Mayor Jim Ferrell gave the annual State of the City address for the second year on Feb. 28 at the Performing Arts and Events Center. Photo courtesy of Tyler Hemstreet

Mayor Jim Ferrell gave the annual State of the City address for the second year on Feb. 28 at the Performing Arts and Events Center. Photo courtesy of Tyler Hemstreet

Crime, homelessness focus of Federal Way mayor’s State of the City

Mayor Jim Ferrell gives annual address for the second time at the PAEC.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell gave his annual State of the City address to a full house at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center Feb. 28.

Before Ferrell presented his address to the large crowd, the event was kicked off by Trenton Walker, a Decatur High School freshman who sang the National Anthem to a standing ovation.

And for fans of “Back to the Future,” the mayor started his address with several links between Federal Way and the 80s classic. The only thing missing was a DeLorean.

The mayor said he started thinking about time travel before the address, and about how “each and every one of us are time travelers in our own way.”

The city has changed a lot in the last few years, Ferrell said, and unlike past histories, it’s a change the community has seen with their own eyes.

Ferrell updated the community on several construction projects happening in Federal Way, including the grand staircase that will be next to the PAEC on Pete von Reichbauer Way downtown.

He said the state of the city is strong, and used examples such as a decrease in crime as evidence.

Overall crime in Federal Way is down 11 percent, with a decrease in residential burglaries as well, Ferrell said.

According to recent crime statistics in the city, as the mayor mentioned in his address, “We did not have one gun-related murder in Federal Way last year.”

He also spoke about the controversial issue of homelessness, and the decision to provide South King County Housing and Homeless Partners with $26,000 for two years, which was originally a motion made during a council meeting by Councilmember Lydia Assefa-Dawson.

Ferrell also said the city had cleaned up and shut down over two dozen homeless encampments. He was pleased to have signed a letter detailing different strategies and options that could be looked at when it comes to homeless policy following Microsoft’s $500 million affordable housing pledge.

Ferrell also touched on other issues important to the public, such as the university initiative, which would bring a joint campus of Highline College and University of Washington-Tacoma to Federal Way, nicknamed “The HUB.” The city has been working with partners at Federal Way Public Schools, Highline College and UW-Tacoma to launch the higher education facility in the city.

He thanked 30th Legislative District Reps. Mike Pellicciotti and Kristine Reeves for helping Highline College get $500,000 for this project, however an opening date for the UW Federal Way campus has yet to be announced.

The city has been working on this initiative since 2016.

Other issues the mayor discussed include the Sound Transit Light Rail, incoming businesses, and the abandoned shopping cart ordinance the city passed last year.

This year’s address marked the second year it was presented at the PAEC and the city’s 29th birthday. The day also coincided with Deputy Mayor Susan Honda and community volunteer Cheryl Hurst’s birthdays.

The Lakota Middle School chorus group concluded Ferrell’s speech.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the university initiative is a joint campus of Highline College and University of-Washington-Tacoma. The Mirror strives for accuracy and regrets the error.

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