King County Council member lobbies to condemn park near downtown Seattle courthouse

For years, security concerns have circulated around the Third Avenue entrance to the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. Now King County Council Member Reagan Dunn is pushing the county to condemn a park near this entrance as a danger to public safety.

City Hall Park, located along Third Avenue right next to the courthouse, has been home to a growing homeless encampment over the past year, with many palace employees justice frequently complaining of a subsequent increase in violent crime in the region.

“It’s kind of like a war zone there,” Dunn told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. “The town hall park has become a hotbed of criminal activity. “

Dunn reports that an employee “came across a body on the way home from work the other day,” while the King County District Attorney’s Office estimates between two and five reports of assault near the courthouse each week.

These problems also go back years. In late 2019, this Third Avenue entrance was temporarily closed after an assault on a lawyer and a King County subway bus driver. The entrance reopened in early 2020 after the county council allocated $ 600,000 for two more assistants for street safety, more security checkers, a marshal at the entrance to Fourth Avenue and workers. proximity outside the courthouse to connect people to services.

Prior to that, in 2018, Pete von Reichbauer, then a member of King County Council, told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that there was “no more dangerous part of the city of Seattle or King County. “than the area near the courthouse.

City, County Tackle Security at King County Courthouse

Given this story, Dunn is hoping that County Council members vote to condemn the land that City Hall Park sits on, buy it from the City of Seattle, and then “create a campus there that can be properly guarded. and applied “.

“We need to tackle both homelessness and criminal activity [in the area]He described. “There is a different set of services for each of them, and we can respond better to each of them if we have control of the property.”

State law allows the county to condemn a city’s land “if there is a use for it” and then “pay fair value for the property” to gain control of it. And while it would likely be expensive, Dunn also thinks it would be “doable.”

“It is time to act,” he said. “We really have to think about community safety to move forward. “

Listen to Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to podcast here.