Seattle's Mayor Harrell announces plan to 'revitalize' Downtown

An executive order issued Monday calls for additional addiction treatment options, reviving small businesses and more.

people walking downtown

Pedestrians cross the street at Third Avenue and Pike Street. (Grant Hindsley for Crosscut)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell on Monday revealed a new city plan to “revitalize Downtown,” with an emphasis on public safety and the drug crisis.

The mayor issued an executive order calling on police to play a more active role in disrupting drug sales, along with a plan to increase city spending on overdose prevention and response. Among a suite of new initiatives is a 12-week program to provide gift cards as incentives to get people into drug treatment.

The city also plans to establish a new place for people to recover from non-fatal overdoses, get help with their addiction and access other resources.

Among the non-drug-related initiatives announced on Monday, Harrell talked about a program to get small businesses, entrepreneurs and local artists to fill 20 vacant storefronts Downtown. He wants to reopen City Hall Park on June 15 with social activities to draw people there, including concerts and outdoor movies and a jumbo chess board.

And the mayor would like to see more frequent closings of Downtown streets for special events, including festivals, concerts and pickleball competitions. Other plans include waiving street-use permit fees for food trucks and pop-up food vendors, and asking the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to issue “sip ’n’ stroll” permits for First Thursday Art Walks so people can carry beverages as they walk among galleries.

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