The proposed Seattle Police Department North Precinct building has been put on hold, pending a racial equity review, the city announced Thursday.
The announcement follows months of community organizing against the $149 million proposal. Opponents, who organized under #BlockTheBunker, criticized the size and design of the building and whether that $149 million could help serve other areas of the city. Critics also questioned the transparency of the design process and whether the planning of the building left out communities of color.
According to an announcement from Mayor Ed Murray’s office, and with Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Debora Juarez and Lorena González, the city will conduct a racial equity toolkit review of the proposed precinct, and review key design elements that increased the project cost.
Murray reiterated that the existing North Precinct building should be replaced.
“While we have had extensive discussions and planning, it is clear we need to reconsider the plan as proposed and ensure we are meeting the needs of the community with what we build. As I have said, if this project inhibits our ability to continue strengthening the relationship between our community and our police, then we would revisit it,” Murray said in a prepared statement.
“I remain committed to replacing the aging precinct in North Seattle and am prepared to consider multiple design options, if it is determined that is the best path for the community.”
Councilmember Juarez, who represents District 5, the area that is served by the North Precinct, also issued her own statement.
“Plans to re-evaluate the project will be done with a commitment to rebuilding a useful and productive North Precinct station,” her statement to constituents said. “Constituents in Districts 4, 5 and 6 deserve a cost-effective proposal that is responsive to racial justice issues and will provide for north end public safety reliably over the long-term. I hope you will join me in supporting this proposal to take the time to do this project right.”
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