DSHS passes on North Bend sex-offender site

NORTH BEND - A site located just outside of the city limits will not be the home of a proposed sex-offender halfway house, state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) officials announced last week.

The decision to place the facility in south Seattle laid to rest months of residents' and city officials' concerns that a $1.6-million, 12-bed facility would be located near the Washington State Patrol Fire Training Academy near Grouse Ridge.

"This has been a difficult process to find sites that balance both the constitutional needs of the residents and safety concerns of the community," said DSHS Secretary Dennis Braddock at the Sept. 10 announcement. "However, the South Spokane Street site will allow us to meet the court's mandates while protecting those who work, live and travel through the area."

The Spokane Street facility will be used to transition convicted sex-offenders, who have served their time, back into the community. DSHS is under a federal court order to build the facility and had considered another site in south King County as the third finalist.

King County Councilman David Irons, who had opposed the North Bend site, said the Spokane Street site was the correct, but difficult, choice.

"It is unfortunate that we even have to build this kind of facility, but I hope that the same high level of scrutiny will go into the design and operation, and that the state will be able to reassure the neighbors in South Seattle of their safety," said Irons.

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