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Seattle Department of Neighborhoods News
Spring 2010

This Month...

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Calendar of key events:
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A message from the director

Director Stella Chao

Things have been hopping at Seattle Department of Neighborhoods! One of our key functions is "to bring government closer to the residents of Seattle by engaging them in civic participation...involving more of Seattle's underrepresented residents..." Over the past few weeks, we've certainly been working toward this goal as Mayor McGinn seeks broad input into his new initiatives. Building on the successful outreach and engagement process we used in Neighborhood Planning, our Public Outreach Liaisons (POLs) have been tapped to continue their great work. It is a great government-community partnership model for providing language- and cultural- appropriate outreach and facilitating civic engagement. The POLs are "on-the-ground" community representatives working directly with diverse community members to bridge the gap between government and its residents. Find out more about the POLs' neighborhood planning work here.

Public Outreach LiaisonsOur latest project is supporting the search for the new Police Chief. Through the POLs' efforts, along with our Neighborhood District Coordinators' connections, the Search Committee's community meeting in late February had more than 130 participants from 11 language groups present to provide input on public safety concerns and attributes needed for a new Police Chief.

Currently, POLs are facilitating two dozen workshops focused on the Mayor's Youth and Families Initiative to address issues and solutions for problems that face our youth and families. Then later this spring, the POLs will once again focus their attention on the new Neighborhood Planning Updates for Rainier Beach and Bitter Lake.

POLs, along with the entire department's staff, work daily to connect ALL community members to City government and civic opportunities. It's been a great partnership!

Stella Chao
Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Hot Community News:
Preparation begins for closure of South Park Bridge

South Park BridgeWith the upcoming closure of the South Park Bridge, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has proactively engaged community members and businesses with the hope of lessening the impact of the bridge's closure. We are teaming up with other City Departments and regional agencies to work with community business owners to maintain the South Park area as a vibrant and unique business community. Meetings will be hosted with individual business owners to find creative solutions and identify continued community building strategies for the betterment of South Park. There will also be several community meetings hosted by King County in late April and May to discuss the closure plan. For more information on these meetings, contact Andres Mantilla at 233-3868 or Steve Louie at 233-2044.

Community celebrates Neighbor Appreciation Day 2010

By Jake Hanson, Community Relations
Student Art Contest WinnersFebruary 6 marked the 16th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day, and Seattle celebrated with great excitement this year. Dozens of activities from open houses at fire stations to neighborhood parties were held to celebrate neighbors. In a special ceremony, Mayor Mike McGinn and Councilmember Mike O'Brien presented awards to the 12 winners of the annual citywide Student Art Contest at Dunlap Elementary School. Check out the full story about the day's highlights at

New South Park Information Center opens

By Andres Mantilla, Community Capacity Manager
Seventy-five community members, neighborhood leaders and service providers gathered in February to celebrate the grand opening of the South Park Information and Resource Center (SPIARC) recently relocated to accommodate community needs. Attendees had the privilege of enjoying tamales, made by South Park's own Doa Petra, as they learned about the South Park Action Agenda and were updated on upcoming community projects. More than 100 people visit the information center each month to learn about environmental education, employment, language classes, translation, child care, and other connection programs. Since 2008, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has worked with the center to build South Park Community Centerorganizational capacity, promote sustainable fundraising opportunities, and expand its services to low-income individuals in South Park.

New P-Patch community gardens are underway

By Laura Raymond, Levy Projects Coordinator, P-Patch Program
With spring growth comes new energy and new ideas, and there are plenty of both bubbling up around the new P-Patch community garden projects funded by the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. In Southeast Seattle, two new projects are underway. Rainier Vista's P-Patch program - along with Solid Ground, Seattle Housing Authority, and other community groups - is creating an Urban Community Farm, enabling gardeners to grow food for donation in the Rainier Valley. New Holly is undergoing preparations for its Youth and Family Garden, an outreach program which will bring a multi-lingual approach to the redesign of their P-Patch. The project will nearly double the size of the garden and create a gathering space for many cultures and generations. There will be a second round of projects, and your suggestions for locations are wanted! Visit

Participate in Seattle's Youth and Families Initiative!

Youth and Families InitiativeMayor McGinn's new Youth and Families Initiative will help shape the issues affecting youth and families from a child's birth to their successful career track. The focus is to eliminate racial disparities in education, child care, children's health and the criminal justice system. As part of the City's commitment to active involvement by Seattle's diverse communities and neighborhoods, including communities of color and immigrant and refugee households, more than 100 Community Caucuses will be held beginning now through April 30. Hosted by our Public Outreach Liaisons (POLs), these Caucuses are an opportunity for groups that want to make their voices heard. They'll meet with a facilitator in living rooms, coffee shops, community centersanywhere where people gather naturally. Each Caucus will elect one delegate to send on to the broader Kids and Families Congress on June 5 at Seattle Center.

Landmark church gets extensive renovation into townhomes

By Beth Chave, Sr. Community Development Specialist, Historic Preservation
First Church of Cist buildingOne of the most ambitious and imaginative adaptive re-use projects to date is the recent rehabilitation of the century-old First Church of Christ, one of the first buildings designated by the Landmarks Preservation Board in 1977. Developer Joel Lavin is completing the final touches on its extensive renovation into luxury townhouses located on the corner of 16th Avenue and East Denny Way. The renovation also retained many of the irreplaceable architectural features that set this project apart from other townhouse projects. For more information, see

P-Patch gardeners donate tons of food

By Jake Hanson, Community Relations
Citizens Budget ConferenceThe P-Patch Community Gardening program is designed not only to provide food and community involvement, but also to give gardeners a chance to donate time, labor, and most importantly, food to local food banks and hot meal centers. In 2009, P-Patch community gardeners donated more than 27,420 lbs. of food (equaling 54,840 servings). A P-Patch community garden partner, Lettuce Link, noted "while we can measure the impact of our giving in pounds, we remember that quantity is not everything. It is the quality of our fresh, organic produce that people most appreciate." Thanks to P-Patch community gardens and the P-Patchers, the community benefits from their talents and expertise.

206 Hip Hop Summit attracts youth from around the world

By Allynn Ruth, NMF Project Manager
The idea of lazy and unmotivated youth was put aside for good at the 206 Hip Hop Summit, produced by 206 Universal on February 12-14. This youth-driven event included art and music showcases, workshops, panel discussions, and the highlighting break dance competition with entries from all over the world. The event was funded by a Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple award of $15,000, adding to $24,000 raised by the community. Over 200 young people and their families were in attendance, anxious to show off their best dance moves. 206 Universal uses hip hop as a medium to unite and empower youth of all ethnic backgrounds.

CNC Budget Conference a great success

By Chris Leman, CNC Budget Committee Chair
Citizens Budget ConferenceCommenting on the budget and engaging the public are responsibilities of the City Neighborhood Council (CNC) and the 13 district councils that comprise it. On January 31, the CNC hosted the 2010 Citizens Budget Conference with Seattle Center to kick off the two-year city budgeting process. Participating were the City Budget Office and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Mayor McGinn, and Seattle City Council, along with 25 other City department representatives. The record attendance exceeded 200 community members. The CNC Budget Committee's open meetings continue this dialogue between the City and the public. The next meeting is Wednesday, May 12, so all are welcome to come or send ideas to chair Chris Leman, or (206) 322-5463.

The arts are alive at Georgetown's first Winter Arts Celebration

With support from the Small and Simple Projects Fund, the United Artists of Georgetown celebrated the first Georgetown Winter Arts Celebration. The event welcomed 428 guests, including many children, to the Georgetown Ballroom for an evening of art displays and performances by artists who either live or work in Georgetown. The event connected local talent to residents and business owners, and connected businesses with residents as well. The plan is to make this an annual event, bringing in community members from all corners of the Seattle area to enjoy the celebration.

Rainier Beach and Bitter Lake to update neighborhood plans

Councilmember OBrien with constituentsMayor Mike McGinn and Seattle City Council recently announced that the Rainier Beach and the Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake neighborhoods will begin an update of their neighborhood plans this year. Councilmembers Mike O'Brien and Sally J. Clark, along with Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, will work with neighbors to address recent growth, infrastructure, housing affordability, and other neighborhood concerns. To ensure that diverse voices are heard, our Public Outreach Liaisons will be connecting with community members, with an emphasis on underserved populations, throughout the planning process. Staff is preparing for the updates by touring the neighborhoods, and will utilize local advisory committees to support the process.

Visit Seattle Department of Neighborhoods at

700 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
P.O. Box 94679
Seattle, WA 98124

(206) 684-0464
FAX (206) 233-5142

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