In her final State of the City address earlier this week, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan focused on City efforts to defeat the COVID-19 virus and put Seattle back on a path to economic recovery.
“I want us to be the first city in the country to vaccinate 70 percent of our adults,” the Mayor declared.
The Mayor emphasized that COVID has exacerbated other problems facing Seattle.
“And the pandemic disproportionately hit our Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities. The pandemic is our lifetime’s challenge. And it has amplified challenges we already had:
- Public safety
- The climate crisis
- And racial inequities in every system: health care, employment, education, and policing.”
To combat COVID, the City launched an aggressive vaccination program in January to ensure access to the most at-risk communities, including seniors and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (“BIPOC”). Since the January 14th launch, the program has vaccinated 4,442 people, 70% of whom are from BIPOC communities.
The City also will invest almost $100 million in the “health and resiliency” of BIPOC communities to address generational disparities.
Because “the health of downtown is so critical to the entire city and region,” the Mayor focused on the need to revitalize downtown Seattle. In the coming weeks, the Mayor committed to “discuss and implement plans” to address the City’s challenges “including the concrete steps we’ll take together to recover and reopen downtown. . . [and] steps we will take to improve the livability and safety of downtown.”
The Mayor closed her address with these words:
Seattle, we are writing the final chapters of this generational challenge.
The state of our city is resilient.
We are fatigued but determined.
We are challenged yet compassionate.
Never bet against Seattle.
This year, we will continue to be tested, but we will begin to recover and rebuild – more equitably.