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Sunny day at Lincoln Park

Sunny day at Lincoln Park

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History of Web Site

Internet Timeline for Seattle.Gov and the World


In September of 2011, the Seattle.Gov web site was awarded a Best of the Web award from the Center for Digital Government, named First Place in the City Portal category for the United States.


Highlights for the City of Seattle web site in 2010 included:


Highlights for the City of Seattle web site in 2006 included:

Best of the Web 2006

Elsewhere, the World Wide Web continues to create a culture of individual self-publishing and cooperative self-publishing with blogs, wikis and photo publishing sites like Flickr, file sharing continues to rise as a popular form of sharing information, and web sites offer increasing amounts of all types of media -- print, radio, television and film -- over the internet at popular sites such as U Tube, Itunes and many more.


Highlights for the City of Seattle web site in 2005 included:

Seattle.Gov Home Page:
City of Seattle Home Page
Click to see larger version.

Elsewhere, Google Map hacks became the cutting edge thing on the web, Voodoo, the first 3D consumer graphic accelerator is released, and a survey from Netcraft reports there are more than 60 million web sites online.


City of Seattle online payments were expanded to include:

In the spring of 2004, Seattle.Gov launched a new design of its home page and portal pages.

In 2004, 50% of Seattle residents used the City web site, and averaged over 900,000 user sessions per month.

Seattle.Gov Home Page:
City of Seattle Home Page
Click to see larger version.

Elsewhere, the CERNET2 backbone connected 25 universities in China, broadband connections became even more popular, almost everyone agreed that spamming made online life less pleasant, podcasting entered the internet lexicon, the smart phone market heated up, the FCC encouraged deployment of fiber optic broadband networks capable of delivering advanced data, video and voice service to the mass market by local telephone companies, and the Mozilla Firefox web browser was released.


In 2003, the Department of Planning and Development launched their GIS application, enabling people to interactively build, view, and print map displays from online Seattle GIS data, including an integrated property research tool.

The City developed a partnership with Real Networks, and began indexing videos of City Council meetings so users could click on topics of interest. The Seattle Channel website won a best government TV channel website award from NATOA and was named the best local government web application by the Center for Digital Government.

The City's Central Web Team Developed new presentation and accessibility standards that formed the basis for a redesign of the site in 2004. The City website averaged 2.7 million page views per month, and upgraded its search engine and web statistics.

Elsewhere, the first official Swiss online election took place, the Public Interest Registry took over as the dot org registry operator, spam accounted for half of all emails, multitudes of systems were impacted by worms such as SQL Slammer, Sobig.F and Blaster, and an international team set new Internet2 land speed records by transferring 6.7 gigabytes of data across over 6,800 miles of network in less than one minute.


Image link to The Seattle Channel web siteIn 2002, the City launched, a website designed to encourage and support citizen interaction with government. In addition to serving as an improved website for channel information such at the broadcast schedule, the website has interactive features such as polling, issue-based content, and highlights.

At the end of 2002, over 500 videos of Council meetings, Mayoral press conferences, and various programs produced by the Seattle Channel were available via web streaming.

In March of 2002, the City purchased a Content Management System from Stellent.

In 2002, the City established the Web Governance Board, part of the overall IT governance structure in the City.

Elsewhere, blogs became hip, the US created the kids-safe dot-kids domain, 65% of all American children used the internet, there were 544 million worldwide internet users, internet radio stations observed a Day of Silence to protest increased song royalty rates, and the Internet population continued to grow as cell phones, pagers, PDAs, laptops and other technologies allowed people to carry the internet with them wherever they went.


The most significant initiative in 2001-2002 began with the City's TV channel, but quickly expanded to create a vision to inform and engage citizens in the governmental, civic, and cultural affairs of Seattle through compelling use of television, Internet, and other media.

The Seattle Commission on Electronic Communications' charge was to develop a short-term and long-term vision and direction for the City's television station and its web site in order to increase public awareness, understanding and participation in government, community and cultural affairs. The Commission was also asked to explore areas of structure, finance, programming, marketing, teledemocracy and emerging technologies.

The Seattle Data Sheet produced by the Office of Intergovernmental Relations provides basic facts about the City, its population, economy and other general information. The datasheet has been translated into five languages - Spanish, Chinese, French, Japanese and Italian.

The domain name was registered and made the official name for the City website.

In February of 2001, the Nisqually Earthquake rocked the Pacific Northwest.

These photos show our old server in the Dexter Horton Building in downtown Seattle, and how part of the ceiling fell in during the quake but missed the servers, fortunately!

The City web site remained up and running after the quake.

The City activated its Emergency Operations Center minutes after the quake, and used the City web site to get important post-quake information out to citizens and the world.

Old Server Room Before Quake

Old Server Room After Quake

Elsewhere, the full Unicode character set opened up most of the world's languages, SETI@Home was launched, 9.8 billion electronic messages were sent every day, internet users found free wi-fi available at library, schools, cafes and many other locations, the first internet cybercrime treaty was established, Apple's iPod appeared, and the Digital Agenda Act of Australia made forwarding emails there illegal.


Between 1999 and 2000, all City departments launched their own web sites, except for the City Attorney's Office, which launched its web site in early 2001.

The Seattle Public Utilities Garbage, Recycling and Yard Waste Calendar and Department of Planning and Development (then, DCLU) Building Permit Status web sites were launched.

City of Seattle Central Web Team recieves 2000 Best of the Web AwardIn mid-2000, the City launched a major web redesign. Portal pages and the City Highlights feature on the home page were introduced.

Live streaming was added to the City web site, as well as an expanded number of online forms and the Consultant Roster Program Application.

In 2000, 30% of Seattle residents used the City web site.

The City of Seattle web site was named "Best of the Web" by the Center for Digital Government.

COS Home Page:
City of Seattle Home Page
Click to see larger version.

Elsewhere, web size surpassed 1 billion indexable pages, ASP, Napster and wireless devices emerged as hot technologies, more than 1,200 North American newspapers offered online services, and on January 1, the US Timekeeper service reported the new year as 19100. The internet stock bubble burst, closing the initial public offering (IPO) window and causing many dotcoms to close up shop.

The City introduced a banner promoting the City web site.


The City of Seattle launched a new web address,

In November of 1999, the City hosted the World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference.

Elsewhere, the first largescale cyberwar took place, the first full service bank available only on the Net opened for business, the domain name sold for $7.5 million, internet shopping rapidly became popular, PayPal appeared, the Internet Societal Task Force was formed, 2,200 radio stations broadcast on the internet, and Seattle ranked #3 in the top ten wired American cities.


Members of the Central Web Team during this time.

The City of Seattle began video streaming, launched its Real Property Finder application, the City Directory, and the News Release database.

The City also published its first document in Spanish, supported a section of HistoryLink and offered the Community Computer Fair, a community technology outreach and support event in South Central Seattle.

In 1998, 18% of Seattle residents used the City web site.

Elsewhere, a television sports show's outcome was determined by internet users and viewers for the first time, electronic postal stamps were offered by the US Postal Service, Network Solutions registered its 2 millionth domain, Canada launched the first optical national internet, 50% of US homes had personal computers, and eCommerce, eAuctions and eTrade emerged as important technologies.


The City of Seattle launched its database-driven Calendar of Events, allowing citizens to post their own event items on the City calendar.

The City also launched Community Resources Online and Online Parking Ticket Payments this year, also hiring a Community Technology Planner. The Bulletin Board Service (BBS) was closed.

In 1997, 10% of Seattle residents used the City web site.

Elsewhere, the domain name sold for $150,000, Internet Official Protocol Standards were established, The American Registry for Internet Numbers began operation, NASA net broadcast Pathfinder images from Mars, the DVD format was released, and the Indonesian Government, NASA, the UK Conservative Party and the Spice Girls all had their web sites hacked.


The City launched a new web site design and concept, introducing the "Citizen/Business/Visitor" model, which subsequently became one of the most-used internet navigation models in the world! The new site design was later affectionately nicknamed "The Blue Whale" by the City web team.

COS Home Page:
City of Seattle Home Page
Click to see larger version.

Elsewhere, the internet browser war began heating up, international leaders met for the first time in an online interactive chat session, the US Communications Decency Act was passed into law and subsequently ruled unconstitutional, BackRub -- which later became Google -- was developed, the Internet2 project began, and various ISPs suffered extended outages as internet users surged to 45 million strong.


There was a grand opening for PAN with several public officials in January 1995.

The web interface ( was activated during the week ending February 1, 1995. A total of 33 users accessed the site that day.

PAN Home Page:
City of Seattle Home Page
Click to see larger version.

On February 7, 1995, a picture of the City Council linked to a bio of each individual member was implemented.

Elsewhere, JAVA was first launched, Real Audio began netcasting, large-scale online dial-up services offered internet access, the Canadian Government and the Vatican went online, the Y2K problem was first addressed, E-Bay was founded, was launched, the Internet Explorer and Mozilla web browsers were released, cable modems and applets spread in use, and the WWW became the service with the most internet traffic.


The official City of Seattle PAN launch (for the Bulletin Board System) was a quiet one during the week of December 7, 1994.

PAN BBS Home Page:
City of Seattle Home Page
Click to see larger version.

Original PAN Web Team?

Elsewhere, the first United States House and Senate information servers were launched, the first cyberbank opened for business, banner ads began to appear in greater numbers on dot com sites, search engines, web pages and spamming entered the internet lexicon, cgi-bins spread in use, the Netscape and Opera web browsers were released, the first international WWW conference was held at CERN in Geneva, and you could order a pizza online.

Ten-Year Anniversary

In February of 2005, the City of Seattle proudly celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its web site, Seattle.Gov!

Thanks to Our Team

The City of Seattle Central Web Team sincerely thanks all of the web and content managers, developers, designers and everyone else who has contributed to Seattle.Gov these past ten years.

City of Seattle Central Web Team Members
During the Past Ten Years:

Bruce Blood
Busbong Sears
Dana Hedberg
David Keyes
Derrick Hall
Elizabeth Holland
Eric Svaren
James Rice
Jeff Beckstrom
Jeff Crist
Jenn Ramirez
JoanE O'Brien
Ken Vogel
Kevin Turner
Laurie Kraft
Lenny Roberts
Mark Butler
Mark Caldwell
Michael Robinson
Nate Eckstine
Patrick Broemeling
Phil Klein
Roger Iida
Steve Ripley
Terrell Ross
Valeria Musafir
Terry Wittman
Neil Berry
Erickson Moskito
Alex Orda

And last but not least,
Our Founder and Former Director,
Rona Zevin

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