By Mellow DeTray

Here’s our recap of the Kent City Council meeting held on Tuesday night, June 20, 2023:

Proclamation Honors 30 Years of Macrina Bakery

Macrina Bakery, which employs nearly 300 people and sources products locally as much as possible, began in Belltown 30 years ago. They moved their bakery operations to Kent’s industrial district about 10 years ago, opening a cafe in Kent soon after. Macrina now has six different cafes in King County. To celebrate 30 years in business, Macrina Bakery will be giving away mini funfetti cupcakes at all cafe locations on Aug. 27.

$2500 Donation to Meals on Wheels

City Council President Bill Boyce presented a giant check for $2,500 to Sound Generation’s Meals on Wheels program, from the City’s Charitable Contributions Committee. To qualify for Meals on Wheels, which delivers 7 to 14 frozen meals weekly, participants must be over age 60 and have a medical recommendation based on difficulty shopping or cooking. The program currently delivers 900 meals a week to seniors, and there is a waiting list.

Public Safety Report

Police Chief Rafael Padilla had lots to share this evening, with two new officers and two promotions to present, multiple awards to hand out, and a report on the recent gun buy-back event as well as other updates.

New Officers & Promotions

The two new officers are lateral transfers, which means they don’t require nearly as much training before becoming full-fledged officers. David Doucett and Brandon Lyon were sworn in to service by Council President Boyce. Doug Whitley and Corey Chapman both received promotions from Officer to Sergeant.

Life Saving Awards

The Chief’s Life Saving Award was given to Corrections Officers Scott Kulin, Alicia Day, and Shareka Alexander who, by administering CPR and four doses of Narcan, were able to save the life of an overdosed inmate.

Another Life Saving medal was presented to Officer Matthew Fisher, who took over chest compressions at the scene of a vehicular accident on April 11th, until paramedics could get there. A semi-truck had crashed into a cement barrier, after the driver, Mark McMasters, had a heart attack. Three bystanders– Martin Flores, Hector, Gomez, and Phil Zegler– were the first to respond, administering CPR to McMasters, who had no pulse. The three civilians also helped with traffic control after Officer Fisher was on the scene. The quick-acting bystanders will be receiving the Chief’s Award of Citizen’s Commendation. Additionally, this is the second time Officer Fisher has received the Life Saving Award.

Mark McMasters, whose life was saved by the officer and three civilians, spoke at the meeting as well. Mark said he doesn’t remember the traumatic incident, but he and his wife Shelly both hugged Officer Fisher and gave him a heartfelt thankyou. The couple then presented a donation to the Kent Police Foundation in the amount of $10,000.

Chief’s Award of Exceptional Duty

One of the highest honors in the police force, the Chief’s Award of Exceptional Duty went to Officer Jonathan Silas. Officer Silas responded to a call regarding suspects damaging property at a carwash. Multiple vehicles were present and one sped away. The remaining suspect tried to flee on foot. Officers were able to pursue him, but he had a firearm in his waistband and was able to pull it on the officers. In this situation, deadly use of force by the police would have been authorized. However, Officer Silas was able to disarm the suspect, arresting him, and avoid a tragedy.

Gun Buyback a Success

On June 3rd, Kent PD hosted its first gun buyback event. 82 firearms were brought to the event, and $8,250 in gift cards were given in exchange for the unwanted weapons.

Red Light Camera Update

Six new traffic cameras will be activated to issue tickets for red light violations starting July 16. Currently violators are only receiving a warning, but soon violations will result in a fine. The new cameras are at the intersections of 116th & 240th Street, and 68th & 228th Street. Tickets from traffic cams don’t affect driving records or increase insurance rates, and revenue goes to the police officer body camera program.

Street Racing Update

Reducing illegal street racing has been a major focus for Kent PD recently. Officers are now working in collaboration with several local agencies, including Renton, Tukwila, and Auburn Police Departments, as well as Washington State Patrol.

Over the past few weekends, several races each night were disrupted by the police. 146 racers and race-goers were contacted, and 26 arrests were made. Fourteen criminal cases have ensued so far. Several race vehicles were impounded, and one illegal firearm was seized. Police will sustain these efforts going forward.

Public Comments: Safety Concerns at Mill Creek Middle School

A contingent of students, family, and employees from Mill Creek Middle School spoke to council on the dangerous conditions of the school’s track and field. The field floods regularly, and is left pitted and littered with garbage when the water recedes. Several students have been seriously injured by tripping and slipping hazards while playing sports and moving equipment on the field.

Some speakers became quite emotional about the issues at the school, which they said were a problem of equity. Better funded schools have or are building brand new sports fields, while Mill Creek students can barely ever play a home game. Students sometimes have to miss a day of school, when other schools are in session, due to flood conditions.

Speakers said they had already taken their concerns to the school board, who told them to come to city council. Council President Boyse said it’s not the city’s jurisdiction to rebuild the track and field of a school, but he expressed a desire to help them get in contact with all parties who may be able to do something about the hazardous conditions, including Mayor Dana Ralph, who could not be present at this meeting.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 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.


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