On the road: Honoring Bellevue officer, new state hospital, free youth transit

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A stretch of road in Bellevue was renamed for fallen Officer Jordan Jackson
The City of Bellevue renamed a stretch of NE 6th Street in honor of Officer Jordan Jackson, who died in the line of duty last year.

Bellevue Police Department Officer Jordan Jackson died last year in a traffic accident. On the anniversary of his passing, he and his family were honored Tuesday. The City of Bellevue renamed a stretch of NE 6th Street to Ofc. Jordan Jackson Way, and Gov. Jay Inslee presented his family with a medal of honor.

More than 750 Washingtonians were lost in traffic deaths last year - a record number. As a traffic officer, Jackson saved lives and likely spared many families the grief that his own feels today. He also saved lives as an emergency medical technician and as a search and rescue volunteer.

Inslee later attended a celebration of the opening of the new Olympic Heritage Behavioral Health Hospital in Tukwila. The building is the site of the former, privately-owned Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital. The old hospital accounted for 13% of King County's psychiatric care capacity when it shuttered suddenly last summer. The state leapt to buy the hospital, hire staff, and begin treating patients in just six weeks. Two open wards currently tend to 54 patients.

"When we get people treatment, they get better," said Inslee. "They go back to work. They go back to their families, their churches, and their communities. Behavioral health works in the State of Washington."

Gov. Jay Inslee cuts a ribbon
Sen. Karen Keiser, DSHS Secretary Jilma Meneses, and Tukwila City Councilmembers Thomas McLeod and Kate Kruller look on as Gov. Jay Inslee cuts a ribbon at the new Olympic Heritage Behavioral Health Hospital.

The governor ended the day aboard a new electric bus at the King County Metro bus depot. KC Metro already operates over 40 electric buses and plans to fully electrify its fleet of 1,400 buses by 2035. Those buses, and free ridership for kids under 18, are funded by the Climate Commitment Act. Washington youth have already enjoyed 8.4 million free rides to date, one year after the program launched.

Several local students joined the event and shared their excitement about free ridership with the governor.

"I'd know as an eighth-grader it's expensive to get around town by myself," said one student. "It is really nice to be able to get on and not have to worry about it. Especially if it means our world's gonna be cleaner."



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