat Program efforts to decarbonize more residential homes across the city.

Improve affordability programs: Building on Mayor Harrell’s Executive Order to make City discount and savings programs more accessible, an additional 15 City programs will be added to the Affordable Seattle online portal this year offering up to $63,000 in savings for neighbors and families.

Addressing the City’s budget forecast: Working with a wide array of partners, the City will continue to advance a thorough review of its budget, revise practices, and double down on the programs, projects, and policies that are most effective for the people of Seattle with a data-driven approach guided by the One Seattle Data Strategy.

Giving back to our community: The third annual Day of Service will occur on May 18, 2024, bringing thousands of volunteers together to roll up their sleeves and take action to improve the city we love.

Mayor Harrell delivers state of the city remarks at the Museum of History and Industry.
Mayor Harrell delivers state of the city remarks at the Museum of History and Industry.