By Sidney Aspinall
For the Beacon 

City Hall annex offers multiple services


Last updated 12/15/2022 at 10:22am

Brian Soergel

The City Hall Neighborhood Office, open three days a week, is in the Safeway shopping center at Highway 99 and 238th Street SW.

In its continuing efforts to expand services beyond the Bowl, the City of Edmonds in March opened what it called a City Hall Neighborhood Office.

Eight months after debuting on Highway 99 in the Safeway shopping center, Mayor Mike Nelson is asking the City Council to expand the 2023 budget to add a storefront officer, allowing the office to expand its safety presence and work with the public more from the location.

Currently open three days a week – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – the City hopes to increase its hours as funding becomes available.

The office provides a variety of amenities to the public, including meeting spaces and room for City departments, such as the Human Services Division, to reach out to individuals in the area.

Compass Health also has a coordinator to meet those in need of services.

Importantly, the office also includes is a space for a police annex and an area to hold community court. There has long been public pressure to provide services in the Highway 99 area, where many of the police department calls originate.

In addition, a room for community court – led by Edmonds Municipal Court Judge Whitney Rivers and administrator Uneek Maylor – is held on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 1 p.m.

Many of the cases Rivera sees include those of people on probation in need of services, such as people with substance-use or mental health issues. Rivera also oversees new arraignments and competency review hearings.

The police portion of the office provides several services for the public. Tabatha Shoemake, community engagement coordinator for the Edmonds Police Department, has an office space in the annex and is available to answer questions and help citizens with crime-related concerns.

Shoemake also works with community groups, attending meetings, and organizing programs. She runs the police department's community academy and Neighborhood Watch program, as well as overseeing crime prevention meetings.

For information on how to organize a Neighborhood Watch program, email [email protected] or call 425-771-0287.

No police officers are stationed at the neighborhood office, but officers do have the ability to use the space throughout the day and even at night to take breaks. They can also use the space to complete paperwork and other administrative tasks while on duty.

Edmonds Public Information Officer Kelsey Foster said she wants to acknowledge that police officers are still not, at this time, in the annex to help citizens directly.

"Edmonds Police Department officers are onsite to complete paperwork and administrative tasks," she said. "They are not currently onsite to take calls or inquiries from residents. Please continue to utilize 911 if you are in need of help."

If needed, citizens can ask questions to Shoemake, and officers can be dispatched. Sgt. Josh McClure said that officers have been contacted at the office for issues in the area without citizens needing to come to the police department directly.

"Maybe a couple of times a day people will come in looking for police-related answers," McClure said. "Sometimes that requires an officer called there and sometimes Tabatha can provide that information."

Foster also said vendors from the community will be in the annex to provide citizens with services and help schedule appointments. Individuals can also receive Orca cards from the Edmonds Municipal Court in order to get to hearings or appointments.

The Edmonds Food Bank provides additional assistance on these days, allowing the public to place orders for fresh groceries to be picked up when they arrive at the annex. The court provides sack lunches for court users and other community members.

"There are also representatives from Snohomish County Human Services, Edmonds Human Services, and other nonprofit organizations," Foster said. "Individuals do not need to have a pending case or court date to access these services."

Sidney Aspinall is a student in the University of Washington's News Lab.


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