| January 31, 2022 07:33 PM
During the summer protests of 2020, then-Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration reportedly considered transferring a Seattle Police Department building to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County.
Draft legislation to relocate operations from the SPD’s East Precinct building and transfer the building was emailed to the mayor by the head of Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services on the same day the building had been taken over by protesters who established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, according to documents obtained by the Seattle Times.
“Mayor Durkan’s office directed FAS, in its capacity as the city’s real estate and facility management agency, to outline the process to transfer the East Precinct to BLM-Seattle-King County,” Melissa Mixon, a spokeswoman for FAS, told the Washington Examiner. “FAS did not, and does not, have knowledge as to what Mayor Durkan’s office intended to do with the East Precinct in June 2020.”
The draft legislation transferred permanent “use of/ownership” of the East Precinct building to BLMSKC effective July 1, 2020. As part of the proposal, the city would remove all of its law enforcement material from the building and commit to the building’s maintenance.
But the transfer never happened, and the East Precinct building is currently in use by the SPD, the Washington Examiner confirmed. The draft legislation estimated that the property was worth over $5 million.
“The East Precinct, located at 1519 12th Avenue, Seattle WA is located in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, a neighborhood known for its diversity and social activism,” the draft legislation said. “This precinct houses Seattle Police officers who patrol Seattle’s Central District neighborhood and has been seen as a symbol of police oppression in one of Seattle’s historically Black neighborhoods.”
Calvin Goings, the director of FAS, emailed multiple memos and the draft legislation to Durkan on June 8, 2020, at about 3 p.m. local time, the Seattle Times reported. Mixon told the Washington Examiner that transferring the police building to BLMSKC was one of about half a dozen proposals Durkan asked FAS to explore at the time.
The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, sparked widespread protests in the city, including by some who wanted to defund the police. On June 8, 2020, the SPD abandoned the East Precinct building, and protesters established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ — an area intended to be a police-free zone, the Seattle Times reported. It was subsequently renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP. On July 1, 2020, police returned to CHOP and cleared out the protesters.
Durkan announced in December 2020 that she would not seek reelection. She was succeeded by Bruce Harrell, the city’s current mayor.