Mayor Cassie Franklin sets her priorities for Everett
EVERETT — On the campaign trail to being elected mayor, Cassie Franklin spent 2017 outlining her goals. Some of those included enlarging the city’s economic development office, encouraging more community dialogue and
addressing violence along Casino Road and in South Everett.
In her first four weeks of office, Franklin has moved swiftly with four directives to put some of these campaign promises in action. The first came Jan. 11, instructing the Police Department to forge a game plan on reducing gang violence.
The latest three came down
last week: a revitalization in economic development, an initiative creating a larger framework for citizen engagement, and, on Friday, a directive to expand and enhance temporary and permanent homeless shelters and drug prevention efforts.
That Safe Streets Initiative directive sets benchmarks on potentially expanding shelter space and identifying and addressing existing barriers to shelter participation, and also create protocols by this summer regarding unauthorized encampments. By this
fall, a work plan is expected to be in place to keep Everett’s volunteer cold-weather shelter system continuously open from November to March.
Other plans include to expand street work crews, to develop a program to connect people found on the streets with jobs and use data to track the whole initiative’s effectiveness.
Franklin’s directive against gangs is in response to data showing there were 219 gang-related offenses reported in Everett in 2017 – a 59 percent increase over 2016. More than three-fourths of the violence involved people under age 21. It calls for potentially creating a gang unit, and also tasks the Police Department with building a community group which by this summer would launch a youth intervention pilot program aiming to divert teenagers and younger children from being entrapped into gang life.
David Sandoval-Hilarios, the 14-year-old shot last year by another teenager in a gang clash, was brought up as almost a poster example for the problem in Franklin’s State of the City speech last week.
Declaring new employers as integral for growth at the State of the City address, Franklin said she wants to “a comprehensive, proactive marketing and branding effort that highlights” the city’s capabilities. One move tasks the city’s communications director with leading a new city marketing team to extol Everett to potential businesses.
A separate branch establishes an office to encourage entrepreneurs and startups in Everett. Part of the efforts may help diversify the city that already has a heavy aerospace sector.
The community outreach effort will ultimately work to give people more direct ways to engage with and potentially shape city government; last year the city launched a civics academy to teach people how City Hall operates.
One of Franklin’s campaign items not yet broached is a plan to give
Everett more affordable housing.
Other highlights Franklin shared in her address last week were:
- A plan to create a community advisory group to assist Police Chief Dan Templeman.
- A plan to assess the Fire Department’s needs for deployment.
- The year-round farmers market is planning a soft opening next month.
- Seattle Children’s Hospital will open its Everett branch in August on the Providence Hospital campus.
- The Riverfront Development has already sold 140 homes and another 42 are pending sale.
- Construction is beginning on the Port’s Waterfront Place development.
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