Street Vacation Stakeholder Workgroup

I am planning to propose legislation revamping the City's Street and Alley Vacation policies in late 2017. In advance of drafting policy changes, I’m convening a stakeholder workgroup to provide feedback on the current policy and desired changes.

I have wrestled with street and alley vacations, both at a policy level, and a project-by-project level, for several years, and with input from many of you at this table. I have heard the call from some folks for a more streamlined and efficient process, and also concerns that the process does not adequately address public benefits for a larger public. I see this processes as an opportunity to learn together and work to create better street vacation policy.

The workgroup includes design commission members, applicant representatives, neighborhood representatives, and social justice advocates. The topics of discussion could include process efficiencies, community engagement best practices, and the definition of “public benefit,” to name a few.

This workgroup is intended to represent a variety of perspectives we’ve received on the process, and to help us identify areas of consensus around potential process improvements. At the same time, we also want to surface differences in opinion, and help crystalize the policy questions that Council will ultimately decide upon when we revise the policies.

We do not expect consensus on all these matters, nor do we expect specific draft policy language from this group. After meeting as a group at least 4 times, we will take the perspectives aired in this group into serious consideration, and work to draft legislation. We will aim to have draft legislation by the end of Summer. At that time, there will also be many more opportunities to voice public comment about these policies.

As we look to revise the street vacation policies, I see this as an opportunity to help clarify and update the process to make it more efficient, as well as to more clearly address the question of what constitutes public benefit, or at least how can we better arrive at public benefits in this process.

Please check this page for updates on the process, notes from each meeting, and background materials.


Councilmember Mike O'Brien's Signature

Mike O'Brien

Workgroup Members

  • Mark Brands - Consultant
  • John Savo - NBBJ/Design Commission
  • Ross Tilghman - Transportation Consultant/ Design Commission
  • Shannon Loew - Consultant/Design Commission
  • Michael Jenkins - Design Commission
  • John Schoettler - Amazon
  • Sally Clark - UW
  • Theresa Doherty - UW
  • Eric Oliner – Providence Health & Services
  • Mike Woo - Vulcan
  • John Pehrson – SLU Community Council
  • Alex Hudson - First Hill Improvement Association
  • Ellen Kissman – Yesler Community Collaborative
  • Howard Greenwich - Puget Sound Sage
  • Abby Lawlor - UNITE HERE Local 8
  • Michael Laslett - SEIU 925
  • Xochitl Maykovich - Washington Community Action Network
  • Alex Brennan - Capitol Hill Housing
  • Leslie Morishita – InterIm CDA
  • Murphy McCullough - Skanska

Meeting Materials

Meeting Notes


Video: This animation shows the Amazon Rufus 2.0 Headquarters Project and the evolution of design thinking that led to the application for 3 alley vacations.