Herbold: West Seattle Junction Association: Commercial Block Watch, Rainbow Flag Adoption, and restoring West Seattle Murals
information from District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
The West Seattle Junction Association is currently District 1’s only Business Improvement Area or BIA. They do great work in the Alaska Junction. You’ll see the results of some of their programs in the weeks to come, including:
- Commercial Block Watch
- Rainbow Flag Adoption celebrating Pride Month
- Murals in West Seattle
BIAs are organizations that are established by and run by neighborhood businesses to identify important needs and allocate funding for things like street maintenance, community events and programs, promotions, public safety programs, and in some cases, street outreach and case management services and I encourage you to check them out to stay abreast of all this good work:
Rainbow Flag Adoption
60 Rainbow Flags will be raised in celebration of Pride Weekend on June 29-30 along California Avenue. This is exactly the kind of solidarity and creativity a BIA like the West Seattle Junction can lead on with neighborhood participation. I’m particularly proud of the Junction BIA in initiating this program having learned just 3 hours ago today, that the Trump administration is rejecting requests from U.S. embassies to fly the rainbow pride flag on embassy flagpoles during June, LGBTQ Pride Month.
I’ve been elevating the issue of an uptick in hate crimes in Seattle with the goal of crafting legislation that would allow the City Attorney to prosecute misdemeanor hate crimes, and update descriptions of gender identity and expression and disability. Pride Month is about celebrating greater acceptance, inclusion, and access for our LGBTQ community members, and physical expressions like Rainbow Flags throughout the Junction go a long way in encouraging those principles. (Dr. Tim Thomas will be joining my Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts Committee on June 11 to give a presentation about how hate crimes are showing up in different neighborhoods in Seattle, and what this may mean by the racial and economic characteristics of the City).
Commercial Block Watch
In January, the West Seattle Junction Association invited merchants in the Junction to a focus group to strategize about how to create a communication network to help community members support one another by sharing “suspicious activity” in the business district. The Commercial Block Watch plans to meet quarterly and will be joined by an officer with Seattle Police Department to provide an update about the illegal activity in the area.
I value the concerted effort of our small business community members, working with law enforcement, to develop and implement local solutions to address illegal activity in our neighborhoods. Creating greater cohesion in business districts can go a long way to ensure that we aren’t over-committing our limited City resources on individuals who repeat low-level property crimes out of desperation or as a symptom of a behavioral health challenge. Eyes and ears on the street to sound the alarm on this kind of activity is an effective strategy to divert people to more effective interventions than the criminal justice system provides.
You can check out a video from the focus group and register to be part of the Commercial Block Watch here.
Murals in West Seattle
There are 11 beautiful murals depicting the history and recreating photos of the Duwamish peninsula maintained by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. The West Seattle Junction Association is helping to steward the restoration of these murals, and was recently awarded with a $100,000 donation from Adah Cruzen in honor of her late husband Earl Cruzen’s work to attract “world-renowned artists” to beautify and tell the story of West Seattle. This gift will supplement other fundraising campaigns to restore the murals.