Make Your Voice Heard on Seattle’s 2011 Budget

The City of Seattle faces a $67 million general fund deficit for 2011, meaning there are some very difficult budget decisions to be made in the months to come. As the City Council works to balance the Seattle’s 2011-2012 budget, considerable input from residents is needed to develop a budget that best reflects the needs of our city.

In advance of this work, the Seattle City Council invites you to participate in this year’s budget process:

  • Visit City Council’s new Ideascale page at seattlecitycouncil.ideascale.com. Here you can share, comment and vote for ideas on how to balance the budget, with the most essential ideas rising to the top. We are continuously reviewing this feedback and will respond to the most popular ideas.
  • Submit your thoughts about the budget using our online comment form. Emails received will be tallied and shared with each Councilmember to keep them updated on issues important to you.
  • Attend the last meeting in City Hall.

Tuesday, October 26

City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd floor, 600 Fourth Avenue, 98104

5:00 pm sign-in, 5:30 pm Public Hearing

For more information on Seattle’s budget, visit http://www.seattle.gov/council/budget/.

Seattle City Club Forum To Explore Ethics of Human DNA Repositories

“Do You Know Where Your DNA Is?

Seattle City Club is hosting a fascinating Health Care Series program on the ethically interesting question of stockpiling human DNA.  The program is Monday, October 25, at the Rainier Square Atrium, 3rd Floor Conference Room , 1333  5th Avenue.

The program registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Click here to register online, prices range from $12 to $30 depending.

The program’s title is Do You Know Where Your DNA Is and is relevant because Seattle is in the forefront of the field.  The greater Seattle region is a hotbed for large collections of biological information and personal health information. Experts claim the collection and management of this data stands to benefit large scale medical research and could lead to exciting breakthroughs in medicine. But collecting large banks of such personal information raises questions among experts and public alike:

  • How are biorepositories best governed?
  • Can I trust that my specimens and health information are secure?
  • What are the minimal standards of donor consent for working with specimens and information?
  • What other ethical and legal issues are there to think about?
  • To what extent is the promise of medical progress from biorepositories real?

Bring your own questions and join us as we dive into this complex and timely issue!

The program panel includes:

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Carbon WA Ballot Initiative Launched

Carbon WA has been launched.  This is a ballot initiative to put a price on carbon in Washington State. It’s modelled on the very successful carbon tax in British Columbia.

Now that climate legislation is dead in Congress and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) is on life-support, this is a great way for Washingtonians to keep moving forward to address climate change.

If you think this is a good idea, visit carbonwa.org and pledge a little time or money. Right now all that’s happening is collecting pledges for next year. If you’re super-excited about this, get involved right now and help spread the word. You can also “like” the initiative on Facebook.

Boeing Company, EPA Sign PCB Cleanup Agreement

On September 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed an agreement with The Boeing Company to construct a new stormwater treatment system at North Boeing Field in Seattle. The treatment system will greatly reduce the amount of toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are an on-going source of pollution to the Duwamish River.

The North Boeing Field storm drain system carries stormwater to the Duwamish River through more than seven miles of catch basins, drains, inlets, and oil-water separators. Studies by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), the City of Seattle, and Boeing showed the North Boeing Field storm drain system is the biggest source of PCBs to the river sediments in Slip 4, one of the most highly contaminated sites on the lower Duwamish waterway.

Goal is to reduce PCB discharge to Duwamish River

According to Lori Cohen, Associate Director of EPA’s Superfund cleanup office in Seattle, Boeing’s stormwater treatment work will significantly reduce PCBs discharge to the Duwamish River and better protect Puget Sound.

“Boeing’s investment in stormwater treatment will pay dividends in cleaning up the lower Duwamish River and Puget Sound,” said Cohen. “By reducing the volume of PCBs released to the river from North Boeing Field, we’re taking a major step forward in controlling one of the biggest PCBs pollution sources on the Duwamish and allowing us to move forward with our cleanup work.”

With the installation of this stormwater treatment system, cleanup of Slip 4 – one of several hot spot cleanups on the waterway – will proceed in 2011. Several acres of contaminated sediments in Slip 4 will be cleaned up under an EPA settlement agreement with the City of Seattle and King County.

PCBs are toxic pollutants that stay in the environment for a long time and can build up in fish and shellfish. PCBs are found at unsafe levels in the sediments and fish of the Lower Duwamish River. Concerns about PCBs in fish prompted the state to issue a health advisory warning people not to eat any crab, shellfish, or fish (except salmon) from the Lower Duwamish River.

Earlier this summer, Boeing agreed to design an initial stormwater treatment system with EPA oversight during the negotiation of today’s agreement. The initial system began operating last week treating stormwater from the most highly contaminated areas of North Boeing Field. The initial system will be managed under today’s agreement, and over the course of the next year, a long-term system will be put in place at the site. The treatment system is part of a broader effort to locate and contain or treat contamination in the North Boeing Field drainage area that flows into the stormwater outfall at Slip 4.

Background on Slip 4 & Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site:

Today’s stormwater treatment agreement enables the cleanup of Slip 4 to proceed while Ecology’s overall site investigation and cleanup continues at North Boeing Field. The Slip 4 cleanup was delayed when Ecology found high levels of PCBs in North Boeing Field storm drains discharging to Slip 4. The agencies agreed to delay cleanup until the on-going sources of PCBs were reduced, lessening the potential for recontamination of clean areas.

Slip 4 is part of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site, which was added to EPA’s National Priorities List in 2001. The contaminants in the river sediments include PCBs, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), mercury and other metals, and phthalates. Sediments (mud and sand on the river bottom) in and along the lower river contain a wide range of contaminants from years of industrial activity and from stormwater pollution.

EPA and Ecology jointly oversee the Lower Duwamish Waterway cleanup. EPA is the lead agency for the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sediments throughout the lower river. As the lead agency for controlling the sources of pollution to the lower river, Ecology works with the City of Seattle and King County to investigate and control sources throughout the Duwamish drainage basin.

EPA’s investigation of the contamination and cleanup options for the Lower Duwamish Waterway sediments, the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, is moving toward completion. The Remedial Investigation was completed earlier this year, which identified the contaminants, where they are located, and which are the most dangerous.

A second draft of the Feasibility Study, which looks at alternatives for cleanup, will be available for public review on Oct. 12. EPA and Ecology will host public meetings on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9. EPA expects the cleanup plan to be completed by 2012.

For more information about the Slip 4 cleanup, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/ldw/slip+4

For more information about the Lower Duwamish Waterway cleanup, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/cleanup.nsf/ldw/

Help Improve SODO for Peds/Cyclists – Take Survey

Do you live or work in SODO?

If so, your feedback is essential!

If you live or work in South Downtown (SODO) neighborhood of Seattle (defined by Jackson Street to the north, Dawson Street to the south, Puget Sound and the Duwamish River on the west, and I-5 on the east), Feet First is asking you to fill out a short survey about your travel habits.

As part of a Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, Feet First is working alongside the Duwamish Transportation Management Association and Cascade Bicycle Club to identify gaps in existing non-motorized transportation networks in the South Downtown (SODO) neighborhood of Seattle.

Your responses are imperative to this project, as they will help us identify where more funding needs to be spent on pedestrian travel in and through the SODO neighborhood.

Please help Feet First promote a safer and more walkable SODO neighborhood for all residents and employees. Please complete this survey today.

For more information contact Feet First at 206-652-2310 or via email at info@feetfirst.info.

October Community Forum: The Past, Present and Future of the Duwamish

Aerial View of Duwamish River

Once a source of livelihood for native people, the river later became a dumping ground for toxic waste and a source of pollution for Puget Sound.

Now local activists are joining with local companies and governments to face up to the incredibly difficult task of cleaning up this river.

Sustainable West Seattle’s monthly Community Forum will feature several of the key individuals involved in this effort who will describe what’s being done and what help is still needed.

Our panel will include:

This event will be at Camp Long, 5200 35th Avenue SW, 7-9 p.m.

(Photo courtesy Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. Photo by Paul Joseph Brown.)