You’ve heard by now that Jenny Durkan is stepping down after serving out the rest of her term as Seattle’s mayor.
This comes just months after Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced her resignation.
Two admirable women deciding to give up their jobs in a tumultuous year.
Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority Executive Director Maiko Winkler-Chin thanked Durkan for her service “at possibly the most difficult time this city has ever faced.”
Durkan has been a friend to the Chinatown-International District (CID) and we are thankful.
It was under her watch that the CID got something it had wished for a decade—a unified police precinct. Previously, the precinct boundary followed I-5, which runs through the middle of the CID, and divided Chinatown on the west side and Little Saigon on the east side.
In an interview this week, Durkan told the Northwest Asian Weekly, “I have more diversity in my cabinet than any mayor in the history of Seattle.”
All of Durkan’s deputy mayors are people of color including two Asian Americans—Mike Fong, the senior deputy mayor, and Shefali Ranganathan, the deputy mayor for External Relations.
In the first few weeks of the pandemic, it was Durkan who visited the CID multiple times as a huge vote of confidence for businesses and the neighborhood. People were avoiding the CID because of the stigmatization of our origins and fears over coronavirus, even though there were no cases in our community at that time.
Durkan made three tips to the CID in a week: the first was a visit with Chief Best to introduce an Asian neighborhood officer, and Best later dined with her staff at the Hong Kong Bistro.
Durkan also presented a $140,000 grant to Phnom Penh Restaurant, which was in the process of opening its new restaurant at 9th Avenue South and South Jackson Street. Then she brought her cabinet members, as many as 25, to dine with the community in the CID. Durkan paid for the $1,500 lunch.
Durkan set the tone for her administration to support the CID, especially businesses impacted by the pandemic. During the past three years, she has visited the CID 18 times to visit, dine, walk, hold news conferences, and meet with CID leaders. In total, her leadership team has been to the CID 66 times.
With Durkan as mayor, the CID felt heard and seen, like we matter. And we do. Her commitment to our community was clear from the beginning, when she did one of her swearing-in ceremonies at the Wing Luke Museum.
Thank you, Jenny, for what you have done for our community.
As Gov. Jay Inslee stated, “Jenny has led through tumultuous times and had to make difficult decisions with grace and dignity.”