Trending: Google location data for Seattle shows decline in work, transit and retail trips — but not park visits
This Week in Seattle is your weekly dispatch of need-to-know news from the Emerald City. (BigStock Image)

Rapidly-evolving Seattle says goodbye to rockstar Chris Cornell

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell passed away this week at 52. (Flickr Photo / Andreas Eldh)

The passing of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, at age 52 sent shockwaves through the music world and hit many longtime Seattleites, like GeekWire’s Kurt Schlosser, hard. “These days, every old house or business or elevated highway or NBA team or rock star that succumbs provides further proof that time marches on,” he writes. “New Seattleites, perhaps not even born nearly three decades ago during the city’s hyped musical heyday, live in a city driven by a tech boom. The neighborhoods are transforming overnight, the roads are congested and new skyscrapers and apartment buildings block out the ‘Black Hole Sun’ that’s come to wash away the rain.” [GeekWire]


Is the upzone working? Seattle Councilmember touts early success

The City Council thinks it got upzoning right. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Seven downtown real estate developers who already had permits to build before the City Council passed an upzone and Mandatory Housing Affordability Act (MHA) have decided to opt into the program. MHA allows developers to build a few stories higher than they could in the past if they create a certain percentage of affordable units or pay fees to the city’s affordable housing fund, which supports non-profit housing projects around the city. Councilmember Rob Johnson says the voluntary participation of those seven developers is a sign the city got the formula right, bringing more affordable units on the market without discouraging development. But critics of MHA aren’t convinced. “It’s much easier to point to a project that’s moving forward than to one that never got past the idea stage because it was deemed infeasible from the start,” said one. [Council.Seattle.Gov, Seattle Weekly]


Candidates crowd the Seattle mayoral race ahead of filing deadline

Some see Jenny Durkan and Mike McGinn as frontrunners but anything could happen in this race. (Photos via JennyForSeattle.com, GeekWire)

Today is the filing deadline for Seattle’s mayoral race, which went from a hum-drum incumbent’s game to an unpredictable and crowded contest in a matter of days. There are 21 hopefuls with hats in the ring. No clear frontrunner has emerged though many are placing bets on former Mayor Mike McGinn and former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan. Nikkita Oliver, Cary Moon, Bob Hasegawa, and Jessyn Farrell are also worthy contenders. Many speculated that City Councilmember Lorena González would run but she is instead seeking re-election to her current seat. Q13 has a who’s who of candidates in this wide-open race here.  [Q13, Seattle.Gov, The Stranger]


Seattle ethics commission advises against legal fund for Mayor Ed Murray

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is denied legal fund by ethics panel. (Wikipedia Photo)

In related news, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission rejected a proposal that would have allowed supporters of Mayor Ed Murray to raise fund for his legal defense. The mayor ended his bid for re-election because of an ensuing sexual abuse scandal. Delvonn Heckard is suing the mayor, alleging that Murray coerced him into sex when he was a teenager. Murray vehemently denies the claims but bowed out of the race nonetheless. The fund would have required donors to remain anonymous to avoid the appearance of coercion but the ethics commission said that wouldn’t fit “into the state’s and the city’s attitudes towards transparency and accountability and disclosure.” [Seattle Times]


Seattle lands on list of the top 10 fittest cities

Fitness-focused Seattle lands on healthiest cities list. (Flickr Photo / Wonderlane)

Rain or shine (more rain than shine) Seattleites like to get outside. All that hiking, biking, and clean eating is apparently paying off. Seattle is the fourth healthiest city in the U.S. according to the annual American Fitness Index from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation. The study used a range of health metrics, including rates of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and smoking as well as the number of farmer’s markets and financial investments in public parks and playgrounds in each city. [TODAY]

Washington drivers banned from using handheld devices at the wheel

New law makes virtually all use of electronic devices illegal while driving. (BigStock Photo)

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill into law that prohibits almost any use of a mobile device while driving, in response to a sharp uptick in fatal distracted driving crashes. The law does allow for “the minimal use of a finger” to initiate basic functions of a phone while driving. Originally, the law was set to take effect in 2019 but Inslee vetoed that portion of the bill. Instead, it will be implemented in mid-July. [KIRO]


Faced with an opioid epidemic, King County considers safe-injection sites

Two safe-injection sites may be coming to the Seattle area. (Wikipedia Photo)

The King County Council is considering a proposal that would create two safe-injection sites for intravenous drug users. The program, championed by the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addition Task Force, was approved by the Seattle City Council earlier this year. The county held a public meeting to discuss the possibility of creating sites where people could use heroin under close supervision Tuesday. Advocates say safe-injection sites give healthcare professionals access to hard-to-reach communities and help people with addiction recovery. Critics say they effectively legalize and encourage drug use. About 47,000 signatures of support are needed to get the initaitve on the ballot this year, according to backers of the program. [Crosscut, KING 5]

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