Tacoma officer drove into crowd
The independent Pierce County Force Investigation Team is investigating a Tacoma police officer who drove an SUV through a crowd on Jan. 23. Videos shared on social media show the vehicle charging into a crowd and running over at least one person.
Two people were taken to the hospital. Neither of them suffered life-threatening injuries, according to the Pierce County Force Investigation Team.
The crowd had gathered that evening for a street race, the Tacoma News Tribune reported. A Tacoma police spokesperson told the News Tribune that an officer responded to a group of over 100 people blocking an intersection. The spokesperson said people pounded on the windows of the officer’s car, which led him to quickly accelerate away.
Longtime advocate running for mayor
Colleen Echohawk, executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, announced Jan. 25 that she is entering this year’s Seattle mayoral race, making her the third candidate to join the race.
The Chief Seattle Club focuses on serving low-income and homeless urban Native people in Seattle. It has a day center in Pioneer Square and rapid rehousing services, and it is building new affordable housing projects. Echohawk is also co-founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness.
Echohawk has never held elected office before. She serves on the Community Police Commission and has served on boards for the Downtown Seattle Association and All Home King County.
An enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake, Echohawk would be Seattle’s first Native American mayor.
Her website says she is running to address the ever-growing racial and economic inequalities in Seattle.
Double the villages
City Councilmember Andrew Lewis announced a plan to double the number of “tiny house villages” this year for people who are homeless in Seattle and said that private donors are stepping up to help. He is seeking another $16 million from the private and public sectors.
Tiny house villages have been a popular proposal to get people off the street and into semi-permanent housing, but have been slow to materialize. Mayor Jenny Durkan promised to build 1,000 tiny houses during her first year in office — 2018. In February 2020, the City Council voted to increase the number of tiny house villages — as well as tent cities and car camping sites allowed in the city — up to 40.
Lewis proposes creating 800 tiny houses in 20 villages, an increase from the current 294 tiny homes in eight villages “in an effort to immediately remove tent encampments and instead offer people highly desirable places to stay while they seek permanent housing.”
Read more in the Jan. 27 - Feb. 2, 2021 issue.