By Mellow DeTray
Here’s our recap of the Kent City Council meeting held on Tuesday night, Aug. 15, 2023:
Homeless Relocation Facility Under Consideration By County
Mayor Dana Ralph started the meeting off by explaining that an online petition has been circulating with incorrect information. The HomeTowne Suites Hotel in the West Hill neighborhood is under consideration as a homeless relocation facility. This is a possible project being considered by King County Regional Homelessness Authority, but according to Mayor Ralph, the city of Kent has no say in the decision. However, Mayor Ralph said the project is currently on hold, and she is asking the county to hold public meetings before taking any action to move forward on it.
Multiple speakers utilized the Public Comments segment of the meeting to voice concerns over this proposed project, saying that the neighborhood is already growing increasingly unsafe for teens and the elderly. They worry that bringing more homeless to the area would present a public safety issue.
Proclamation: Iglesia ni Cristo Celebrates 109 Years
Iglesia ne Cristo, or Church of Christ, was founded in 1914 and has become a worldwide organization. They help the community in multiple ways, including donating large amounts of materials for school supply drives and holding blood drives, so the mayor wanted to formally recognize their ongoing contribution to the city.
Public Safety Report: 8 New Officers, New Drug Law in Effect
Eight new police officers, four men and four women, were sworn into the Kent Police force. They will all be fully deployable next spring. In addition, four officers received internal promotions, including the new Deputy Chief Matt Stansfield, and Assistant Chief Andy Grove.
Kent’s Community Police Academy runs Sept. 26 – Dec. 5, from 6:30-9 p.m., and registration is open now. Participation in this educational series is free, and spots are filling up – click here for registration information.
Chief Raphael Padilla also let everyone know that the new drug law is in effect now. This restores the ability of officers to make an arrest for both possession and use of drugs. He says they are not out to fill the jails with drug users, but this is an effective way of encouraging drug users to enter treatment. Chief Padilla said those who use fentanyl and other highly addictive drugs voluntarily seeking treatment just isn’t happening, and this is a good step in the right direction.
Public Comments: Problems at SHAG
An organized group of residents at SHAG (Senior Housing Assistance Group) spoke to council about problems at the low income senior housing facility. They laid out many concerns, including removal of all lobby seating which means they have nowhere to wait for rides, pest infestation of apartments, water leaks that go unaddressed, and rampant theft in the hallways, with no security within or outside the buildings. They asked police to do patrols through the facility parking lot, to keep non-residents from loitering around making the area unsafe.
Speakers also said residents are being mistreated by staff, who are generally disrespectful. They said SHAG has been unresponsive to complaints and requests. One person mentioned that the only elevator in one apartment building was out of order for months, and disabled residents were essentially trapped on the third floor. They were told by management to call the fire department if they needed to get out.
View video of more public comments made on this issue here.
Free Theater Performances Start Aug. 26
Councilmember Brenda Fincher wanted to let people know about an arts event coming soon. Theatre Battery believe that arts should be available to all, and they provide their tickets free to the public. Their upcoming show, Deep Purple Wiggle, is opening on Saturday, Aug. 26 at Kent Station – tickets can be reserved here.