Duwamish River Opportunity Fund

Duwamish River

The Duwamish is our city’s only river, but that is not the only thing that makes it special. Native Americans use the Duwamish as a resource and for cultural purposes. Salmon and trout use it as a migration corridor and a large number of fish and wildlife species use the estuary for rearing. The Duwamish is also a working waterway that supports many of Seattle’s shipping and industrial businesses.

Decades of industry near the Duwamish have left significant contamination in the mud and along the river’s banks.

In 2001, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed a 5.5 mile stretch of the Duwamish River as a Superfund cleanup site. Since then, the City of Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle and the Boeing Company have invested over $100 Million in early cleanup actions to reduce contamination by 50 percent, while we also work to eliminate ongoing sources of contamination. EPA has a plan to finish the rest of the Superfund cleanup. The Duwamish has been a vital part of Seattle for more than 100 years and we are committed to making sure it continues to be for the next 100 years.

Video: Meet three groups cleaning up the Duwamish

The City’s role

The City of Seattle is working to make the Superfund cleanup of the Duwamish River result in the optimum outcome for the Duwamish River and adjacent communities. Superfund cleanup and pollution source control are not enough to achieve the quality of life people desire. The City is committed to addressing community concerns about affordable housing, displacement, jobs, economic development, and healthy food.

The City Council and Mayor directed City staff to assemble possible actions and to estimate funding needs to address the following objectives:

  • Identify, encourage, or provide options for safe fishing and healthful fish consumption.
  • Ensure equity in all policies and efforts for environmental and community development and enhance human and natural habitat in local neighborhoods.
  • Provide job training and placement assistance in addition to that provided by the EPA’s Job Training Initiative.
  • Preserve affordability and produce more affordable housing, including home ownership.

The City will consider integrating existing programs, enhancements to these programs, and complementary new initiatives to address these objectives. The City will seek to coordinate this work with its partners, including King County, the Port of Seattle, and other entities, private and public, that have common interests and goals in these communities. The City will strive to find creative ways to work with the community to make progress on these priorities as well as additional priorities identified in the Health Impact Assessment led by the University of Washington School of Public Health, the Duwamish Valley Vision Map and Report, the City adopted Georgetown and South Park Neighborhood Plans, the City adopted Greater Duwamish Manufacturing and Industrial Center Plan, and other planning documents for this area.

Generally, utility resources are not available for community development purposes, and City investments in these kinds of activities come from the limited resources of the General Fund, which must be used to meet a variety of critical City purposes. The Mayor and Council identified funds in the 2014 and 2015 budgets to dedicate to Duwamish River area quality of life enhancements that can be implemented in partnership with King County, the Port of Seattle, and community stakeholders. These funds have been designated as the ‘Duwamish River Opportunity Fund’, and are intended to enhance existing programs and support new programs focused on challenges faced by communities in the Duwamish River area. Supported programs may be run by the City or through partnership with other jurisdictions and community organizations. The DROF is one component of a broader City effort to improve the quality of life and restore the health of Duwamish River communities. The City has created a specific process and criteria for the disbursement of the funds in the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund, and in 2014 approved allocating $250,000 to nine projects through a Request for Proposals (RFP) and Community Review Team (CRT) process. In 2015, the City will conduct a second RFP/CRT process to allocate an additional $250,000 to DROF projects. Other resources may be identified from project partners, complementary programs in existing City Department budgets, or possible future allocations.

The Duwamish River Opportunity Fund is administered by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON). The Department has engaged the consultant services of Richard Conlin to manage the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund. If you have any questions about the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund, please visit http://murray.seattle.gov/duwamish, call 206.499.5793 or email drof@seattle.gov

Review and Approval Process

Applications will be examined by a Community Review Team (CRT) of 5-7 people. The CRT will make recommendations to the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Director, who will make the final decisions and approve the list of projects to fund.

The CRT will consist of representatives of communities and organizations involved in the Duwamish area. The Department of Neighborhoods and the consultant will identify and recruit CRT members. The CRT will work collaboratively to develop consensus on a list of projects. Members of the CRT team may be project proponents, but will be asked to recuse themselves when projects that they are involved with are being discussed.

The application deadline is May 15. The consultant will review all applications for completeness. Those that are complete or substantially complete will be copied and forwarded to the CRT for evaluation. Applications that are substantially complete but have gaps that can be addressed will be given the opportunity to address them prior to the completion of the CRT review.

CRT team members will be given applications to be considered by May 22, and asked to read and rate them in preparation for a meeting on Monday, June 15, at the DON office. The DON consultant will facilitate the review process. Applicants will be invited to make brief presentations in the morning, including providing information to cover identified gaps in their application. CRT members will have the opportunity to ask questions of the applicants.

In the afternoon of June 15, the CRT members will be asked to evaluate the applications and see if a consensus can be reached about a list of applications to be submitted to the DON Director. If a consensus cannot be reached, the CRT will reconvene on the morning of Tuesday, June 16, for further deliberations. If no consensus can be reached at that session, the CRT will forward the results of its discussions to the DON Director with notes about the reason for not reaching consensus. The DON Director will make a final decision as soon as is practicable, and the consultant will then notify applicants and begin the process of entering into agreements or contracts to carry out the projects.

2015 Implementation Schedule

February to March 2015
Consultant will work with community stakeholders and interested organizations to prepare for the 2015 RFP. Consultant will assist organizations to develop ideas for possible projects, and work with existing project sponsors to consider how the 2014 projects could be expanded and/or built upon in 2015. Consultant will prepare new documents and application forms for the 2015 RFP cycle and identify Community Review Team (CRT) members.

March to May 2015
City will issue 2015 RFP on March 23, with proposals due by May 15. Consultant will work with prospective respondents to develop applications that are workable and fit within the desired parameters for the DROF. Consultant will conduct a workshop for prospective respondents on Wednesday, April 8.

June 2015
Consultant will work with Community Review Team and Department to select successful applicants for 2015 DROF funding. CRT will meet on Monday, June 15, with a fallback meeting if needed on Tuesday, June 16.

July 2015
Consultant will work with City Departments and Law to prepare and complete any contracts to be executed by non-City entities for project implementation. Funds will be directed to the appropriate City Departments for projects to be executed by City Departments.

August to October 2015
Consultant will ensure that all contracts are signed and begin implementation, and will secure technical advice and permits and facilitate communication between project implementation partners and City. City and other affected entities will sign off on technical advice and any necessary permits.

October 2015 to April 2015
Consultant will oversee implementation of projects. Consultant will work to enlist partners as appropriate, ensure that City and community stakeholders are fully informed on project activities, and monitor implementation and troubleshoot as needed to ensure that projects are completed on schedule and within budget.

June 2015 to June 2016
Consultant will work with community stakeholders, City of Seattle, and other partners to identify additional partners and develop additional funding and programmatic commitments for DROF. Consultant will continue to work with community partners on a long range vision for future implementation. Consultant will develop agreements involving City, other key public agencies (specifically King County and the Port of Seattle) and community stakeholders to coordinate activities, partners, and funding options.

May to June 2016
Consultant will assist contractors to complete projects and prepare final report and evaluation, along with work plan for possible next phase of the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund (DROF).

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