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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle

Record Group 2100
Office of Economic Development

The Office of Economic Development (OED) was created in 1972 as part of the Department of Community Development to provide information to businesses expanding or relocating in Seattle. Its main efforts consisted of business development and capital investment, business assistance and advisory services, business liaison, special projects, and research.

In 1992 the City Council reorganized the functions of the Department of Community Development and established the Economic Development Transition Project. This project was assigned responsibility to contract for services to manage the City's business loan programs and to develop and recommend a strategy for the City's economic development programs.

OED was reorganized into the Executive Department in 1993. Its assigned functions included coordination of programs and policies related to the support of a diversified economy, livable wage jobs, access to education, job training and self-employment opportunities, and increased capacity for local neighborhood revitalization. OED administered the City's business loan programs, including loans funded by Urban Development Action Grants, the Neighborhood Business Development Loan Program, Washington State Development Loan Funds, the Seattle Small Business Lenders Association, and Community Development Block Grants.

The Office negotiated and administered contracts with organizations engaged in the provision of economic development services. Additional functions included the implementation of Community Development Block Grant contracts, as well as administration of federal, state, and local grants such as Central Seattle Neighborhood Special Purpose Grants, Economic Development Administration Planning Grants, the Southeast Opportunity Fund, and the Southeast Good Neighbor Fund. OED provided staff support to the City's Industrial Development Corporation, which issued industrial revenue bonds to provide low-interest financing for private business investment in Seattle. The Office also assumed responsibility for staffing the Mayor's Small Business Task Force and administering certain contracts. The director was appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council.

Digital Photographs


Photos of the 2007 Mayor's Neighborhood Grant Awards reception attended by representatives of neighborhood associations and chambers of commerce, and the 2007 Mayor's Small Business Awards attended by Mayor Nickels and recipients as well as other elected officials. The Neightborhood Matching Fund provides money to Seattle neighborhood groups and organizations for a broad array of neighborhood-initiated improvements. The Mayor's Small Business Awards honor the diversity and excellence of Seattle's small businesses and their contribution to the city's economic vitality and quality of life.

2100-01 in Photograph Index

Director’s Records

14.4 cubic feet

Files of the Director of the Office of Economic Development. Includes project files, fundraising files, subject files, correspondence, memoranda, reports, plans, minutes, notes, brochures, clippings and related material concerning programs for small business loans, low income neighborhood revitalization, and entrepreneurship assistance, as well as issues and policies related to economic development and job creation. Files document the tenure of Mary Jean Ryan as Director from 1992 to 1994 and 1995 to 2001, and Carol Dickenson, Director from 1994 to 1995.

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Business Assistance Center/Development Lending Company Project Records

1.2 cubic feet

Records, including subject files, correspondence, and planning documents of the Director of OED, concerning the formation of two linked, not-for-profit, community business development ventures to increase economic opportunity in targeted markets. In 1997 the City transferred its small business lending program to the Seattle Economic Development Association. All three organizations currently operate under the umbrella of Community Capital Development. The Seattle Economic Development Fund and the Seattle Business Assistance Center make small business loans, provide technical assistance and promote business formation and job creation in the targeted communities.

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Business Development Project Records

6.0 cubic feet

Records of OED staff who facilitated industrial and high-tech business development. Projects include the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing Industrial Center; Ballard Rail Spur and Burke Gilman trail; brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects; Duwamish Manufacturing Industrial Center; Seattle Enterprise Community Program; biotechnology and telecommunications projects; Sound Transit-oriented development and Light Rail construction mitigation; and a grade separated access ramp over railroad tracks to terminals 88-91, connecting to Immunex Corporation’s headquarters . Also included are records of the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle.

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Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance Records

0.4 cubic foot

In 2000, the Office of Economic Development provided funding for a task force to develop a business plan for Seattle's neighborhood farmers markets. In 2001, OED supported the establishment and operations of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance (NFMA). The NFMA consolidated the management and operations of the existing Columbia City, West Seattle, and University District farmers markets and had plans to establish four new markets over nine years with the ultimate goal of financial self-sufficiency. Records in this series contain correspondence, the initial proposal and business plan, agendas, reports, statistics, and other material regarding the establishment and management of the NFMA, the existing markets at the time of its establishment, and the new markets created under its management, including the Lake City and Magnolia markets.

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South Lake Union Records

0.4 cubic foot

The South Lake Union Records contain reports, correspondence, and memoranda on the sale and development of City-owned parcels in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The sale was a result of the South Lake Union Neighborhood Plan, approved by the City Council in 1999. The three objectives of the Plan were to develop South Lake Union Park, improve transportation in the South Lake Union area, and redevelop the City's holdings in the area. The Plan urged the City to encourage redevelopment of its property in a way that would enhance the overall neighborhood and complement the development of the Park. The records document the City's request for proposals for redevelopment of its property and the development of the purchase and sale agreement with City Investors, Inc. (Vulcan Northwest).

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KidsPlace Records

0.4 cubic foot

Series contains correspondence, reports, brochures, and flyers for KidsPlace, a program designed to re-establish Seattle as a child-friendly city. KidsPlace was founded in 1984 by the Junior League of Seattle, the Metrocenter YMCA, and the City of Seattle. Its first program was a survey of 6750 school-age children asking them what they liked, disliked, and would change about Seattle, as well as what they would do if they were Mayor for a day. KidsPlace created a number of programs throughout Seattle, including further Mayor for a Day events and a Kids Salute. This series contains correspondence about the establishment of the program and its events, reports on the program, and correspondence from other U.S. cities seeking information and assistance on establishing their own KidsPlace programs.

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Seattle Jobs Initiative Records

2.2 cubic feet

Records of a project that provided job training, support services and placement for low-income residents. Records include subject files, grant files, reports, training files and contractor information.

Seattle Jobs Initiative began in 1995 when Seattle, along with five other cities, was chosen by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) as a part of its Jobs Initiative program. Mayor Rice created a partnership with AECF and the Office of Economic Development (OED) to create the Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI), which combined job-skills training and support services with employer involvement to connect low-income individuals with living wage jobs. Launched as a program of OED in 1997, SJI spun off from the City in January 2003, established itself as an independent nonprofit organization and continues to function as a workforce development intermediary.

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