Duwamish Valley: Update and Progress Report (Winter 2018)

Taking Action & Delivering Results

View of Duwamish river and industrial area at sunset

Taking Action & Delivering Results

Since our End of Year Update (December 2018), City departments continue to collaborate with community members and other partners to support the implementation of the Duwamish Valley Action Plan and community-led efforts to improve quality of life in the Duwamish Valley. Two featured projects are described below. For more details on all projects and ongoing efforts, click on each of the seven priority areas below.

Seven Priority Areas

Tree Maintenance (Opportunity #1, pg. 20)

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) partnered to prune trees in Georgetown and South Park to improve the condition of our existing urban canopy. We expect this work to continue in 2019.

Asthma Prevention and Weatherization Plus Health Improvements (Opportunity #3, pg. 25)

Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE), Office of Housing (OH), American Lung Association, and Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition partnered in a project to mitigate asthma and other respiratory problems in the Duwamish Valley. The project combined best practices in inclusive outreach and service delivery to connect 50 households to no- or low-cost indoor air quality improvement resources and supplies (customized healthy home assessments and green cleaning kits); high-impact indoor air quality improvement supplies (vacuums); and weatherization plus health improvements.

Access to Affordable, Healthy Food (Opportunity #5, pg. 27)

In response to community needs for increased access to fresh produce, the Farm Squad of Seattle Parks & Recreation's (SPR) Urban Food Systems Program piloted a farm stand with the support of Resistencia Coffee in South Park on August 7th and 18th. Coté Soerens, the owner of the coffee shop, generously offered the use of the outdoor space of the establishment and access to the customers and passersby. The organic produce was sourced from vegetables the youth grew at Marra Farm, and Clean Greens Farm and Market, the only African-American owned Community Supported Agriculture in Seattle. Suggested donations were posted. Donations support the ongoing youth leadership and career development programs at South Park Community Center. We expect the Farm Stand to continue in 2019.

South Park Community Center (Opportunity #8, pg. 33)

Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR) worked with members of the South Park community to finalize a plan that will guide the redesign and construction of the Center's entire site. SPR hired consultants to complete final design and has identified funds to fully implement the plan, including additional City funding, State grants, and a partnership with Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Seattle Parks Foundation.

South Park Plaza (Opportunity #11, pg. 38)

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is working to complete temporary improvements to facilitate activation prior to construction. SPR is supporting the community in coordinating events for temporary activation of the site. The first event was held November 2nd.  A food truck will also be temporarily on site.

Early planning for the site is in progress. SPR recently selected a consultant to begin design of the permanent improvements. Design will occur in 2019 with construction planned for completion in 2021. As part of this work SPR has retained a structural engineer to evaluate an old bandshell purchased by community members. SPR will determine if the structure can be permitted and assembled in the park.

Pavement to Parks (Opportunity #13, pg. 40)

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installed a Pavement to Parks project along 8th Ave. S between S Cloverdale St and S Donovan St in South Park. The project turned an underused portion of the roadway into a welcoming public space with beautiful artwork. The opening celebration attracted a  great crowd.  Some of the reactions we have heard from community members include: "Absolutely gorgeous!" "It is so lovely and so fun...!", and "One of the best projects I've ever seen in South Park." The success of the design and installation was a result of SDOT working collaboratively and closely with the actively engaged community members of South Park.

The Flume (Opportunity #14, pg. 41)

Seattle City Light (SCL) is working with the community, Seattle Parks & Recreation (SPR), and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to find a solution for "The Flume" site to become a neighborhood open space and amenity. The community is supportive of this site being an element of a community benefit for SCL's potential request for a street vacation of a portion of Diagonal Way S next to SCL's South Service Center. SCL will hire a consultant who will help develop the street vacation application that will start the process with SDOT, the Seattle Design Commission, and City Council.

Outside Citywide - South Park Pilot (Opportunity #15, pg. 42; Long-Term Strategy #4, pg. 81)

Outside Citywide is an initiative to build collaborative, inter-departmental and inter-agency partnerships to create public space networks that support communities to thrive in place. The South Park neighborhood is the first focus area for this effort. It was selected because of the opportunity to build from the hard work community members have put in to define their vision for the neighborhood and to contribute to implementing priorities in the Duwamish Valley Action Plan.

Greening Concord International Elementary School:

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) granted a $31,768 Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant to the Concord International Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to contract a landscape architect and structural engineering team to prepare the schematic design and permit specifications for Phase II of the Greening Concord International Elementary School project.

Concord PTA, in conjunction with the Greening Concord Steering Committee, unveiled the brand-new Puma Plaza and Pollinator Pathway during the first week of school this year! Construction was partially funded by the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund and includes a new, welcoming community gathering space with benches and other seating areas, and six new trees and native plants; a newly landscaped area featuring native plants in front of the historic entrance, and the Pollinator Pathway on the East end of the playground, featuring native pollinator plants landscaped into a wavy line intended to recall the Duwamish River. Teachers are working with existing science curriculum as well as staff from Solid Ground/Marra Farm to use the Pollinator Pathway as an outdoor classroom and learning garden. 

Community-Controlled Spaces: South Park Neighborhood Center (Opportunity #16, pg. 45; Long-Term Strategy #1; pg. 81)

Office of Planning & Community Development (OPCD), Department of Neighborhoods (DON), Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), and South Park Area Redevelopment Committee (SPARC), are working together to support the community in developing a proposal to the City of Seattle for the ongoing operation, management, and potentially ownership of the South Park Neighborhood Center. The City has funds to support transparent decision-making in the community and help the community meet the City's requirements for managing the facility. OPCD hired White Center CDA to conduct a transparent and inclusive engagement process with South Park community members and organizations to support the selection of an organization to operate the South Park Neighborhood Center for community-supportive purposes.

Georgetown Steam Plant (Opportunity #17, pg. 47; Long-Term Strategy #1; pg. 81)

Seattle City Light's (SCL) search for a building management partner is in its final stages and they hope to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Georgetown-based group that intends to form a new non-profit. This will allow the group to step in and begin fundraising, audience development, and programming, and eventually result in a long-term lease. Meanwhile, rehabilitation work started on the exterior south elevation with paint removal and installation of a new roof is anticipated in 2019. SCL has been recommended for an additional $773,200 from the state's 2019-2021 Heritage Capital Projects grant program to continue work on the exterior concrete repairs, and we will be expanding examination of potential areas of spalling inside. Other small fixes are being taken on by SCL shops crew.

Community Resilience (Opportunity #18, pg. 48; Long-Term Strategies #1-4, pg. 81)

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU)is leading multiple City departments in Connect Capital, an effort that aims to promote resilience in South Park. The goal is to prevent and lessen the impact of climate change on neighbors and workers at risk of displacement in South Park and create community health and equity-based solutions. The effort will focus on river/open space connectivity, anti-displacement, economic development, and climate resilience.

Inclusive Community Engagement, Oversight, & Accountability (Opportunity #19, pg. 49)

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) will support a group of Duwamish Valley stakeholders who will actively and effectively steward the Duwamish Valley Action Plan, ensuring that the mid-term opportunities and long-term strategies are implemented, developed, and advance racial equity outcomes in ways that reflect community needs, interests, and cultures.

Duwamish River Opportunity Fund (Opportunity #21, pg. 51)

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) awarded grants to nine (9) community projects serving neighborhoods in the Duwamish Valley. These projects will help to increase the sustainability of the neighborhoods impacted by the Superfund cleanup. The projects will begin this year and will continue into 2019. For more information about the fund or more details about the projects funded in 2018 click here.

Georgetown - South Park Connection (Opportunity #23, pg. 55)

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) hired a consulting team in early 2018 to complete 30% design of this important connection that the community members prioritized in the Georgetown Open Spaces Vision Framework and the Georgetown Mobility Study. A temporary pedestrian path has been built along East Marginal Way S to better serve the community.

8th Ave. S in Georgetown (Opportunity #25, pg. 57; Long-Term Strategy #5, pg. 81)

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is leading the City's coordination with Georgetown community members and Seattle Parks Foundation, who have secured several grants to improve Gateway Park North and pedestrian access and drainage along 8th Ave S. in Georgetown. On-the-ground improvements are expected to begin in 2019.

Additionally, Department of Neighborhoods (DON) granted a $52,391 Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant to the Georgetown community to hire a design firm to develop 60% design for improvements at the 8th Ave S Street End. This project will work with community members to develop a cohesive street end and shoreline design that includes a bioswale, ADA parking, benches, and accessible shoreline.

Workforce Development Strategy (Opportunity #28, pg. 61; Long-Term Strategy #2, pg. 81)

Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), Office of Economic Development (OED), and Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) are exploring ways to connect Duwamish Valley community members and local businesses to local opportunities and regional prosperity and integrate workforce development in projects in the Duwamish Valley.

Support for Small Merchants (Opportunity #30, pg. 64)

Office of Economic Development (OED) granted $77,500 to the South Park Merchants Association and Georgetown Merchants Association to support business and property owners to organize around a common vision for their districts and attract investment. Seven South Park businesses recently completed the Business Development Account program that Mercy Corps provides under contract with OED. OED's Small Business staff also provided 12 technical assistance visits to South Park businesses.

Additionally, Department of Neighborhoods (DON) awarded $45,764 through the Neighborhood Matching Fund to the South Park Merchants Association to install a welcome sign and create additional green space at the intersection of 14th Ave. S and S Director St.

Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition (Opportunity #32, pg. 70; Long-Term Strategy #1, pg. 81)

Office of Planning & Community Development (OPCD) provided a $40,000 "organizing grant" to the Coalition in late 2017 and, recently, the Equitable Development Fund granted them $75,000 for capacity building to support a multi-use project that includes affordable housing, childcare, and community space. The Coalition is a partnership of community-serving individuals and organizations in the Duwamish Valley acting to prevent displacement of under-represented and low-income renters and home owners by providing affordable housing, made possible through partnerships both large and small. They are a grassroots organization galvanized by housing scarcity and insufficient options for community members who live, work, learn and collaborate in the Duwamish Valley. 

South Park Public Safety Task Force Recommendations (Opportunity #34, pg. 75)

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) has been coordinating the prioritization and implementation of several capital projects with the support of Seattle Police Department (SPD), Seattle City Light (SCL), and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). These projects were recommendations included in the 2017 South Park Public Safety Taskforce Report. Projects include hiring a public safety coordinator, alley and trail lighting, pedestrian and bicyclists safety improvements, traffic calming, and pedestrian mobility improvement projects. There have been many positive reactions to the projects that have been implemented to date, including:

  • Adding lighting along the 8th Ave. S Trail, 12th Ave. S staircase, 10th Ave. S staircase, and in the S Cloverdale St. and S Donovan St and S Sullivan street alleys;
  • Improving the intersections of 7th, 8th, and 12th Ave. S and S Cloverdale St.

SCL expects to complete the design work for the lighting system replacement under the SR 99 overpass at S Cloverdale St. Construction is anticipated to start in the spring 2019.

Georgetown Public Safety Report (Opportunity #35, pg. 78)

Department of Neighborhoods (DON) completed the work of the Georgetown Public Safety Task Force in mid-2018. The Task Force recently issued their final report, which provides an overview of their planning process, as well as the following priority recommendations for next steps. The City will continue working with the community in 2019 to implement the recommendations in the report.

Duwamish Bikeway/8th Ave. S Trail Improvements (Opportunity #36, pg. 79)

Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) will work with Seattle Neighborhood Group and the community to design and install an art project on the trail; installation is expected in 2019.

Litter Abatement Pilot Project (Opportunity #37, pg. 80)

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) increased litter collection and disposal services in the South Park neighborhood starting in fall 2017. On average, that is approximately 79,000 lbs. of litter collected in South Park thru fall 2018. In 2019, cleaning crews will continue to go through a predetermined route within the neighborhood twice a week and collect and dispose of: ground litter, needles and SHARPS, bulky items, and additional items.