Mayor Ed Murray on Thursday put the plans to build a $149 million North Precinct police station on hold, but opponents say “the campaign is not over.”
Opponents of a planned North Seattle police station vowed at a Friday rally at City Hall to continue the fight against the “bunker” that Mayor Ed Murray put on hold.
“This is a small, but important victory,” activist Rashad Barber said. “The bunker has been blocked, but the campaign is not over.”
Plans for the North Precinct station were shelved by the mayor and City Council after pressure from community members who questioned the project’s $149 million price tag and the city’s priorities.
Murray said on Friday that city officials will revisit the station’s design, including certain elements that caused costs to balloon.
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“I remain committed to replacing the aging precinct in North Seattle and am prepared to consider multiple design options, if it is determined that is the best path for the community,” Murray said in a statement.
The new station is needed because the existing precinct is overcrowded and rundown, officials said.
But opponents have slammed the planned station, at Aurora Avenue North and North 130th Street, as a “bunker” for a police force undergoing court-ordered reforms related to excessive force and bias. They have rallied around a “Block the bunker” slogan.
In the lobby of City Hall, Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and other opponents of the project said the debate over the planned station is really a question about what the city values. For some, it was a stark choice between funding for the Seattle Police Department and funding for services for the poor.
While not in the most pristine condition, the North Precinct building “remains functional,” Sawant said. “It’s a question of priorities.”
Original funding for the plan included a mix of cash financing and almost $100 million in bonds. With the project stalled, officials will not seek that money in the 2017 city budget. About $15 million, however, has already been set aside for the project.
Sawant is asking that the city instead pursue $100 million in bond funding to create new affordable housing.
Activists plan to rally again on Monday after a scheduled City Council meeting.