Advancing Equitable Outreach and Engagement

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director

Mayor Murray recently issued an Executive Order directing the city to approach outreach and engagement in an equitable manner. Putting an equity lens on our approaches is bold and, yes, brave. It shows a commitment to practices that address accessibility and equity.


What does this mean?

  • We often hear that meetings can feel like we are “checking a box.” The Mayor’s action means we can create processes that are more relationship-based and build authentic partnerships.
  • It means that we can create plans that are culturally sensitive, which includes an emphasis on translated materials.
  • It means we broaden access points, identify obstacles and turn them into opportunities.


What else does this mean?

  • It means we have an opportunity to recreate, re-envision and reconcile many lingering issues, including defining the difference between neighborhoods and communities, providing clarity about roles, and creating a system of engagement that builds partnerships with, and between, communities throughout the city of Seattle.
  • It means that we will be working to expand choices and opportunities for community members throughout this city, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of those who face barriers to participation.
  • It means that we’ll work with city offices and departments on community involvement to ensure that they are effective and efficient through the wise use and management of all resources, including the community’s time.
  • And it means we will expand the toolbox and make some investments in digital engagement.

 

Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where the Department of Neighborhoods comes in.

This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city.

 

“This is not about silencing voices. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about bringing more people into the conversations or at least creating opportunities for people to participate so they can be heard.”

 
Face-to-face meetings are incredibly important and those are not going away. But not every person can attend a community meeting, and the ability to do so should not determine who gets to participate and who gets to be heard.

We’d love to hear what tools YOU need to be successful and how WE can help you. Share your ideas with us:

  • Send an email to NewDON@seattle.gov.
  • Share your comments below.
  • Contact us at 206-684-0464 or mail us at P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
  • Join and follow the conversation online using #AdvancingEquitySEA at:

Facebook – @SeattleNeighborhoods
Twitter – @SeaNeighborhood

This is about making things easier and less exhaustive. This is about connecting communities to government and to one another. This is about moving forward.

Kathy Nyland, Director
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

People’s Academy for Community Engagement Now Accepting Applications

People's Academy for Community EngagementSeattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The fall session begins September 27 and runs through December 6.

During the 10-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

Fall sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Miller Community Center. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Government 101, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and Sustaining Involvement.

Tuition for the 10-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/peoples-academy-for-community-engagement/pace-application. The application deadline is Friday, August 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE will be offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. The winter session will begin in January of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

City Staff Continues Support to Greenwood as the Recovery Office Closes

Greenwood Neighborhood AssistanceOn March 16, the City of Seattle opened a temporary office to support those affected by the March 9 explosion. Staff from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Office of Economic Development have been meeting with individuals and business owners to help them receive information and assistance. Now that immediate needs are handled, the office will close on Friday, March 25. However, city staff is available to help anyone who has questions or needs assistance. Please feel free to call Thomas Whittemore, Neighborhood District Coordinator, at 206-396-2788 or email him at Thomas.whittemore@seattle.gov or contact AJ Cari of the Office of Economic Development at aj.cari@seattle.gov  or 206-384-0133 for business questions. You can also visit our Greenwood Assistance and Resources webpage for additional information and contacts.

There were several residents directly affected by the explosion and no longer had access to their homes. After urgent needs such as food, clothing and emergency shelter were taken care of by the American Red Cross, its caseworkers continue to provide personal support to those displaced and are helping to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork, and locate help from other agencies and partners, including the Phinney Neighborhood Association.

Since the beginning, the Phinney Neighborhood Association has been an integral part of the recovery by organizing the amazing outpouring of financial support for the Greenwood community. Last week, it cut initial relief checks to the 12 residents evacuated from apartments above Gordito’s and the 30 displaced employees from damaged businesses. It has also arranged for storage units for those who needed to store belongings while their apartments are being repaired. This week, the fundraising efforts have reached $234,053 with 1,811 people and businesses donating, plus the many uncounted folks who gave cash! Over 40 businesses have hosted or are hosting benefits in the coming weeks. To learn more visit PNA’s Greenwood Relief.

Thank you, Greenwood, as we work on recovery efforts together.

 

Work on Greenwood Avenue at 85th Occurs This Weekend

Greenwood Neighborhood AssistanceGreenwood neighbors and businesses – We want to alert you that Seattle Public Utilities will be working on Greenwood Avenue both Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27, to provide water service to nearby businesses. This work will reduce traffic in each direction on Greenwood Avenue between N 84th and N 85th. Parking will be restricted during the work, and bikes will need to merge with traffic. In addition, the west sidewalk will remain closed between N 84th St & N 85th, but the east sidewalk will remain open at all times during the work. A uniformed police officer will be onsite to direct traffic.

Thanks for your continued patience as we work on Greenwood recovery efforts together. For information visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhood-assistance.

Greenwood Recovery Office Is Open

The Greenwood Recovery Office will continue to be open for the neighborhood from Monday, March 21 – Friday, March 25.  The temporary office is located at Works Progress (115 N 85th St, Suite 202), a coworking space in Greenwood, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The phone number is 206-396-2788 during regular business hours. If you have been affected by the Greenwood explosion, please call or visit us. Staffs from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Office of Economic Development are there to help.

More information for neighborhood businesses and residents can be found at: seattle.gov/greenwood-assistance.

Site of Greenwood Explosion Transitions from Cleanup to Recovery

Neighborhood Recovery Center Established to Continue Support

On Tuesday, Mayor Murray announced that the Incident Command Center for the explosion in Greenwood has wrapped up operations and opened a neighborhood office to support local businesses and residents.

“I am very grateful to the cooperation and support from the community, partner agencies, local businesses, and multiple City departments,” stated Mayor Murray. “This goes to show that when tragedy strikes, we come together to support one another.”

Greenwood Avenue North is open in both directions, although the southbound bike lane between 85th and 84th will remain closed until cleanup is complete. The sidewalk on the west side remains closed, and the City is working with the property owner to open it as soon as possible.

“Thank you to the community for their support and understanding during the investigation and clean-up activities,” stated Captain McDonagh, incident commander with the Seattle Police Department.

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and Office of Economic Development will coordinate the Greenwood Recovery Task Force, an effort to continue to support the community. The Greenwood Recovery Office has been set up at Works Progress (115 N 85th St, Suite 202), a coworking space in Greenwood, which will be staffed by the City Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The office will be open through Friday, March 25. The phone number is 206-396-2788.

More information for neighborhood businesses and residents can be found at: seattle.gov/greenwood-assistance.

Work Continues at Greenwood Incident Site Monday, March 14

On Monday, the City’s departments continue to work vigilantly at the Greenwood incident site with state and utility partners. We appreciate the community’s efforts to clean up debris throughout the neighborhood and its patience while the city departments’ work continues.

On Sunday afternoon, Greenwood Avenue reopened to traffic with the exception of the southbound bike lane. Traffic is flowing normally.

Greenwood Avenue is Open to Traffic

As the investigation continues into the explosion that destroyed a building near 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue, a multi-functional team from the City of Seattle has been able to open an additional lane of Greenwood Avenue for traffic.

Greenwood now has two traffic lanes for northbound traffic and one southbound lane. The northbound bike lane is open. Cyclists riding southbound on Greenwood must merge with traffic or take other routes.

Puget Sound Energy crews were working to determine what caused the explosion. Seattle police officers and employees from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities, the Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle City Light and other departments were working to support the investigation, control traffic through the work zone and provide information to residents, area businesses and people who travel through the area.

84th is closed westbound from Greenwood and restricted one block to the east.

Work Continues at Greenwood Explosion Site

A multi-functional team from the City of Seattle continued Sunday to support an investigation into an explosion that destroyed a building near 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue and provide assistance to the neighborhood.

Puget Sound Energy crews are working to determine what caused the explosion. Seattle police officers and employees from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities, the Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle City Light and other departments are working to support the investigation, control traffic through the work zone, and provide information to residents, area businesses and people who travel through the area.

Greenwood Avenue is limited to one lane in each direction. Police officers are restricting turns from Greenwood Avenue at 85th Street during times of heavy traffic. In addition, 84th is closed westbound from Greenwood and restricted one block to the east.

“Residents and businesses in the Greenwood area have been tremendous in their response to this incident,” Seattle Police Capt. Paul McDonagh said. “We appreciate their patience while the investigation continues.”

With high winds expected this afternoon, safety plans call for work at the site to stop once sustained winds become too strong to work safely. Residents and businesses throughout the area are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to keep items from blowing away.

For general information and resources for the Greenwood neighborhood, please visit our webpage.

City and Community Working to Clean up Greenwood

IMG_4774As clean up continues today at the Greenwood incident site, city departments are working together with our state and utility partners. We appreciate everyone’s patience, especially the Greenwood neighborhood, while this work continues. Deputy Mayor Joncas stopped by to tour the site and impacts to the neighborhood to show her support of city and community efforts clean up efforts.

The community has come together in an amazing way with more than 150 volunteers helping to clean up the area. They are planting flowers, painting the plywood that is covering the blown out windows, sweeping debris, and helping out as needed. Fred Meyer donated supplies and Home Depot donated flowers. Local businesses are also passing out cupcakes and other treats to support the volunteers. Way to support Greenwood!

There are many ways to help out. Just visit the Phinney Neighborhood Association website, http://www.phinneycenter.org/greenwoodrelief/index.html, for updates on fund raising activities. In fact, several are happening this weekend. Plus, most businesses are open, so feel free to stop by.

Please note that there is a high wind advisory for Sunday, so the city encourages the Greenwood neighbors to clean any debris they discover on their property as high wind gusts are expected.