By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published March 15, 2023
EVERETT — Mayor Cassie Franklin is directing the Police Department to clamp down on violent crime with a new cops unit, calling on internal leaders to broaden the economic base, pursue ways to have more housing at all price points and to strengthen behavioral health treatment for individuals with mental illness, substance use, or both.
Overall, Franklin announced five directives for her fifth State of the City address March 9.
The new police violent crime reduction unit adjusts the EPD gang unit to have a different focus.
This directive also calls for creating community violence prevention programs.
In conjunction, Franklin is
advocating for state policy changes to require a permit to purchase any firearm. An attempt in the Legislature this year to require a permit was stripped out of a wider proposed gun law that introduces a 10-day waiting period. It's cleared the House and now is at the state Senate. A permit is stricter than state standards that require registering the owner when any gun changes hands.
If the state allows local control, Everett would be front-and-center for stronger gun control under the language in Franklin’s directive.
For behavioral health, Franklin has directed to work with partners across the region to improve behavioral health treatment access.
The city will also be expanding its social outreach worker roster, Franklin said. “Leaving our friends and neighbors untreated on our streets, is not safe or humane,” she said.
Increasing the housing supply could mean streamlining construction permits and giving development incentives, Franklin described. It’s up to the planning department to develop policies and ideas under a directive the mayor issued to increase affordable and middle-income housing and protect the affordable housing already in place. The second part is an anti-gentrification effort.
Franklin also asks to create a rental registry. More than half of the city’s residences are rented, not occupied by homeowners.
The directive also speaks to increasing the number of shelter beds for people experiencing homelessness.
The directive on economic development is to make Everett more business-friendly,
Asking the public for a property tax levy lid lift isn’t off the table. It’s mentioned as a possibility in the directive’s language, and Franklin has been discussing this for three budget cycles so far.
The plan for economic development also instructs to make a plan for making the Forest Park Swim Center a “productive use in the future.”
A new stadium for the AquaSox is still in play. The AquaSox need a new home to meet Minor League Baseball’s rules on stadium standards. Mapping out final sites and a finance package is part of this year’s to-do list.
Planning ahead for Sound Transit’s Link light rail is also part of the picture.
Franklin also issued a directive on Climate Change. Developing a citywide tree inventory and an Urban Forest Management plan are among the thrusts of this effort.
Franklin said she’s aiming to position Everett as a “small city with big opportunities.”
“Some may even think I’m dreaming too big,” Franklin said in her address. “But I believe in Everett — I believe in our city teams, our businesses, our partners and our residents — and I know that there is no limit to what our community can accomplish.”
Other news from the State of the City:
• An Everett Chamber of Commerce is being re-established. The city of Everett and Economic Alliance Snohomish County are partnering on it, according to Franklin.
• At Naval Station Everett, new Constellation-class frigates will come in a few years.
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