The Mayor and Seattle City Council recently announced the initial appointees selected to serve on the new Seattle Renters’ Commission. Created by Ordinance 125280 in March 2017, the 15-member commission will advise the City on priorities, policies, and strategies related to all issues concerning renters across the City of Seattle. It will also monitor and provide feedback on the enforcement and effectiveness of legislation related to renters and renter protections. All the appointments are subject to City Council confirmation.
Sherry Collier is a practicing family law attorney providing legal advice and compassionate support to clients in civil legal matters related to divorce, paternity, child support, child custody, and domestic violence. As a Seattle native, the managing attorney of a minority- and woman-owned small business based in the city, and a resident of Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, Ms. Collier has deep ties to the Seattle area and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington before completing a Juris Doctorate at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.
What inspired you to serve on the Seattle Renters’ Commission?
I remain inspired to serve on the Seattle Renter’s Commission (SRC) because I believe that at this very critical, yet exciting point in our city’s growth and development, that it is important for interested stakeholders like renters, landlords, and members of the business community to continue to have meaningful well-intentioned dialogue about the variety of issues that impact renters and other stakeholders. I see the commission as an opportunity to listen, discuss, and provide real-time, relevant, inclusive feedback on issues that impact renters. I also believe that, as time goes on, the SRC could be a vehicle to measure the effectiveness of existing policies.
How has your experience as a renter shaped your perspective of Seattle?
Being a renter has shaped my perspective of Seattle in that it has enlarged my view of the city. I live in a very diverse neighborhood in Columbia City with a thriving business community. By seeing that everyday, I have no choice but to agree that business and inclusive community values and fair housing can exist in our city. I made a conscious decision to live in a diverse neighborhood that balances the needs of business, building owners, and inclusion. I don’t think that I would be able to have such a unique living experience if I weren’t renting. I see renting as a plus at this point in my life. As a renter in Columbia City, I get to see, on a daily basis, a little of the old Seattle and a little of the new Seattle and it’s exciting. It makes me optimistic about the possibilities for the city.
What do you hope the Seattle Renters’ Commission will bring to the City?
I am hopeful that over time, when both the general public and lawmakers think of the SRC, they will be able to recount specific instances where the input, feedback, or voice of the SRC was well thought out, level-headed, inclusive, fact based, and helpful. The SRC is a new commission and therefore, my hope is that, at its beginning stages, the SRC will be a commission that the large majority of the City can trust and will find value in.
What neighborhood do you live in and what do you love most about it?
I live in the Columbia City neighborhood and I absolutely love everything about it. As a business owner, I enjoy being able to walk one block in any direction and being able to patronize other small business owners. I love the fact that my neighborhood knows how to have fun together and is able to host events like the Columbia City BeatWalk, where the area restaurants host different live bands and the neighborhood just kicks back and has a great time together. It’s a warm feeling to bond and get to know other people in that type of environment. I also enjoy my neighborhood because it is very family oriented and all of us work together to ensure the safety of the neighborhood. What I love most about living in the Rainier Valley is the diversity.