Kirkland City Council receives community support for inclusive city ordinance

The Kirkland City Council received a standing ovation on Feb. 21 from a crowd of dozens of residents following the approval of a resolution reaffirming the council’s belief in equal rights for everyone.

The council also approved an ordinance that puts into law long-standing city policy of providing everyone in Kirkland (residents, employees and visitors) with the full range of city services (including police) without discrimination based on immigration status or race.

“Kirkland and the Eastside will not tolerate hate,” Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold said before voting to approve both items.

The resolution and ordinance came before the council a month after Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen signed a proclamation expressing similar sentiments at the Jan. 3 council meeting.

At the beginning of the Feb. 21 meeting, the council received a petition signed by more than 750 people in support of the earlier proclamation.

Before the council voted on the ordinance and resolution, more than a dozen people came forward in support of the city’s efforts, with some happy to see that the city wasn’t going to become a sanctuary city and others wanting sanctuary status for Kirkland.

“Thank you for making this a reality,” Chris Moody told the council during the public hearing.

“I especially really support the part that prevents the collection of religious information,” Kirkland resident David Greschler said, recounting his family’s history during the Holocaust.

“Thank you for all of your support,” Walen said to those in attendance.

Members of the council have made it clear that they want to take these sentiments beyond words and engage the entire Kirkland population to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome in the city. They plan to have council conversations about issues relating to the proclamation, resolution and ordinance later this year.

“This conversation is just the beginning,” Councilmember Penny Sweet said.

Council goals

At the Feb. 21 meeting, the council also approved its priority goals and the city work plan for 2017-18. The goals include public safety; dependable infrastructure; balanced transportation; parks, open spaces and recreation; financial stability; economic development; housing; human services and neighborhoods.

To achieve those goals, the work plan includes the following items:

  • Implement the Cross Kirkland Corridor Master Plan focused on the Totem Lake Connector and South Kirkland Park and Ride bridges.
  • Renovate Fire Station 25, construct new station 24, and site new station 27.
  • Explore potential ballot measures for fire station modernization and public safety operations.
  • Expand the maintenance center to meet the service needs of the larger city.
  • Partner with A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH), churches and non-profits to construct a permanent women/family shelter in Kirkland.
  • Fund capital investments to support growth in Totem Lake.
  • Replace the city’s core financial and human resources software.
  • Facilitate community policing through implementation of the Police Strategic Plan.
  • Partner with Sound Transit, the State Department of Transportation and King County Metro Transit to ensure that investments along Interstate 405 serve Kirkland’s mobility needs.
  • Procure a new solid waste contract and engage King County and Kirkland residents to determine the future of the Houghton Transfer Station and Houghton Landfill.
  • Maintain Kirkland as a “Safe, Inclusive, Welcoming Community” with community conversations and identified action steps.
  • Implement “For the Love of Kirkland” recommendations to engage the community and promote a strong bond with Kirkland among the residents and businesses of the city.

More information about the welcoming ordinance and resolution, priority goals, work plan and other items at the Feb. 21 council meeting can be found online in the meeting’s agenda packet at Video of the meeting is also available to watch.