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May 2019

News In Brief

May 6, 2019

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Nearly 400 bridges in Washington state are "structurally deficient," including dozens of bridges on interstate highways, according to a newly released report and reported by KOMO news. The report, by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, says that of the 8,278 bridges in Washington state, 382 are classified as structurally deficient - or 4.6 percent of the total. Each of the deficient bridges was found to have one or more key elements "in poor or worse condition," the report says. The number of structurally deficient bridges has increased since the previous survey in 2014, when 353 bridges were found to be in need of crucial repairs. Five of the top 25 most heavily traveled deficient bridges are on Interstate 5 and six more are on Interstate 90, including the two floating bridges over Lake Washington, according to the report. Those bridges together handle more than 484,000 crossings each day. Some 42 of the state's structurally deficient bridges are on an interstate highway. Other heavily traveled deficient bridges include the S.R. 520 bridge over 116th Avenue, the South Boeing Access Road over the Burlington Northern tracks and South 212th Street over Green River. The report did not specify which elements were in poor condition on each bridge. Many other bridges were found to be in need of other repairs. The state has identified 6,080 bridges with 68 million daily crossings that need work, at an estimated cost of $9.2 billion. That compares to 5,851 bridges that needed repairs in 2014. The report used data from the Federal High Administration's National Bridge Inventory.



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A comprehensive plan would increase King County residents' confidence in local efforts to address the region's homelessness crisis, and seeing fewer people living on the streets would prove that it's working, according to a new poll and reported by the Seattle Times. Conducted in February by Seattle-based Elway Research, the poll is the latest to explore county residents' complex feelings about the homelessness crisis and the long-running effort to resolve it. "What these results tell me is that the average citizen is unsure of what to do, but is willing to strongly support any number of solutions to the problem," said H. Stuart Elway, president of Elway Research. "And it is a big problem." Among the findings: A majority of people said there's a moral obligation to help homeless people and that solving a complex issue like homelessness will require a communitywide plan supported by local governments, businesses and charities. The Seattle Times' Project Homeless is funded by BECU, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Mariners, Starbucks and the University of Washington. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over Project Homeless content.

Seventy-two percent of those polled said that more than five of every 10 people living on the streets are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, although there's some evidence indicating that it is actually less than half that. In a survey conducted with King County's 2018 point-in-time count, 35 percent of homeless people reported drug or alcohol abuse. More poll respondents than not said they favor policies aimed at helping people with mental-health and substance-abuse problems, as well as prevention programs designed to keep people on the brink of homelessness stay in their homes. Seventy-one percent favored increasing the amount of affordable housing in every neighborhood. The poll was conducted Feb. 21-27 by cellphone and landline, with a sample size of 803 people and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. It was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Advocacy Fund, Raikes Foundation, and Ballmer Group (the Gates, Campion and Raikes foundations also contribute funding to Project Homeless).



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Spring time is a good time to check any brick structures on your property, according to KOMO News. With all the rain and snow this winter, you want to check to see if there's any ground erosion that may cause the chimney or brick walls to fail. If there are any gaps between the brick and the ground below, that's a problem. Here's what else to look for when you check those bricks and mortar. "Look for cracks, crumbling bricks, crumbling mortar, moss on your chimney, effervescence - white stains - all signs that there are water issues there," said Janet Allman with the Seattle Home Owners Club. The club recommends having your brick chimney cleaned and waterproofed every five to eight years. This needs to be done in the summer, when it's dry, so you don't seal in the water. "They'll come out and clean and waterproof it and at that point if there are any repairs to the flashing or mortar that are needed, they can take care of that as well," Allman said. It's important to take care of any brickwork problems when they're small, because they can easily turn into major repair projects. A failing chimney can let water inside the house and crumbling brick is a hazard for falling on someone.




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Washington state is the third-best state for millennials, according to new findings by personal finance website WalletHub. The survey compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine where the generation, currently in their 20s and 30s, thrived and where they have struggled. WalletHub looked at a number of factors to determine their ranking including affordability, education and health, quality of life, economic health and civic engagement. Only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia ranked higher than Washington.  Projected to become the largest U.S. population group in 2019, WalletHub says millennials are worse off than their parents, making 20 percent less than baby boomers did at the same age. The worst states for millennials include Mississippi, New Mexico and in last place, West Virginia.



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With more pets than children, dog services galore and a slew of bars and restaurants that welcome canine friends, Seattle has once again been named top dog in a ranking of the nation's most dog-friendly cities according to a report in the Seattle Times. In the study, Rover, a network of dog walkers and pet sitters, partnered with Seattle-based real-estate company Redfin to examine more than 14,000 cities. The rankings were based on the number of dog parks and other amenities in each city; total hours, minutes and distance per walk by each dog walker or sitter on Rover; the city's walkability score; and the number of times the word "dog" was mentioned in real-estate ads. Chicago, Denver, Manhattan and Washington, D.C., round out the country's top five pup-loving cities. Portland came in at sixth, San Francisco ninth. The city's ranking got a boost from the ample space it devotes to dog parks. Seattle has 14 off-leash areas on city property.



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Sammamish was named the safest city in Washington, based on a study by SafeHome.org. and reported by KOMO News. The agency used crime data from the FBI and thousands of police agencies who cover towns of at least 46,000 people. Categories included property crimes, violent crime trend, violent crimes, citizen to officer ratio and property crime trend, researchers wrote. Sammamish was named No. 1 in Washington and even made their national list at No. 78 -- the only city to make the Top 100 list. Kirkland came in No. 2, while Pasco, Shoreline and Richland rounded out the top 5. Kennewick completed the Tri-Cities' impressive showing, coming in at No. 7.