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Calendar of Events:

2011 Large Projects Fund Technical Assistance Workshops
Wednesday, January 19: 6:00 8:00pm
Garfield Community Center, 2323 East Cherry Street
Thursday, January 27: 6:00 8:00pm
Ballard Library, 5614 22nd Avenue NW
Wednesday, February 2: 6:00 – 8:00pm
Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Avenue South

City Hall Open House
Saturday, January 29, from 11am - 2pm

Neighbor Appreciation Day
Saturday, February 12, occurring all over the city


A message from the director

Director Stella Chao

Dear friends:

As you may already know, I am leaving my position as director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods at the end of the month. After conversations with the Mayor, we've agreed that I will not seek reappointment to another term.

We have weathered many changes in these last four years of my term, and yet, with all those changes there have been many achievements, due to a wonderful staff, dedicated volunteers, and engaged citizens. We have made tremendous inroads in connecting all communities with this City's government, paving the way for their voice in policy and decision-making. Here are few things we've accomplished together in these past four years:

  • Stewarded 47 City of Seattle-designated Landmarks.
  • Developed the Mayor's Youth Council into a full City Commission advising elected officials on policy issues.
  • Stewarded 13 active citizen advisory committees to represent the neighborhoods' needs in development changes for major institutions and schools.
  • Supported the Immigrant and Refugee Initiative through its evolution to a fully-functioning city commission and programming in all city departments.
  • Expanded the hours and services in our Neighborhood Services Centers.
    • Made Passport services available all days.
    • Partnered with United Way to provide tax-preparation EITC services.
    • Partnered with King County Elections for ballot drop sites that took in 25% of all dropped ballots in King County.
  • Supported 684 Neighborhood Matching Fund community projects that improve neighborhoods.
  • Developed 13 new P-Patch community gardens and redeveloped 4 existing gardens to add 500 new plots. An additional $2 million was designated to support P-Patch development with passage of the 2008 Parks & Green Spaces Levy.
  • Organized or engaged in over 12,000 community meetings to keep communities informed.
  • Took action on coordinating 25 new projects and programs from the South Park Action Agenda; 63% of the Agenda is now complete.
  • Met our goal of paying invoices within 48 hours of receipt.
  • Redesigned the website to be more informative and intuitive and developed our social media presence.
  • Conducted evaluations of NMF and P-Patch programs and implemented several improvements in response to community input. Our major tracking and application improvements will be launched soon!
  • Engaged a greater diversity of historically underserved Seattleites in our neighborhood planning process through the Public Outreach Liaison (POL) model.

I believe strongly in the mission and the values of this department, and I will continue to be proud that Seattle has a Department of Neighborhoods. It is a statement about our values around community-building and the importance of authentic civic engagement in keeping our City a wonderful place to call home.

I still have much I want to accomplish personally, and I look forward to the next chapter in my life, which, undoubtedly, will continue to be working with and for the community. It has truly been a privilege to serve the community in this post and to work with a staff so dedicated to neighborhoods.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt"


Stella Chao
Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

2010 was a successful year for Seattle P-Patch Market Gardens

by Julie Bryan, P-Patch Community Garden Coordinator

Did you know that P-Patch gardeners at the NewHolly and High Point P-Patch Community Gardens grow and sell wonderfully fresh produce that they pick while you wait? Wow! Who wouldn't want some!? This is not a dream - the P-Patch Market Gardening Program and its two farm stands have been in operation for the past two years.

The P-Patch Market Gardens help to establish safe, healthy communities and economic opportunity through development of community-supported agriculture (CSA) enterprises and farm stands in low-income neighborhoods. New this summer was the support from the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Initiative and the West Seattle Food Bank who provided coupons and vouchers for people in need to spend at our farm stands. As a result of improved marketing, the power of word of mouth, and hard-working gardeners, the revenue to the farm stands more than doubled at High Point and more than tripled at NewHolly this year. Thank you, Seattle, for your support of local, fresh and seasonal produce. To learn more, visit

Highlights of Neighborhood Matching Fund projects

by Liana Woo, NMF Project Manager

Volunteers, including parents from Concord Elementary School and DON director Stella Chao, participated in a work party to install the first phase of their $88,000 Large Project Fund award. The project will convert an underutilized outdoor area, and create a multi-purpose, multi-functioning space for outdoor recreation and education for Concord students and the neighborhood.

The West Seattle YMCA received a $5,000 Small and Simple award to engage at-risk and underserved youth to work with a professional artist to plan, design, and paint a mural at Chief Sealth International High School.

2010 Large Project Fund recipients were recognized by Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith; City Councilmembers Mike O'Brien and Sally Bagshaw; and DON Director Stella Chao at an event organized by the Friends of Neighborhood Matching Fund.

Through the Tree Fund, Seattle residents worked with their neighbors to plant nearly 300 street trees this fall, including nearly 70 fruit trees.The purpose of the Fund is to promote a healthy environment and beautify Seattle's streets, while building community.

Celebrate Neighbor Appreciation Day

February 12, 2011 marks Seattle's 17th annual Neighbor Appreciation Day! It is a time to reach out to our neighbors, create new bonds, and express thanks to our neighbors. There are three ways you can participate:

  • Organize a neighborhood event such as a block party, open house, potluck, or work party anytime that week and register it on our online calendar. Visit our website for tools to help you.
  • Attend one of the many community activities listed on our calendar. Community centers, pools, and fire stations are having parties and open houses, among others.
  • Send a FREE greeting card to a favorite neighbor. Beginning Jan. 20, you can pick up cards at Seattle City Hall, our office in the Seattle Municipal Tower, Neighborhood Service Centers, and all community centers and libraries throughout Seattle.

Join us and the thousands of community members across our city in celebration of what makes Seattle great our neighbors! For information, visit

Neighborhood District Coordinators now servicing new areas

by Pamela Banks, Program Manager for Neighborhood Planning & Neighborhood District Coordinators

With recent staffing and budget reductions to the department, changes have been made to our Neighborhood Service Centers and the Neighborhood District Coordinators (NDC) program.  Of the 13 Neighborhood Service Centers we manage, six have been permanently closed.  However, the remaining seven centers continue to provide payment and information services for the public.

In addition, three of the thirteen Neighborhood District Coordinator positions were cut. So the 10 NDCs will serve the City through a new team approach over three large geographic areas:

  • The South Area consists of 4 districts (Southeast, Greater Duwamish, Delridge and Southwest). They will be served by the South Team (Ron Angeles, Steve Louie, Yun Pitre, and Ed Pottharst).
  • The Central Area consists of 5 districts (Central, East, Downtown, Lake Union, and Magnolia/Queen Anne). They will be served by the Central Team (Christa Dumpys, Tim Durkan, and Stan Lock).
  • The North Area consists of 4 districts (Northeast, North, Northwest, and Ballard). They will be served by the North Team (Karen Ko, Rob Mattson, and Beth Pflug).

Over the years, these resources, staff, and facilities have been heavily utilized, enhancing connection to City government. We will strive to do our best to serve and support the needs of our neighborhoods and community members.

Neighborhood Planning Outreach and Engagement Team honored

Congratulations to our Neighborhood Planning Outreach and Engagement Team members - Kerry Wade, Thomas Whittemore, and Sebhat Tenna - who were awarded the Seattle Management Association's Innovation and Change Management Award. The award recognized their leadership in civic outreach and engagement. Using the Planning Outreach Liaison (POL) model, the team recruited culturally competent liaisons, provided training and technical support, and worked with the POL staff to connect with historically underrepresented communities and convey their voices back to the City.

Beautiful landmark graces Belltown

by Sarah Sodt, Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator

The Josephinum, located at 1902 Second Avenue and historically known as the New Washington Hotel, was designed by the architecture firm Eames and Young in 1907. The luxury hotel was built in anticipation of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. At 14 stories high, it contained 250 guest rooms, a marble-finished lobby and dining room, and a large ballroom. The building was purchased by the Catholic Archdiocese in 1963 for use as low-income housing. And in 1988, it was designated a City of Seattle Landmark, in part because of its ornate terra cotta detailing and the distinctive arched main floor windows. This year, the Archdiocese rehabilitated the building's elegant ballroom for use as a chapel and established a new parish. Christ Our Hope Church will continue to share the building with approximately 220 low-income residents.

  Photo by Stephen Lee

Services available for you at your Neighborhood Service Center

by Rolanda Carriere, Customer Service Representative Performance Supervisor

When was the last time you visited your local Neighborhood Service Center? Did you know that you can license your pet, pay your parking tickets, apply for a passport, and pay your City Light and SPU bills? The Neighborhood Service Centers house a wealth of information and the customer service staff are great at answering questions and providing information related to the city and the community. Browse our lobby to learn about the latest City of Seattle employment opportunities or use the public computer to research jobs, housing, and resources. Click here to find the NSC nearest you.

Neighborhood Advisory Committee members hit the ground running

Thirty community members in the Rainier Beach and the Broadview/Bitter Lake/Haller Lake neighborhoods were selected to serve on the Neighborhood Advisory Committees (NAC). Meeting monthly since October, these two groups advise and collaborate with our department and Department of Planning and Development on the neighborhood planning update process. This process provides each neighborhood the opportunity to update its vision and priorities based on the changing face of the community. NAC members live, work, or spend significant time in the neighborhood and represent a broad range of community interests. Presently, their focus is preparing for this spring's community meetings which will kick off the planning process.

For more information about the NACs and how to participate, contact Sebhat Tenna at 206.733.9977 ( or visit

NewHolly plans for expanding P-Patch garden

by Kenya Fredie, P-Patch Community Garden Coordinator

Snow and freezing temperatures that leave most plants brown and rotting can't kill the hum of activity that continues in community gardens throughout the winter. That's especially true for the new P-Patches being created with funds from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy. At the NewHolly Youth and Family P-Patch, neighbors and gardeners came together to design a new and improved garden this past summer and fall. Children and adults (speaking more than four languages!) worked together to create a plan that doubles the size of the existing garden and adds space for children to explore and families to gather to cook and share food. Construction is planned to start this spring.


Rain doesn't stop 30 volunteers at a NewHolly P-Patch work party.

Youth passion leads to project's success

By Nikkita Oliver, Empire Nights Coordinator
and Liana Woo, NMF Project Manager

What started as a small seed in the minds of youth from Rainier Beach and Cleveland High Schools grew into Empire Nights, a youth-led development project in Rainier Valley. Supported by Rainer Beach Community Empowerment Coalition and Urban Impact, Empire Nights received a Small and Simple award to provide resources, opportunity, and a safe space for young adults, ages 14-19. Youth learned, shared, and discussed such arts sciences as spoken word, visual arts, music, social justice, and economics. Youth leaders worked with the coordinators to guide the scope of the project. By the end, 20 youth received stipends; 25 youth served as community leaders; and over 300 southend youth are now empowered to use their voices, skills, and talents to bring unity and understanding to their community.

Celebration held to honor our volunteers

by Lisa Uemoto, Executive Assistant

When I first joined Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, I was inspired by this department's mission. However, it almost seemed impossible to accomplish with such a small team, until I met many of our wonderful and dedicated volunteers.

Last October we held our first appreciation celebration for the many volunteers serving on our 40+ councils, boards, and commissions. More than 200 community members attended the event at Seattle City Hall to enjoy the camaraderie, food, and special recognition of their help and support in making Seattle a strong and engaged community. Along with a certificate, the attendees went home with gifts of fresh, organic produce that came straight from our Community Market Gardens at NewHolly and High Point.

Thank you, volunteers, for your service to your community and to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Visit Seattle Department of Neighborhoods at

700 5th Avenue, Suite 1700
P.O. Box 94649
Seattle, WA 98124

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

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