Kirke Park recognized for its sustainable landscape

Kirke Park was recently named a two-star certified site by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) program, making it one of only 34 projects to be certified nationwide.

SITES was started through the United States Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the American Society of Landscape Architects. The program encourages healthy ecosystems and has developed a comprehensive rating system for sustainable landscapes.

Mayor Murray applauds passage of Parks District measure

Mayor Murray today issued the following statement in response to the apparent passage of the Seattle Parks District measure by Seattle voters:

“I want to thank Seattle voters for their support of the parks district and commitment to creating a lasting legacy of open space and facilities for generations of Seattleites.

This vote means a sustainable source of funding for our parks system. We will begin work immediately to address our existing maintenance backlog, working diligently to manage the needs of our park system as Seattle continues to grow as a city.”

City of Seattle to partner with community on the future of Delridge

The City of Seattle is beginning a collaboration to produce a shared vision and action plan to continue improving the health and equity of the Delridge community.

Delridge is a unique area of West Seattle and home to a rich heritage, diverse communities and organizations. Over the years, the people of Delridge have worked with the City to create neighborhood assets such as Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail, Cottage Grove Park and affordable housing options. These and many other additions to the neighborhood are the result of community activism and the neighborhood plan completed in 1999.

Pianos in the Parks campaign launched July 17

Shenandoah Davis performs with Sean Nelson in Othello Park

Local musician Shenandoah Davis performs with Sean Nelson in Othello Park

On July 17, Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, Laird Norton Wealth Management, and local arts and business organizations collaborated to launch Pianos in the Parks. The Pianos in the Parks campaign placed 20 decorated pianos in Seattle parks, King County parks, Seattle Center and City Hall Plaza hoping to encourage residents to explore green and open spaces and to share and enjoy each others’ art.

“We are delighted to host the pianos at 13 city parks, Seattle Center and City Hall plaza,” Mayor Murray said. “Pianos in the Parks will enliven our parks and engage communities through the power of art and music.”

The first piano was unveiled Thursday, July 17 at an event in Othello Park. Other Seattle Parks locations for the pianos include Cal Anderson Park, Denny Park, Hing Hay Park, Ballard Commons Park, Green Lake Park, Alki Beach Park, Maple Leaf Reservoir Park, Pier 62/63, Sam Smith Park, Rainier Beach Plaza, Volunteer Park and Westlake Park.

“We are thrilled to host this positive and innovative way to bring more people into our parks and to listen to music for all to enjoy,” said Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Other partners include Seattle Symphony, KEXP, Gage Academy of Art, City of Music and Classic Pianos.

The pianos were procured and donated by Classic Pianos and will be available in the parks until Aug. 17. Members of the public are invited to play the pianos and can upload videos of their park performances to the Pianos in the Parks Facebook page for a chance to play at KEXP’s and Seattle Center’s “Concerts at the Mural” on Friday, Aug. 22. The Facebook entries that receive the highest number of “likes” will be judged by a community panel and a winner will be selected.

At the end of the campaign, the pianos will be sold to the highest bidder in an online auction on www.pianosintheparks.com. Proceeds from the pianos sales will benefit Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, Seattle Symphony, KEXP and Gage Academy of Art.

For more information about Pianos in the Parks scheduled activities, participating parks/open spaces and full contest information, please visit: www.pianosintheparks.com. To tag contest entries, pictures and experiences, use the hashtag #PianosintheParks and send your photos to @seattleparks on Twitter.

Mayor Murray renames City Hall to ‘Kitty Hall’ for the day to highlight Animal Shelter foster program

Mayor Murray renamed City Hall to Kitty Hall today to highlights the Seattle Animal Shelter’s foster care program and to promote shelter cat adoptions. The shelter currently has more than 200 cats and kittens available for adoption, both at the shelter and in foster homes. The kittens that took Kitty Hall by storm today are all currently under the care of foster parents.

The Seattle Animal Shelter, located at 2061 15th Ave. W., is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. for adoptions and licensing. Animals available for adoption can be viewed online at www.seattleanimalshelter.org. The animal shelter’s next Adopt A Cat event will be held this Saturday, July 19 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association at 6532 Phinney Ave N.

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The kittens requested plenty of treats and paw sanitizer in their contract.

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“Oh hi. I’m Cat Mayor now.”

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“I hereby proclaim that you put me down.” (photo courtesy Kitty Council staffer Dan Nolte)

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“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

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Council staffer Dan Nolte and Mayor’s office press secretary Megan Coppersmith get some “real work” done while draped in cats.

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KOMO-TV comes to all the right assignments.

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The Mayor thanks Animal Shelter volunteers for their daily dedication to the welfare of our shelter animals.

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Mayor Murray and Councilmember Sally Clark get on the cats’ level.

Mayor Murray hires Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Director

Cuc Vu

Mayor Murray today announced Cuc Vu as his choice to lead the City’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA).

Coc Vu“I hope to establish Seattle as a leader in immigrant and refugee integration and create an environment that welcomes the participation and engagement of immigrants and refugees in all areas Seattle,” said Murray. “Cuc is the perfect choice to lead the office, as her experience on immigrant and refugee issues is bolstered by her passion for equity and equality, working for two decades on some of the most important civil rights issues of our time, including the rights of workers, women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

“I am honored and truly excited to join Mayor Murray and his team at City Hall, the most diverse cabinet I have ever seen in City government. I share the Mayor’s vision for immigrant and refugee integration in Seattle and commit to achieving real progress and equity for Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities,” said Vu.

In her new role as Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Vu brings her life experience as a refugee who knows the stigma of food stamps and the prestige of an Ivy League school, as well as 12 years of experience working on immigrant and refugee affairs as an advocate, issue organizer and non-profit founder and executive.

Vu most recently served as the first Chief Diversity Officer for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) where she provided the vision and strategy to help the organization fulfill its stated commitment to diversity and inclusion. She has also worked at SEIU, AFL-CIO and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I am excited with the announcement of Cuc Vu as Director of the Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. She is an outstanding leader who will be a passionate and effective advocate,” said Eliseo Medina, labor union activist and leader, and advocate for immigration reform in the United States. “Thank you, Mayor Murray for your leadership and support.”

“I am delighted that Cuc Vu will be the next director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. I have known and worked with Cuc for over a decade, on the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, immigration reform and naturalization and voting for immigrants,” said Pramila Jayapal, OIRA director search committee member. “Cuc brings a wealth of leadership, strategy and policy skills that will serve the office well as it seeks to build a strong and innovative portfolio of programs to better serve Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities. It’s great to welcome her back to Seattle.”

“I want to extend my profound appreciation to Aaliyah Gupta for her work over the past six months, leading the office and developing a five-point plan that will guide Seattle’s work to strengthen immigrant and refugee communities,” said Murray.

Vu started on July 15 and will make $125,000 annually. This position requires confirmation by the Seattle City Council.

Seattle is home to refugees and immigrants from more than 112 countries. Over a third of Seattle residents are persons of color, and 19 percent are foreign born. Washington State is the eighth largest refugee resettlement state in the country.

The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs facilitates the successful integration of immigrants and refugees into Seattle’s civic, economic, and cultural life; celebrates diverse cultures of immigrants and refugees and their contributions to Seattle; advocates on behalf of immigrants and refugees and promote a citywide culture that understands and values the benefits that all members of our society receive when immigrants and refugee communities are successfully integrated into our civic, economic and cultural life. For more information, visit http://www.seattle.gov/office-of-immigrant-and-refugee-affairs.

West Seattle: Let’s talk! Encouraging productive civic engagement

The City of Seattle will host an event to provide information on current programs and proposals related to a growing city. This is an opportunity for discussion.

West Seattle: Let’s talk
Saturday, June 28 from 9:30-11:30 am
West Seattle Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon Street)

The event will feature open house-style information to allow dialogue and education around major policy efforts in Seattle. Neighbors can speak with City staff from the Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle’s Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning and Development. We are exploring a proactive and conversational model of community engagement to hear directly from the community and share ideas. This is the first of several discussions we’ll have throughout Seattle.

Log House Museum unveils restored Admiral Totem Pole

Totem unveiling

Today, in what was called by some a “life-affirming event,” the Mayor, several dignitaries, Duwamish Tribe representatives, and hundreds of elementary students from West Seattle unveiled the former Admiral Way totem pole at its new home outside of the Log House Museum. More information about the totem pole’s history is available on the Southwest Seattle Historical Society website.

Totem pole unveiling