2020 State of the County address

King County Executive Dow Constantine

Dear fellow King County employee,

Today I released my annual State of the County address – from my home in West Seattle. I discussed King County’s historic challenges and changes, and announced new actions in human services, the criminal legal system, and the environment.

In my address, I announced that I intend to propose maintaining the nearly 1/3 reduction in adult detention we have achieved during the COVID-19 crisis, and beginning a phased closing of the King County Correctional Center after the pandemic. And, with youth detention numbers at record lows, I will also propose investments to help create safe and community-based solutions for the increasingly difficult youth cases that remain, fully converting the remaining youth detention capacity to other uses as quickly as possible, and no later than 2025.

I also announced an effort to ensure that every resident has a safe and secure place to call home, and wherever possible not returning people to stay long term in crowded, congregate spaces. This builds on what we learned in our COVID-19 response when we provided shelter residents with individual hotel rooms, which not only prevented the spread of the virus but also improved clients’ physical and behavioral health.

I also spoke about our work to transform internal operations. Several departments, including Executive Services and Local Services, have created new ways to safely deliver what the public needs. The Department of Natural Resources and Parks is leading our pilot of ongoing remote work for employees. We will learn from these examples to determine whether and how to expand remote work across the County – to meet the needs of our residents, take cars off the road, and reduce building emissions, while increasing productivity and engagement.

These are just some of the initiatives and priorities I set out in State of the County address. I encourage you to read the transcript or watch the video, and I look forward to working with you on these and other new proposals in the coming weeks and months.

Together, we will battle through this time of crisis. And not only that… we will use this moment – this unprecedented moment – as the catalyst for real change, to create the community, nation, and world we need.





Dow Constantine
King County Executive