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In 2019 the Legislature directed the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) to identify sites for additional work release facilities in various regions of the state, including Snohomish County. The DOC recently identified a commercial property along the Mountlake Terrace/Edmonds border as a leading site for such a facility. The site is located at 7125 224th Street SW along the Interurban Trail on a dead end street with vehicular access from 224th Street in Edmonds near Ranch 99 Market (see map).
What is a work release facility? According to the DOC’s website, “Work release facilities serve as a bridge between life in prison and life in the community. Incarcerated people at work release focus on transition, to include finding and retaining employment, treatment, re–connecting with family members, developing life skills, and becoming productive members of the community. They learn and refine social and living skills to create a smoother transition from prison confinement. Work release is an opportunity for self–improvement, while assisting incarcerated people in creating a safe and productive lifestyle that can be sustained upon release.”
State law requires cities to accommodate “essential public facilities,” such as work release facilities, and Mountlake Terrace allows this type of facility, with conditions, in the Light Industrial/Office Park zone. Although DOC stressed in a meeting this week that no decisions have been made, and a public process with stakeholder engagement will continue, DOC’s next steps would be to meet with the city’s Community Development Department to discuss the site and use, along with potential conditions.
If the site becomes a viable option, state law requires DOC to conduct a public hearing process, which includes notification to all addresses within a half-mile radius of the site.
The city has invited the Department of Correction’s Project Team to speak to the Mountlake Terrace community about this proposal and answer questions, so please watch for updates as we work to confirm a date and time. For more information about the state’s work release program, please visit https://www.doc.wa.gov/corrections/incarceration/work-release/default.htm.