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Partnering to improve safety north of 45th Street

Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen listens as UW students talk about safety issues in the neighborhood north of 45th Street.On a rainy Thursday night, more than 50 students and City of Seattle department leaders went for a walk together in the neighborhood north of the Seattle campus to talk about safety issues.

The walk, spearheaded by leaders of the Panhellenic and Inter-Fraternity Councils, included presidents of most University of Washington fraternities and sororities, other student leaders, Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, U District Partnership Executive Director Don Blakeney, a representative from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office, the Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct Commander, UW Police Chief Craig Wilson, staff from Seattle City Light and Seattle Department of Transportation and UW employees from multiple offices.

A group of UW students and Seattle city employees stand on the corner of a a street in the neighborhood north of 45th Street wearing raincoats and holding umbrellas.“Seeing the issues thousands of students are dealing with in person — street lighting, roadway signs missing, sidewalk damage and break-ins — helps people understand. That’s why we did the safety walk at night,” said Meredith Olney, Panhellenic Association Vice President of Standards and Accountability and a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

She and other fraternity and sorority members acknowledged that students living in the neighborhood cause issues from time to time, including dumping furniture on move-out day. Greek Row leaders are working together to find an alternative solution.

“We care about this neighborhood’s present and future,” Olney, who led efforts to organize the safety walk.

The back of a woman wearing a black police jacket and a man holding an umbrella walking with a group of UW students.

She and other students pointed out issues at seven spots in the neighborhood, including boarded-up houses drawing break-ins and other crime; buckled sidewalks along 17th Ave NE and 19th Ave NE; dead street lights; and a missing stop sign.

A Seattle Department of Transportation employee showed students how to use the city’s Find It, Fix It app to report issues like the missing sign, potholes, illegal dumping on public property, clogged storm drains and more.

Some of the issues will take time to solve, but the new connections made between the students and the City staff ensure students can advocate effectively for the safety of the neighborhood.

Pedersen and a member of his staff, also, took detailed notes about the issues students highlighted.

“By working together, we can make our neighborhoods safer,” he said.