20 years later: How are urban villages performing?

15217953753_a3969ec15e_zOn Wednesday, January 28, former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck will present the results and achievements of the Urban Village strategy, which was first adopted into the Seattle Comprehensive Plan in 1994. Part of the Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Project (SSNAP), Steinbrueck will share what he believes has worked and how we can continue to monitor how well the Comprehensive Plan is working to manage growth in the city.

It’s been 20 years since the City adopted the 1994 Comprehensive Plan. The Plan’s hallmark, the “urban village strategy,” aimed to guide growth and City investment to designated urban centers and villages. The Seattle Sustainable Neighborhoods Assessment Project (SSNAP) is a study that measures results and achievements of the urban village strategy. Hear about the findings and conclusions that will inform Seattle 2035, the process to update the plan for the 120,000 more people and 115,000 more jobs expected over the next 20 years.

Measuring the Success of Seattle’s Urban Village Strategy

When: Wednesday, January 28
Where: City Hall, Bertha Knight Landes Room, 600 4th Ave. (Enter on 5th Ave.)
Time: 5:30 p.m. (Open House), 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Program)
RSVP here

Celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service


Following the annual Garfield High School Martin Luther King, Jr. rally, Mayor Murray, Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas, and Mayor’s office staffers participated in the National Day of Service. The Mayor’s office joined the Nature Consortium, students from the University of Washington, and current Miss Seattle Taryn Smith to plant native trees and spread mulch to help restore the West Duwamish greenbelt.

You can find ways to participate in today’s National Day of Service and beyond by visiting http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday2015.

More photos from today’s event:

City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools announce successes in collaboration to close access gap in arts education

ca-logo-800pxThe City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools today announced the first year results of their Creative Advantage arts education initiative. The program succeeded in closing the access gap in arts education for students in the initial roll out area of the Central District. For 2015, the program will expand to include ten more schools in the district.

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

Arts are considered a core academic subject by the state of Washington and are included in the current SPS 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 by 2020, all Seattle students will have access to a continuum of arts learning opportunities.

“We must invest in our students’ ability to problem solve, collaborate, think outside of the box and persevere,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “These are exactly the kinds of skills that are developed through arts education. Our partnership is helping to close the opportunity gap in the arts.”

“We know students learn best when their education engages their heads, their hearts and their hands,” 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.”

In March 2013, the Creative Advantage began implementation in the Central Arts Pathway, all schools that feed into and out of Washington Middle School.

Highlights from the Creative Advantage Year One Evaluation report include:

  • In 2013-14, the minutes of arts instruction in the Central Arts Pathway elementary schools increased from 2012-13 levels, and now reflects similar levels to the rest of SPS.
  • Similarly, students meeting standard in the arts significantly improved in Central Arts Pathway elementary schools.
  • During 2013-14, 1,659 elementary students attended music classes that would not have been available without the Creative Advantage roll-out.
  • Among stakeholders, there is a sense that arts learning has become a priority, not only for the district, but for the city and the community at large.
  • Stakeholders report that there is a conversation occurring around issues of social justice as a benefit of the arts initiative
  • Building on this year’s success, next year, every K-5 student in the Central Arts Pathway will have music class.

In 2015, SPS and ARTS will roll-out the Creative Advantage to one new K-12 Arts Pathway, the 10 schools in south-southwest Seattle: Arbor Heights, Concord International, Highland Park, Roxhill, Sanislo, West Seattle, and K-5 STEM, Denny International Middle School, Chief Sealth International High School and Middle College at High Point.

The program expands into two additional pathways in 2015-2016.

The City has prioritized this program through new staff capacity and an investment of $450,000 in the program to date, with plans for an additional investment of $525,000 over the next two years.

The School District has invested $600,000 in increased staffing, supplies and professional development, while the Seattle Foundation has created capacity in private fundraising that raised $200,000 from foundations and individuals to date.

For more information on the report click here: http://www.creativeadvantageseattle.org/go-deeper/

The Creative Advantage can be found online at www.CreativeAdvantageSeattle.org, at facebook.com/TheCreativeAdvantage and on twitter @SeattleArtsEd.

White House names Seattle ‘Climate Action Champion’

Climate Action ChampionsToday the White House recognized Seattle as a Climate Action Champion, one of 16 local and tribal governments that demonstrated a strong and ongoing commitment to actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resilience.

“This is a tremendous honor that adds momentum to our innovations on climate action and community resilience,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We applaud President Obama for drawing attention to climate change and supporting local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Obama Administration launched the local community Climate Action Champions competition this fall as a compliment to his commitment to address climate change at the national and international scale. On the front lines of climate impacts and a proving ground for climate solutions, local communities have a powerful role to play in addressing climate change.

Seattle stands out as a national leader with a citywide goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, ambitious Climate Action Plan and Seattle City Light’s decade-long track record as a 100 percent carbon neutral electric utility.

The Climate Action Champion designation comes with targeted federal support in the form of technical assistance, preferred status in certain competitive federal grant programs, and opportunities to engage in peer-to-peer networking and showcase Seattle’s leadership on a national stage.

For more information: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/03/announcing-first-class-climate-action-champions.

Mayor issues statement on the Duwamish River cleanup

Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement today on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Record of Decision on the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site:

This is a huge day for Seattle’s only river, and for the people of Seattle. EPA’s final decision gets us closer to a healthier Duwamish River for our neighborhoods and our environment. Seattle and our partners have already invested over $150 million to cleanup key polluted sites within the river. We look forward to reviewing EPA’s decision and working with them to get the cleanup done.

In order to have a clean river, we need a healthy system. The City will also continue to engage in other Duwamish watershed recovery efforts. In the years ahead, we will work with neighborhoods along the river on grassroots environment, health and recreation projects that are reconnecting the community to our natural heritage.

Seattle charts path to September launch of Preschool Program

Seattle Preschool Program implementation

Mayor Murray, joined by Councilmember Tim Burgess and Superintendent Larry Nyland, today announced the path forward for Seattle’s new voter-approved public preschool program. A blueprint for implementing the program will be delivered to the City Council by February 23rd, and the first cohort of three- and four-year-olds will enter classrooms in September.

“Voters recognized that a stronger educational system in Seattle depends on quality preschool that prepares children for success in elementary school,” said Murray. “The program we’re developing will support equity across the city and set its sights on reducing the dramatic opportunity gap between students of color and white kids that persists in Seattle schools.”

The Seattle Preschool Program will be developed using best educational practices. Research shows that age appropriate preschool leads to better outcomes in 4th grade reading and in high school graduation rates. In one study, Chicago children who attended a pre-k program were 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school than their peers who did not have quality preschool.

“This high-quality program will deliver small class sizes; play-based, research-based and age-appropriate instruction; and more support, training and compensation for preschool teachers,” said Council President Tim Burgess. “We focus on quality because only quality preschool delivers long-term results for all our littlest learners.”

A dramatic opportunity gap between white students and students of color persists in Seattle – a 30% gap in reading achievement and 36% gap in math, according to statistics released by Seattle Public Schools this week. African-American students continue to be expelled or suspended at four times the rate of white and Asian students. And Native American kids are nearly three times as likely to be enrolled in special education services.

The Seattle Preschool Program will be developed in collaboration with Seattle Public Schools. The aim is to create a smooth transition from preschool to elementary, as teachers communicate about children’s progress and needs as they transition to kindergarten.

“We look forward to working with our partners from the City of Seattle to increase access to quality preschool programs,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools interim superintendent. “The city’s collaborative approach with the District and community is appreciated as we support school readiness with our youngest learners.”

Today, Murray named Erin Okuno, Executive Director, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, and Kevin Washington, Chair of the Board of Directors, Thrive By Five, as co-chairs of an advisory group that will help develop the program. The group will be made up of pre-school educators, parents, K-12 and higher education representatives, labor and community leaders to be named in coming days.

Seattle residents are invited to six meetings to provide feedback on several elements of the program:

Family Engagement
Sat, Nov. 22, 2014 – 10am to 12:30pm
Langston Hughes
104 17th Ave S, Seattle
Sat, Dec. 6, 2014 – 10am to 12:30pm
4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle
Dual Language Programs
Sat, Nov. 22, 2014 – 2pm to 4:30pm
Langston Hughes
104 17th Ave S, Seattle
Teacher Training & Coaching
Sat, Dec. 6, 2014 – 2pm to 4:30pm
4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle
Teacher Pathways to Certification
Tue, Dec. 2, 2014 – 6pm to 8:30pm
New Holly
7054 32nd Ave S, Seattle
Provider Contracting & Enrollment
Wed, Dec. 10, 2014 – 3pm to 5:30pm
Phinney Center
6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/education.

Murray announces funding for Duwamish River community projects

Mayor Murray today announced $250,000 in awards for nine local micro-projects along the Duwamish River as a result of the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund. The projects, while small in scale, will work to advance the environmental quality of the area and public health of people living near the river.

“The City of Seattle is honored to support these community-based projects,” said Murray. “This funding will benefit the people and businesses along the Duwamish River. We selected projects that support the quality of life in neighborhoods affected by the cleanup.”

The awards are:

  • $15,000 to the South Park Area Redevelopment Committee and South Park Senior Citizens to develop more stable food sources for the Senior Center Meal Program.
  • $21,000 to Duwamish Tribal Services to educate tribal members on harvesting, preparation and cultural practices surrounding traditional foods.
  • $10,000 to the Duwamish Rowing Club to support opportunities to make rowing on the Duwamish River a part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • $39,000 to Urban Systems Design to implement a job training program that increases green infrastructure and open spaces in the Duwamish Valley.
  • $29,000 to Just Health Action to work with Vietnamese fishers on alternatives to fishing in the Duwamish River that supports food security and their spiritual and cultural beliefs.
  • $12,500 to Feet First to work with community members on improving access for pedestrians in neighborhoods near the river.
  • $61,500 to the Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs for a tree-planting pilot project that will support jobs for veterans and increase tree canopy along the river.
  • $22,000 to the Georgetown Arts & Cultural Center to establish a community garden that will improve access to fresh and healthy food.
  • $40,000 to the Friends of 8th Avenue South Trail to improve safety and connectivity of the Duwamish Bikeway.

A review team representing neighborhoods along the Duwamish River, as well as public health and environmental advocates, scored 16 submitted projects seeking more than $378,000 from the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund.

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 www.growseattle.com/restaurant

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.

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: info@cityfruit.org.


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)