A press conference held by Mayor Tim Burgess's office Wednesday morning celebrated implementing the Mandatory Housing Affordability program in Uptown (Lower Queen Anne), rezoning that allows taller buildings in exchange for a percentage of affordable housing or developer fines.
But the conference was overshadowed by a surprise visit—Ed Murray appeared to watch the conference as a private citizen.
City council members earlier this month unanimously approved the Uptown rezoning, which increased maximum heights for buildings from 85 to 160 feet for new developments, which must dedicate 5 to 10 percent to housing affordable for up to 60 percent of the area's median income or pay fines (anywhere from $8 to about $30).
The HALA Grand Bargain and citywide upzoning were championed by Murray during his time in office, which ended abruptly on September 12 after a fifth man—a cousin—accused him of sexual abuse. Murray left before his office could finish legislation on citywide rezoning, which will include most of the city's urban villages, and veteran council member Burgess took executive office.
The former mayor disgraced by sexual abuse allegations has been seen around town, but it was his first appearance at a public news conference since The Seattle Times reported the fifth accuser. He didn't hold a press conference to announce his resignation and said little in his resignation letter.
The KOMO video showed Murray didn't want to answer any questions—he said he was there as a private citizen, is looking for work in the city, and plans to live in Seattle the rest of his life. Murray and Burgess held a close working relationship before Murray left.
"I'm out here to celebrate the fact that we put a program in place that will triple the number of affordable housing units in Seattle," he told KOMO News. "I know who I am, and I feel really good about the hands that the city's in right now."