Mayor Murray issues statement on latest SODO arena proposal

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after receiving a letter from the Chris Hansen-led investment group today:

“The City will review the letter sent by a group of stakeholders, including Chris Hansen, suggesting a revision to the previous SODO arena proposal. We share the goal of bringing the NBA and NHL to Seattle. The City will continue to consider all options to build a new, state of the art arena that will accomplish that goal and that can serve the city for years to come.”

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City encourages residents to prepare for weekend weather

With high-winds and rain predicted for Seattle and much of the Pacific Northwest this weekend, it is recommended that residents take extra precautions at home and when out. Residents should defer traveling during the storm, avoid and report downed power lines and trees, and be cautious near areas experiencing flooding.

Latest modeling shows a chance for heavy winds to arrive in the Seattle area as early as 5 PM on Saturday, October 15 and lasting throughout the evening. For the most current weather updates please visit the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office, Impact Briefing for Seattle. For up to date information impacting the City of Seattle please visit or

Storm Safety Information
• Please call 911 to report downed lines, do not touch or attempt to remove lines that have fallen during the storm.

• If you lose power at home, please call (206) 684-3000 to report the outage or call the Power Outage Hotline at (206) 684-7400 to hear a recorded message with power restoration updates.

• Because of the timing of tomorrow’s storm, there may be challenges with travel throughout the city tomorrow evening and Sunday morning.

• For individuals using life-sustaining and medical equipment, please contact and register with your utility company. For more information call (206) 684-3020.

• Remember to treat intersections that are impacted by power outages as four-way stops.

• Check the Metro and Sound Transit websites for any impacts to your transit routes.

• Maintain gutters, downspouts, rain barrels, private culverts by keeping them clean, flowing and directed away from properties and hillsides.

• Keep storm drains free of leaves and other debris to prevent streets from flooding. Be sure to stay out of the road when raking.

• All Seattle Parks and Recreation grass athletic fields, including West Seattle Stadium, will be closed through the weekend. Most importantly, please remember to safe and use extreme caution outdoors. Parks officials encourage residents to avoid Seattle parks entirely this weekend due to the high-winds.

• Seattle Parks has cancelled programs and activities in parks across the system. For the most up-to-date information please visit

• Generally, we want to remind you that if you do lose power, keep grills, camping stoves and generators outside. Fuel burning appliances are sources of carbon monoxide, a dangerous and poisonous gas.

• Have an emergency preparedness kit ready to help you get through until power is restored

• Storms can create a storm surge impacting high-tide. For information pertaining to tides visit NOAA.

• A temporary, emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness will be open at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion – near 2nd & Thomas, south of Key Arena. The co-ed adult shelter will open on Saturday and Sunday from 7 PM to 7AM. This shelter can accommodate 100 people.

• King County Shelter for adult males has expanded capacity to serve 50 additional men Friday through Tuesday, 10/14 – 10/18. The King County Shelter is located at the King County Administration Building at 500 4th Avenue in Seattle. The shelter opens at 7 PM.

• The City Hall Co-ed shelter at 600 4th Ave in Seattle will expand capacity Friday through Tuesday 10/14 – 10/18 with an emphasis on accommodating women seeking shelter. The shelter is open from 7PM to 6AM.

• Sign up and use AlertSeattle at for up-to-date information from the City of Seattle

• The City will have additional staff and crews available throughout the evening and weekend to respond to emergencies as they arise. The Seattle Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center will be activated throughout the weekend.

Additional preparedness information can be found at: Take Winter by Storm – or What to do to make it through –

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Mayor Murray launches ‘Resilient Seattle’ Initiative with 100 Resilient Cities


Today Mayor Ed Murray, joined by 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) and community leaders, launched a new effort to make Seattle more resilient to shocks—catastrophic events like earthquakes and floods—and stresses, slow-moving disasters such as inequity, homelessness, and climate change—which are increasingly part of 21st century life.

Seattle was selected to join the 100RC network earlier this year and joins cities such as London, New York, Bangkok, and Rio de Janeiro that have demonstrated a strong commitment to resilience planning in order to be better prepared when disruption hits.

image2“How we respond to the complex issues of climate change, affordable housing, and inequity will have profound implications for generations,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We must consider the impact of each of these things, particularly on communities of color, who are often disproportionately impacted. Seattle is prepared to work in partnership with 100RC and our community on innovative ways to lay the groundwork for Seattle to become the most resilient city in North America.”

Cities in the 100RC network have realized a host of benefits even over the relatively short lifespan of the program. These include improved bond ratings, additional federal investment, better collaboration with surrounding municipalities, more cost efficient plans to deal with disasters, and national recognition of their resilience work. The workshop will lay the groundwork for Seattle’s comprehensive Resilience Strategy and address challenges such as rapid population growth, transportation, economic and racial equity, and earthquake preparedness.

The ‘Resilient Seattle Workshop’ is Seattle’s first engagement in our partnership with 100RC. The workshop brings a diverse set of stakeholders from community-based organizations, the private sector, government, academia, and the arts community into the planning process. Workshop participants will explore the range of threats the city faces as well as opportunities to work together to become stronger. In the coming weeks, Seattle will name a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) – a new position that will lead the city’s resilience efforts and continue to engage stakeholders, resilience experts, and 100RC staff in drafting a comprehensive Resilience Strategy.

“Seattle is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience, and leading by example,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “The work from the agenda workshop will clarify the city’s needs, surface innovative thinking, and give us a blueprint for engaging partners from across sectors to bring Seattle the tools and resources needed to become more resilient.”

Seattle was selected as one of 37 members of the final cohort of what is now a 100-city global network, and will receive technical support and resources to develop and implement a Resilience Strategy. Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support:

  • Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts;
  • Technical support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy;
  • Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies; and
  • Membership in a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other.

Seattle’s resilience strategy will be a holistic, action-oriented plan to build partnerships and alliances, financing mechanisms, and will pay particular attention to advancing racial and social justice. The workshop begins the process of identifying priorities, actions, and metrics, and the plan will be drafted over the next 6-9 months.

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Mayor releases plan to guide growth, investments in U District

After five years of community engagement and more than 90 public meetings, the City of Seattle today released the plan for growth and coordinated public investments in the U District. As the neighborhood continues to change rapidly, today’s announcement will guide future density for affordability and livability.

“This is an exciting day for the U District as we roll out our shared vision for the future of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Over the last five years, hundreds of U District residents have contributed their opinions on how to build a more livable, walkable neighborhood as Sound Transit light rail comes to the community. And for the first time, all new development will contribute to affordable housing. Together we can shape a U District that reflects our values.”

With the Sound Transit’s U District Link light rail station opening in 2021, the City’s plan focuses future housing and employment density in areas with excellent access to the transit station.

The plan’s proposed zoning changes respond to community priorities for rigorous design standards that requires new public spaces, attractive buildings, and active street fronts. New incentives will encourage sidewalk improvements, space for social services, and childcare centers in private development. Other incentives will help preserve historic buildings and the pedestrian shopping district of the Ave.

“The University District has such a unique character – our students, faculty, and staff of the University bring a vibrant diversity to the community, and the neighborhood’s access to public transit, jobs, and local businesses make it an attractive place to live,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson. “But due to the pace at which Seattle is growing, we need to take bold and critical action to ensure that it remains an affordable place to live.

The proposed zoning changes here in the University District are the result of a four year process which has involved over 90 meetings and hundreds of participants. I want to thank everyone who, through their hard work and their feedback, has gotten us to this critical milestone today.”

As the neiaffordable-housingghborhood grows, Seattle’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) ordinances will require all developers of multifamily and commercial buildings to build or fund affordable homes.

The City estimates that the MHA requirements that come with greater development capacity will create hundreds of new affordable homes. Without the proposed zoning changes that trigger MHA requirements, Seattle’s existing incentive zoning programs are projected to yield only an estimated additional 20 income-restricted homes built by private developers.

“As an organization that provides housing for low-income people every day, Bellwether is very excited to see the passage of this important legislation,” said Susan Boyd of Bellwether Housing. “By implementing MHA, we can create high quality, affordable homes for more low-wage working families in neighborhoods like the University District – close to great schools, great public resources, and rich job centers.   Funds from the MHA’s predecessor, the Incentive Zoning Program, is what made our 133-unit Arbora Court project in the heart of the University District possible. MHA implementation in the U District will expand the capacity to create affordable housing like this in the U District and across the City.”

Through the existing Housing Levy and incentive zoning programs, the Office of Housing recently has funded 182 new affordable homes the U District, 49 of which have already opened.

The University of Washington has been engaged in the plan as an active partner in the future of U District. The City and University continue to discuss their shared interests in improving connections to the new Burke Museum and the rest of the campus, expanding faculty and employee housing, creating jobs, providing additional childcare and creating a new public plaza adjacent to the light rail station.

“UW is proud to be a partner with the City of Seattle and the U District community in making this Seattle’s best neighborhood,” said UW Vice President Randy Hodgins. “The UW has sat shoulder to shoulder with City staff and U District residents to review and shape the ideas that have informed Mayor Murray’s proposal. We believe it’s the way to ensure the growth that’s coming will produce the great, inclusive neighborhood our students, faculty and staff want.”

As the neighborhood grows, the City of Seattle has made, and will continue to make, significant investments in the U District:

  • New parks and open space to serve the neighborhood, including upgrades at University Playfield, the new University Heights Plaza, the Christie Park expansion, and the future park on the Portage Bay waterfront.
  • A network of new bike lanes on 11th Ave NE, Roosevelt Way NE, NE Campus Parkway and NE 40th
  • Expanded sidewalks on NE 43rd connecting the light rail station to the Ave and campus.

“University Heights partners with the City of Seattle to ensure that everybody has a place to play, learn and grow in the U District regardless of their age, ability or economic status,” said Maureen Ewing, Executive Director of University Heights Center. “With the support of the City, we have saved our historic building from demolition, increased open space in the U District and are currently expanding arts and cultural opportunities that are accessible to all.”

The City is also expanding social service and public safety partnerships to make the U District more welcoming and safe for families and students:

  • The University District Partnership’s Clean and Safe initiative helps address vacant properties, graffiti and trash, making the neighborhood safer and more pleasant.
  • The Mayor will seek to expand his Youth Employment Initiative with the local non-profit ROOTS to build a “shelter to employment” program for homeless youth.
  • The Seattle Police Department and University Police continue to deepen their collaboration to support neighborhood safety.

“The City has played a critical role in this neighborhood’s plans for renewal,” said Kristine Cunningham, Executive Director of ROOTS. “ Once divisions and short-term thinking hampered our capacity to affect real change.  Now we are supported to combine diverse views and tackle the social, economic, and housing issues in the U District.  It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve made real progress.

Mayor Murray will transmit U District legislation to City Council next week.



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Mayor issues action plan for Chinatown-International District

Mayor Ed Murray today issued his action plan to address persistent public safety and disorder challenges in the Chinatown-International District (C/ID). The action plan reflects the recommendations of Murray’s Chinatown-International District Public Safety Task Force, which was convened last year in the wake of the murder of long-time public safety advocate and community activist Donnie Chin.

“Thank you to the many community members who contributed their time to this public safety task force and for their commitment to the neighborhood. Donnie was one of the people who taught us that it requires more than police presence in a neighborhood to address public safety,” said Murray. “The neglect that the Chinatown-International District feels did not occur overnight, but I am committing our City to work with the community to address these issues so that we preserve this wonderful, vibrant, diverse and historic neighborhood.”

Murray’s plan includes four key elements identified for early action:


  • Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist – This one-year pilot creates a new civilian position at the Seattle Police Department that will be trained in national best practices around community policing and will be the City’s point to implement strategies to address the most acute criminal activities afflicting the neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood-Based Public Safety Coordinator – The Department of Neighborhoods will provide matching funds for a position based in the neighborhood to provide public safety coordination between City departments and the residents and organizations in the C/ID.
  • Public Safety Steering Committee – City employees and community members will identify key public safety projects to implement in the next 12-18 months, which will be measured and monitored for concrete outcomes.
  • Improved Police Communication and Responsiveness – The Seattle Police Department will increase positive police engagement and relationship-building within the community with additional and redeployed staff, improve 911 responsiveness and language capabilities, and ensure that police patrols maintain high visibility in the neighborhood.

“We have recently seen the benefits of better coordinated police efforts in South Seattle and in our downtown core,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “We are committed to a similar multidisciplinary strategy to address the important concerns of Chinatown-International District stakeholders.”

In recognition of the significant impacts of heavy litter on quality of life in the neighborhood and the strong correlation between heavy litter and public safety concerns, Murray announced that the City will launch a new intensive litter clean-up program. The program will be piloted in two neighborhoods, the Chinatown-International District and Ballard. Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will increase litter pick-up with bi-weekly clean-up crews, install more trash bins on the street and increase community engagement to speed response to illegal dumping.

Additionally, Murray has instructed the Office of Planning & Community Development (OPCD) and Department of Neighborhoods (DON) to work closely with the new Public Safety Steering Committee to guide the development and planning of infrastructure investments, as well as monitoring related issues that need immediate coordination.

“Chinatown-International District is a unique cultural environment that faces distinct public safety and infrastructure challenges,” said Maiko Winkler-Chin of the Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority. “For decades, our neighborhood has felt that it has not had the same access to City resources and services as other neighborhoods. Community members, especially recent immigrants and our seniors, often feel disconnected. These task force recommendations and the mayor’s action plan are intended to build new bridges while making our neighborhood safer and even more vibrant.”

“The City must be held accountable to the Public Safety Task Force recommendations by keeping our community inviting, safe and a competitive place to do business, to live, and to work,” said Tam Nguyen, owner of the Tamarind Tree restaurant. “We need the City to support a healthy neighborhood by targeting crime inducers, ensuring safe environments for all law-abiding residents, and improving communication and coordination with the C/ID.”

“Small businesses are the road to prosperity for many residents of Chinatown-International District,” said Ali Lee of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. “Creating safe and welcoming streets is critical if these small businesses are to continue to attract customers from the neighborhood, elsewhere in the Seattle and across the region. Our goal is to create a neighborhood where everyone feels comfortable walking, shopping and dining at all times of day.”

Donnie Chin was born and grew up in Seattle’s Chinatown and committed his life to the neighborhood. In 1968, he founded the International District Emergency Center (IDEC) to help respond to the needs of the immigrant, elderly, low-income families in the neighborhood.

Through IDEC, Donnie was always the first on the scene in the neighborhood responding to emergencies. He also provided CPR and public safety training to the residents and businesses in the neighborhood. Over the years, Donnie and IDEC became an invaluable partner to Seattle’s law enforcement and first responder communities, and he came to embody the “heart and soul” of the C/ID.

Last December, Murray convened the Chinatown-International District Public Safety Task Force of neighborhood leaders, City staff and the Seattle Police Department to identify strategies to improve neighborhood public safety and city infrastructure investment. Over the course of the last six months, the Task Force developed a detailed series of recommendations to address public safety and livability in the Chinatown-International District. The mayor’s action plan prioritizes the first steps that address the most urgent needs. Additional actions will be developed in conjunction with the C/ID community through the Public Safety Steering Committee.

According to the InterIm Community Development Association, more than three-fourths of C/ID residents are people of color and more than half speak a language other than English at home. Six out of ten neighborhood residents are of Asian descent, and at least one in four are seniors.


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Mayor returns from trade mission to China and Japan

Trade mission to China & Japan

Mayor Ed Murray participated in a trade and cultural mission to China and Japan this month. The mission was part of an ongoing effort to encourage more foreign direct investment in Seattle, expand economic opportunities for local companies, and establish international partnerships. Murray joined the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Washington State China Relations Council, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, the Port of Seattle, the University of Washington, and other local business on this trade mission to promote Seattle as a global hub for trade and innovation.

Seattle has deep cultural connections to China and Japan, and is home to thriving Chinese and Japanese communities. This trade and cultural mission reaffirms Seattle’s commitment to expanding economic opportunity and continuing cultural and educational exchanges between our countries.

Highlights from China:

  • Seattle and the City of Hangzhou signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support the promotion of technology and innovation, e-commerce, trade, economic development and life sciences. At this ceremony, Amazon China also signed an MOU with Hangzhou that will promote new opportunities for Seattle-based e-commerce companies in China.
  • Mayor Murray announced the signing of an MOU to support biomedical research and the establishment of a joint institute between the University of Washington School of Medicine and Shenzhen-based BGI, one of the world’s largest genomics organizations.
  • Mayor Murray joined Xiamen Airlines in announcing new non-stop service from Shenzhen to Seattle starting in September 2016. This new service is the result of work by the City and Port of Seattle to increase travel between the two economic hubs.
  • China’s largest residential property developer, China Vanke, announced that it will invest in a residential tower in Seattle’s downtown. This is the company’s first investment in Washington state.

Highlights from Japan

  • Mayor Murray spoke to more than 200 Japanese business leaders to promote investment and trade in Seattle at an event hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.
  • Mayor Murray committed to stronger business partnerships with Keidanren, Japan’s largest and most influential economic organization, and the Japan Association of Travel Agents.
  • Mayor Murray joined Starbucks Japan CEO Jun Sekine and Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto to announce the opening of a flagship Starbucks store in Kobe’s Meriken Park. The new flagship store commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Kobe-Seattle Sister City relationship and the 50th anniversary of the Kobe-Seattle Sister Port relationship.
  • Mayor Murray visited Kobe’s Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution to discuss emergency preparedness and earthquake-grade building codes.
  • Mayor Murray and the First Gentleman met with Ms. Kanako Otsuji, Japan’s first and only openly gay member of the House of Councilors of the National Diet, and Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe, who led the passage of “partnership certificates” as a means to recognize same-sex marriage, to discuss LGBTQ rights and issues.

Photos from Mayor Murray’s trip available here.

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Mayor Murray announces agreement with Shenzhen to advance biomedical research

Mayor Ed Murray announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Seattle and the City of Shenzhen, China, to support biomedical research and the establishment of a joint institute between the University of Washington School of Medicine and Shenzhen-based BGI, one of the world’s largest genomics organizations.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) commits both cities to greater cooperation on issues of medical research and health care. UW and BGI signed a separate MOU in Shenzhen agreeing to collaborate on development of the joint institute.

“This agreement between the Cities of Seattle and Shenzhen will encourage and support meaningful cooperation between two global leaders of innovation in medical research and technology,” Murray said. “Ultimately, it will create new opportunities for our biotech and health care industries, and help advance pioneering medical technology that will benefit patients, doctors and communities around the globe.”

“We at the UW are looking forward to working alongside BGI in charting the future of genomics research, especially in accelerating the application of new sequencing technologies to human health,” said Dr. Jay Shendure, an M.D./Ph.D scientist and professor of genome sciences at the UW, and a national advisor on precision medicine initiatives.

The joint institute is part of BGI’s goal of developing an innovation center in Seattle. The City of Seattle looks forward to working with BGI on the process to develop this significant addition to the city’s innovation economy.

Shenzhen, a coastal city of over 10 million people, is considered the high-tech and life sciences hub of China. “With a sound foundation in the fields of biotech and health technology, a host of well-positioned industries have taken shape in Shenzhen, including gene medicine, polypeptide medicine, anti-tumor medicine, medical imaging equipment and life information monitoring,” according to the MOU.

The MOU was signed during the third day of a Murray-led trade delegation to three cities in China, which includes Hong Kong and Hangzhou. The mission is part of an ongoing effort to encourage more foreign direct investment in Seattle, expand economic opportunities for local companies, and establish international partnerships.

“We are thrilled to be part of this historic moment between Seattle and Shenzhen,” said Kristi Heim, president of the Washington State China Relations Council. “Deepening the partnerships between our two cities will support economic growth, scientific advancement and long-term collaboration in public health and environmental protection.”

The agreement builds on two earlier MOUs signed in 2015 between Seattle and Shenzhen pledging cooperation issues such as low carbon urban development, electric vehicles, information technology, life sciences, and people-to-people exchanges. Murray also hosted visits by Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin and former Deputy Mayor Tang Jie.

The trade delegation includes: Murray, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the Washington State China Relations Council, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Vulcan, and the University of Washington.  They met with government officials and business representatives in Hong Kong and Shenzhen before Murray is joining a separate group of e-commerce companies on a trip organized by the Washington State China Relations Council to the City of Hangzhou.

For most of its history, Seattle has had deep cultural connections to China. Throughout the trip, Murray will seek to deepen those ties as he meets with local officials and business representatives.

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Mayor Murray releases 20-year growth plan for Seattle


Mayor Ed Murray today transmitted his proposal to update Seattle’s 20-year Comprehensive Plan to the Seattle City Council. Seattle 2035 focuses on equitable growth as Seattle expects gain 120,000 residents, 115,000 jobs, and 70,000 housing units over the next two decades.

“Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and while this growth provides a booming economy, we must continue to focus that development in livable, walkable neighborhoods with the amenities that help people thrive,” said Murray. “With this comprehensive plan, we will build a more equitable future for all residents with better access to the affordable homes, jobs, transit, and parks that make Seattle vibrant.”

Development of Seattle 2035 has been ongoing since 2013. The final proposal was informed by thousands of comments, 57 public presentations and 2,600 people participating in public meetings.

Seattle 2035 includes goals and policies, including those that:

  • Guide more future growth to areas within a 10-minute walk of frequent transit
  • Continue the Plan’s vision for mixed-use Urban Villages and Urban Centers
  • Monitor future growth in greater detail, including data about racial disparities
  • Increase the supply and diversity of affordable housing consistent with the Mayor’s Housing Affordabibility and Livability Agenda (HALA)
  • Update how we measure the performance of the city’s transportation and parks systems
  • Integrate the City’s planning for parks, preschool, transit, housing, transportation, City facilities and services

Seattle 2035 incorporates principles of the City’s Equitable Development initiative and new policies in almost every element of the plan specifically identify ways in which the City can reduce the risk of displacement for marginalized populations and improve their access to opportunities.

The policies in the plan governing industrial lands remain relatively stable. The mayor has begun a series of conversations with industrial and maritime stakeholders to develop new supports for their industries while balancing other pressures on land use in the City.

The plan and related legislation will be introduced to the Seattle City Council’s Planning Land Use and Zoning committee, chaired by Councilmember Rob Johnson, later this month.

Seattle 2035 represents years of work by so many here at the City and also reflects the feedback of thousands of Seattle residents,” said Councilmember Johnson. “The City of Seattle has always used the Comprehensive Plan to set ambitious goals related to sustainability, and I am so glad to hear that this update reflects a similar degree of ambition to combat Seattle’s equity and affordability crisis. I look forward to seeing the final plan and bringing it before my fellow Councilmembers.”

Seattle is required by Washington State’s Growth Management Act to periodically update its Comprehensive Plan. The last major update of the plan was in 2004. Seattle 2035 is consistent with State and County growth policies.

In 1994, Seattle’s first Comprehensive Plan was approved. The 1994 Comprehensive Plan was based around an Urban Village strategy. The Urban Village strategy designated certain neighborhoods as Urban Centers or Urban Villages and encouraged the development of new housing, jobs, and transit options within these areas. Over the past 20 years, about 75 percent of new housing and jobs have located in Urban Villages or Urban Centers, consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

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City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools deepen engagement, improve access to arts education

creative advantage

The City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools today announced the year two progress of their joint Creative Advantage arts education initiative. Arts integration and 21st Century Skill-development deepened in the Central Arts Pathway, and the South-Southwest Arts Pathway developed a long-term arts vision and plan for schools in the region.

The Creative Advantage is a unique public-private partnership between the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), Seattle Public Schools (SPS), The Seattle Foundation, and community arts partners. It is reinvesting in Seattle’s students and our community’s economic and creative future by intentionally and collaboratively addressing inequities in access to the arts and restoring arts education to all Seattle classrooms.

“We must invest in our students, and arts education is integral to their ability to problem solve, collaborate, think outside of the box and persevere,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We are approaching our education system holistically from pre-K through 12th grade, utilizing the city’s rich cultural organizations to help empower our youth and close the opportunity gap in the arts.”

“We know students learn best when their education engages their heads, their hearts and their minds,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools superintendent. “The Creative Advantage is a shining example of the district, the City and the community collaborating to give all students access to a well-rounded education.”

Arts are recognized as a core academic subject by the State of Washington and are included in the current Seattle Public Schools Strategic Plan. In alignment with these state and district policies, the goal of the Creative Advantage is to address the systemic barriers to student access to arts and ensure that every student has arts integrated into their education, starting in kindergarten. The long term goal is that all Seattle students will have access to a continuum of arts learning opportunities.

In March 2013, The Creative Advantage began implementation in the Central Arts Pathway, all schools that feed into and out of Washington Middle School. In 2014-15, The Creative Advantage began planning in the South-Southwest pathway, all schools that feed into and out of Denny International Middle School.

Highlights from the Creative Advantage Year Two Evaluation report include:

  • Developed a regional arts plan for South-Southwest Pathway schools.
  • Created a professional development series and annual institute for teaching artist and teachers with arts partner Seattle Art Museum.
  • In 2015-16, all K-5 students have access to music instruction in the Central Arts Pathway.
  • Increased the number of arts instructional minutes at the elementary level in the Central Arts Pathway by 200 percent from 2013 to 2015.
  • 26 residencies at 12 schools increasing student learning from teaching artists and arts organizations.
  • 34 percent increase from 2014 in student demonstration of 21st Century Learning Skills in Central Arts Pathway classrooms.
  • Increased partnerships with community organizations leading to culturally-responsive teaching and learning in Central Arts Pathway schools.

SPS and ARTS will continue to deepen integrated arts learning and close the access gap in the two Creative Advantage Arts Pathways, which includes 23 schools.

There is a Creative Advantage Advisory Group comprised of school staff, program leaders and community members to hold the program accountable and provide feedback. The City has prioritized this program through new staff capacity and an investment of $1.5 million in the program to date.

The School District has invested $1.75 million in increased staffing, supplies and professional development, while there has been increased capacity through fundraising from grants, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Laird Norton Family Foundation and the Clowes Fund, foundations and individuals to date.

To read the full report, click here:

The Creative Advantage can be found online at, at and on twitter @SeattleArtsEd.

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Mayor Murray introduces first phase of ‘Shared Vision for Lake City’

Mayor Ed Murray has unveiled the first proposal of the Shared Vision for Lake City. The measure calls for expanded pedestrian access, rezones within the Lake City hub urban village and along Lake City Way, and more flexible uses of commercial space.

“By working directly with community groups and advocates, we are creating a stronger and more walkable Lake City business district,” said Murray. “This proposal builds on Lake City’s main street character, by expanding the neighborhood center through better walking connections and more commercial opportunities. As Seattle grows, it is important that we work together to create a compelling vision for the future that reflects the needs of our neighborhoods.”

It has been estimated that Seattle will add 120,000 residents and 115,000 jobs in the next 20 years. As housing development has grown in Seattle’s Urban Villages and Urban Centers, investments in neighborhood amenities have not always kept pace.

“This innovative initiative reflects Lake City’s ongoing commitment to economic vitality and commercial vibrancy,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez, who represents the Lake City community. “Lake City will become more modern and pedestrian-friendly, enhancing our unique sense of community and livability.”

In February of this year, Mayor Murray announced that Lake City would be the first neighborhood to work with the new Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) on an integrated approach involving all City departments and expanded community input.  Today’s announcement marks the first implementation of the Shared Vision for Lake City that will help create more pedestrian oriented-neighborhood as property develops.

These rezones, which do not include height increases, would:

  • Change Commercial 1 zoning to Neighborhood Commercial 3 zoning within the hub urban village and along Lake City Way between NE 97th Street and NE 143rd
  • Change multifamily residential zoning to neighborhood commercial zoning along NE 125th
  • Expand the existing pedestrian designation approximately three blocks to the west and one block to the north, requiring active street-level uses.
  • Allow more flexibility for ground floor uses outside of the business core.
  • Create new development standards that will control building bulk on large lots.

These proposals are the result of a collaborative process between City departments and Lake City Future First, which is comprised of several community groups, service providers, business and property owners. Input about the desired character of Lake City was received from numerous community groups and at a variety of community meetings over the past three years.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with the City to address the issues of all the people who live and work in Lake City,” said Chris Leverson, Executive Director of Lake City Future First. “We hope that the proposed Lake City development standards will help create a more pedestrian-oriented neighborhood over time.”

Upcoming priorities to be addressed in the Shared Vision for Lake City will include community input for creating a more vibrant business district, providing new workforce housing, additional senior services, a new pre-school, installing new sidewalks with natural drainage systems, and increased programming for young people through Seattle Parks and Recreation. Additionally, City staff will coordinate with Lake City Future First and the broader community to prioritize sidewalk locations that provide safe routes to school.

More information about the proposed zoning changes is available here.  For further questions, please contact Katie Sheehy, planner at the Office of Planning and Community Development: or (206) 684-5345.

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