Notes from Shoreline Council meeting June 21, 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
June 21, 2021

Notes by Pam Cross

Mayor Hall called the remote meeting to order at 7:00pm.
Councilmember Roberts was excused for personal reasons.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry


UPDATE: The vaccination rate in Washington is at 67.8% according to the state Department of Health. Governor Inslee said officials will continue to stick to the plan of reopening the State on June 30 or when the benchmark is met - whichever happens first. (Seattle Times 06/23/2021)

Walk-in vaccinations are also available - no appointment necessary.


The need for blood donations has increased this year so blood donations are badly needed.

Both the Red Cross and Bloodworks NW are hosting area blood drives in the coming weeks. Red Cross appointments in Shoreline are currently full, but contact for new drive dates.

Bloodworks NW will be hosting drives on July 21, 22, 27 and 28 at Laurel Place in Seattle. This is next to the Bitter Lake Post Office at 911 N 145th St. You can make an appointment at


We are in the process of updating the City’s Transportation Master Plan and we want to hear from you. Help guide the City’s transportation improvements for the next 20 year by taking a short survey. For more information and to take the survey, go to


Southwest Shoreline Walk on June 26 at 10:00am will be exploring the area between Westminster Way and Aurora Ave, heading west on 145th St and walking the loop trail through Llandover woods. All participants are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Walk is approximately 3.5 miles or 2 hours and the walk rating is moderate (some hills and wooded trails). Friendly dogs on a leash are welcome. Meet at: Bank of America near Central Market (Shoreline Place: N 155th and Westminster Way)


PRCS/Tree Board will hold a remote meeting on Thursday, June 26 at 7pm

Council Reports

Councilmember Chang
attended the meeting of the Regional Transit Committee. They approved the Guiding Principles that were mentioned last week. In addition to equity, we are going to be looking at growth areas and populations that have no transportation other than Metro. We hope this will be helpful. Metro’s Fall services changes will be implemented in October when the Northgate Light Rail Station opens. We’ll probably see more North-South routes in Shoreline.

Public Comment

Tamra Smilanich, North Seattle on Shoreline border
The City of Yelm recently passed a resolution in which the city will not collect employee information on vaccine status. She encourages Shoreline to do the same.

Ed Yasakawa, Seattle
The employees of the City of Shoreline should not be required to be vaccinated.

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
Underscoring the need for ongoing monitoring and oversight of activities in the enhanced shelter and in proximity to it.

Approval of the Consent Calendar
Consent Calendar approved unanimously by a vote of 6-0.

8(a) Discussion of the 2020 Police Service Report

The 2020 Police Service Report (PSR) is an annual police report presented by the Shoreline Police command staff to the City Council. The report contains information on crime statistics, police data and other information relevant to public safety.

Chief Shawn Ledford and Captain Ryan Abbott will present the report.

NOTE: This was a detailed overview of the Police Service report. You can read a copy of it in the staff report. It has not been added to the Police tab on the City of Shoreline site, but will be shortly.

Current staffing consists of 51 commissioned allocated (there are 7 vacancies), and 3 professional staff. Like other police agencies, we are having difficulties retaining and hiring officers. That means we are often operating at minimums and we often have to use overtime to fulfill those minimums.

Police Contacts
There were 22,690 dispatched call contacts in 2020 which is about a 6% decrease from 2019. A lot of that is due to COVID. There were 7,741 police initiated contacts which is also lower than 2019 and has been the trend since 2017.

Response Times
Our response times have improved for all calls probably as a result of less traffic volume during the pandemic. Traffic collisions and citations follow this pattern of decrease.

Traffic - Collisions and Citations
Collisions decreased 9% and citations 67%.

Crime Trends
One trend jumps out from the rest: 300% increase in fraud. We expect this will be just a one-time increase from fraudulent unemployment claims where citizens were encouraged to contact local police departments to report possible fraud.

Residential and commercial burglaries continue to trend slightly down. Domestic violence shows a 23% reduction unlike other areas that have reported an increase during the pandemic.

Crimes that have increased include car prowls, vandalism, vehicle thefts and robberies.

Hate crimes
There were 11 hate crimes reported in 2020. Of those 7 were for graffiti. One was a note with hate speech on it. The top three hate crimes will give you an idea of what we are seeing in Shoreline.
There was a high school threats case January 1, 2020 where one student had threatened another. The victim did not want to press charges. On May 5, 2020 condo vandalism report where someone wrote “racist” with a sharpie marker on a tenant’s vehicle. We were never able to identify the suspect. On May 9, 2020 grocery store threats involved homophobic slurs made to an elderly victim by a juvenile. The juvenile fled the scene and was never located.

In 2021 we already have 2 hate crimes and one has been charged as a felony hate crime.

Use of force

2021 Legislative Changes

We will be modifying our training to address these changes. We will need legal guidance and we have paused our current training program.
  • HB1310 Physical force can only be used if there’s probable cause (instead of reasonable suspicion) to make an arrest and/or to protect against an imminent threat of serious injury. Probable cause is a high bar.
  • HB 9476 Based on the Blake decision, controlled substance possession or use, requires two assessment referrals before an arrest can be made.
  • HB 1054 Tactics. The King County Sheriff’s Office policies already comply with a lot of these restrictions. The pursuit policies are more strict.
  • HB 1140 Juvenile access to an attorney
  • SB 5259 Authorizes Attorney General to require additional data elements in the use of force program.

We’ve taken a lot of pride in de escalating situations but we may have to rely more on mental health professionals. We are trying to figure out how to do this best to keep everyone safe while waiting for the necessary infrastructure (such as facilities to assist those with mental health issues).


There’s a lot in here. I’m concerned about the state legislative changes and mental health issues and the quality of life aspects. The Blake decision says cooperation is voluntary - so can the person continue to do what they’re doing (sleeping in park, using drugs) and police have to walk away?
Reply: that’s the way I interpret it at this point but we have meetings over the next three days to address this type of issue. We plan to come back to Council in August to go over what we’ve learned.

Legislative changes appear to limit your ability to make arrests for domestic violence.
Reply: Here’s an example: neighbors call it in and when we arrive a party comes out of the apartment. Before now we could stop that person on reasonable suspicion. We can’t do that now because we need probable cause. Vandalism and a lot of things where we used to be able to hold someone for reasonable suspicion until we could figure it out, now require probable cause.

I disagree that probable cause is a very high standard. In your example, once you found out an assault had occurred you could then stop the person based on probable cause. I think most of these changes are less dramatic than we think they might be.

I see complaints about property crimes on NextDoor and now I can see that an increase in property crimes actually exists. What can we do about that?
Reply: We have to continue to work with community outreach. Don’t leave stuff in cars, even a diaper bag. If they don’t see something, they’ll go on to the next car. We see this on surveillance videos.

Just south of our border, there is a large amount of prostitution yet we have little activity in Shoreline. What are we doing right?
Reply: We have the support of the Council to go out and contact the individuals and ask them if they need help, and we go on to tell them we’re not going to allow them to work on Aurora in Shoreline.

Use of force: we had an officer involved shooting last year and it’s very important to see what the analysis of this shows. When will this report be made public?
Reply: An outside agency does the review so I know very little information - which is intentional. There’s an inquest process that has to be followed. So I can’t provide a timeline.

Fraud is at 299% almost exclusively due to reporting of unemployment fraud. If we take unemployment reports out, how do our numbers compare to last year?
Reply: I didn’t back out those claims to see apples to apples. I think we’re pretty consistent.

Looking at the chart of types of force, is it based on the total 15 use of force incidents or is a percentage of some other number?
Reply: it is based on the 15.

The chart looks bad but the staff report shows that our use of force numbers are very very low. Maybe next time the chart should just show the actual numbers instead of the percentage.

Race and policing and how safe people feel. How is Shoreline doing? I can’t really answer that when I’m asked because I can’t point to numbers. I would like to see a report on officers’ perception of race. If the numbers are off, why is that.
Also, 911 calls just come in from citizens. These might tell us who calls in - the caller’s perception of race applies here. Not asking for a comment but hoping for the future we can determine how we are doing.

One thing that would need to be factored in is drive-through traffic along Aurora and how that would affect the racial makeup of the community.
Reply: correct, it changes the demographics. Also if you’re running radar you can’t see the race of a driver when you get the speed. I’m interested in the data as well.

Staff has asked us if we want to use traffic cameras. If we were using them, at least they don’t perceive race and that might help us address this at another time. This is a conversation for another day.

Collisions were down a little bit but driving was down even more. Any sense of why collisions just dipped a little bit?
Reply: I think any time you have a reduction in enforcement collisions may go up.

8(b) Discussion of Ordinance No. 937 - Amending the Shoreline Municipal Code to Add Chapter 10.22 Street Racing

The COVID-91 pandemic has seen a growth in street racing activity nationwide and within the Puget Sound area. Street racing is extremely difficult to address under current laws and even more so in the City of Shoreline where Police calls for service and limited resources cut down on available discretionary patrol time to combat the issue. Pursuant to RCW 46.61.530, street racing amounts to reckless driving under RCW 46.61.500, however these State law provisions fail to place consequences on organizers, non-driving participants, and spectators for their actions in facilitating and encouraging the activity. Proposed Ordinance No. 937 would amend the Shoreline Municipal Code to add a new chapter regarding street racing.

Captain Ryan Abbott and Margaret King, City Attorney, gave the presentation

Street racing in Shoreline October of 2020, at Richmond Beach Rd and Dayton

We see this happening in Shoreline at least two weeks every month. Sometimes we know it’s going to happen, sometimes we don’t and we’re caught off guard. It is dangerous and results in serious injuries to drivers and spectators, collisions, property damage, large fights, shootings and other criminal behavior.


Why are the “no racing zones” such a limited area? Aren’t there are other areas where it could take place?
  • Abbott: there are more areas but these are the major ones. We had races at a lot of other streets as well but we’re limited to a certain number of streets to name.
  • Ledford: these were the problem locations. We can add other locations if it becomes a problem in other locations.
  • King: there are exemptions to where we can put these area - where people need to get to court or another public building, a court might not enter into it so this was our starting point.
But the racers will just go to other locations, right?
  • King: this is just for the prosecutor to get an order. If they’re caught racing anywhere in the City they can be cited. But if they’re in a signed area, they can be cited for just driving through there.
Can this be added to private property? People use parking lots in churches etc. to do donuts.
  • King: they can be cited for racing there, and then the owners of private property can trespass them so you don’t need STOR (stay out of racing ordinance).
  • Abbott: private property is more tricky. Trespass is an option if it’s ongoing, but it’s a matter of trying to catch the car if someone calls it in.
Street racing provides the soundtrack to my life. Once we get past this pandemic, will this fad stop?
  • Abbott: It’s quite the thing to do. It’s always been here. I don’t see it going away by itself. Summer is worse but with COVID it continued all year long.
Have other cities seen reductions?
  • Abbott: Kent has seen a decrease due to their racing ordinance and they have identified some of the regular players wanted, not only for racing, but also for violent crimes. They will go back and charge them and it’s really helped Kent.
Racing is dangerous for everybody. What about police?
  • Abbott: Tacoma had an officer drive into an event and the group attacked his car. The State Patrol has had similar situations. It is dangerous for officers. We went in with a lot of numbers and a helicopter when we learned where they were going.
Is it possible to know ahead of time?
  • We have a good intelligence group but the racers are thinking of different ways of communicating. At least once/week we are getting a BOLO (be on the lookout) in this area. But it just keeps moving from area to area, city to city.
I have some concerns but we don’t want to enact something that will be embarrassing in the future. Impound does not always punish the right person. It’s probable that someone other than the owner is operating the car. (The owner could be another family member).

In looking at the proposed regulations, where a person can be arrested with a warrant and impound, it seems to refer to a non-existent paragraph. What is the intent? I want to make sure that a court can order an impound, but not an officer.
  • King: good question. I’ll look into that for you. Could be just citing error.
I’m OK with impounding the car. Otherwise they will be leaving here for the next race in another location. Not unlike a drunk driver, we need that racer off the streets.

Not sure what the right answer is. The cars that are frequently shown are cars that have been modified to be street racing cars which is expensive. I think impounding them is important and will deter future behavior. Since these regulations are new here and we need something quickly, I’m OK with having to make changes later on. I think we need to do something now.

Just to follow up, Kent’s ordinance allows after the fact arrest or prosecution? Like from a cell phone video?
  • Abbott: kind of. We have to know who the driver was. We can then forward it to the prosecutor to see if they want to pursue charges.
  • King: You can charge people after an investigation if there’s enough there to meet the definition of a crime. Like Jan 6, where people posted themselves at the Capitol. Also under reckless driving, if they arrest you they can impound the vehicle but police have to go through an analysis why the impoundment is necessary. The SOR ordinance allows it. The court ordered impound can only occur after an individual has been convicted.
You can’t take back a night in jail. And we don’t generally refund import fees. I agree with this ordinance but totally disagree with anyone going to jail based on a not-well-thought-out ordinance. It is possible the car has not been modified .

This will be back on Action in July

8(c) Discussion of COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policies - Sponsored by Mayor Hall

Mayor Hall requested the City Manager to schedule a Council discussion to direct the City Manager to establish a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for City employees. The Mayor also requested that Council discuss establishing a mandatory vaccination policy for in-person attendance at any council meeting or indoor event sponsored by the City. Currently, the City Manager does not recommend that the City Council consider adoption of any mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.

Presentation by John Norris, Assistant City Manager

There has been a tremendous impact from the pandemic. Over 100 Shoreline residents have died.

City staff has taken this pandemic very seriously and will continue to do so. Vaccines are more widely available. Vaccines are much more effective than mask wearing and social distancing in preventing the spread of this virus. A mandatory policy may result in termination of employees who do not have an exemption or chose not to be vaccinated. There must be exemptions for medical and sincerely held religious reasons. 79% of the City’s regular employees have provided proof of vaccination.

The City Attorney has confirmed that the Council has the legal authority to issue a mandatory vaccination policy.

There are other organizations with mandatory vaccination policies such as cruise-ship lines, and in university and health care settings. Staff could not identify any state government agency (except public universities), county, school district or municipal government in Washington State that has adopted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. However this could change.

We are currently planning on reopening City facilities later in the summer. Visitors will be required to wear face coverings (masks) when visiting City facilities.


I was unable to view some of the slides. If this is passed, failure to be vaccinated may result in termination of a staff member?
  • Debbie Tarry: If they don’t have an exemption but choose not to be vaccinated then it could result in termination.
This is a surprisingly difficult topic. Public policy vs. personal experience. When I have to go back to the office in a large building with recirculated air, I’m very uncomfortable with that even though I’m fully vaccination. Vaccinations work. I’m thinking about the safety of employees. Why should vaccinated people have to potentially suffer from people who don’t follow the science? What about wearing a mask while having a cup of coffee at your desk?
  • Reply: sitting with a cup of coffee or tea at your desk is not “eating or drinking”. It’s when you’re eating your lunch. If someone doesn’t wear a mask because of they have a drink to sip on, we would have a conversation with that person.

Didn’t the City of Issaquah make it mandatory for new hires?
  • Reply: Yes
Union involvement will also be needed. But there are so many moving parts when it comes to public access. We’ve learned that a lot of services can be provided remotely.

I agree this is difficult. People need to get vaccinated. We can encourage and educate but I don’t think we should mandate vaccination for employees. There are so many exemptions and religious considerations are difficult to track. It might just be used by some. Maybe it’s too soon for mandates - maybe we need to continue with masking and social distancing.

How is the air at City Hall?
  • Reply: great question. We have a very advanced HVAC system and have added increased filtration and ionization - it’s as clean as in a hospital. At our other facilities, we’ve added multiple air purifier units. I think we feel confident of the level of air quality in all of our facilities.

In general we hired Debbie Tarry to be the head of our organization and I’ve tried not to go against her decisions because I want to honor her decisions. I’m not in favor of mandating. We’re small enough that I hope we can get the job done with encouragement to vaccinate. Maybe we can consider mandating for new employees who can consider that before applying for a position.

This decision is too soon. We open in September and I would still like to see some masking including at Council meetings which could be remote for several more months. I personally want to feel safe and the honor system doesn’t quite work to make me feel safe.

I don’t want to go to mandatory vaccinations. I like masking and social distancing because there’s too much still unknown. We don’t even know how long the vaccines last. Zoom meetings continuing is ok with me too. We aren’t open yet. Let’s see what happens when everything else opens.

I agree this seems too soon but it takes months to work these things out. Companies are still planning how they will proceed.

There were no outbreaks at City Hall but mandatory quarantine was required for some who were in contact with an employee who came to City Hall when they were infected with COVID-19. We got lucky.

We need to get past our personal issue. This is an important policy decision. We all care about the health safety of our employees, and the freedom, privacy and comfort of employees and members of the public. If we require people to come back to the workplace, we need to take care of everyone especially those who are the most vulnerable because they can’t be vaccinated.

I don’t want us to get caught up in like this is some new problem. We have been requiring proof of vaccination for other diseases for half a century in schools in all 50 states. And we don’t have to worry about these diseases anymore. Courts have found that the public benefit far outweighs the tiny intrusion on personal rights.

There is a lot to weigh here. I agree with mandating vaccinations for employees but not visitors to City Hall to protect our employees who have to come to City Hall and you’re immune compromised? We need to balance this in.

How does staff feel we should proceed?
  • Reply: There is not strong support for but split between the 6 member of Council here today.
  • Debbie Tarry: we are all concerned with public safety. Would like to continue to monitor and see what develops with other employers.

Procedurally this goes back to the drawing board. I think the next step is to not schedule an Action unless someone asks for it.

With a split like this we can’t move this along. I don’t want to have a vote . This is who we are today. Would like to continue to monitor it.

Do we know where the State might be headed?
Reply: no we don’t

No action scheduled.



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