By Mina Williams Enterprise editor
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced May 13 that the county will form a regional jail planning group and that the county is offering jail beds to cities through 2020. This announcement halted further discussion of a jail being built in North King County adjacent to Mountlake Terrace.
“We are glad that the jail is no longer needed and that the site at Ballinger won’t be used for a jail,” said Shane Hope, community and economic development director for the city of Mountlake Terrace. “The area has more potential for community benefits.”
As a result of the county decision, Seattle has recommended stopping the current environmental impact review process being conducted on the six potential sites for a regional municipal jail for north and east cities, including the Shoreline site.
“King County’s offer for a regional solution and additional beds through 2020 provides our city the confidence to sunset the environmental impact review process,” Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan said in a written statement. “That is truly good news for our community, particularly for our residents in the Ballinger neighborhood.”
Projecting a loss of jail beds after 2012, King County cities formed regional groups to find potential solutions, one being a new jail site in Shoreline.
With the available beds from King County and with the other municipal jail beds available in the region, there will be enough capacity to cover misdemeanant jail bed needs through 2020 without having to build a new jail.