Mayor Jenny Durkan gave a fourth, final, and very brief speech on the state of the city on Monday night, setting an ambitious goal of making Seattle a national leader in COVID-19 vaccinations.
Durkan said she wants Seattle to be the first city to vaccinate 70% of its adults. She described that goal as “the most daunting, difficult, and important operation our city government has ever faced”.
Speaking of the Seattle Filipino community, Durkan said the community center in southeast Seattle will soon host a pop-up vaccination site – an example of the city’s efforts to prioritize color communities that have so far lagged whites in sourcing scarce vaccine doses .
After a bloody first term, Durkan announced in December that she would not run for re-election this year. On Monday, she spoke for less than 10 minutes and delivered her address via video without the usual personal audience of elected officials, dignitaries and guests. Past addresses have walked nearly an hour, and their 2018 address as written was nearly 5,000 words. This was around 880.
For the most part, the mayor did not outline any detailed new initiatives. Instead, she spoke broadly about the struggles of the past year, including masks, isolation, and loss of loved ones.
The pandemic, Durkan said, “heightened challenges that we have already faced,” citing homelessness, public safety, the climate crisis and racial inequalities in “every system”.
Durkan said her office will implement plans to improve the “quality of life and safety” of downtown in the coming weeks. Open hundreds of new shelters and affordable housing to get the homeless off the streets and out of the parks. and invest nearly $ 100 million in the “health and resilience” of black, indigenous and other color communities to eradicate historical differences.
Referring only temporarily to the ongoing debate over defunding the Seattle Police Department, she said her plans would deal with “expanding alternatives to police response.”
The mayor admitted that her 70% vaccination goal depends on the federal supply of vaccine, which is ramped up by President Joe Biden’s administration.
If the doses come through, Durkan said, the city will “hopefully” open easily accessible vaccination centers “in every part of our city” by spring. She mentioned downtown, Rainier Beach, West Seattle, and multiple locations in North Seattle.
She recognized the work of the Seattle Fire Department teams who have already worked to vaccinate the most vulnerable, even in the midst of the recent snow storm.
“They have administered more than 4,400 vaccinations for residents and workers in adult family homes, domestic servants and grocers, and elders in our hardest-hit BIPOC communities,” said Durkan. “You are doing heroic work and well on your way to vaccinating tens of thousands of Seat executives.”
Durkan urged Seattle residents to work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “I know our community is so tired. But we are so close. “She pleaded with residents to continue to distance themselves physically, avoid gatherings and wear masks. She urged residents to get vaccinated if needed and help family, friends and neighbors to get appointments.
“I will not gloss over it: We have a difficult road ahead of us. But there is hope on the horizon, ”she said.