Councilmember O'Brien left office on December 31, 2019. This website is for archival purposes only and is no longer updated.

Hearing Examiner Clears Way for Backyard Cottage Legislation

May 15th, 2019

Hello, I am excited to share with you some updates about a longtime legislative priority of mine: making it easier to build backyard cottages and basement units. I believe ADUs have the potential to provide new housing opportunities in neighborhoods where single family homes are unaffordable to many. ADU’s would also allow homeowners to generate […]

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Mandatory Housing Affordability—Reflections on Crown Hill

March 18th, 2019

On Monday, March 18, the Council will hold its vote and likely approve the MHA legislation, which has been years in the making.  Included in that legislation are a set of amendments that I made to the Mayor’s proposal for the Crown Hill neighborhood.  Before I explain those amendments, let me first explain some of […]

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A Response to System Failure

March 18th, 2019

I recently received a report called System Failure from several business organizations that described individuals committing extensive amounts of often problematic activity. The report provided an in-depth look at 100 individuals that have the highest frequency of problematic behavior in Seattle and how the criminal justice system has not remedied any of the issues. I […]

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Accessory Dwelling Units – What’s Happened and Looking Ahead

December 10th, 2018

I appreciate the ongoing interest and excitement around backyard cottages and basement units. My office continues to hear every day from folks eager to move forward with projects and be a part of addressing our current housing crisis. Please watch my video below to learn what’s happened and next steps as 2018 comes to an […]

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Update on Conversations with ADU Final EIS Appellant

November 21st, 2018

As many of my constituents probably know, I have been working for over 3 years on legislation to make it easier for property owners to create accessory dwelling units (backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments). On October 18, 2018, the Queen Anne Community Council, represented by Marty Kaplan, appealed the adequacy of the Final Environmental Impact […]

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Backyard Cottages Are Key to Building Inclusive, Multi-generational Neighborhoods

October 8th, 2018

I am pleased to share we are one step closer to legislation to lower the barriers to building backyard cottages and basement units in Seattle. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been published.  The EIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of proposed changes to the City’s Land Use Code intended to remove barriers to […]

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Transit Savings – How Employees and Employers Could Save Money

September 19th, 2018

For many Seattle families, public transit costs are a major household expense. National data shows that transportation costs are the second highest household cost after housing, affecting cost-burdened households in Seattle.  But few people know they can set aside money for transit expenses through a pre-tax payroll deduction. That money can be used to commute […]

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How the Sweetened Beverage Tax Allows Families to Stretch their Food Dollars Further

September 7th, 2018

When I think of the sweetened beverage tax, I picture the face of Nora Jenkins. Jenkins shops at the Columbia City Farmers’ Market every Wednesday and picks up her favorite vegetable – collard greens. She receives SNAP assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), but through a program called Fresh Bucks, she’s able to double the amount […]

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Safety and Costs of Bike Lanes

August 9th, 2018

Last week the city council passed Resolution #31826 committing the city to completing certain pieces of the downtown bike network in the next 18 months. I expect the City’s Department of Transportation to do their best work in identifying cost efficiencies as they finalize designs for these projects so that we can get the safety […]

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Creating a Connected, Protected Bicycle Lane Network in Downtown

July 18th, 2018

Riding a bike is proven to keep communities healthy, and to reduce climate pollution, and approximately 60% of Seattleites want to bike more than they do now.  But today we heard loud and clear that the lack of safe, connected routes is cited as the number one reason why they don’t. In recent years there […]

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