Mayor Franklin Delivers First “State Of Everett” Speech

January 24, 2018

Everett Government

This morning Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin delivered her first State of Everett speech at an event hosted by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Above is the video of the speech and below is the written copy of the speech provided this morning by the city.

State of the City
Jan. 24, 2018

Good morning!

Thank you, Congressman Larsen, for that wonderful introduction. And thank you to Patrick Pierce and Economic Alliance Snohomish County for hosting this great event.

It’s truly a privilege to be here this morning and to share my vision for Everett. As I look around this room, I see a wealth of creativity, experience and passion for our city – you’re absolutely inspiring.

I want to acknowledge and thank my fellow elected officials who are here today. After just two years as a councilmember and now three weeks as mayor, I have an even greater respect for the tremendous commitment and energy it takes to do this job well.

I especially want to recognize our Everett City Councilmembers who are here this morning: Council Vice President Scott Bader, and Councilmembers Jeff Moore, Scott Murphy and Judy Tuohy. And a special welcome to our newest councilmember, Ethel McNeal.

I also want to thank the members of our City team who are here today, including my executive team: Chief of Staff Lyle Ryan, as well as Nick Harper, Paul Kaftanski, Bob Bolerjack, Jim Iles and Meghan Pembroke.

And most importantly, I want to thank my husband, David, for being a wonderful partner and father, and for his unending patience and support over the past year and always.

Strong foundation
It is both an absolute honor and incredibly humbling to take on this leadership role in our community.

Throughout my career, I have had a passion for serving others, primarily in the nonprofit world. When I was asked to serve on the Community Streets Initiative task force in 2014, I saw firsthand what an important impact public servants can have in their communities. I also saw an opportunity for me to contribute my skills and experiences – and my deep love for our city – to help Everett grow and prosper.

I am fortunate to follow in the footsteps of incredible City leaders. When I became a councilmember, I joined a team of dedicated and thoughtful elected officials. It was an honor to serve with my council colleagues, and I look forward to working even more collaboratively with the council as we move forward.

And I am also incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Mayor Stephanson while I was on the council, and to have had his support and guidance during the transition. Mayor Stephanson leaves such a remarkable and wide-ranging legacy that it’s difficult to sum up what his 14 years of service has meant to Everett – and what it will mean to future generations.

Everett’s future is what I want to talk about this morning.

Our strengths are well known. In Snohomish County we have more manufacturing jobs than any other county in the state and we’re number 2 in tech-based jobs. Everett is the hub of all of that activity.

We have an amazing arts and music scene, exciting restaurants, pubs and breweries, and beautiful parks and open spaces. Combined with our unique location between Port Gardner Bay and the Snohomish River, there is no better place to live and work.

We have incredible opportunities in front of us, and we have a lot of hard work to accomplish if we want to take advantage of those opportunities.

This morning I’d like to share my team’s priorities for public safety, economic development and community engagement, and to preview the directives that will guide our work in 2018 and beyond. Each of these areas contributes to our economic vitality as a city, and helps to attract new people and businesses to our region.

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge and thank a special group of people who played a role in shaping my team’s short- and long-term goals.

In December, I asked 55 community leaders to serve on my transition advisory team and to provide feedback on Everett’s strengths and the opportunities they want to see us pursue. We had representation from across the city, and from different age groups, income brackets and industries. The team provided incredibly valuable input that helped influence the priorities I’ll share with you today.

Public Safety:

Our first priority is public safety. Everett is fortunate to have exceptional police officers and firefighters. I’d like to ask our chiefs and our first responders in the audience to please stand and be recognized for your service to our community.

One of the strong themes of the transition advisory team’s work was the importance of fully staffing our police department. I’m pleased to report that we have made significant progress toward that goal this past year.

The department has lost 52 commissioned officers since 2014, largely due to retirements. In response, we’ve taken several steps to accelerate hiring while still maintaining our high standards, including offering incentives for lateral officers.

We hired 16 new officers last year, and are down to just 10 vacancies – our lowest vacancy rate since April 2013. Our goal for 2018 is to fill those remaining positions. The department will begin participating in virtual career fairs this spring, offering another platform to engage potential candidates.

This month Everett Police is launching a new data-driven initiative, known as E-stat. The program will allow us to analyze crime, develop responses and evaluate what we’re doing using timely, accurate data. After the initial rollout, we’ll expand the work group to include other City teams to help tackle more persistent problems.

In our fire department, my main priority is developing a positive working relationship with our firefighters.

These men and women provide exceptional, selfless service to the people of Everett, whether they are responding to a car accident, a heart attack or a house fire. Rebuilding a cooperative, mutually respectful partnership will be vital as we move forward.

Chief of Staff Lyle Ryan and I are working with interim Chief Tim Key and his team to gather data that will help us assess our current fire operations and community needs. We’ll use that information, and the input of our firefighters, to determine where we need to go in terms of deployment.

Looking ahead:
We are making progress to address our public safety challenges. But as we’ve heard from our community, we still have work ahead of us.

We are seeing far too many violent crimes involving teens and young adults, including the murder of 14-year-old David Sandoval last fall, allegedly at the hands of a 13-year-old boy. Any loss of life is heartbreaking, but it’s especially painful when the victim is so young.

On January 11, I issued the first directive of my administration, focused on reducing this devastating violence and providing positive pathways for our youth.

There were 219 gang-related offenses reported in Everett in 2017 – a 59 percent increase over 2016. There were 24 drive-by shootings last year – a 167 percent increase. These numbers are unacceptable. Our response, which will be led by Chief Templeman, balances prevention and intervention programs with targeted, proactive enforcement. We will also engage communities affected by gang violence and launch a public education campaign to encourage gun safety.

Work is already underway to fulfill the directive, and I look forward to updating you on our progress over the next year.

Another complex challenge is the visible effects of addiction, mental illness and homelessness on our streets.

We are not unique. Communities large and small across the country are facing these challenges. And while I share the frustrations of our residents and businesses, I believe we are ahead of the curve in bringing innovative, collaborative solutions to our community.

Yesterday Catholic Housing Services broke ground on the Safe Streets Supportive Housing facility. The building will provide homes and around-the-clock support for 65 chronically homeless individuals when it opens next year. Housing is absolutely critical to a person’s chance of achieving stability and overcoming addiction, and I’m thrilled to see construction get underway.

Other programs launched under the Safe Streets plan are also seeing results. The Everett Police Community Outreach and Enforcement Team, which includes two embedded social workers, provided more than 1,300 services last year to those on our streets – everything from ID cards to mental health resources.

We have sent 27 individuals to out-of-state treatment – at no cost to the City – through the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI).

While I am encouraged by our initial progress, it’s clear we have more to do.

This week I will issue a Mayoral Directive that builds on the programs Everett has already implemented and the partnerships we’ve developed with our service provider network. We will not solve these problems on our own, and we will have the greatest impact by working collaboratively.

Under the first initiative, we will continue to advocate for more permanent supportive housing options and will support projects being developed by our community partners. At the same time, we must expand our temporary and emergency shelter options. I’m directing staff to work closely with Snohomish County and our current shelter providers to identify potential ways to grow our shelter capacity.

Under our diversion efforts, I’ve directed staff to explore the possibility of expanding our Safe Streets Work Crew program. Last year, participants picked up more than 11,000 gallons of garbage from streets and homeless camps, and many of those individuals were connected to housing and services.

This program has been well received by our businesses, and I believe it could make a visible, positive impact in other affected areas of the city.

For many of the individuals we work with, the next step after housing and treatment is reentering the workforce – and that’s a goal our entire community supports. We will explore the potential for a pilot program that would help promote existing supportive employment opportunities and connect local businesses with individuals who are ready to work.

Responding to the opioid epidemic will remain a priority for the City. Our officers have reversed 71 overdoses using Naloxone since 2015. And we continue to pursue our lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals for allowing OxyContin to flood the black market.

But even as we respond to the immediate, visible effects of addiction on our streets, we must also step up our efforts to stop the disease before it starts.

We will continue to partner with Snohomish County and the Snohomish Health District through the Multi-Agency Coordination effort to keep opioids out of our community and to expand our prevention and intervention programs. I want to thank Executive Somers for his leadership in this important work.

I’ve also asked our team to explore how we can expand our pilot program for medication-assisted treatment to connect even more individuals with treatment at the moment they’re ready.

Under the directive, we’ll increase our use of data to evaluate our current programs and will develop tools to track our spending on street-level social issues. This analysis will help us fine tune our approach as we move forward and give our residents and businesses a better understanding of how our efforts are positively impacting the community.

Everyone in our city deserves to feel safe. Achieving that goal will be critical as we encourage new employers and families to make Everett their home.

Economic Development:
Our next priority is economic development.

Everett is poised for prosperity. We have all of the ingredients we need to promote positive growth and create a vibrant, attractive community. I am thrilled to help lead the charge as we strengthen our economy, bring new jobs and job centers to Everett, and take advantage of the innovative, creative institutions that are the foundation of our city.

We have a strong base to grow from and many incredible developments currently underway. It all begins with our large job centers.

The entire Everett community benefits from the jobs and opportunities created by our major employers. From Boeing and the aerospace sector to Providence Regional Medical Center to the waterfront presence of the Port of Everett and Naval Station Everett, these institutions are the bedrock of our economy and a magnet for future growth.

Boeing, which broke records for airplane deliveries last year, began assembly of the 777X in October. The first jets are expected to be delivered in 2020. Boeing, its workers and their families are an incredible piece of Everett’s identity, and an inspiring and vital force in our community. Boeing employees also broke records for giving last year, donating more than $350,000 to local charities and families during the holiday season.

Last summer Funko, another homegrown company, opened its doors on Wetmore, to the delight of Everett families and “funatics” from around the world. Funko is more than a toy maker – it’s a creative powerhouse, and the perfect anchor for fun, innovative, and community-oriented businesses. I am thrilled that they have decided to invest in our downtown and I’m excited to partner with them as they continue to innovate and grow.

In August, Seattle Children’s Hospital will open a new branch on the Providence campus, adding to our world-class health care sector. The new branch will offer more than 15 pediatric subspecialties of care, and will be an incredible asset for the city and families throughout our region.

We must continue to advocate for and support these institutions and industries to ensure they have the workforce, transportation networks and resources they need to thrive. When they succeed, we all succeed.

We continue to see more positive changes taking place throughout the city.

Last month Angel of the Winds Casino Resort became the naming sponsor of our events center, bringing an infusion of new energy and the chance to attract new and bigger acts to Everett.

Our downtown is transforming with new restaurants, breweries, shops and major attractions. Farms & Market on Grand Avenue will celebrate its soft opening in February, and expects to announce several exciting tenants very soon. The year-round market will feature a kitchen and deli, and provide space for area farmers to sell their produce and other goods.

New housing and retail options are taking shape after being on hold for years during the recession. At the Riverfront, 140 homes have already sold and another 42 are pending. At the Port, construction is beginning on Fisherman’s Harbor, the first phase of their Waterfront Place Central development. This district will be a hub of activity, with more than 260 apartments and a 142-room hotel with meeting and event space.

Our Grand Avenue Park Bridge project – currently under construction – will provide a new way for Everett residents and visitors to connect to waterfront attractions, concerts, shops and restaurants.

And after far too long, one of the missing pieces of our economic landscape is finally nearing reality – commercial air service at Paine Field.

United Airlines and Alaska Airlines have both signed on to provide daily flights out of the two-gate terminal now under construction. We expect the first flights to begin before the year is out and – like many of you in this room – I hope to be on one of them.

Economic development also relies on a quality education system. As the proud mother of an Everett student, I can vouch for the priceless asset we have in our local school districts.

Everett School District students outperform the state on assessments in every subject and every grade. Nearly 91 percent of students graduate in four years; nearly 95 percent graduate in 5 years. The district also has the highest graduation rate in the state for students who speak a language other than English in their homes.

Mukilteo School District boasts equally impressive outcomes and a track record of partnering with nonprofits and service providers to provide community-based programs for our students. The district also hosts the Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, which offers hands-on training for students as they consider their future careers. We are fortunate to have two amazing local K through 12 partners achieving remarkable results with our youth.

Under Mayor Stephanson’s leadership, we’ve seen higher education opportunities in Everett expand greatly.

Our world-class higher education partners are constantly evolving to respond to the needs and opportunities presented by Everett industries. Everett Community College is the first college in the state to offer an advanced avionics program, equipping students to maintain, troubleshoot and repair aircraft electronic systems.

Washington State University at Everett is in its new home on North Broadway, and now enrolls about 200 full-time students – nearly 600 for the University Center as a whole.

Students can earn degrees in a growing range of programs that are relevant to our region, such as electrical engineering and organic agriculture systems.

WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine welcomed its first class of students this fall, many of whom will spend their third and fourth years training at health care institutions in Everett.
We will continue to advocate for WSU and support its plans to expand its physical footprint here, as well as its academic offerings.

Looking ahead:
While we have a strong foundation to grow from, we also have immediate needs to address to sustain our existing job centers and recruit new businesses and ideas to Everett.

As Boeing considers its new mid-market airplane, I will work tirelessly to make sure that plane is built here in Everett.

Without question, there is no better place for Boeing to build. We are home to the country’s biggest aerospace cluster, which accounts for almost half of the state’s aerospace workforce. We have the suppliers, subcontractors and transportation networks that Boeing relies on.

Most importantly, we have a community that understands Boeing’s incredible value and takes immense pride in being at the forefront of the aerospace world.

At the same time that we are working to retain and support our major employers, we have to be focused on what comes next.

One opportunity for growth is entrepreneurs, and I’m so excited about the Innovation Center that we are developing in partnership with Snohomish County, the Economic Alliance, Everett Community College and the Northwest Innovation Resource Center.

The Innovation Center will be a hub for entrepreneurs, providing them with co-working space and the resources and mentors they need to turn their ideas into successful businesses.

We’ve received a grant from the Community Economic Revitalization Board to help plan the center, and we’ve identified potential locations near the community college. Stay tuned for details on the center later this spring.

With our region’s incredible beauty and strong sense of environmental responsibility, Everett also seems a natural fit to become a leader in sustainable, green technologies. At the same time that we work to reduce the City’s carbon footprint through our own climate action plan, I will also support efforts to recruit new businesses and jobs in the emerging clean energy economy.

Another opportunity is at the City itself, as Lanie McMullin, our longtime economic development director, will retire next month. Lanie has provided tremendous service to our community as a champion for Everett, and has helped bring exciting new businesses to our downtown core.

We will soon begin recruiting for a new economic development director, who will work closely with Deputy Mayor Nick Harper and Planning Director Allan Giffen to help us capitalize on the incredible opportunities ahead of us.

Today I’ll issue a Mayoral Directive that builds on our existing programs and takes advantage of this transitional time to realign our staff and strategic plans to help us achieve our economic development goals.

We have so much going for us – from incredible schools and colleges to leaders in industry and health care to an amazing natural setting. There is no better place to live or to start a business. We need a comprehensive, proactive marketing and branding effort that highlights those strengths.

My directive establishes an Office of Communications and Marketing, under the leadership of Executive Director Meghan Pembroke. This team will create and manage our marketing campaigns, including our tourism initiative, and support the economic development team with targeted recruitment and retention campaigns.

We will also establish an Office of Community Planning and Economic Development. In the short term, this team will accelerate our efforts to attract and promote more startups and entrepreneurs in Everett and to recruit new investment in key industrial and commercial properties throughout the city.

Commercial air service at Paine Field opens up potential for new private investors and family-wage jobs, and I’ve directed our team to come up with a plan to make the most of those possibilities.

We must also be actively pursuing and advocating for our long-term priorities, which are in line with those identified by the transition advisory team: transportation and critical infrastructure needs, education and workforce training, and a comprehensive affordable housing strategy.

One of our greatest strengths as a community is the passion and expertise of our business leaders – and many of you are in the room today.

Under my directive, we’ll establish an economic development advisory committee of local business leaders, as well as representatives from our City Council. The committee will work closely with the City team on economic development initiatives and will provide an avenue for two-way communication with the business community.

The final two initiatives in the directive are focused on activating key corridors and business districts within the city.

Our planning department is finalizing the Metro Everett plan, which includes innovative strategies and incentives to encourage and guide future growth downtown and near the event center and Everett Station. With City Council’s approval of the plan and its components, I will direct City staff to immediately begin implementation.

The Metro Everett vision includes using developer incentives and tax credits to encourage job growth and additional market-rate housing in our metropolitan center. It also includes strategies to make the district more inviting and attractive to new businesses and residents by addressing vacant properties and creating new paths and destinations.

Finally, I’ve directed the team to take a closer look at key business districts throughout the City, including the college district and North Broadway, Paine Field, Evergreen Way, and the Everett Mall. We can do more to support small businesses and share prosperity throughout our city.

I believe there are opportunities to apply the tools we’ve developed during the Metro Everett effort in other parts of the city, including simplifying our regulations to streamline development.

Our plans for these areas should consider future opportunities, such as transit-oriented development, and should help facilitate coordination among stakeholders.

Community Engagement:
My final immediate priority as mayor is community engagement and inclusion.

As a councilmember, I brought forward a resolution affirming Everett’s commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming community for everyone who lives, works and visits here. I want to again recognize and thank our City Councilmembers, who were unanimous in supporting that resolution.

Everett is rich in diversity of cultures, experiences and faith, and I believe we should not only protect and preserve that diversity, but look for ways to include those diverse voices in the City’s work.

In my conversations with community members, both as a candidate and now as mayor, I have been energized by how much our residents care about our city and how much they want to be a part of Everett’s success. Our community wants a government that is approachable, transparent and responsive, and I am committed to delivering on those fronts.

I believe that the City – and especially its leaders – has a responsibility to connect with and engage our residents in a meaningful way. What we do is vitally important to the lives of our community members, and they deserve the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns and have a say in how we conduct our work.

We have a strong base of engagement to build on, especially when it comes to our community leaders. Our nearly 160 board and commission volunteers invest their time and expertise to serve our City and provide community representation on important projects and programs.

For instance, last year the Board of Park Commissioners worked to update the six-year Parks Capital Improvement Plan and advised staff on key projects, including the potential YMCA partnership. Planning Commissioners provided input on the changes and incentives included in the Metro Everett plan.

We also convened the EnvisionEverett Committee, which met throughout early 2017. Members updated Everett’s 2005 vision report and set new goals and strategies for the City to pursue.

I’m grateful for the contributions of our boards and commissions, and I’m eager to get more people involved – particularly those who are not currently connected to their City government.

Over the past year we’ve stepped up our efforts to diversify of our boards and commissions, which often serve as a pipeline to elected office or City employment, and we’re seeing initial progress.

The 22-member EnvisionEverett Committee had representation from 14 of our 19 neighborhoods. In December, nearly 30 individuals applied for my former City Council seat, representing 13 neighborhoods.

This month we welcomed eight new members to the Diversity Advisory Board, and I am excited about the new energy and vision that they are bringing to such a critically important area of our work.

We’ve also added new ways for our residents to engage with the City and each other.

Last summer we launched the Community Sparks program, which provides small matching grants for community projects and events. Nine new projects were completed under the inaugural program, including the SnoHomo Pride festival, a historical walking tour and a “wall of kindness,” dreamed up and put into action by Evergreen Middle School students.

These kinds of events and programs, generated by creative, community-minded residents, cultivate important civic pride and can help us reach people that we aren’t currently reaching.

Last fall we also launched Everett Essentials, the City’s first-ever civics academy. Twenty-nine Everett residents spent nine weeks in an intensive, hands-on course that gave them a behind-the-scenes look at City services and programs.

The course received positive feedback from students and City instructors. And we’re already seeing how this kind of investment in our community members can pay off: Four of our graduates were appointed to boards and commissions positions, and several more have stepped up as neighborhood leaders.

Looking ahead:
As Mayor, I will continue to support our community leaders and volunteers and recruit new residents to take on these important roles. I’m committed to ensuring that our community members have a voice in what we do, especially when it comes to public safety.

This summer Chief Templeman and I will launch a Chief’s Community Advisory Committee made up of community members and leaders. The group will work with the Chief to advise the department on recruiting, training, community outreach and promoting public awareness of police services and programs.

I also believe that our City workforce must reflect the population we serve.

Everett is increasingly diverse. In the Everett School District, 88 languages are now spoken in students’ homes, and 13 percent of students are learning to speak English. In the Mukilteo district, one in five students is learning to speak English, and 91 different languages are spoken in students’ homes.

Currently, nearly 90 percent of City employees identify as white, compared to 76 percent of Everett residents. We have a great opportunity to diversify our workforce and find new and better ways to reach and engage all members of our community.

This week I will issue a Mayoral Directive on Community Engagement and Inclusion, which will help guide our efforts in this vitally important area.

Our first task will be to develop a clearly defined vision for an engaged community. This was a strongly supported recommendation from the transition advisory team, and something I’ve heard repeatedly from our residents and neighborhood leaders.

With a clear vision for engagement we can identify the tools and policies we need to support City staff in providing effective outreach and meaningful engagement opportunities for all members of our community.

My directive also calls for a plan to improve inclusion and equity at the City and develop a workforce that represents the diverse population we serve. An interdepartmental City team will evaluate our current practices and develop recommendations to make sure the way we recruit, hire and train is in line with our inclusion and diversity goals. The team will work closely with the Diversity Advisory Board and Chief’s Community Advisory Committee.

Under the directive, we’ll also look for ways to increase access to City government. We’ll start by evaluating our facilities and service hours for accessibility and the potential for co-locating related City services to provide easy, “one-stop shopping” for our residents and businesses. We’ll also launch a citywide data initiative, to make it easier for the public to find and explore City data through our website.

The directive establishes a second interdepartmental team focused on customer service and complaint resolution. This team will recommend ways to improve how we interact with our community members when they have a question or concern, and how we identify and respond to recurring issues.

We’ll also make sure our City employees are engaged and informed about what the City is doing; our City team members are our best ambassadors to the broader community.

Finally, the directive includes a youth engagement initiative to encourage youth participation in boards and commissions and other City programs, and to evaluate a potential City-wide internship and apprenticeship program for high school and college students.

It is so exciting to reflect on all of the milestones Everett has achieved in the last several years. It’s even more exciting to consider all of the incredible opportunities in our future.

I believe that leaders are most effective when they have a deep, personal connection to the people and places they serve, and I couldn’t be prouder to be Everett’s mayor.

I love this city. Everett is full of creative, compassionate people who recognize its strengths and potential, and want to be a part of its successes. That’s why I moved my family here. That’s why I’m excited to raise my daughter here. And that’s why I’m so eager to help move Everett forward.

Thank you for the chance to share my vision for our city, and thank you for all of the passion and energy you invest in our community. We have truly unlimited possibilities ahead of us, and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.

Thank you.


About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

View all posts by myeverettnews