Working for a safe, affordable, vibrant, innovative, and interconnected city.
Learn More Home Page This Department
Link to OED Home Page Link to OED Home Page Link to OED About Us Page Link to OED Contact Us Page
Start, Grow, or Green Your Business Stephen H. Johnson, Director
Business Owners Business Districts Key Industries News and Resources
Letter from the Mayor
How to Use This Guide
Abbreviations Used in This Guide
Hints for Successful Business District Improvements
Beautification Projects
Flower Planters
Holiday Lighting
Metro Bus Shelters
Public Art
Street Trees
Clean and Green Seattle Initiative
Enhancement Projects
Street Furniture
Pedestrian Lighting
Bicycle Racks
Newspaper Boxes
Only in Seattle Initiative grants
Forming a Business Improvement Area
City of Seattle Grants and Funding
Litter Cans
Sidewalk Cleaning
Spring Clean
Street Cleaning
Street Paving
Building/Fire Code Violations
Managing Parking
Public Safety
Street Light & Power Line Repair
Alley & Security Lighting
Crime Prevention
Emergency Preparedness
District Identification Signs
Traffic Controls
Use of Public Areas
City Parks
Sidewalk Cafes
Street Vendors
Additional Information

Create a Thriving Business District


Building healthy neighborhoods, increasing the greenery in our city and promoting green urban development is good for business and the environment. People respond positively to greenery and this sends a positive message about the neighborhood and business district.

As part of the Clean and Green Seattle Initiative, the City is promoting the greening and beautification of neighborhood business districts by offering grants and resources for greening projects, increasing efforts to promote trees and greenery and encourage green development.

Grants: The City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) has partnered with the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) to provide funding opportunities to neighborhood business districts for eligible projects. These include projects that increase the green in neighborhood businesses and business districts. Examples of projects eligible for ‘green’ grants include:

  • Tree plantings or maintenance.
  • Removal of ivy and other invasive plants and replacement with native plantings.
  • Work parties organized for plantings and/or tree and landscape restoration.
  • Design, plant and maintenance of sustainable landscapes.
  • Promotion of sustainable landscaping practices.
  • Interpretive signage that promotes environmentally friendly landscapes.

Trees: Trees provide enormous environmental and economic benefits. Recent research conducted by the University of Washington indicates that districts with street trees attract more shoppers, who are willing to pay as much as 11% more for products. The City encourages street trees and community-initiated tree plantings and offers many resources. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) offers information, expertise and other resources to help business districts plant and maintain trees. Investing in trees can bring the following returns:

  • Increase in property values -- especially full-grown healthy trees.
  • Increase in the number of shoppers, and increase in perceived product value and customer service in a business district.
  • Trees help mitigate air pollution, slow storm water runoff and save energy by shading buildings in summer and letting in light in the winter.
  • Trees and greenery are psychologically and aesthetically pleasing.

Green neighborhoods and development: The City has several programs that enhance the greenery of Seattle ’s neighborhoods and business districts which encourage commercial developers and redevelopment projects in reducing the impact on the natural environment. These include:

  • The Clean and Green Seattle Initiative includes a green project every month.
  • Education, incentives and regulations to promote green buildings, green streets and low impact development.
  • Natural drainage and sustainable building programs.
  • Open space acquisition, reservoir-burying and P-Patch programs.

How much funding is available through OED’s grants for green projects?

The funding levels vary each year and are offered once a year. The amount available for each project will depend on the number and strength of eligible proposals. Award amounts usually range from $1,000.00 to $20,000.00.

Who is eligible to apply for OED funding?

Not-for-profit organizations, with a federal tax ID number, providing services in a Seattle neighborhood business district are eligible for OED’s grants. The City encourages applicants to have an explicitly stated mission or goal of strengthening the business community in their neighborhood.

How can I get more information on tree programs, and street trees?
The City Arborist in SDOT, 206-684-8733, can answer questions on tree planting and maintenance, and street trees and can refer you to other appropriate resources.

Who can help our group plan and organize a community planting or purchase of street trees?
The Department of Neighborhoods (DON) offers a Tree Fund as part of its Neighborhood Matching Funds Program. The City provides the trees and neighbors share the work of planting and caring for the trees. To match the City's contribution of free trees, neighbors must organize the planting effort, provide necessary tools and be responsible for watering and maintaining their trees. For information contact DON at 206-684-0465 or visit the Tree fund website at:

How can I organize a ‘ Clean and Green Seattle Initiative’ project in my neighborhood?

You can find out more about Clean and Green Seattle Initiative, learn how to volunteer and organize a Clean and Green Seattle Initiative project in your neighborhood, or make suggestions or requests for projects near you online at




  • City of Seattle ’s Urban Forest Information Line --------------- 206-684-5042