Restaurant Success Initiative makes it easier to open a restaurant in Seattle


Restaurant SuccessGovernor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Mayor Ed Murray joined the Washington Restaurant Association and restaurant entrepreneurs today in Capitol Hill to announce the launch of Restaurant Success, a new initiative to provide better service and support for prospective restaurateurs.

“I’m excited about this effort because opening a restaurant is a common entry point into the economic mainstream for communities of color, and our business assistance support will be working to reach a broad spectrum of business owners,” said Murray. “We also expect to use this initiative’s approach to shape how we break down silos within government and make it simpler for businesses in Seattle to start and grow. We’re committed to helping businesses succeed here.”

Washington restaurants employ more than 222,900 people statewide with more than 85,905 jobs in King and Snohomish counties. The majority of restaurateurs employ fewer than 20 people. State, county, and city leaders launched Restaurant Success saying that supporting a thriving restaurant industry will provide needed job and career opportunities and make our cities better places to live.

“Restaurant Success is an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory environment for startups and existing businesses across the state,” said Gov. Inslee. “Our partnership with Seattle, King County, and the restaurant industry has made it easier for prospective local restaurateurs to navigate the permitting and licensing requirements so they can do what they do best: cook delicious food and create jobs. This is an effort we’ll soon be taking to Spokane and Spokane Valley so those cities can streamline their regulatory processes and attract new restaurants.”

Restaurant Success is a public-private partnership between the state of Washington, city of Seattle, King County and the Washington Restaurant Association. The initiative was developed in collaboration with more than 17 agencies and organizations, and includes:

  • A comprehensive, one-stop online guide with city, county, and state permitting and licensing information, and tools to help restaurateurs easily navigate the process.
  • Dedicated customer service and technical assistance in the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development led by a new Restaurant Advocate, Jennifer Tam.
  • Ongoing regulatory reform and process improvements across city, county, and state agencies that interact with restaurant entrepreneurs.

Restaurants have tight margins, and are often among the first to feel the impact of shifts in the economy. More than 50% of restaurants close or change hands every five years. This is also an industry where there are a higher number of immigrant and minority entrepreneurs.

The Restaurant Advocate’s role is to provide direct business support and navigational help to restaurant entrepreneurs as they start and operate restaurants in Seattle. In addition to conducting outreach to businesses, specifically ethnic business owners, the Restaurant Advocate will work with partners to improve policies or programs across the public-private partnership.

Restaurant Success is located at

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Mayor Murray, Executive Constantine convene Firearm Violence Prevention Leadership Summit

Firearm Violence Prevention Summit

Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine today convened a leadership summit of 75 public health and safety experts to share data on injuries and death related to firearm use, and to develop data-driven strategies and actions that can prevent future firearm-related violence.

“Local jurisdictions must lead the way,” said Murray. “We’ve convened today’s summit to tackle firearm violence with the same data-driven decision-making we use to address other major challenges.”

“Gun violence is a public safety crisis, but it is also a public health crisis,” said Executive Constantine. “We can approach it as a preventable public health problem – and attack it through the kind of proven public health strategies that have reduced deaths from smoking, from auto accidents, and from sudden infant death syndrome. Today we are taking local action to confront this national epidemic.”

The long-planned Firearm Violence Prevention Leadership Summit stems from a February 2013 directive from Executive Constantine to Public Health – Seattle & King County, calling for development of innovative, data-driven local strategies for preventing gun violence in King County. In the time since the signing of that Executive Order, 255 firearm deaths have occurred in King County: 180 by suicide, 78 by homicide, and two by unintended means. The public health and safety experts at the summit include representatives from Public Health, law enforcement, the University of Washington, prosecutors, public defenders, hospitals, suicide prevention, and others.

Today’s meeting brings together agency leaders to create a common understanding of existing data on firearm violence in King County, so they can commit to data-driven strategies and actions. Among the data points presented at today’s summit:

  • More than 125 people each year die in King County as a result of firearm use, meaning more people in King County are killed by gun violence than by car crashes.
  • An estimated 26,500 households in King County store at least one firearm that is unlocked and loaded.
  • Fourteen percent of high school students in King County say it would be easy for them to get a handgun if they wanted.
  • From 1999 to 2012, 68 children were lost to gun violence in King County – two-thirds were murdered, and one-third died by their own hand because they could get hold of a firearm.

More related data can be found on Public Health’s website. Follow-up information will be  released Thursday with details on strategies and actions recommended at the end of the day by summit participants.


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Murray appoints new leader of Seattle Waterfront program

Mayor Murray thanked Office of the Waterfront Director Jared Smith for his leadership on the waterfront redesign after Smith officially tendered his resignation today.

“Jared has done great work this year to improve coordination within city government and with our many partners on the Seattle waterfront redesign,” said Murray.  “I am especially grateful for his work to update our strategy to reconnect downtown to the waterfront while managing shifting timelines. He leaves the program with a much more strong vision and realistic budget.”

The Office of the Waterfront works with the City’s transportation, planning and parks departments, as well as City utilities and other agencies to coordinate the many components of the major redevelopment project. The office works closely with the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Port of Seattle, waterfront businesses, other community and government organizations, and the public on City’s waterfront redesign.

Smith played a leading role to develop the proposed 2015-2016 budget for the City of Seattle Waterfront Program. The smaller program budget reflects the realities of the revised schedule due to delay in the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel.

Smith intends to do some traveling and spend time with family before exploring options for the next chapter in his professional career.

Today, the Mayor appointed Marshall Foster as the Office of the Waterfront’s new Director. Marshall served as Seattle’s Planning Director for four years prior to joining the Mayor’s new Office of the Waterfront as Manager of Design, Planning and Public Engagement. He has been a key leader on the waterfront effort since 2009, and has extensive experience leading complex urban projects. He will oversee a team of engineers, landscape architects and project managers.

Murray cited Foster’s expertise in public engagement and urban planning as a key ingredient to the success of the project.

“This waterfront is an asset for the entire city,” said Foster. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to reinvest in this place where our city started. We will provide the roads and other infrastructure needed along Alaskan Way, as well as create new park space accessible to all. I’m honored to work with the many City departments, agency partners, and community leaders as we implement improvements over the next six years.”

Foster will assume his new responsibilities effective Dec.1st.

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Happy National Food Day!

Tiny Tots Development Center

Mayor Murray visits the Tiny Tots Development Center in Rainier Beach on National Food Day.
View more photos from the visit on Flickr »

October 24 is National Food Day, a day that inspires Americans to take action solving food-related problems in our communities and celebrate organizations and policies that make this work possible year-round.

Mayor Murray recognized the day this morning by visiting Tiny Tots Development Center, an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program that benefits from the Farm to Table food access program as a result of a City of Seattle partnership with King County. Tiny Tots has worked with Seattle Tilth to develop a robust organic nutrition program for preschool age children in Rainier Beach, including developing an onsite edible forest of their own. Tiny Tots’ program directors report that even the adults who operate the program have changed their eating habits as a result of the partnership.

Farm to Table brings fresh local produce to programs serving children and older adults and has been nationally recognized by the CDC as a ‘Health Champion’ in 2012 and received the 2014 Sustainability Leadership Award for Resource Impact from Sustainable Seattle. Farm to Table is just one investment the City of Seattle makes in food-related programs that benefit the community.

The City’s five-year Food Action Plan, adopted in 2012, provides a framework for operating in the regional food system by laying out a recommended set of strategies to get more healthy food to more Seattle residents, expand opportunities to grow food in the City, and strengthen our regional food economy.

Learn more about the investments the City of Seattle makes in food-related programs:


Farm to TableFarm to Table is a partnership effort to bring fresh local produce to programs serving children and older adults in Seattle and King County. By making healthy food more affordable and easier to access, the goal is to increase the health and well being of our community’s most vulnerable populations by:

  • Identifying purchasing options to meet program needs and budgets
  • Building skills and knowledge through community kitchen trainings, farm tours and other educational opportunities
  • Helping communities develop low-cost shared purchasing models

The partnership is currently funded by the City of Seattle and by Children’s Hospital through a Community Transformation Grant, both of which have enabled project partners to leverage other resources and opportunities.


P-Patch Community GardensThe P-Patch Community Gardening Program is made up of 89 community managed gardens in Seattle neighborhoods and benefits from tremendous community support. On average, over 6,800 gardeners volunteer 42,000 hours annually. Gardeners, individually and collectively, use these gardens to grow organic food, flowers, fruits, and herbs. The gardens are open to the public to enjoy.

One core value of the program is to support low-income and underrepresented populations. One example is the Market Garden Program: Low-income and immigrant families living in South Park and Seattle Housing Authority properties can garden and sell their produce to local residents. In 2013, 13 gardeners representing seven cultures collaborated to provide produce for a variety of venues. Financial assistance is also available for those who can’t afford plot fees. In addition, our P-Patch gardeners donate quite a bit to food banks and feeding programs. Last year, more than 28,600 pounds of organic produce was donated.


FreshBucks_LogoThe goal of the Fresh Bucks program is to support consumption of more fruits and vegetables by low-income recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by increasing their buying power at local farmers markets. Additionally, Fresh Bucks affects a neighborhood’s social environment by encouraging low-income customers and SNAP participants to shop at local farmers’ markets. EBT shoppers who receive Basic Food assistance can double their money – up to $10 per market per day – using the program.

When you spend $10 with your EBT card at a Seattle farmers market or farm stand, you get $10 in Fresh Bucks to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and edible plant starts. Fresh Bucks is available at all Seattle farmers markets.


CityFruitCity Fruit promotes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish, build community and protect the climate. The City of Seattle, through the Parks Department and Department of Human Services, supports this innovative program by supporting the stewarding of fruit trees in Seattle parks, the harvesting of fruit from residential properties, and the donation of urban fruit to the emergency food system.

In 2013, City Fruit brought in 10,017 pounds of unused fruit from residential properties in South Seattle/Beacon Hill, West Seattle and the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhoods. Most of it was donated to food banks and meals programs. A portion was sold to restaurants and others.

What skills can you share? Whether it’s harvesting, pruning, office skills, people skills, party planning, food preserving, or something else, let City Fruit know:


sfsp_web_largeThe Summer Food Service Program is operated by the Department of Human Services and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The program was established in 1968 to respond to growing research that correlated a child’s nutrition with academic success and concerns about the lack of nutrition resources for children during the summer months.

The City of Seattle has operated this program in Seattle since the early 1970s. The program provides no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18.


The Child Care Nutrition Program is another USDA-funded program sponsored by the Seattle Human Services Department. In existence for more than 35 years, the program provides over $1 million to help licensed home-based child care providers plan for and provide nourishing meals to more than 3,000 children, infants to age 13, in approximately 200 child care homes in the greater Seattle area.

The program contributes to the cost of food and links home providers with a nutritionist to assist with menu planning and special dietary needs of children in their child care.


Neighborhood Matching FundsThe Neighborhood Matching Fund program was created in 1988 to provide neighborhood groups with City resources for community-driven projects that enhance and strengthen their own neighborhoods. All projects are initiated, planned and implemented by community members in partnership with the City. Every award is matched by neighborhoods’ or communities’ resources of volunteer labor, donated materials, donated professional services or cash.

The program has helped to fund such activities as community kitchen programs and capital projects such as the outdoor kitchen at Danny Woo Garden.


Families & Education LevyThe City’s primary role in the education of Seattle school children revolves around the Families and Education Levy. Using revenue from a voter-approved supplemental property tax, the Levy funds a variety of support services to improve the academic achievement of struggling students.

Via this levy, the City invests in the following programs that provide food as part of their program:

  • Step Ahead preschools
  • Summer Learning programs – Elementary, Middle School, and High School
  • Elementary Innovation programs
  • Middle School Innovation/Linkage programs
  • High School Innovation program
  • Family Support program – SPS
  • Community-Based Family Support program
  • School-Based Health Clinics (health programs provide some training on nutrition.  In some of those, such as cooking classes, food is provided)
  • The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI)


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Candidates Sought for Housing Levy Oversight Committee

Levy-logo-verticalMayor Murray is seeking three candidates for the Housing Levy Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee is responsible for monitoring implementation of the 2009 Seattle Housing Levy and reporting to the Mayor and City Council on the progress of Levy programs. The Oversight Committee makes recommendations to the Mayor and Council regarding policies that govern the use of Levy funds, but does not participate in fund allocation.

In 2009, Seattle voters passed a seven-year, $145 million Housing Levy. Seattle Housing Levyprograms create and preserve affordable rental housing for families, individuals and youth who are homeless; seniors and people with disabilities; and low-wage working families and individuals. Levy programs also assist first-time homebuyers and provide emergency rent assistance to prevent homelessness. Since 1981, Seattle voters have approved one bond and four levies to create and preserve affordable housing. There are now over 11,000 City-funded apartments for lower-income Seattle residents, and over 800 home buyers purchased their first home with affordable City-funded loans.

The Housing Levy Oversight Committee is made up of eleven community representatives, a City employee appointed by the Mayor, and a City employee appointed by the City Council. The Mayor appoints five community representatives, who are then confirmed by the Council. No more than five Oversight Committee members can be affiliated with an organization that receives or competes for Levy funding. Oversight Committee meetings are held quarterly. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed. Commissioners serve three-year terms.

To be considered, please send a resume and letter of interest to Kelly Gonzalez at the Seattle Office of Housing: The application period opens Monday, October 20, 2014 and remains open until Monday, November 10, 2014.

For more information on the Seattle Housing Levy, visit

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Unsheltered homelessness task force seeks immediate solutions

Mayor Murray today announced the members of his Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness. Murray has tasked the group, chaired by Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, with making recommendations by Dec. 15 to help the growing number of people who are living on the streets to find shelter during the coming winter.

“We remain very concerned about vulnerable people who don’t have a warm bed to sleep in at night,” said Kim. “We must review all the options for increasing the number of available beds before winter weather sets in. Exposure to the elements can be deadly, especially for those struggling with chronic health issues.”

The emergency task force’s membership reflects diverse perspectives from those who serve and advocate for homeless people, provide program funding, represent diverse communities of faith, neighborhoods, and businesses, as well as individuals who themselves have experienced homelessness.

Seattle makes an annual investment of around $9 million for 2,390 shelter beds, but the homeless population in Seattle continues to outpace space available in shelters.

During last January’s count of unsheltered homeless people, Seattle’s One Night Count, more than 2,300 individuals were found sleeping in cars or on the streets. Since 2010, the unsheltered homeless population in Seattle has increased by 30 percent.

The mayor has charged the group with advancing the conversation on how the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions in the region can work together, alongside private non-profit organizations and communities of faith, to reduce homelessness and serve the needs of homeless families and individuals.

The emergency task force will also review the City’s current policy on authorized homeless encampments. The review will include where encampments are located, how new sites for legal encampments are identified and how neighborhoods are consulted.

The emergency task force will hold its first meeting on Oct. 23rd in a private work session. Public meetings will be held Nov. 6 and Nov. 18 (locations to be announced later), followed by a private work session on Dec. 8.

Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness
Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim, Chair
Lamar Campbell, Mockingbird Society Youth Network
Mary Ann DeVry, West Seattle Interfaith Network
Dee Dunbar, Friends of Lewis Park
Alison Eisinger, Seattle/King County Coalition On Homelessness
Anitra Freeman, SHARE/WHEEL
Kathy Gerard, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare
Bill Hallerman, Catholic Community Services
Tim Harris, Real Change
Rex Hohlbein, Facing Homelessness
Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute
Louise Little, University District Partnership
Nicole Macri, Downtown Emergency Services Center
Pastor Robert Manaway, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
Vince Matulionis, United Way
Katy Miller, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
Melanie Neufeld, Seattle Mennonite Church
Quynh Pham, Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority
Mark Putnam, Committee to End Homelessness
Michael Ramos, Greater Church Council
Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
Leslie Smith, Pioneer Square Alliance
Trai Williams, Mockingbird Society Youth Network
Member of the Board of Parks Commissioners to be named later

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Seattle Fire Chief to retire after 44 years with the department

Chief-Gregory-DeanMayor Murray announced today that Chief Gregory M. Dean intends to retire from the Seattle Fire Department after a distinguished 44-year career with the Seattle Fire Department.

“Chief Dean demonstrated the highest commitment to public service over a distinguished career here at the City,” said Murray. “We salute his devotion to the department and to his firefighters. I wish him the best in the future, even as I know I will miss his steady leadership and wise counsel.”

Chief Dean told the mayor in the early days of the new administration that he was looking forward to retirement. The mayor asked him to stay on at least another year.

Last week, Mayor Murray again asked Chief Dean to postpone his departure, but this time the chief told the mayor it was time to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

“I consider it an honor and privilege to have served as the Fire Chief for the Seattle Fire Department,” said Dean. “I leave with confidence that the department is in good hands with outstanding leadership and vision at all levels of the organization.”

Chief Dean will continue to serve in his position until the end of the year. The mayor is immediately launching a search process to hire a new chief.

Dean entered the Department in 1970 as a trainee firefighter and rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Department in 2004. He served in several senior leadership positions in the department, including Fire Marshal, Assistant Chief of Administration, Deputy Chief of Personnel, and Deputy Chief of Support Services.

Under his leadership, the 1,150 member department has maintained its international reputation for emergency medicine and firefighting operations. He is known throughout the region for his vision and commitment to partnerships with other fire departments and public safety organizations.

During his tenure as Fire Chief, Dean directed the implementation of the Fire Facilities Levy that resulted in the construction and renovation of 32 fire stations, a new Joint Training Facility and new fireboats.

During the congressional review of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Dean testified before the United States House of Representatives about how the department integrated female and LGBT firefighters into the fire culture.

He also worked with the Port of Seattle to establish the cruise ship homeport by developing a permit process that allowed safe refueling of cruise ships on the Central Waterfront.

Dean’s career spans landmark fires and events that dramatically altered the course of the Seattle Fire Department. In the early 1970’s, the fatal Ozark Hotel and Seventh Avenue Apartments fires resulted in updated fire and building codes around the nation. Seattle firefighters began serving as paramedics that same decade, saving countless lives in years since. The 1995 Pang warehouse fire killed four Seattle Firefighters, the worst firefighter fatality incident in the department’s history. The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and the 2010 Fremont fire that killed four children and a young woman captured the nation’s attention.

In the New Year, Dean will be spending more time with family, traveling and improving his golf handicap.

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Mayor Ed Murray responds to tort claim

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today issued the following statement in response to the claim for damages filed by former press secretary Rosalind Brazel:

Discrimination of any stripe runs counter to my personal and public values, and neither race nor gender played a role in my decision to seek different skills and experience at the press secretary position during the first one-hundred days of my administration.

The most meaningful accomplishment of my career as an elected official was enacting employment non-discrimination protections for members of the LGBT community as a member of the state Legislature.

Upon being elected mayor, it was an early priority of mine to bring more people of diverse backgrounds into the administration of the City, both as City department leaders and as staff in the Mayor’s Office.

My first act as mayor was to engage City department heads and Mayor’s Office staff in a discussion of race and social justice at the Pacific Science Center’s Race exhibit.

Every major address I have given during my tenure as mayor has included a statement of my commitment to equity across this city – from my inaugural address, to my State of the City address, to my speech on public safety, to my budget address.

I have recommitted this City, via executive order, to the Race and Social Justice Initiative. I have created a new department to drive better outcomes for students of color in our public schools. I have committed this City to gender equity in pay.

And I have said on a number of occasions that race and social justice is – and will remain for many years – the central issue of our time, requiring our sustained commitment to continue making the kind of progress that I believe is truly possible. This is a core commitment of mine, both as a mayor and as a human being.

The first days of my administration were chaotic and pressure-filled, as my Office worked to bring significant change to City government while immediately addressing a number of major issues facing our community. In many ways, all of us were learning by doing, and there is no doubt that we all made mistakes – myself included.

Ms. Rosalind Brazel was recruited to the press secretary role as a former journalist. And while she brought years of experience to the role, the job of press secretary is unique among communications jobs – as any former press secretary can attest. It requires a rare combination of skills that, in many ways, can only be tested through the process of performing the role itself. There are countless examples of great reporters who have both succeeded and struggled when asked to serve as a press secretary.

Ms. Brazel is a talented communications professional and a hard worker who, at this point in her career, was not well-matched to the demands of the press secretary role, particularly for a brand new administration working to find its feet. This is neither a criticism of Ms. Brazel as a professional nor a commentary on her skills as a communicator.

While I take very seriously the charge of discrimination made by Ms. Brazel, I stand by my decision to make a change at the press secretary position during those early days as one of many changes necessary to bring greater structure and stability to the daily operations inside the Mayor’s Office.

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Mayor Murray signs resolution honoring indigenous peoples

Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October "Indigenous Peoples' Day" in Seattle.

Mayor Murray signs the Indigenous Peoples’ Resolution. More photos are available on our Flickr page.

Mayor Murray today signed a resolution that honors indigenous peoples by declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in Seattle.

“Seattle sits on the homelands of many tribal nations,” Murray said at a ceremony surrounded by tribal leaders and City councilmembers. “We have many ongoing works with our neighbor tribes, and we welcome the tens of thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives who have come to call this city home. Today’s commemoration is intended to spark a productive conversation about the contributions of indigenous peoples, and, most importantly, their continued involvement in the cultural fabric of our community and the entire country.”

“I believe that what makes Seattle so special, so unique, is that we are bold enough to admit the shortcomings of our history in order to achieve the realization of our dreams,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “This has been an educational opportunity for our city and across the country. I believe that in honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we are honoring the best in ourselves. We are being open-minded, we are listening to each other and we are celebrating the triumphs and values of every oppressed group. We are celebrating that human spirit that says, ‘We matter and we shall be treated fairly.'”

“By passing this resolution, the City has demonstrated to the original inhabitants of this territory that the City values their history, culture, and welfare, as well as their contributions to local economy as attorneys, fishermen, doctors, construction workers, and entrepreneurs,” said David Bean, a Puyallup Tribal councilmember.

Murray underscored the importance of mutual understanding and respect between all people of the city.

“Today is not intended to take anything away from any other community or group in Seattle,” he said. “We are not removing any other designation or holiday in Seattle. We respect and honor all our city’s cultural traditions, community groups and history, including Italian-Americans.”

At today’s ceremony, the mayor also noted that Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe has been appointed to serve on the Central Waterfront Steering Committee.

“We welcome Chairman Forsman to that committee and look forward to our continuing work with tribal peoples on the historic waterfront,” said Murray.

The committee and waterfront design teams will work extensively with tribes to help ensure that the tribal roots of the place and the continued tribal presence in the area are reflected in the design of the new waterfront, Murray said. Murray also announced a new public art project on the waterfront that will recognize and reflect the Coast Salish tribes’ historic connection to the region.

In addition, Murray announced the appointment of Claudia Kauffman, former state senator and current intergovernmental liaison for the Muckleshoot Tribe, to serve as board chair of the Seattle Indian Services Commission.

“Claudia will help revitalize and rebuild the Seattle Indian Services Commission to ensure that our urban Indian residents are well served and represented,” said Murray.

Video from the resolution signing

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Mayor Murray hosts inaugural ride of Seattle’s new Pronto bike share program

Pronto Cycle Share

Mayor Murray today hosted the inaugural ride of Seattle’s first ever bike share program, Pronto Cycle Share. The ride, which started on the new 2nd Avenue protected bike lane at University St. and ended at Occidental Park, included representatives from King County and the City of Seattle, as well as sponsors of the program: Alaska Airlines, Seattle Children’s, Group Health, REI, Vulcan and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“This is an important day for the city of Seattle as we introduce new, progressive transportation options for residents and visitors alike,” said Mayor Murray. “I am proud that the city could help make this milestone a reality. We look forward to expanding the program to additional Seattle neighborhoods next year.”

The bike sharing system is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and brings an initial 500 bikes and 50 stations to neighborhoods across Seattle. Beginning today, users can rent one of Pronto’s seven-speed commuter bikes from solar-powered docking stations located in the University District, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Belltown, Downtown, Pioneer Square, the International District, Capitol Hill and First Hill. Pronto is the first bike share program in the nation to launch with a helmet distribution system to promote rider safety and to ensure users can easily comply with Seattle’s helmet laws.

You can view more photos from today’s event on our Flickr page and you can learn more about Pronto Cycle Share at

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