Despite the outsized impact it has on Seattle’s growth, the tech industry was largely absent from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s State of the City speech Tuesday. For most of the speech, Durkan talked around Seattle’s booming industry but she did take a moment to tout the city’s innovative history.
“We pretty much invented and then reinvented air travel — first the airplane and then booking it online,” Durkan said, referencing Boeing and Expedia. “Coffee on every corner; the personal computer revolution; the cloud; bone marrow transplants; Seattle.”
Durkan delivered her first State of the City address at Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School Tuesday. Highlights from the speech include the announcement of free ORCA public transit passes for all Seattle public high school students and the start of the NHL season ticket drive to bring a professional hockey team to the city. Deposits for season tickets will open March 1. As far as the tech industry is concerned, Durkan was brief but said that “seizing the awesome opportunities we have to build a more vibrant city for the future,” is one of her priorities in office.
“We have always been that city that invents the future and we always will be,” she said.
The rest of her address focused on issues like affordable housing, homelessness, transportation, and education. Durkan didn’t directly mention any of the companies that are driving up Seattle’s population and cost of living but some of those companies are taking an active role in shaping Seattle’s future.
Earlier this month, Amazon hosted a closed-door meeting with city officials and leaders to discuss the city’s challenges, like transportation and affordability. Durkan sent two representatives to attend.
Transparency advocates raised concerns about the private nature of the meeting but others lauded it as the first step toward bridging the gap between Seattle tech and municipal government.
“Here in Seattle, we don’t wait for others to tell us what our future is going to look like,” Durkan said during her speech. “We don’t wait for a better future to come to us. We invent it. We make it happen.”