Join the Conversation on Housing Affordability & Livability

HALA Focus GroupIn the last five years, rents in Seattle have increased 35% and the homeless population is nearing 3,000.

“We are facing our worst housing affordability crisis in decades,” says Mayor Murray.“My vision is a city where people who work in Seattle can afford to live here.”

The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), is a set of strategies intended to address this crisis from all sides. The City is relying heavily on public input to take these strategies from ideas to practice and would love to hear from you.

The HALA Team has a cool online conversation called “Consider it” (https://hala.consider.it/) where you can weigh in alongside your neighbors and engage in dialogue around the City’s HALA proposals. When you go to the site, you’ll see a list of topics where you can view the proposals and read others’ comments. If you want to participate in the conversation, you’ll be prompted to create an easy log-in. The HALA team will be adding ideas to the site and looking for folks to return and check in as new topics are added. The City is committed to listening to the community and using the feedback it hears to shape the policies and practices of HALA.

This is civic engagement at work—join the conversation!

Youth Tell the City How to Spend $700,000 of Public Funds

Youth Voice, Youth ChoiceMayor Ed Murray has announced the project winners of Youth Voice, Youth Choice, the City’s new Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative in which youth decide how to spend $700,000 of the City’s budget. More than 3,000 youth ages 11-25 voted on 19 project proposals in May.

The seven winning projects are:

  • Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness
  • Youth Homeless Shelter Improvements
  • Job Readiness Workshops for Homeless Youth
  • Homeless Children and Youth Liaison Services
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout
  • Park Bathroom Upgrades
  • Safe Routes to Schools

Thanks to the leadership of former Councilmember Nick Licata, we launched participatory budgeting to empower the youth of Seattle and to show them that their voice matters in shaping this city. Through this process, we learned that young people are concerned about the homelessness crisis gripping our city, as well as issues of equity and public safety. They want to help those who are suffering and to create safer streets for walking or biking.” – Mayor Ed Murray

The process started in January with several assemblies where the public brainstormed ideas for projects it would like to see in their communities. The 20 youth delegates turned those ideas into 19 concrete proposals with help from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and City staff. Now that the choices have been made, City staff and local agencies will implement the projects.

“We are thrilled to see that so many youth participated in this program,” said Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “Over 3,000 have spoken and we have heard them. It’s now up to us to implement these ideas so these projects become a reality.”

Participatory Budgeting is a civic engagement program in which community members decide how to spend a portion of a City’s budget. Seattle has joined Chicago, New York, Boston, and cities across the globe in using the process. Youth Voice, Youth Choice is managed by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

For more information, contact Jenny Frankl at 206-233-2044 or visit the Youth Voice, Youth Choice website.

Seattle Votes Campaign Aims to Lower Barriers to Immigrant and Refugee Civic Engagement

Seattle Votes - Young Somali WomenIn April, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) launched the Seattle Votes campaign to identify barriers to voting and civic engagement for Seattle’s immigrant and refugee residents. The campaign consists of an anonymous survey that will provide data for organizations, King County, and the City to better understand the civic needs of specific immigrant and refugee communities within Seattle.

“Immigrants and refugees are a vital thread in the fabric of Seattle, with one out of five residents foreign-born,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Often these communities face significant obstacles to gaining citizenship and participating in elections. Through Seattle Votes, we will gain community-level data to help us better serve these communities, creating more opportunity for refugees and immigrants to participate in our democracy.”

There has been a great response rate to the survey, but the City has a goal of reaching just under 1,700 more responses by June 17!

  • If you are an immigrant/refugee over the age of 18 living in King County, please take the survey. It takes about 6 minutes, and the results are completely anonymous.
  • If you have friends, family, and/or colleagues over the age of 18 who are immigrants/refugees living in King County, please share this blog post with them, and encourage them to complete a Seattle Votes online survey.

The Seattle Votes online survey has been translated into ten languages:

The City will publish the findings in an official report in August. The disaggregated results will help inform policies to improve naturalization, voter registration, and voting rates.

Landmarks Preservation Board to Consider Nomination of 1914-1920 Eastlake Ave E Building

1916-20 Eastlake Ave E

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider nomination of the building at 1914-1920 Eastlake Avenue E on Wednesday, June 15 at 3:30 p.m. in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Floor L2, Room L2-80 (Boards and Commissions Room).

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following mailing address by June 14 at 3:00 p.m.:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
PO Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124-4649

A copy of the Landmark Nomination is available for public review at the Capitol Hill Branch Library (425 Harvard Ave E) and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ office in Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, 4th Floor (206-684-0228). It is also posted on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods webpage, seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/landmarks.htm, under the heading of “Current Nominations.”

UW Students Present Ideas for Cascade P-Patch Renovation

Cascade P-Patch Open HouseBeginning in March 2016, University of Washington Landscape Architecture students began using the community driven area of Cascade Park and P-Patch for a design studio project focused on urban agriculture. Taught by Eric Higbee, Design Director at the Pomegranate Center, the students examined the social justice, community building, cultural meaning, and urban complexity of designing for urban agricultural spaces. They then prepared neighborhood, site, and precedent studies for the Cascade P-Patch and adjacent community driven areas of the park, and created individual designs.

The students will be presenting their final designs at a Community Open House on June 4 at 1pm at Mirabella (116 Fairview Ave N). The event is open to the public.

Final student products will be assembled into a booklet to support future community planning efforts for the Cascade Park and P-Patch. The long term interest is to redesign some existing areas of the P-Patch for better flow, integration, sightlines, and accessibility. The P-Patch Community Garden Program will be working with the community to narrow down ideas to one design and work to secure funding to complete the work.

If you have questions about the project, contact Sandy Pernitz, Community Garden Coordinator, at 206.684.0284.

City Announces $75,000 Summer Opportunity Fund

Summer Opportunity FundApplications are now available for the City of Seattle Summer Opportunity Fund. This fund provides $75,000 for community-based summer projects that support positive activities and opportunities for youth while reducing violence that disproportionately affects communities of color in Seattle. Community organizations, groups, and businesses are encouraged to apply.

To be considered, projects should focus on education, employment, justice, violence prevention, health, or a combination of these topics. Projects should also include opportunities to involve East African and Black/African American young men ages 18-24 living in or attending school in Seattle. The City is looking for community-based ideas and encourages applicants to leverage other resources such as community partnerships, in-kind donations, and existing resources and services.

Funded projects will receive between $5,000 and $15,000, and all programming must run between July 22 and October 31, 2016. The application deadline is Monday, June 20 by noon.

Individual application assistance sessions are available by appointment on:

  • June 2, 11:30 – 5 p.m. at the New Holly Seattle Public Library (7058 32nd Avenue S)
  • June 8, 4 – 7:30 p.m. at the Rainier Beach Community Center, Teen Room (8825 Rainier Ave S)
  • June 9, 4 – 7:30 p.m. at the Douglass-Truth Seattle Public Library (2300 E Yesler Way)

Schedule a 30-minute assistance session by emailing DON_Grants@seattle.gov. Attendance is not mandatory for funding consideration but highly encouraged.

The Summer Opportunity Fund is funded by the Seattle Human Services Department and administered by the Department of Neighborhoods.

For information, guidelines, and the application, please visit our website.

Mayor Murray Seeks New Members for Landmark Preservation Board

Before/After Supply Laundry Building SLU

Supply Laundry Building in SLU (designated as Seattle Landmark in September 2005)

Mayor Edward Murray is looking for four new members to serve on the Landmark Preservation Board in the following positions: Historian, Structural Engineer, Finance, and Real Estate.

The 12-member Landmark Preservation Board makes recommendations to the Seattle City Council for landmark designation and reviews all proposed physical alterations to designated features of landmark properties.

The Board is composed of two architects; two historians; one structural engineer; one representative each from the fields of urban planning, real estate, and finance; a Get Engaged member (a position for adults ages 18-29), and three members at-large. All appointments are made by the Mayor, subject to City Council confirmation.

Board meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 3:30 p.m. The Architect and Historian board members also serve on the Board’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC). In general, Board members must commit approximately 10 hours per month to Landmark Board business.

Interested applicants must be Seattle residents, and Board members serve without compensation. Those interested in being considered should send a letter of interest and resume by Friday, June 10. Electronic submissions are preferred, if possible.

Please email your letter and resume to: Erin.Doherty@seattle.gov
(reference the Landmarks Preservation Board in the subject line)

To submit a paper copy, please address: Erin Doherty, Landmark Preservation Board Coordinator, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649. For more information, contact Erin Doherty at (206) 684-0380.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, young persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.

Youth Voice, Youth Choice Vote Week is May 21-29

Youth Voice, Youth ChoiceDo you want a say in how to spend $700,000 of Seattle’s City budget? If you’re between the ages of 11 – 25 and live, work, or go to school in Seattle, YOU CAN!

Youth can cast votes for their favorite project ideas during our Youth Voice, Youth Choice Vote Week taking place May 21-29.

Youth Voice, Youth Choice is a new participatory budgeting initiative of the City of Seattle in which youth ages 11-25 democratically decide how to spend a portion of the City’s budget. After several months of collecting ideas from community members, and youth volunteers turning those ideas into proposals, we’re readying for the vote which will occur Saturday, May 21 through Sunday, May 29. Youth will cast votes for their favorite projects, ranging from park improvements to youth programs to arts funding.

Make a difference in your community! Cast your vote at an in-person polling site or vote online. The projects that receive the most votes will be funded by the City!

Visit our webpage the week before vote week to see the list of projects and get information on how and where to vote.

If you work with youth in the Seattle area, you can also host an in-person Polling Site of your own to make sure as many youth as possible have a chance to participate in this important vote. Polling Sites can be hosted at an existing meeting, in a community center, or a public place (like outside a transit center or other heavily trafficked area, as long as you have permission from the property owner). You just need to complete our Polling Site Registration Form.

GET OUT THE VOTE! If you’d like to post about Youth Voice, Youth Choice, use the hashtag #YouthVoiceSea.

 


The ABCs of HALA

On Tuesday, April 19, more than 200 people gathered at the Museum of History & Industry for Mayor Murray’s Livability Night Out to learn more about Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), a multi-pronged strategy for addressing the housing affordability crisis in Seattle.

Mayor Ed Murray and directors of city departments talked about housing affordability and what makes Seattle livable, including education, arts, transportation, civil rights, public spaces, and more. City directors outlined how their departments would contribute to the livability agenda.

Our own Kathy Nyland, director of the Department of Neighborhoods, wrote and presented a poem called The ABCs of HALA in honor of the event. We’ve had several requests for copies of the poem so we’ve included the text at the bottom of this article. And, thanks to our colleagues at The Seattle Channel, you can watch the full evening’s presentation in the video below (Kathy Nyland’s presentation beings at the 17:30 mark).

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about HALA or adding your voice to the conversation, attend one of the many Community Focus Groups. Everyone is welcome to attend, listen to conversation, and chime in with public input at appropriate times on the agenda.

Thank you to everyone who joined us on April 19th. It was an inspiring evening!

 

The ABCs of HALA by Kathy Nyland

This is my ode. And yes, it will rhyme.
But it will be quick and won’t take much time.

H is for HOUSING, the essential need
For all of us no matter color or creed.
It’s true, we must build much more
For all – especially the middle and poor.
We’re looking at much, such as heights and at zones
Conversations we’ll have, ALL with a civil tone.

Make it Affordable, many do say.
So in Seattle more people can stay.
Let’s put a roof over everyone’s head.
20,000 affordable units the Mayor has said.
Tech and the trades; new mixed with old
Onto Seattle’s character, we must hold.

Livability is the L. It’s often given a score
Access to schools, transit, parks and more.
It’s about the capital L, our quality of life
Walking to work and not commuting from Fife.
Live where you work. Work where you live
Live by yourself or perhaps with a relative.

Agenda is HALA’s second A
65 recs to guide our way.
To keep Seattle home it’s what we must do
We love it here, and other people do too.
Let’s not debate growth. Seattle is a city for all.
Let’s not close the door behind us or build a wall.

Please note, I am not here to preach.
DON’s role in this is public outreach.
Events will be planned and to meetings we’ll go.
Questions will be answered and information will flow.
We will listen to what you have to say
And incorporate your comments in a meaningful way.

Seattle is growing and it’s happening now.
We want to grow smart so let’s figure out how.
To create this bold housing policy without hesitation.
We’ll need to build more, reuse, and rely on preservation.
For green space needs how about more trees or a P Patch?
Or maybe you need a fund like our Neighborhood Match?

Department of Neighborhoods is here to assist.
We’re writing down questions and comments; we’re making a list.
We will keep you updated, informed and engaged
With traditional tools and some from the tech age.
Together, we’ll solve the housing crisis, you’ll see.
Because it’s the right thing to do; it’s about equity.

HALA

Seattle City Council Approves Designation For Two Historic Landmarks

Fire Station #5Seattle City Council recently approved landmark designation ordinances for two city of Seattle landmarks. Located in Downtown and South Lake Union, these buildings showcase the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Seattle.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Board approved the nomination, designation, and controls and incentives for each of these landmarks, and provided draft ordinances to the City Council. The final step to the process is approval by City Council.

The new landmarks are:

  • Fire Station No. 5 built in 1963 (address: 925 Alaskan Way). Designer: Robert Durham of Durham, Anderson & Freed
  • Pioneer Sand and Gravel Company Building built in 1927 (address: 901 Harrison St.). Designer: The Austin Company

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program is responsible for the designation and protection of more than 400 historic structures, sites, objects, and vessels, as well as seven historic districts located throughout the city. Visit our webpage for more information on the landmark designation process and to view other city landmarks.