City of Seattle announces awards to seven Duwamish River neighborhood projects

River City SkatePark in South Park (Photo courtesy of Friends of River City SkatePark)

The City of Seattle announced grants for seven community projects serving neighborhoods along the Duwamish River. As part of the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund, these projects will help to increase the sustainability of the neighborhoods impacted by the Superfund clean-up. The projects will begin this year and will continue into 2021.

“Building livable and sustainable communities is the foundation of an inclusive, just, and equitable city,” said Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “Today’s awardees are true partners in that effort. From environmental justice to digital equity to culturally relevant programming, these investments will help the city to build a healthier and more vibrant future for our Duwamish Valley neighborhoods, and the entire city.”

The Duwamish is the City of Seattle’s only river, but that is not the only thing that makes it special. Seattle’s Indigenous communities use the Duwamish as a resource and for cultural purposes. Salmon and trout use it as a migration corridor, and a large number of fish and wildlife species use the estuary for rearing. The Duwamish is also a working waterway that supports many of Seattle’s shipping and industrial businesses.

Decades of industry near the Duwamish have left significant contamination in the mud and along the river’s banks. In 2001, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed a 5.5 mile stretch of the Duwamish River as a Superfund cleanup site. Since then, the City of Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle and the Boeing Company have invested over $100 Million in early cleanup actions to reduce contamination by 50 percent, while also working to eliminate ongoing sources of contamination.

Since 2014, the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund has granted more than $1.5 million to community projects focused on quality-of-life enhancements in the neighborhoods of South Park, Georgetown, and SODO. The fund is one component of a broader City effort to improve the quality of life and restore the health of Duwamish River communities.

“For over 15 years, we’ve been pouring our hearts into creating this free and public skatepark. Thanks to the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund, we’ll finally be able to take the next critical step of actualizing the South Park Neighborhood’s vision for a youth and community-friendly space. This funding is not only about financial assistance, but also a boost of needed energy.”

– Kim Schwarzkopf, Friends of River City SkatePark

2020 Duwamish River Opportunity Fund Awards

  • $36,450 to Concord International Elementary School PTA to partner with Villa Comunitaria to provide a Digital Literacy Program for Concord parents. This program will enable parents to understand what is expected of their children, allowing for much more rigorous support at home in collaboration with teachers/online curriculum.
  • $40,000 to South Park Neighborhood Center Tenant Partnership (SPNC) to establish and formalize the Tenant Partnership as an entity, improve SPNC Building conditions, and engage the community and stakeholders in a visioning of the SPNC Building.
  • $40,000 to Friends of River City Skatepark to create a free skateboard program for 26 Concord students, construct a flat section for beginning skaters, and engage the neighborhood in utilizing the park site as a gathering and community building space.
  • $40,000 to Villa Comunitaria to increase the productivity of the Salsa De La Vida Community Farm by organically improving the soil, building trellises, and installing a hoop house to prolong the growing season.
  • $39,985 to Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition to establish regular two-way communication with the community and create organizational improvements that further the work of the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition.
  • $14,557 to Duwamish Valley Youth Corps to support the Stormwater Messaging project, which will engage local youth in an artistic education campaign to beautify the community and support source control, preventing recontamination of the Duwamish River.
  • $38,000 to Amigos de Seattle to create an online community radio station that will connect local organizations to their communities.

To learn more about the fund, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/duwamish-river-opportunity-fund. For questions, call (206) 233-0093 or email drof@seattle.gov.