Mayor releases action plan for safety in Chinatown/ID

Maneki Japanese Restaurant, on Sixth Avenue South, pays tribute to Chin with a sign posted to the windowpane. (Photo by Sidney Sullivan)
Maneki Japanese Restaurant, on Sixth Avenue South in the International District, pays tribute to Donnie Chin with a sign posted to the windowpane last year. (Photo by Sidney Sullivan)

Nearly a year after the shooting death of Chinatown/International District activist Donnie Chin, Mayor Ed Murray last week released an action plan to address public safety in the neighborhood.

A city task force of community stakeholders was formed last year after the shooting death of Chin, who founded the International District Emergency Center (IDEC), often personally providing security and first aid at community events such as the Bon Odori, International District Street Festival and the Chinatown parade.

Chin founded the IDEC in the 1970s after being frustrated with the police and fire response time to emergency calls in Chinatown/International District, where he grew up. He or IDEC volunteers often would respond to calls personally, but they also over the decades formed relationships with city police and fire to advocate for improved public safety in the neighborhood.

Chin was shot last July in the early hours of the morning on July 23 last year. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole recently told a group of community members that Chin is believed to have been caught in the crossfire between two gangs and was not the intended target of the shooting. She said the case is still under investigation. No arrests have been made in the fatal shooting.

Murray’s plan, which follows the work of the task force’s report, proposes the hiring of a civilian community engagement and outreach specialist position in the Seattle Police Department for the neighborhood, matching funds for a public safety coordinator, a public safety steering committee to identify public safety projects and increasing staff and improving language proficiencies for the neighborhood, of which more than half speak a primary language other than English.

However, KING5 News reported that some in the International District are skeptical of the plan saying the improvements won’t happen fast enough.

“I’ve been around long enough, I’ve participated in enough of these kinds of activities to know a lot of the promises are very shallow,” Dicky Mar, Chin’s friend and IDEC volunteer, told KING5 News.

Further reading

City of Seattle: Mayor’s Chinatown/International District Public Safety Action Plan

KING5: International District reaction to mayor’s public safety action plan

KOMO News: SPD Chief: Detectives making progress on investigation into Donnie Chin’s murder

This story has been updated since its original publication to correct the spelling of Dicky Mar’s name.