Mayor Durkan promotes small business, deflects protests

SEATTLE — Jenny Durkan walked the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where she spent so many hours as a teenager.

Today, she returned as Seattle's mayor to tour small businesses, including Rancho Bravo Restaurant, where she met owner Freddy Rivas.

“So, what could the city do to make it easier for you?” asked Durkan. “Business-friendly policies are always going to be good,” he said.

Durkan also found support at nearby Cupcake Royale.

“We all want the same things, I think, and if we can align and build that together, it's powerful,” owner Jody Hall told the mayor.

But when Durkan gathered small business owners at Elliot Bay Book Store, she was challenged by protesters.

“You don't represent the people of Seattle!” screamed a woman

“Jenny Durkan as mayor, Jenny Durkan oversees SPD (Seattle Police Department), who murdered pregnant black mother Charleena Lyles with impunity!” screamed a man wearing a black mask over his face.

Durkan urged the business owners not to jeer at the protesters.

“Look, I think there's not many mayors who could organize anarchists,” Durkan said, to laughter. “So, it's just showing you that we are going to be that kind of mayor who’s going to, we're welcoming voices from all places.”

The owner of Elliott Bay appreciated her response.

“I thought she showed tremendous patience and strength and it was comforting to see that from her,” said Peter Aaron.

And Durkan finally signed her executive order creating the Small Business Advisory Board.

“We're here because I want to make sure that the voice of small business is heard in Seattle, which it has not been adequately heard over the last two administrations, in my view.”

Durkan’s order requires the board to be up and running by March 1.