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This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

This week in Seattle: Mayor Ed Murray is sued for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor while another mayoral contender announces her campaign, Seattle’s Uber union law is blocked, Bertha emerges from beneath the city, and more.

Seattle mayor denies allegations of sexually abusing teen

Mayor Murray faces serious accusations. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is accused of sexually abusing a man, when he was a teenager, in a lawsuit filed in civil court. The mayor vigorously denies the claims, calling them false allegations. The case has put a spotlight on similar claims from two other men. The mayor is accused of sometimes paying the victims. The case has surfaced as the mayor seeks re-election and sues President Donald Trump over his immigration crackdown.  [The Seattle Times]


Nikkita Oliver formally announces mayoral campaign

Nikkita Oliver announced her mayoral bid this week. (Photo via Facebook / Nikkita Oliver)

Before the troubling allegations about incumbent Mayor Murray surfaced, 31-year-old Black Lives Matter activist Nikkita Oliver announced her campaign. The former teacher, lawyer, and poet is representing the newly formed, far-left Seattle Peoples Party. Her campaign focuses on criminal justice reform, gentrification, and affordable housing. [The Stranger]


Bertha breaks free

Bertha
Workers emerge from behind the tunnel machine’s cutterhead after Bertha punched through the wall at the disassembly pit in Seattle on Tuesday. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

After a years-long journey riddled with bumps in the road, Bertha has finally crossed the finish line. The tunnel-boring machine completed her project — creating space for a new SR 99 tunnel beneath Seattle — and broke through to the surface Tuesday. See photos and video of the Berth here. [GeekWire]


Washington AG issues immigration enforcement guidelines for local government agencies

Ferguson wants to arm local agencies with knowledge. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has published a list of best practices for local government agencies facing a federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants. The guidelines detail what information institutions like schools, police departments, libraries, and hospitals are and are not legally required to collect and hand over to the federal government. The guidance is intended to protect immigrants in Washington state who may be targeted by the Trump administration. [ATG.WA.Gov]


Seattle’s Uber union law temporarily blocked

Drive Forward members protest the Uber unionization law at City Hall in January. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

A federal judge in Seattle blocked implementation of a controversial law that would allow Uber’s independent contractor drivers to bargain collectively, like employees. The pause, sought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Uber, is intended to maintain the status quo while the issue of whether or not drivers can legally unionize is litigated. [GeekWire]


U.S. work visa applications maxed out for the year

USCIS won’t be considering any more H-1B visa applications this year. (BigStock Photo).

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached its maximum 65,000 H-1B visa petitions for the year, just four days after the application period opened. The cap on an additional 20,000 visas reserved for candidates with advanced degrees has also been reached. The tech industry relies heavily on the H-1B visa to recruit international talent. Microsoft is one of the largest filers of H-1B visa applications. [USCIS.Gov, GeekWire]


Amazon real estate chief says the company is trying to be a better corporate citizen

Amazon’s SVP of Real Estate faced tough questions during a ‘Civic Cocktail’ event in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

John Schoettler, Amazon VP of Global Real Estate and Facilities, told a crowd in Seattle “we’re trying to change,” citing Amazon’s recent philanthropic and community work. He faced tough questions from an audience worried about how Amazon is reshaping downtown Seattle. As the city’s largest private employer and largest landowner, Schoettler said Amazon recognizes “there are responsibilities that come along with that.” [GeekWire]

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