Sunday, February 27th - Saturday, March 5th, 2022
In brief: Seattle's eviction moratorium ended on Monday; King County moved up the end of its indoor mask mandate to March 12th; Mayor Harrell increased police patrols along 3rd Ave after two homicides downtown; the Seattle Public Library and Seattle Public Schools both offered their interim leaders the permanent positions; Friday was the state legislature's cutoff to pass non-budget-related bills; and local companies and elected officials continued showing their support for Ukraine.
Editor's note: This week's newsletter has been triaged due to time constraints. Click here for the most recent Seattle Times COVID infographic. 
Top Stories
King County joined Washington state in moving up the end of its indoor mask mandate to March 12th (from March 21st) following updated guidance from the CDC, although the executive director of the Washington State Hospital Association urged Washingtonians to continue wearing masks in most indoor settings until case counts fall further and stay low for an extended period of time; and King County's vaccine requirement for businesses ended on Tuesday

Seattle's eviction moratorium expired on Monday, but tenants facing eviction still have several forms of additional protection thanks to legislation passed during the pandemic by the City Council and the state legislature. [Crosscut]

Following two homicides downtown, Mayor Harrell shifted the focus of his Operation New Day increased enforcement program from 12th & Jackson to 3rd & Pike, in coordination with the City Attorney's office, the King County Prosecuting Attorney's office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Attorney's office. [PublicolaSeattle Times, Seattle TimesMyNorthwest]

JustCARE, a program that's been highly effective at clearing tent encampments by connecting their residents with beds in hotel-based supportive housing, is facing an uncertain future, with its current funding only guaranteed through June. [MyNorthwest]

Bills that will ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, amend two police reform bills from 2020, and guarantee benefits and a statewide minimum wage for Lyft and Uber drivers all passed out of the legislature before Friday's cutoff for non-budget-related legislation, and will now go to Governor Inslee's desk for his signature. 

The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Public Schools both offered their interim leaders the permanent positions (Tom Fay for SPL and Brent Jones for SPS), and Mayor Harrell appears set to do the same by the end of the month with interim SPD Chief Adrian Diaz

The City Council retroactively approved a set of officer hiring bonuses that Mayor Durkan had instructed SPD to award in January in violation of a City Council vote to end the bonuses at the end of 2021 (Harrell ended the program as soon as he learned that it was still ongoing, in a sign of his much more collaborative approach to working with the City Council vs. Durkan's much more adversarial approach). [Seattle Times, The Stranger, KING 5]

The state capital gains tax on stock sales of more than $250,000 that the legislature passed last year was ruled unconstitutional by a county judge, setting off an appeals process that will almost certainly go all the way to the state Supreme Court. [Crosscut, Seattle Times, MyNorthwest]

The Seattle Department of Transportation's automated "Don't Block the Box" traffic enforcement cameras went live at 8 intersections in downtown and South Lake Union. [Seattle Times, KING 5]

SDOT announced plans to convert one of the three northbound lanes of Aurora Ave N and the northbound lane of West Green Lake Drive North into a protected bike lane, as part of a project called the Outer Loop to create a bike path all the way around the lake. [MyBallard]

SeaTac Airport unveiled a brand new international arrivals terminal that will be able to handle more than twice as many passengers per hour as the old one. [KING 5, MyNorthwest]

Amazon announced that it plans to permanently close all of its physical bookstores, Amazon 4-Star stores, and Pop Up stores across the country, focusing instead on expanding its various grocery stores and launching a new line of fashion stores. [GeekWire, KNKX]

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that the state will receive $183 million from Purdue Pharma, after rejecting a $70 million settlement last year on the basis that it was too lenient. [Seattle Times]

And local companies and elected officials continued showing their support for Ukraine, with Governor Inslee directing all state agencies to cut ties with Russian entities, Boeing closing its offices in Russia and suspending its ongoing maintenance and technical support services for Russian airlines, Microsoft helping Ukraine fend off cyberattacks from Russia and stopping sales of its products in Russia, the state Senate unanimously passing a resolution "recognizing and supporting" the people of Ukraine, and state pension fund announcing plans to divest roughly $100 million in holdings linked to Russia.
Ending on a high note
There's a new baby J Pod orca in town! Say hello to cute little J59

And if you've ever wondered what that weird lit-up house right next to I-5 between the Lakeside Blvd exit and the 520 exit is, Seattle Met has you covered

Sol Villarreal
Broker, Windermere Real Estate
Sol's Civic Minute: What's happening in Seattle, in 60 seconds per week.
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