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

Mayor

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 TABLE

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 GARDENING

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.

FRESH BUCKS

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.

CITY FRUIT

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.

SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM

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.

CHILD CARE NUTRITION PROGRAM

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 FUNDS

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 LEVY

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)

MORE RESOURCES FROM THE CITY OF SEATTLE AND ITS PARTNERS

Mayor Murray signs resolution honoring indigenous peoples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video from the resolution signing

Murray proposes 2015-16 budget

mayor before council budget speech

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today presented to the City Council his proposed budget for 2015-16 that brings more transparency, more innovation, better organization and better performance to City government.

Murray outlined several major reform proposals, beginning with key reforms to the City’s budgeting process itself.

“We will move toward a performance-based budgeting system and begin paying for outcomes,” said Murray in his budget address to Council. “This will lead to streamlining of services, better use of resources and greater performance from our departments. And, perhaps most importantly, it will drive better service for the people of Seattle.”

Murray’s additional proposed reforms to the City’s budgeting process include:

  • moving City departments to a standard accounting system;
  • conducting a zero-based budgeting exercise for a least two City departments for a better accounting of baseline expenditures;
  • launching an interactive, online “Open Budget” tool on the model of the City of Boston’s tool for greater transparency in City spending;
  • developing performance metrics for all City departments for more efficiency and accountability;
  • launching an online dashboard to track department performance and provide greater transparency and accountability; and
  • establishing an advisory committee on the model of the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council to provide greater transparency and better performance.

“We will use data – not tradition – to drive how our government functions,” Murray said.

Murray also proposed what he said will be ‘a major restructuring of how we as a City plan for our future.’

“We will look across departments to establish new best practices of coordinated planning,” said Murray, “so that as we plan, we plan together, and when we build new housing, we are also planning new jobs, parks and transportation to support them.”

And, Murray said he has tasked Human Services Director John Okamoto to conduct an audit of the City’s nearly $35 million annual investment in homeless services and to compare City spending against national best practices.

“On any given night, there are at least 2,300 unsheltered individuals on our city streets – and very likely there are more,” said Murray. “It is time for us to learn if a better budgeting approach here in City Hall will create better outcomes for individuals living right now on the streets of this city.”

In his address to Council, Murray restated his priorities of a safe, affordable, vibrant and interconnected city for all. Highlights of Murray’s 2015-16 budget by priority area are available by clicking here.

Murray also said his budget shows how cities can be ‘an incubator of change’ and ‘a laboratory of democracy’ by funding ‘bold policy experimentation,’ including:

“These budget commitments demonstrate a City government flexible enough to reorganize around our priorities and support new policy that reflects the evolving needs of our communities,” Murray said.

As the centerpiece of his agenda for a more affordable city, Murray said that he would announce with Council the members, structure and timeframe for action of his Affordable Housing Advisory Committee on September 23 at 10:30 a.m. on the Seventh Floor of City Hall.

City Council will begin the hearings on the budget proposal on October 2nd.

To learn more about Mayor Ed Murray’s proposed 2015-16 budget please visit here.

Watch the speech:

Mayor Murray, Executive Constantine announce Green/Duwamish Watershed Strategy for cleaner air, land, and water

duwamish

Building upon the more than $1 billion already invested, or committed for investment, by King County and Seattle for clean-up of the Green/Duwamish River Watershed, Mayor Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced an ambitious strategy that will coordinate work by governments, nonprofits, and businesses to improve the health of that 500-square-mile watershed.

“The Duwamish Superfund site is part of a much larger watershed that spans 93 miles, from Elliott Bay to beyond the Howard Hanson Dam,” said Mayor Murray. “In order to have a clean river, we need a healthy system. It’s time for a broader conversation and a broader strategy.”

You can learn about the strategy announcement on the County’s website and you can learn about the City of Seattle’s Duwamish River Opportunity Fund here.

Mayor proposes Department of Education and Early Learning

DEEL

As parents ready their kids for the first week of school, Mayor Ed Murray today unveiled his plan to reorganize of the city’s education and support programs into a new Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL), the first of several proposals the mayor will make in his first city budget.

The new structure will enable the city to better coordinate existing work and resources on behalf of students of all ages, improve collaboration with Seattle Public Schools, colleges and child-care providers, and increase performance measurement of the city’s work to support educational outcomes.

“Equity in education is the foundation of our democracy and the future of our city,” said Murray. “The City already supports programs across the continuum from birth through college, but we must do better to align resources for better outcomes for education. We will sharpen our focus on achieving great outcomes for all, so that none of Seattle’s students are left behind. We want Seattle to be the first city in America that eliminates the achievement gap.”

Economic disparities contribute to a persistent achievement gap here, as it does across the nation, between the educational attainment of students of color and white students:

  • 90 percent of white 4th graders are reading at grade level compared to 56 percent of African American students.
  • One third of African American and Latino students—and half of American Indian students—don’t graduate on time, compared to 14 percent of white students.

Research has shown that students with higher educational attainment have higher average earning power over a career, but also live healthier lives.

“All of Seattle’s children must have the same opportunity to succeed in school and in life,” said Brianna Jackson, Executive Director of the Community Day School Association. “By improving coordination across the entire system, from Early Learning to our universities, and by working together as an education community, we know we can achieve better outcomes for all students.”

Last fall, the City Council adopted a budget action asking the mayor to develop a proposal to elevate the city’s emphasis around education. The council voiced interest in aligning the city’s education and early learning programs, preparing for a universal preschool program, and improving collaboration with the school district.

“Twenty babies are born in Seattle each day and each one deserves a strong and fair start,” said City Council President Tim Burgess.  “We know that high quality education empowers children of all backgrounds to lead healthier and happier lives and their success makes our city stronger.  To enable our cradle to career programs to work better, the Council called for the creation of this Department and I applaud the Mayor and his team for doing the hard work to get the job done.”

For the last several months, the Murray Administration has been working to shape the new department responsible for supporting early learning, K-12 and higher education in Seattle. Most of the positions in the new department would be filled by existing city employees moving from Seattle’s Human Services Department, Office for Education and other organizations. Existing functions consolidated into DEEL will include:

  • Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, Comprehensive Child Care Program and other early learning services and initiatives
  • Elementary, Middle School, and High School academic and social support programs
  • School-based health services operated by the city
  • Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative
  • All Families and Education Levy programs

Nine new positions would be created to step up coordination with area colleges and universities, ensure the quality of city child care programs and pre-schools, and increase data collection to track the effectiveness of the department’s activities.

“We look forward to working with the Mayor and the new Department of Education and Early Learning to partner on behalf of our Seattle students,” said Dr. Larry Nyland, Interim Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. “As we head back to school tomorrow, our teachers, principals and staff are getting ready to ensure every student has the opportunity to graduate prepared for college, career and life. We cannot do this work alone. We are pleased the city will partner with us to meet our goals for student success.”

The new department would house 38 employees and manage a budget of $48.5 million, including $30 million each year from the voter-approved Families and Education Levy.

The mayor’s proposal will be included in his budget submission to the City Council on Sept. 22nd.

Video from press conference

Murray on Weyerhaeuser move: ‘This is a game changer for Pioneer Square’

Weyerhaeuser's move to Pioneer Square

Mayor Murray made the following remarks Thursday evening in Pioneer Square regarding Weyerhaeuser’s move to the neighborhood:

Next week, we will gather here in Pioneer Square to celebrate the kickoff of the NFL season with our Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Today, we gather in Pioneer Square to celebrate the relocation of Weyerhaeuser’s corporate headquarters to Occidental Park.

This is a game changer for Pioneer Square.

Weyerhaeuser’s decision to conduct its future recruitment in Seattle is a clear demonstration of what makes our city attractive to businesses.

Businesses want the kind of talent pipeline that Seattle can provide.

Businesses want to be where creative people want to be, where there’s a vibrancy in the streets, in the arts, in our parks and in active, walkable, bike-able, transit-oriented neighborhoods – like Pioneer Square.

Weyerhaeuser’s move to Occidental Park – and the 900 jobs that come with it – will have a huge and positive impact on our efforts to revitalize Pioneer Square, to attract even more businesses to the area, and to bring continued vibrancy to this historic district.

I want to thank Weyerhaeuser president and CEO Doyle R. Simons for this game-changing decision.

Doyle could not be with us here today, but he has provided the following statement for me to share with you all:

“Moving our headquarters to Seattle is an important step forward for our company. The south downtown area is a great transit hub for our employees and we’re excited to become part of this growing, vibrant and historic part of the city.”

Thank you and congratulations to the Pioneer Square Alliance, whose hard work to improve the neighborhood over the past several years is paying off in new businesses, residents and a new buzz about its future.

Video from the press conference: