Seattle, King County agree on City Hall Park swap

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Seattle’s City Hall Park is closer to being taken over by King County.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Executive Dow Constantine reached an agreement to swap the park for several county properties.

On Friday, MyNorthwest reported that Constantine cited larger, more overarching goals in acquiring City Hall Park, describing how the agreement would “allow King County to map out a vision for a complete downtown Civic Campus, including exploring reopening the historic Courthouse entrance and engaging the surrounding neighborhoods, while keeping the land for public use.”

If the city and county councils approve, the park near the county courthouse will be transferred to county control.

In exchange, the city will get several pieces of land, most of them near the South Park Bridge.

Judges and courthouse workers urged the city and the county to do something after several assaults, shootings, and a fatal stabbing at the park.

The situation at the park had gotten so bad that a King County judge said that jurors were refusing to show up for jury duty because they did not feel safe.

In August, hundreds of people marched around the King County Courthouse and demanded a change in safety conditions.

That change led to a security sweep of the park.

The city then shut down the park, and it currently has a gate surrounding it with “no trespassing” signs posted.

Around that same time, two county council members drafted legislation to start the process for the county to take over the land, removing ownership from the city of Seattle.

That motion ultimately passed 7-2.

However, the Seattle City Council still has to agree to transfer ownership of the land.