Vacant Building Legislation

September 6th, 2017

Yesterday the Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of Council Bill 118971, legislation I was proud to co-sponsor in response to community requests to reform our city’s vacant building regulations. Seattle has seen a significant uptick in hazardous vacant buildings, which can pose serious risks to neighbors, transient occupants, and the first responders who must enter these buildings in the event of an emergency.  Vacant building complaints have increased by 58% city-wide in the in the last five years. District 5 alone has seen over 200 vacant building complaints in the last three years. This legislation will strengthen property owners’ obligation to secure their vacant buildings, hasten the process for removing trash and debris from vacant buildings, and creates a brand-new expedited system for the demolishing of vacant buildings identified as public nuisances.

In committee, I introduced a successful amendment to halve the waiting period prior to demolition from one year to six months. Every month a building lays vacant there is a significant impact on public safety and health of transient occupants and neighbors. This legislation represents a huge step forward in holding property owners accountable as well as addressing our city’s public health and safety needs.

I would like to extend my thanks to the constituents who wrote in to my office regarding these regulations. We couldn’t have done this work without your support!

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Weekly Update 8/14-8/18

August 14th, 2017

Today at Full Council

  • There was 1 item from the Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries and Waterfront Committee:
    1. Lake Washington Moorages Agreement, for management of the public moorages on Lake Washington (Approved at Full Council 5-3)
  • Also on the Full Council Agenda we has the KeyArena Resolution. This resolution memorializes the agreements and benchmarks we have laid out. This resolution does not commit the Council to approving the MOU and will not in any way impact the Council’s commitment to due diligence and upholding the City’s fiduciary responsibilities. This resolution does say the Council is resolved to review the MOU that is transmitted, the Council will maintain authority to approve all subsequent agreements, and the Council will be ensure the MOU meets the City’s expectations, especially those laid out in the RFP.

Up coming events and activities

  • My staff will be attending the Find It Fix It Walk in Little Brook tonight. Little Brook is a dense and growing community that is just at the edge of the City and District 5. This is a great opportunity for neighbors to identifying new ways for the City to support their community.
  • The Low Income Housing Institute is having a ground breaking ceremony for the new family housing development in Lake City on Tuesday 8/15.
  • On Monday 8/14 Select Committee on Civic Arenas will meet. This discussion will be about the project timeline, including a little more of an overview of what the work for the City will look like after the MOU is drafted. We will also talk about the new Community Advisory Group that has been formed to provide additional feedback to the City as this process moved forward.
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City-Wide Income Tax Vote

July 11th, 2017

On July 10th, I joined the rest of the City Council in voting yes on the city-wide Income Tax ordinance. This unanimous vote of the Council is just the first step in what will be a long legal battle. There is no disputing that our tax system in Washington is regressive and is hitting low-income residents the hardest.

During the last few months I have heard from many District 5 community members that they both want to see property taxes decrease but also want to see an increase (not a decrease) in City services for things such as affordable housing and transportation; and would like a tax system with greater fairness. I have also heard a great deal of support for an income tax from District 5 via phone calls and emails to my office. A recent King5/KUOW poll indicated 66% of Seattle residents favor an income tax in our city and 23% oppose.

This is just the beginning, many of you have also heard that there will likely be a long legal challenge. I hope you will stay connected to this issue as it progresses over the next several years.

 

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Community Center Operations – New Hours 2017

March 16th, 2017

Last year the Department of Parks and Recreation released a Community Strategic Plan where they identified some community centers that needed additional operating hours. As part of the budget process the council requested a report back on what hours were allocated to which community centers and what process was used to determine how the hours would be allocated. Last month the department provided a breakdown of the new allocated hours.

 International District / Chinatown Community Center: 20 hours added

Added Saturday hours and more programs (badminton, mahjong, Tai Chi, ESL) and weekday hours were made more consistent.

Day 2016 Operating Hours Strategic Plan Proposed Hours Final 2017 Operating Hours
Monday 11am-9pm 10am-8pm 11am-9pm
Tuesday 3-6pm 10am-8pm 10am-7pm
Wednesday 12-9pm 10am-8pm 11am-9pm
Thursday 11am-2pm 10am-8pm 10am-7pm
Friday 11am-9pm 10am-8pm 11am-9pm
Saturday CLOSED CLOSED 10am-5pm
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Total Weekly Hours 35 50 55

 

Magnuson Community Center: 30 hours added; building staff capacity for an additional 5 hours later in 2017 Afternoon hours were expanded to engage students leaving Sand Point Elementary School. Friday evening was added to provide much-needed late-night programming.

Day 2016 Operating Hours Strategic Plan Proposed Hours Final 2017 Operating Hours
Monday 4:30-9 pm 9am-9pm 2-9 pm
Tuesday 4:30-9 pm 9am-9pm 2-9 pm
Wednesday 4:30-9 pm 9am-9pm 2-9 pm
Thursday 4:30-9 pm 9am-9pm 9 am-9 pm
Friday 9:30 am-4:30 pm 9am-9pm 9 am-11 pm
Saturday CLOSED CLOSED 9 am-5 pm
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Total Weekly Hours 25 60 55

 

Miller Community Center: 15 hours added

Expanded afternoon hours to retain and build on core programs for toddlers and families.

Day 2016 Operating Hours Strategic Plan Proposed Hours Final 2017 Operating Hours
Monday 4-9 pm 1-9pm 12-8pm
Tuesday 9:30am-2:30 pm 1-9pm 9am-5pm
Wednesday 4-9pm 1-9pm 12-8pm
Thursday 9:30am-2:30pm 1-9pm 9am-5pm
Friday 4-9pm 1-9pm 12-8pm
Saturday CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Total Weekly Hours 25 40 40

 

South Park Community Center: 15 hours added; currently discussing with partners about adding 3 more hours

Added morning hours to serve more seniors and families who tend to come to the center in the mornings. Added evening hours to serve teens.

Day 2016 Operating Hours Strategic Plan Proposed Hours Final 2017 Operating Hours*
Monday 12-8:30pm 10am-9pm 10am-9pm
Tuesday 12-8pm 10am-9pm 10am-9pm
Wednesday 12-8pm 10am-9pm 10am-9pm
Thursday 12-8:30pm 10am-9pm 10am-9pm
Friday 12-7pm 10am-9pm 10am-7pm
Saturday 9am-3pm CLOSED 9am-5pm
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Total Weekly Hours 46 55 61

* Beginning February 1, 2016

 

Yesler Community Center: 17 hours added

Expanded morning hours to increase programming for seniors. Added Saturday and Sunday hours to accommodate adult basketball and additional youth programs.

Day 2016 Operating Hours Strategic Plan Proposed Hours Final 2017 Operating Hours
Monday 1pm-9pm 10am-9pm 10:30am-8pm
Tuesday 1pm-9pm 10am-9pm 10:30am-8pm
Wednesday 1pm-9pm 10am-9pm 10:30am-8pm
Thursday 1pm-9pm 10am-9pm 10:30am-8pm
Friday 1pm-7pm 10am-9pm 10:30am-8pm
Saturday 10am-5pm CLOSED 10am-5pm
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED 9:30am-5pm
Total Weekly Hours 45 55 62

 

Van Asselt Community Center: 20 hours added

Opening earlier in the afternoons to accommodate earlier Seattle Public Schools’ bell times. Added Saturday hours and programming at the community’s request.

Day 2016 Operating Hours Strategic Plan Proposed Hours Final 2017 Operating Hours*
Monday 3-8pm 12-8pm 2-8pm
Tuesday 3-8pm 12-8pm 10am-8pm
Wednesday 3-8pm 12-8pm 2-8pm
Thursday 3-8pm 12-8pm 10am-8pm
Friday 3-8pm 12-8pm 2-8pm
Saturday CLOSED 9am-3pm 9am-4pm
Sunday CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Total Weekly Hours 25 46 45

* Beginning February 1, 2016

 

See the full memo here: Report on Operating Hours at Community Centers 2-3-17

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Dive into D5!

February 2nd, 2017

Once again!

Join Councilmember Juarez and local leaders for a community celebration at the Shanty Tavern in Lake City. Learn more about Councilmember Juarez’ 2016 budget wins for North Seattle including significant investment in human services and local infrastructure. Share your thoughts and priorities with the Councilmember Juarez and enjoy the company of your neighbors and friends. Now is the time to embrace community. We are in this together. 

The Shanty Tavern sells beer and wine. The evening will be catered by local Filipino cuisine favorite, Manilla, Manilla. 

RSVP to our Facebook event page 

Learn more about the historic Shanty Tavern here:http://crosscut.com/2016/01/seattles-last-roadhouse-still-rocks-occasionally/

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Affordable Transit Oriented Development

December 12th, 2016

City and County to contribute up to $20 million to affordable housing as part of the redevelopment of the County’s Northgate Park and Ride

SEATTLE (December 12, 2016) –Today, Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the City and County will each contribute up to $10 million for approximately 200 affordable housing units adjacent to the transit center and future light rail station in Northgate. 

 “Transportation has the power to transform entire communities,” said Mayor Murray. “The arrival of light rail in five years at the busiest transit hub in Seattle means the Northgate community is poised to become one of the most connected, livable areas of the city. Today’s announcement ensures affordable housing will be part of that future, with residents and families of all incomes having the opportunity to live in a vibrant community with easy access to transit, jobs, and higher education.”

 “The arrival of light rail at Northgate presents a remarkable opportunity to create a community where families can live, work, and shop without ever getting behind the wheel,” said Executive Constantine. “By investing in affordable housing, we ensure Northgate continues to be an inclusive and diverse neighborhood, connected to the region by a fast and efficient bus and rail network, as well as bike and pedestrian improvements. This is how we can grow and meet our housing and transportation needs, now and into the future.”

 Mayor Murray and Executive Constantine signed a Cooperative Agreement outlining the affordable housing contributions and other details that will guide a future Development Agreement for the redevelopment project at Northgate Transit Center. The new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) will include housing, retail, commercial, and office development on a four-square block parcel owned by Metro Transit. Bounded by NE 103rd and NE 100th Streets, it is adjacent to the current location of the Northgate Transit Center and Park-and-Ride.

 The creation of a sustainable, climate-friendly and pedestrian-oriented mixed-use development at Northgate will be the largest TOD project in King County. With significant affordable housing in a mixed-income community, the Northgate TOD leverages the benefits of the region’s public transit system. Link light rail will reach Northgate in 2021 and is expected to have over 15,000 daily boardings by 2030.  The TOD project complements investments by the City of Seattle and Sound Transit in non-motorized connections to the Transit Center, including the pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5.

 “I’m so excited to welcome and support 200 new families and the hundreds more in workforce housing to the Northgate community, where they can enjoy all that North Seattle has to offer, from our new schools opening in 2018, North Seattle College, to libraries, vibrant commercial, parks and green space to a soon-to-arrive light rail system,” said Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle).  “This project couldn’t be a better illustration of how the voter-approved Housing Levy contributes to creating real affordable housing solutions.”

 “As our region continues to grow, it is essential we prioritize affordable housing with excellent access to transit. The proposed Northgate TOD project reflects the compassion and creativity that the County and the City are bringing to this challenge,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski, who represents Northgate on the King County Council. “I am also committed to the rigorous protection of Thornton Creek, which flows under the site at Northgate. I am working to ensure that redevelopment of the site enhances the creek’s water quality.”

 The property will be sold or leased to a developer through a competitive process. The agreement anticipates the County will issue a request for proposal for developers in summer 2017 and construction would begin in late 2018 with the opening of the Sound Transit garage adjacent to the site. Phase one is expected to be completed by the time the Link station opens in 2021, will include approximately 200 affordable units for low-wage workers and their families. The second phase of the housing development will begin after the light rail station opens.

 The City of Seattle’s contribution is funded from sources that include the voter-approved Seattle Housing Levy. King County’s funding comes from its Transit-Oriented Development bond fund. The City and County are working on a future development agreement to govern the terms of the funding and cooperation in the project.  The development agreement requires approval of both the City Council and the County Council.

 In addition to the income-restricted housing, any market-rate commercial or housing development would be subject to Seattle’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability program, which requires either on-site construction of additional affordable homes or payments to the City’s Office of Housing. Additionally, development of the Northgate Transit Center will include ongoing public engagement. 

 The Northgate Transit Center is currently the largest transit center in the King County Transit system, currently serving over 6,500 daily riders on 11 King County bus routes and two Sound Transit Express bus routes with 1,500 parking spaces provided nearby.

 

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D5 Budget Wins!

November 21st, 2016

On November 21, 2016 the Seattle City Council voted 8-1 to approve the 2017-2018 City Budget. Reviewing and approving the city budget is one of the most important responsibilities of the City Council. I am pleased to report that, due to strong community advocacy as well as my actions, I have succeeded in securing several crucial investments for District 5.

In this budget I advocated for and secured $4.4 million in targeted investments in our community including improvements in human services, construction of sidewalks, and neighborhood planning initiatives. Ultimately, I achieved a 94% success rate for my specific District 5 budget priorities.

In the 2017/2018 budget I sponsored and successfully secured funding for:

  • Shelter for unhoused District 5 residents near Lake City
  • Pedestrian safety improvements and additional sidewalks on and near Aurora Ave North
  • Planning and design work for the future Bitter Lake Reservoir Park
  • Establishment of Literacy Source’s Ready to Work program in Lake City
  • Service Navigators at food banks including North Helpline
  • Sidewalk construction in the Meadowbrook neighborhood
  • Planning for additional affordable housing in Northgate
  • Implementing the recommendations from the upcoming North Seattle Human Services Summit
  • Events and performances to activate our parks
  • Low barrier services for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation near Aurora

For a detailed breakdown of the add-in budget items I sponsored, please click here.

I would also like to report that I joined the successful votes that added funding for expansion of the 13th Year Scholarship program to North Seattle College, supported successful transitional housing programs, paid for citywide community planning for siting affordable housing, and provided more space for child care programs.

There were a few additional items I advocated for that were not included in the final budget. These items included:

  • Funding for the Family Works food bank in the Greenwood neighborhood
  • Planning and design funds to complete the Jackson Park Perimeter Trail
  • Funding for North Helpline’s eviction prevention program

These items remain important to me and I am committed to continuing to advocate for funding for these projects. I have communicated to Family Works my wish to assist their efforts to secure private funding to support their operations. There will be some transit corridor work near Jackson Park and I am interested in seeing if there is a way to use some of those funds to support the perimeter trail. The Housing Levy oversight committee will soon be identifying which organizations will receive eviction prevention funding, and I am pushing hard to ensure they take geographical parity into account when awarding funding for this approach to homelessness prevention.

All of the achievements we made during this budget were made possible by local organizations and constituents voicing their support for these critical improvements. I look forward to working further with these groups as they implement these important initiatives and to continuing my advocacy for my beloved community.

THANK YOU!

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Our North Seattle Police Precinct

September 15th, 2016

Thank you for your interest in the on-going efforts to replace the current North Precinct police station, a facility which provides public safety services for the nearly 300,000 Seattleites who live north of the ship canal plus all those who attend school, visit hospitals, and work in the area.

The current North Precinct police station is an inadequate facility which needs to be replaced. Severe overcrowding has meant that the precinct has lacked community meeting space for positive community-police interactions since 1998. Most importantly, the building is not meeting the needs of our area’s expanding community and the related growth in demand for police services. As the City of Seattle responds to the federal consent decree for police reform, our infrastructure must support improved police-community relations. For this reason, two mayoral administrations and previous councils voted on 10 occasions to replace the North Precinct. The actual law to fund the police station at $160 million was passed unanimously in August of 2015.

However, the current proposal is too expensive and was not designed with meaningful input from communities of color. Today I joined Mayor Murray, Councilmember Tim Burgess and Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez in announcing plans to pause the project long enough to develop a more fiscally responsible design and conduct a fair and thorough Racial Equity Toolkit. The financial overview and the Racial Equity toolkit that council called for, in the resolution I co-sponsored and that was passed by a majority of the council, should not be rushed. Although the previous councils did not call for this work to be done, I believe these steps are critical to ensure a successful project is delivered to our community.

Plans to re-evaluate the project will be done with a commitment to rebuilding a useful and productive North Precinct station. Constituents in Districts 4, 5 and 6 deserve a cost-effective proposal that is responsive to racial justice issues and will provide for north end public safety reliably over the long-term. I hope you will join me in supporting this proposal to take the time to do this project right.

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Support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to the Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

September 9th, 2016

On Monday I will be introducing a resolution declaring the City of Seattle’s support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as the Tribe engages in a determined defense of their treaty rights and environmental heritage. I stood with my sisters and brothers and spoke at the anti-DAPL rally on Monday Sept. 1st, but I believe the City as a whole needs to take a more explicit stance backing our Native peoples. I invite every Seattleite to join me at City Hall when we vote on this resolution Monday.

I would like to thank the Mayor for concurring in support of this resolution. Additionally, I would like to thank President Obama for showing his support for tribal rights and native peoples through the joint statement released today by three federal agencies.

What: Full Council vote on resolution supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

When: Monday 9/12 at 2pm (the regular Full Council meeting

Where: Seattle City Hall, Council Chambers (2nd floor)

Dakota Access Pipeline Resolution:

WHEREAS, the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline being developed by of Energy Transfer Partners and its affiliates, which would carry as much as 570,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude from western North Dakota to Illinois; and

WHEREAS, the DAPL would run across or beneath 209 rivers, creeks and tributaries, including the Missouri River, which provides drinking water and irrigates agricultural land in communities across the Midwest, serving nearly 10 million people; and

WHEREAS, the DAPL would also run through the ancestral lands and waters reserved for the traditional use of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe by the Treaty of Ft. Laramie, including the Missouri River, burial grounds and gravesites, and other sacred sites of cultural, religious, and historical significance; and

WHEREAS, Indian Treaties such as the Treaty of Ft. Laramie are recognized by the U.S. Constitution as “the supreme law of the land,” and require consultation and cooperation by the United States with its Indian Treaty partner before any federal action is taken that affects Treaty lands, territories, waters or other resources; and

WHEREAS, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 affirms the need to “protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions,” particularly in American Indian sacred places; and

WHEREAS, Washington State recognizes that American Indian burial grounds and historic graves are “a finite, irreplaceable, and nonrenewable cultural resource, and are an intrinsic part of the cultural heritage of the people of Washington” (RCW 27.44.030);

WHEREAS, Articles, 11, 12, and 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), as endorsed by the United States in 2010, affirms that indigenous peoples like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe possess the right to maintain and protect their culture, religion, practices, and relationship with their “traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories [and] waters”; and

WHEREAS, the UNDRIP Article 32 further provides that governments shall consult with indigenous peoples “in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources”; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council proclaimed in 2012 by Resolution 31420 that Seattle is a Human Rights City and is committed to promoting human rights; and

WHEREAS, the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31538 in 2014 to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Seattle, in recognition of “the systematic racism towards Indigenous people in the United States” and in “honor [of] our nation’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions”; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult with or obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as required by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, Executive Order 13175, the UNDRIP Article 10, and other federal and international laws, before issuing a “Mitigated Finding of No Significant Impact” that would result in an easement for horizontal directional drilling for the DAPL; and

WHEREAS, any spill of oil into the Missouri River would irreparably harm the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Treaty reserved lands, territories, waters and other resources; burial grounds, gravesites and other sacred sites of cultural, religious, and historical significance; and spiritual relationships and indigenous ways of life; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor of the City of Seattle, City Councils of Portland, Oregon, St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians comprised of 59 Indian Nations in the Northwest, and nearly 200 Indian Nations, are among the governmental bodies that have taken formal action to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and oppose the DAPL; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:

Section 1. The City of Seattle stands in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) across the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites.

Section 2. The City of Seattle calls upon the United States and the Army Corps of Engineers to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, prior to taking any federal action regarding the DAPL that would harm or destroy the Tribe’s ancestral lands, waters and sacred sites.

Section 3. The City of Seattle proclaims that October 10, 2016, Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Seattle, will commemorate and support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the DAPL.

 

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Resolution regarding the North Seattle Precinct

August 19th, 2016

Thank you for your advocacy regarding the new North Seattle Precinct police station.

On Monday, August 15th, the Seattle City Council took action passing a resolution to re-shape and provide much needed guidance regarding the new station moving forward. Replacing the failing station is a necessary, Seattle’s City Charter clearly calls out public safety as an essential governmental duty. Although the planning for this station started in 2012, and was identified as a need as far back as 1998, the project needed better direction regarding the function and the price.

The new police station had been studied and approved by the previous council in prior years. As recently as August of 2015 the council voted unanimously to pass Council Bill (CB) 118474 that allocated $2.7 million for planning a design specifically for a $160 million station. However, I along with my colleagues believe the cost is too high. We have been working with the Finance Administration Services Department (FAS) to identify ways to bring the cost down, so far we have found over $10 million in potential cost savings. When we started hearing from constituents that they were deeply concerned about the project’s cost, Councilmember Gonzalez decided to write a resolution to clearly detail the City Council’s commitments and intent regarding this project. I was proud to co-sponsor the resolution.

This Resolution:

  • Requires city departments to use the Racial Equity Toolkit to analyze the current and future state of the project
  • Establishes a 3rd party financial review of the project
  • Removes commitment to a specific dollar amount for the project and allows the council to maintain cost flexibility during the budget process
  • Expresses a council intent to use the site of the current precinct or proceeds from the sale of the current site for affordable housing
  • Establishes an expectation that the new facility will be designed to address critical components of the Federal consent decree specifically regarding relationship building between the SPD and the community, and will accommodate increased training for officers

This resolution is a step forward in the process of replacing the current overcrowded facility. There is more work to be done to ensure all the commitments made Monday come to pass. I am also excited to continue working with the Finance and Administrative Services Department to find ways to lower the cost of the station while retaining its core public safety functionality.

Thank you again for your interest in this project. I appreciate the opportunity to share this update with you.

 

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