Here’s our recap of the Kent City Council meeting held on Tuesday night, Oct. 3, 2023:

Awards & Proclamations

Quentin Palmer was chosen as October Employee of the Month. Palmer works in IT as a Systems Operations Engineer, and has been with the city since 2001. He is always upbeat, dedicated, reliable, and as Mayor Dana Ralph said, has too many achievements to list.

Since 1987, October has been recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to encourage public awareness and protective legislation. According to the proclamation, nearly 20 people per minute are abused in an intimate relationship in the US. The proclamation was accepted by a representative from DAWN, a local non-profit organization that supports victims of domestic violence. DAWN provides emergency shelter, immigration advocacy, counseling, children’s services, and a 24-hour support line (425-656-7867). The DAWN representative said that visibility and education are our first line of defense against domestic violence. DVHopeline is another organization that provides 24 hour support for victims of domestic violence, at 206-737-0242.

The second proclamation honors October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which has been recognized each October for 78 years. The aim is to raise awareness of disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of employees with disabilities. Kent partners with SCKAC Industries and Employment Services to hire people with disabilities and help them fully participate in all aspects of community life. A group from SCKAC was present to accept the proclamation, and they gave Mayor Dana Ralph an award for the city’s longstanding commitment to hiring people with disabilities.

The final proclamation recognises October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early there is a 5-year survival rate of 99%. Mayor Dana Ralph said that she is a breast cancer survivor herself, only discovering the cancer when her mother forced her to get her first mammogram. Mayor Ralph presented the proclamation to Councilmember Marli Larimer, who just finished her own breast cancer treatment last month. Councilmember Larimer said that being diagnosed with breast cancer can be a lonely, scary time, and having other breast cancer survivors to talk to about it makes a huge difference. Awareness of the prevalence and treatment options of this disease helps with the fear and uncertainty presented by a diagnosis.

Aerospace Jobs Highest Sector for Wages in Kent

According to William Ellis, the city’s Chief Economic Development Officer, Kent is leading the charge for aerospace industries. There are three major global regions of aerospace development, and South King County is one of them. The aerospace sector provides valuable jobs, creating a higher percentage of middle to high income positions than other industries. These jobs are dependent on a highly educated workforce, and currently employers are importing a lot of their workers from other regions. Ellis encouraged Kent schools and educational programs to focus on STEM education of young people, to be ready to take advantage of these jobs.

Speed Reduction on Pacific Highway

Starting the weekend of Oct. 14 & 15, 2023, the speed limit along Pacific Highway will be reduced to 40 mph. The new speed limit affects the entire stretch of the road through Kent.

Public Comments

The lone comment tonight addressed issues faced by residents who live near the Green River Trail. There has been a nearby homeless encampment which has gone unaddressed by the city for two years. There was a shooting in the apartment complex’s parking lot, and a U-Haul truck was intentionally set on fire. According to the speaker, nothing of substance has been done by the city to help the situation, and emails from residents have gone unanswered. He said one resident told him, “You live where you can afford to live.” Residents said it had been a nice, quiet place to live before what he referred to as a “drug encampment” popped up two years ago. The speaker said that the city’s attention to neighborhoods shouldn’t be determined by the income of residents.

Mellow DeTray

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 17 years raising her family in the region. For many years she published a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.