Mayor Murray’s first annual Pride Reception

Yesterday Mayor Murray hosted the first annual Pride Reception at City Hall, bringing together local members of the LGBT community to celebrate the start of Seattle’s Pride Week.

At the reception, the Mayor presented the first ever Pride Award to Charlie Brydon, an LGBT leader who helped bring gay rights to the forefront of Seattle and Washington politics.  The Mayor also proclaimed June 25th, 2015 as Charlie Brydon Day in Seattle.


Brydon persuaded then Mayor Wes Uhlman to commemorate Seattle’s first Gay Pride Week in 1977, a tradition that will continue this Sunday. He also established the Dorian Group, which sought to end housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 1978 Brydon rallied activists to join Citizens to Retain Fair Employment, which organized fundraising and educational activities to push back at national efforts to roll-back employment protections. Brydon’s work with Hands Off Washington successfully fought discriminatory state ballot initiatives, established chapters across the state, and laid the foundation for future LGBT political organizations, initiatives, campaigns and public officials.

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Community celebrates groundbreaking for Pike Place MarketFront expansion

Mayor Murray at Pike PlaceToday Mayor Murray joined members of the community to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new Pike Place MarketFront, a 30,000 square foot addition that will complete the last piece of the Pike Place Market Historic District.

This expansion – slated for completion in 2017 — will give visitors and shoppers a restored connection between two of Seattle’s greatest civic treasures — the market and the waterfront – especially once the viaduct is torn down.

Pike Place Market has adapted over the years without sacrificing its character, due in large part to efforts by the city, the PDA, and many friends and supporters.

The market embodies almost all of what makes Seattle unique – our demand for farm-to-table foods; our notion of fairness and equity; and our love for the arts and all things quirky.

The new MarketFront will help preserve the market as a place that brings Seattle together.



Nominations open for 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards; May 31st deadline

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards via an online form available at The awards recognize the accomplishments of artists, arts and cultural organizations and community members committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

There will be four awards presented this year:

  • Cultural Ambassador: Awarded to an individual who has significantly contributed to Seattle’s arts and cultural community and raised the visibility of Seattle’s arts culture. May include exemplary work across disciplines (as an artist or as an administrator) as well as advocating for and promoting the value of arts and culture. Open to individuals.
  • Arts & Innovation: Awarded for originality, ingenuity and resourcefulness within the creative sector. Open to individuals and organizations. New category.
  • Cultural Preservation:  Recognizing the restoration and preservation of our local heritage. Open to physical preservation and/or cultural preservation. Open to individuals and organizations. New category.
  • Future Focus: Awarded to an individual or organization that has demonstrated excellence in arts education and/or youth work. May be applied to a program for youth or by youth. Open to individuals and organizations (including youth).

“The arts are an essential ingredient of our society and our growing city,” said Mayor Murray. “The creative community is the beating heart of Seattle. Art helps us express our shared values and build bridges between us, regardless of our differences. I invite you to nominate someone who exemplifies the best of Seattle.”

Murray will honor recipients of the 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards at a public ceremony at Seattle Center, Friday, Sept. 4. The event is free and open to the public.

The nomination deadline May 31. The nomination form is available online at For a print version of the form, contact (206) 684-7171 or

The Seattle Arts Commission will review public nominations and recommend recipients to the mayor for final selection. Last year more than 600 nominations were received.

The awards are presented in partnership with Bumbershoot®: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival, media sponsor City Arts magazine, and event sponsor Chihuly Garden & Glass.

Previous recipients:

2014: Alan Chong Lau, MOHAI & Leonard Garfield, Path with Art, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, Stephen Stubbs, Teen Tix

2013: 826 Seattle, Preston Singletary, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Frye Art Museum, Pongo Teen Writing Project and Barbara Earl Thomas;

2012: Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio, KEXP 90.3 FM, Li Hengda, Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders, Seattle Arts & Lectures, Buster Simpson, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, TilibSedeb (Singing Feet), The Vera Project, Olivier Wevers.

2011: Donald Byrd; Jack Straw Productions, Quinton Morris, On the Boards, Pratt Fine Arts Center and Tet in Seattle.

2010: Juan Alonso, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Dennis Coleman, Reel Grrls, Sergei Tschernisch, Velocity Dance Center.

2009: Artist Trust, Jesse Higman, Speight Jenkins, Northwest Tap Connection, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras.

2008: 14/48: the world’s quickest theater festival; Coyote Central and Marybeth Satterlee; Hugo Ludeña; Nonsequitur; Cathryn Vandenbrink; Wing Luke Asian Museum.

2007: Clarence Acox, John Gilbreath and Earshot Jazz, Jean Griffith, Longhouse Media’s Native Lens Program, Massive Monkees, Richard Hugo House,  Mimi Gardner Gates and Seattle Art Museum. 2006: Linda Hartzell and Seattle Children’s Theatre; Michael J. Herschensohn and Northwest Folklife; Rainier Vista Cambodian Youth Program; Gerard Schwarz; family of visual artists Michael Spafford, Elizabeth Sandvig and Spike Mafford; Reggie Watts.

2005: David Brewster and Town Hall; Peter F. Donnelly; Sara Liberty-Laylin and Adams Elementary School; Alden Mason; The Tsutakawa Family: Gerard, Deems, Marcus and Mayumi; Pastor Patrinell Wright and Total Experience Gospel Choir.

2004: Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, The Seattle Foundation, Tim Summers, Sub Pop Records, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell.

2003: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Arts Corps, Vinson Cole, Consolidated Works.

Mayor Murray is looking for the 2015 Civic Poet

Mayor Murray announced today that the City is launching a Civic Poet program to celebrate Seattle’s rich literary community, while investing in the future of literary arts through community engagement. Applications to be the 2015 Civic Poet will be accepted April 16 – May 28.

“Seattle is one of the most well-read cities in the country. From libraries to book stores, from universities to literary organizations, Seattle is passionate about language,” said Mayor Murray. “The Civic Poet program celebrates our history and commitment to the written and spoken word, and the people who have given it such a place of honor in our city.”

The new two-year Civic Poet post will serve as a cultural ambassador for Seattle’s rich, multi-hued literary landscape and will represent Seattle’s diverse cultural community. In addition to five annual performances, the Civic Poet will also complete hands-on work with communities to engage constituents city-wide.

Seattle’s Civic Poet will serve a term of two years, from July 2015 to July 2017, and will receive a $10,000 stipend distributed over the two year term. Applicants must be Seattle-based and eligible to work in the U.S. and have a demonstrated interest in civic engagement and the power of the written and spoken word.

The Civic Poet program is inspired by the previous Poet Populist program instituted in 1999 by Seattle City Council member Nick Licata. The goal of the Poet Populist program was to support the practice of literary arts democracy, and promote local literary arts organizations to a general audience city-wide. The Poet Populist program was discontinued in 2008. The Civic Poet program will continue the legacy of the Poet Populist program by fostering community dialogue and engagement between the public and artists, while celebrating the literary arts.

“I thank the Mayor, Office of Arts & Culture director Randy Engstrom, and leaders of our literary community for picking up where our previous Poet Populist program left off. By combining that program’s community engagement elements with the rigor of a traditional poet laureate model, Seattle’s Civic Poet program can inspire both diverse audiences and diverse ideas,” added Councilmember Licata.

A selection panel composed of writing and literary professionals and community representatives will review materials from all applicants. Those who are selected as finalists will be invited a panel to interview for final selection.

The Civic Poet program is administered by the city’s Office of Arts & Culture. For more information, visit

Seattle 2035: Growing to achieve race and social equity

Seattle 2035

Today, Mayor Murray transmitted to the City Council a resolution to recognize the priority of race and social equity as one of the foundational core values on which the City of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan is built.

This year the City is writing Seattle 2035, a major update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan that will plot a 20-year vision and roadmap for Seattle’s future growth. Seattle expects 120,000 new residents over the next 20 years.

The revision of the City’s Comprehensive Plan is a chance for residents to discuss and decide where and how growth should be located in neighborhoods, as well as prioritize infrastructure investments, parks and other amenities that help neighborhoods function. Murray has emphasized that Seattle must be a city where all people can benefit from growth and development.

“Quality of life in Seattle means a living wage, quality education, a healthy environment, affordable housing and effective transportation options,” said Murray. “We must plan equitably, so that all families and individuals, those living here today and those coming tomorrow, have access to the services and amenities that make Seattle so special. We must always plan with an eye toward equity for all our diverse communities.”

In 1994, Seattle was a national leader when it made social equity one of the four core values in the original Comprehensive Plan. This legislation will ensure Seattle continues to be a leader.

This proposed resolution would change how Seattle plans and grows by:

  • Working toward a shared vision of race and social equity, and equitable development citywide;
  • Incorporating new race and social equity goals and policies throughout the Comprehensive Plan;
  • Analyzing the impacts of proposed growth strategies on the most vulnerable communities, and changing policies, programs and investments to help offset the impacts of the selected growth strategy;
  • Closing racial and social disparities with capital and program investments;
  • Creating, monitoring and reporting on equity measures; and
  • Being more inclusive in the stewardship of the Comprehensive Plan.

For more information, visit:

Mayor Murray announces conversion to metric system

Today Mayor Ed Murray announced that the City of Seattle will be the first major American city to convert entirely to the metric system.

“Seattle is a global city and it’s time we catch-up with the rest of the world in adopting the metric system,” said Murray. “We’ve proven cities can be incubators for change, so it just makes sense for Seattle to lead on the metric system as well.  As we seek to attract more international business and visitors, adopting a universally recognized system of measurement is key.”

“I have ordered all City departments to review their operations and provide a metric conversion plan in 30 days.  As a first step, I’ve directed the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to print and install all speed limit signs in kilometers,” said Murray. “We are also in the early stages of planning with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to have the speed limit signs on I-5 through Seattle converted to kilometers.”

Additional changes to be rolled out immediately include:


  • All cars sold within city limits will be required to replace the speedometer with a kilometer gauge.
  • Seattle Public Schools will expand their teaching of the metric system in Fall 2015, ensuring that students are able to put their best meter forward and strengthen their understanding of the other side of the ruler.
  • The Seattle Parks Department will change all wildlife information kiosks to refer to inchworms as centipedes.
  • Heat advisories will be issued when the temperature reaches 26.66 degrees Celsius.
  • Precipitation will be measured by the millimeter to ensure accuracy.
  • Gas prices will be listed by the 3.78 liter.
  • All stadium vendors and food stands selling hot dogs will be encouraged to market their 30.48 centimeter-long hot dogs.
  • Beth’s Café’s 12-egg omelette will remain unchanged, as there is no way of converting egg quantity measurements.

Update 10:30 AM on April 1:  Despite Mayor Ed Murray’s liter-ship, Seattle will not be converting to the metric system. April Fools! (Sorry Canadians and scientists.) However, those wishing to refer to inchworms as centipedes are free to do so.


Duwamish River Opportunities Fund seeks proposals

The City of Seattle is seeking applications for community-based projects that enhance the quality of life in Seattle neighborhoods along the Duwamish River. Successful applicants will engage in projects to improve access to the river, support job creation and economic development, increase access to healthy food and other challenges faced by communities along the Duwamish.

“The Duwamish is our city’s river and we are committed to its future,” said Seattle Mayor Murray. “The larger clean-up effort is aimed at mitigating the effects of decades of legacy pollutants. These smaller-scale projects will help restore our community’s access to and enjoyment of the river as an important natural resource.”

This year, the City will fund $250,000 in projects. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend a community event about the fund on Wed., April 8 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, at Coliman Restaurant, 6932 Carleton Avenue S, in Georgetown. Applications will be accepted through May 15.

Successful projects will:

  • Be developed through a process of community engagement and participation.
  • Have a clear statement of the way the project addresses community priorities, the anticipated results, and the metrics used to measure success.
  • Build linkages among communities and involve a diversity of people and organizations; have engaged project partners.
  • Address an issue important to the success of the Duwamish River communities.
  • Be connected to the long range future of the Duwamish River communities.
  • Have a clear budget and demonstrated capacity to manage funds effectively.

For more information on the opportunity fund, including past awards, visit or email

Murray praises funding for Pike Place Market Front

Today, Mayor Murray issued the following statement after the Seattle City Council approved funding for the Market Front project at Pike Place Market:

MarketFront“Pike Place Market is an iconic symbol and a major hub of community life in Seattle. The Market Front expansion will expand that role for the Market and provide much-needed parking, public space, affordable housing and improved pedestrian access to the waterfront. My thanks to the City Council for helping bring this vision to reality. The City is proud to partner with the Market as we reconnect downtown with the waterfront.”

Mayor announces support for legislation to increase film production in Washington; Proclaims March 17th ‘Seattle Film Day’

Seattle Film DayMayor Murray announced his support of Senate Bill 6027 (SB 6027), introduced this February in the Washington State Senate to increase the funding for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

The bill doubles the size of the Film Competitiveness Program over the next two years to $7 million, and increases the fund incrementally each year until it reaches $10 million in 2019. The sunset date for the program will also be extended to 2022.

Last year, under the program’s current annual $3.5 million cap, the annual fund was expended by May and a total of $55 million worth of film production projects were immediately turned away.

“Washington’s current incentive program is the fifth smallest in the country,” said Mayor Murray.  “I support this legislation because it strengthens the State’s best tool to keep our film industry competitive. This program, alongside the City’s Commercialize Seattle initiative, will help retain and increase film industry talent to fuel our creative economy.”

Mayor Murray proclaimed Tues., March 17, 2015 “Seattle Film Day” in honor of Seattle’s 80-plus years as a film making destination.

# # #

Senate Bill 6027

SB 6027’s prime sponsor is Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D, 36th), with co-sponsors Senator Andy Billig (D, 3rd) and Senator Joe Fain (R, 47th).  See the Washington State Legislature page for more details at

City’s Office of Film + Music (OFM)

The Seattle Office of Film + Music is part of Seattle’s economic development agenda. Its charge is to make Seattle a great place to make a living making film and music. OFM is a streamlined resource for all of your film and music needs, and manages Seattle’s City of Music and Commercialize Seattle initiatives. It offers creative tax incentives and professional business development opportunities, making this vibrant city the perfect background for film or music production.

Mayor announces $1.8 million for neighborhood business districts


Today, Mayor Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners in Seattle’s Othello business district to announce a $1.8 million investment in 21 neighborhoods as part of the Only in Seattle initiative.

“Thriving, walkable business districts are vital to the success of Seattle’s neighborhoods,” said Murray. “We work with local leaders and business owners on these grants to develop a shared vision that brings more shops and restaurants – and jobs – to neighborhoods throughout the city.”

The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create healthy business districts:

  • Business and retail development (supporting businesses, enhancing business mix)
  • Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising)
  • Clean and safe (graffiti removal, dumpster free alleys, lighting)
  • Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art)
  • Business organization development to sustain the effort, including participation of an existing Business Improvement Area (BIA) or exploration to form one.

The local business communities in 16 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing over $1.2 million in 2015:

  • Ballard                                                $   90,000
  • Beacon Hill                                         $   60,000
  • Capitol Hill                                         $ 160,000
  • Chinatown / International District      $ 156,000
  • Othello/MLK                                      $ 154,000
  • Rainier Beach                                      $   85,000
  • University District                              $   85,000
  • Lake City                                            $   50,000
  • First Hill                                              $   40,000
  • Belltown                                             $   35,000
  • Hillman City                                       $   25,000
  • Central Area                                        $   45,000
  • Mt. Baker                                            $   25,000
  • Georgetown                                        $   25,000
  • Columbia City                                     $   29,000
  • Rainier Valley                                     $   10,000

In partnership with the Seattle Investment Fund, a total of $75,000 in façade improvements will be granted to Rainier Beach and Columbia City to develop a more welcoming environment for customers. Neighborhood business district organizations provided a one-to-one match for these project costs.

“Twelve business storefronts across from the Othello Light Rail Station benefited from the façade improvement investments in 2014,” said Tony To, executive director of HomeSight, a nonprofit community development organization in southeast Seattle. “The transformed businesses increase pedestrian attraction and improve perceptions of cleanliness and safety in the business district, not to mention bring property and business owners together to achieve a common goal.”

In addition, Only in Seattle is granting $60,000 to nine neighborhoods to explore or achieve a Business Improvement Area (BIA). The nine neighborhoods are: Chinatown/ID, University District, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Lake City, First Hill, Magnolia, Mt. Baker, Belltown, and Othello. Existing BIAs have generated over $40 million over the last three years to fund clean and safe, marketing and promotion, and business retail and development programs across Seattle.

This year, Only in Seattle also granted $500,000 to neighborhoods with paid on-street parking for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience:

  • Occidental Park Activation: The Downtown Seattle Association will work with the Alliance for Pioneer Square to activate Occidental Park through installation of public furniture and event programming designed to engage residents and visitors.
  • Canton Alley Paving: Chinatown\International District will finalize the paving of Canton Alley, the final step before the alleyway is ready for public use and activation.
  • Public Restroom: Ballard will purchase a public restroom to serve the business district.
  • Signal Crossing in First Hill: A signal crossing will be installed at the Terry Ave and James St. intersection to improve pedestrian safety in the neighborhood.
  • Design for Lake2Bay Connection: Lake2Bay is designing a pedestrian and bicycle connection that links Lake Union to Elliott Bay through the South Lake Union, Belltown, Uptown, and West Edge neighborhoods.
  • Public Safety in Capitol Hill: Capitol Hill will address public safety by convening stakeholders to explore a possible street closure pilot in Pike/Pine. In addition, a lighting project in Cal Anderson Park will aim to reduce crime and increase public space activation.

“Neighborhood business districts are the economic engines of our city. The Only in Seattle approach focuses on the core building blocks that catalyze economic development and plan for equitable growth in our neighborhoods. This investment highlights leaders that want to engage civically, step up for their community, and grow equitably,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency.

The Office of Arts & Culture and the Department of Neighborhoods have been integral partners in the Only in Seattle initiative by bolstering the investments and service support. This year, Only in Seattle invested $6,000 in cultural place-making awards to the following neighborhoods to support the integration of arts in commercial revitalization in Roosevelt, Lake City and Rainier Beach.

Through the partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods, five neighborhoods will receive a total of $38,000 to reach out to ethnic and underrepresented business owners using Public Outreach and Engagement Liasons. The following neighborhoods requested and will receive this support: Lake City, Hillman City, Capitol Hill, Rainier Beach, and the University District.

“We’re excited to engage with business owners from underrepresented communities to help shape the direction of the work to be inclusive and representative of the entire business community,” said Michael Wells, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.