Mayor Murray Signs 2017-2018 Budget: Exciting Changes for Department of Neighborhoods

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods:

knyland-headshot1Yesterday Mayor Murray signed the 2017-18 City Budget that was adopted November 21, 2016 by Seattle City Council. The budget includes several additions and changes to the work of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON), and I’m pleased to share them with you.

The department’s work has become much more important in the last year; and we see this work continuing and expanding as more issues come our way. We know everyone has a voice, and it is our job to hear them. The Mayor reminded us about the need for DON and the City Council has confirmed it.

When Mayor Murray issued the Executive Order in July mandating the City to approach outreach and engagement in a more equitable manner, it set the stage for this department to lead the City’s outreach and engagement practices. And through the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, he introduced legislation that outlined a new citywide framework for community engagement and redefined the role of DON in this work. This new legislation, Resolution 31718 and Council Bill 118834, does the following:

  • Advances a citywide approach to outreach and engagement that prioritizes equity and recognizes barriers to participation.
  • Demonstrates the City’s commitment to implementing equitable and inclusive community involvement strategies across all City Departments.
  • Directs City departments to develop well designed, responsive, and culturally relevant public involvement plans.
  • Creates a Community Involvement Commission to advise on City plans, policies, strategies, and community grant funding processes and make recommendations that advance equitable public engagement and civic participation.
  • Redefines the purpose of DON and the functions of the Director.


It is now up to DON to lead this work.
Going forward, you can depend on us to:

  • Focus on more access and more opportunity. We will broaden our reach and work with many groups knowing that no one speaks for all.
  • Implement a broad range of new initiatives and tools to encourage greater and more diverse participation. Read our workplan to learn more.
  • Work with city departments to ensure their outreach and engagement work is equitable and transparent through consultation and collaboration.

 

How are we going to do this? Here are DON’s budget highlights that will support this work:

POSITIONS

  • Two staff members to continue their work in outreach and engagement oversight and city-wide coordination.
  • Two positions to focus on improving the City’s outreach and engagement to neighborhoods during impactful construction projects.
  • Two positions to provide additional capacity to the POEL (Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison) program with a focus on low-income transit options.
  • One position to broaden the participatory budgeting approach to new audiences.
  • One position to analyze the outcomes of DON’s programs and identify strategies and opportunities for improvements.
  • One part-time position dedicated to Historic Preservation process improvements.
  • One position dedicated to administer grants and contracts.
  • One Accounting Technician position to serve the Department of Education and Early Learning.


FUNDING

  • Funds to develop resources and tools to support all community organizations. These would include workshops, online trainings, and a one-stop shop for resources.
  • Funds to develop a fellowship program to support community-based organizations that provide leadership development opportunities and capacity-building.
  • Funds to develop and implement community satisfaction surveys to gain residents’ opinions on city services and priorities for improvement.
  • Funds to support outreach efforts for the Housing Affordability Livability Agenda, including funds to review the city’s historic preservation program review process.

 

 

Several of you had questions about our Neighborhood District Coordinators. We continue working with them and their labor representatives to evolve their job descriptions to meet our new goals. Please know that there will be staff designated to assist community groups, both community-based and geography-based.

The DON staff is excited to implement this work. It gives us and the City an opportunity to rethink and reimagine how we interact with one another. Over the coming months, you will be introduced to the many tools, processes, and initiatives that DON will be leading, supporting, and implementing. Make sure to visit our Engage Seattle webpage to learn more.

Outreach and engagement is the core of what we do. Equity, transparency and “meeting people where they are” are our guiding principles. Our work is about fostering community partnerships, cultivating emerging leadership, and facilitating community inclusiveness. We are a department known for many programs; but we are about people, first and foremost. We are thankful that this adopted budget supports the good work we do and our mission of “strengthening Seattle by engaging all communities.”

Mayor Murray Presents Proposed 2017-18 Budget – Director Nyland Discusses the Changes to Department of Neighborhoods

Kathy NylandThis afternoon, Mayor Murray presented his Proposed 2017-2018 Budget to the Seattle City Council. A section of this budget will focus on a new direction for Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON).

As you know, the Mayor issued an Executive Order in July that mandated the City of Seattle to approach outreach and engagement in a more equitable manner. It directed this department to lead and work with all City departments on their outreach and engagement practices that reaffirm the City’s commitment to inclusive participation.

This direction is reflected in our mission – to strengthen Seattle by engaging all communities. We do this every day by fostering community partnerships, cultivating emerging leadership, and facilitating community inclusiveness.

In the Mayor’s Proposed 2017-2018 Budget, you will find legislation that addresses these outreach and engagement principles and outlines a new citywide framework for community engagement. This will be the roadmap as we continue to develop a suite of tools with broader access points.

Below are the highlights to DON’s budget that reflect this work:

  • Two staff members will continue their work in outreach and engagement oversight and city-wide coordination.
  • Two positions will focus on improving the City’s outreach and engagement to neighborhoods during impactful construction projects.
  • Two positions will provide additional capacity to the POEL (Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison) program with a focus on low-income transit options.
  • One position will broaden the participatory budgeting approach to new audiences.

Additional capacity and investments:

  • One part-time position will be dedicated to Historic Preservation process improvements.
  • One Accounting Technician position will serve the Department of Education and Early Learning.
  • One position will be dedicated to Grants and Contracts.
  • $185,000 dedicated to outreach efforts for the Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda, including funds to review the city’s historic preservation program review process.

 

These are just some of the highlights reflected within the Proposed 2017-2018 Budget. Over the next two months, Seattle City Council will be reviewing and deliberating the proposed budget. To learn more about how you can provide your input, visit seattle.gov/council/.

We have an incredible opportunity before us to rethink and reimagine how we interact with one another. It’s not just about how the City talks with communities, but it’s about how communities can talk with and learn from one another. In the coming week, you can learn more about the legislation, the timeline, and the expected deliverables at our website.

Outreach and engagement is the core of what we do. Equity, transparency and “meeting people where they are” are our guiding principles. We hope you’ll join us as we continue to transform the way our City reaches out, listens to, and works with communities.

 

Sincerely,
Kathy Nyland, Director

 

Seattle Wants to Make Participation Easier: Tell Us How

Engage SeattleThe City of Seattle is shifting our approach to outreach and engagement. We need your ideas on how the City can keep you better informed about City projects, events, opportunities, and issues. Tell us how you want to participate, and what we can do to make it easier:

  • Use our online conversation tool where you can weigh in alongside your neighbors and share ideas. Here’s how to use it:
    • Click on the site.
    • Go to Log In (upper right-hand corner) where you’ll be asked to create a simple account.
    • View each question, click on a statement, and drag the slider to show your opinion and add a comment.
  • Take our two-minute survey. It’s fast and easy.
  • Provide feedback via social media using #EngageSeattle or find us on Twitter (@SeaNeighborhood) or Facebook (SeattleNeighborhoods).
  • Email us at NewDON@seattle.gov.
  • Find us at community events and festivals in August and September to talk with us in-person. A list of events is on our website.

Help bring more voices to the table. Let’s make our outreach and engagement work for everyone!

New Community Engagement Plan will Bring More Diverse Neighborhood Voices Before the City

Mayor Ed Murray has signed an executive order to bring greater equity to the City’s outdated system for promoting public engagement among residents of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

“Our city has changed dramatically since our District Councils system was created three decades ago, and we have seen them over time become less and less representative not only of their neighborhoods but of Seattle itself,” said Murray. “For immigrants and refugees, low-income residents, communities of color, renters, single parents, youth, people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ, and more, the system today has become a barrier for many to become involved in the City’s decision-making process. Now is the time to recreate our outreach and engagement process to become more accessible and inclusive, and to account for the ways that people communicate and connect in the 21st century.”

The District Council system, established in 1987, includes thirteen area-based councils whose membership includes local residents representing their neighborhood’s community council, business associations, and nonprofit organizations. In 2009, the City Auditor issued a strongly-worded report advocating for a reset of the District Council system, due in part to the low-level of diverse representation on the district councils.

In 2013, a demographic snapshot of District Council attendees showed that they tend to be 40 years of age or older, Caucasian, with the vast majority owning their homes. At least six District Councils had no reported people of color attending, and only three District Councils reported any African American attendees.

Murray’s executive order directs City departments to begin developing robust community engagement plans, and takes steps toward dissolving the City’s ties to each of the thirteen district councils. The district councils may still exist, but Department of Neighborhoods’ resources that previously supported the district councils will be redirected to support all City departments in these efforts. Throughout the month of August, the Department of Neighborhoods will conduct civic engagement focus groups. By September 26, the department will also draft legislation for a new citywide community engagement framework and strategic plan, including a new Seattle Community Involvement Commission to be established by January 2017. The Department of Neighborhoods and Seattle IT are also directed to submit a digital engagement plan by March 1, 2017 to broaden public accessibility.

“How we reach out to residents to bring them into the governing process reflects the City’s fundamental commitment to equity and to democracy,” said Murray. “We’re constantly looking to bring down barriers, to open up more opportunities, and to reflect the face of our diverse and growing city. I know that community members have committed untold hours serving on the district councils over the years: this change is about distributing opportunity for community input, not taking it away.”

To learn more about the Mayor’s executive order, go to our Advancing Equitable Outreach and Engagement webpage.

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.

Meet Our New Staff Member – Frank Nam

Frank NamSeattle Department of Neighborhoods welcomes Frank Nam, our new Neighborhood District Coordinator Supervisor. Frank comes to us from City Year, Inc. as the Managing Director of National Admissions where he led a five-person team responsible for admitting 3,500 AmeriCorps volunteers at 28 sites across the country. Before that he served as the Regional Admissions Director for the West Coast and found great success in grooming future leaders in the organization. In a previous life, he was a foster youth mentorship coordinator, recruitment director, web developer, an SAT/GRE instructor, and even a paper boy.

When he was 3, Frank’s family immigrated from Seoul, South Korea to the New York City area where he spent most of his youth. He’s been in Seattle since 1996 and resides in Othello.

“My experiences growing up as an immigrant and as a person of color have greatly shaped my career choices and working for Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is a remarkable way to expand services for families similar to mine, “said Frank. “I am excited to learn more about local government and how my role and the role of Neighborhood District Coordinators can help expand the lives of all community members here in Seattle.”

In his spare time Frank serves as the head coach for the boys’ Ultimate (Frisbee) team at Franklin High School, volunteers at The Service Board, coaches a nationally-ranked women’s club team, and serves on the curriculum committee with Leadership Tomorrow. He has served on the boards of 826 Seattle and Seattle Works and is a co-founder of the non-profit organization, Southend Ultimate Program.

 

 

SATURDAY: Murray to lead Delridge Neighborhood ‘Find It, Fix It’ Walk

find it fix it logoOn Saturday, Mayor Ed Murray will lead a Find It, Fix It Community Walk in Delridge with neighbors to identify physical changes in the neighborhood that improve maintenance and support public safety. Examples of issues to address include overgrown trees, graffiti, street light outages, and litter. Once the elements are identified, the City and community work together to fix the problems.

The first three Find It, Fix It walks of 2015 have resulted in infrastructure improvements ranging from new trash and recycle bins to neighborhood murals and upgraded street lighting. Go to murray.seattle.gov/finditfixit for more information.

MAP of full walk route.

DOWNLOAD the Find It, Fix It smartphone app.

WHO:            Mayor Ed Murray

Council President Tim Burgess

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Members of Delridge community

Area business owners

Represenatives from the Seattle Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Neighborhoods, Department of Transporation, Public Utilties, and others.

WHAT:         Find It, Fix It Community Walk with neighbors to identify and fix nuisance and safety issues in the Delridge neighborhood

 

WHEN:        Saturday, October 3

11A.M. to 1P.M.

WHERE:     Walk will begin at at Louisa Boren STEM K-8

5950 Delridge Way SW 98106

See attached MAP for full walk route.

 

 

Deadline Approaches for Matching Funds to Support your Neighborhood Project

Othello+Intl+music+nwlrSeptember 2 workshop for interested applicants
Application deadline is October 5

If your group needs funds to do a neighborhood project, our Neighborhood Matching Fund may be able to help. However, you’ll need to be quick because the application deadline for the Small and Simple Projects Fund is Monday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m. This fund provides awards of up to $25,000 to for community-building projects that are matched by community contributions.

To learn about the Small and Simple Projects Fund, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/smallandsimple.htm. This is the last opportunity in 2015 to apply to this fund.

The final workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at University Heights Community Center (Room 209), 5031 University Way NE. The workshop provides an overview of the Neighborhood Matching Fund, the qualities of a good project, and the application process and requirements. To RSVP, go online at surveymonkey.com/r/ZHM36BJ or call  206-233-0093. The workshop is open to all.

Our Neighborhood Matching Fund staff is available to advise groups on ways to develop successful applications and projects. You are strongly encouraged to call 206.233.0093 or email NMFund@seattle.gov to discuss your project idea with one of our project managers.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) Program awards matching funds for projects initiated, planned, and implemented by community members. Its goal is to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods through community involvement and engagement. Every award is matched by a neighborhood’s contribution of volunteer labor, donated materials, in-kind professional services, or cash.

Mayor Murray seeks two new members for Landmarks Preservation Board

Judge Ronald HouseMayor Edward Murray is looking for two new members to serve on the Landmarks Preservation Board in the At-Large position and the Architect position.

The 12-member Landmarks 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 real estate and finance, one member from the City Planning Commission, 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 serves on the Board’s Architectural Review Committee (ARC). In general, Board members must commit approximately 10 hours per month to Landmarks 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 May 15, 2015. 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, Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, P.O. 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.

 

11th Anniversary of 206 Zulu: Celebration of Hip Hop Culture Happens this Weekend

A community event funded in part by our Neighborhood Matching Fund

Meeting of the Minds eventHip Hop legends and enthusiasts from around the country will gather in the Pacific Northwest, as 206 Zulu, Seattle’s Hip Hop and community non-profit organization, celebrates its 11th anniversary February 6-8, with an explosive three days of music, art, and dance.

The festivities kick-off Friday, February 6, with an appearance from acclaimed DJ, producer, rapper, and lecturer, 9th Wonder, credited with introducing the now common trend of producing unofficial remixes of entire albums; as well as music provided by some of 206 Zulu’s premier DJs, including Tecumseh, Gumbeaux & Cues; as well as performances from Romaro Franceswa, Jus Moni, and Dex Amora.

Saturday, February 7, will commence with the Meeting of the Minds event, a community forum featuring local organizers, community advocates, industry minds, and special guest and keynote speaker: 9th Wonder. Following the Meeting of the Minds will be the Zulu Throwdown Battle, spotlighting some of the region’s best b-boys and b-girls in heated 1 vs. 1 battles, as well as 1 vs. 1 all-styles battles, competing for cash prizes totaling $1000.

Ceremonies will conclude Sunday with the Community Green Dinner where Hip Hop meets environmental activism, presented by Pursuit of a Green Planet.