Rainier Beach

Kubota Gardens in Rainier Beach.
The Rainier Beach neighborhood is home to people from around the world, with over 60 languages spoken.

What's Happening Now?

We continue to work on urban design, zoning and development strategies to support the creation of an innovation district around the Rainier Beach light rail station. The Rainier Beach Innovation District will include local food innovation and production enterprises to help increase access to employment, education and entrepreneurial opportunities for residents of Rainier Beach. The proposal builds on community-led efforts to establish the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands and the Rainier Beach Farm and Food Hub.

In March 2015, faculty and fellows of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Rose Center for Public Leadership conducted a study visit in Rainier Beach and provided findings in a public presentation. Seattle, Omaha, Boston, and Pittsburgh are this year’s ULI Rose Center’s fellowship cities. The Mayor’s Office selected Rainier Beach as the Rose Center neighborhood study area. In 2015, the Mayor’s Office and OPCD City Planning continued with follow-up work with the ULI Rose Center. In addition, the ULI Center for Sustainable Leadership conducted a study visit in May in collaboration with the ULI Rose Center. In February 2016, Action Coalition steering committee members wrote a plea to City Council to approve the neighborhood plan by summer 2016.

Project Goals & Benefits

In 2012, the culturally and ethnically diverse Rainier Beach community created a vision to guide the future of their neighborhood:

Rainier Beach is rich with cultural and physical resources. It has a thriving and interconnected community that contains a rich mix of households including minority and immigrant residents. The community is supported by strong social and cultural institutions and services that provide stability during changing times. The neighborhood provides access to resources necessary for people to live a healthful life. The neighborhood’s parks, opens spaces, roads, and other physical assets are in good condition and provide for a healthy community.

The Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update will help make the community’s vision a reality. Rainier Beach will become:

  • A place for everyone
  • A place for lifelong learning
  • A place for growing food to develop healthy industry
  • A beautiful, safe place

The community envisions a future where Rainier Beach mixes education into community life at all levels, and for all residents. As a result, the residents will be empowered to make sustainable and beneficial changes in their community.

The End Result

  • Neighborhood Plan Update — A plan to document the community’s vision for an enjoyable, affordable, and prosperous community, and the strategies for achieving it (completed March 2012)
  • Comprehensive Plan Amendments — Goals and policies, future land use map for Rainier Beach amended via Council Bill no. 117697 / Ordinance No. 124177 (passed May 2013)
  • Station Area Urban Design and Development Framework — A planning tool that guides the design and development of future buildings, streets, and public spaces in the light rail station area (under development)
  • Zoning and Land Use Amendments — Changes to the rules and regulations that control the land uses and shape the form of new development (under development)
  • Rainier Beach Action Coalition — A community partnership to implement recommendations and monitor progress of the plan (meets monthly)


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