Commissioners

Grace Kim

Grace Kim

Chair
Term: Expires 2018

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Grace joined the Commission because she is passionate about the planning policies that they weigh in on - family-sized housing, transit communities, affordability, vibrant streets.  She brings to the Commission her professional experience in affordable housing, transit oriented communities, and mobility/transportation as well as her personal experience of raising a young child in downtown Seattle.

Grace is a founding partner of Schemata Workshop, an architecture and urban design practice based in Seattle. They work with a variety of public, private, and non-profit clients to create community focused projects.  Their current projects include work on Seattle's Central Waterfront, a modular construction project for the Renton Housing Authority, a dense urban cohousing project in Seattle, another cohousing project in Portland on a former land-fill for a Zen Buddhist community, and the new urban Seattle stores for CVS Pharmacy.

Grace's favorite place in Seattle is Capitol Hill, where her office is located, as well as her future home.  She is a founding member and lives at the Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing project.  She chose the location because of its ability to support the full spectrum of life without reliance of the automobile.

Grace lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and daughter.  When she isn't designing for her clients she can be found skiing, enjoying food with friends and experiencing traditional Korean dancing and drumming.

Kara Martin

Kara Martin

Vice-Chair
Term: Expires 2017

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Kara joined the Planning Commission because she is passionate about ensuring residents can live healthy, active lives in all Seattle neighborhoods. Kara is committed to seeing that community health and equity are addressed and integrated with other critical planning issues such as affordable housing, job creation, and transportation access.

Kara is a principal/owner at Healthy Community Planning, a consulting firm specializing in community health and food system planning. She lives in West Seattle with her husband, kids and dogs. Her favorite place in Seattle is Schmitz Park.

Michael Austin

Michael Austin

Co-Chair of Housing and Neighborhoods Committee
Term: Expires 2017

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An active member of the local design community, Michael became interested in joining the Planning Commission after serving as the Get Engaged representative for the East Design Review Board. He brings a passion for seeking equitable planning solutions to both short and long-range efforts that will shape the various neighborhoods of Seattle, and the City as a whole.

Michael is a Planner with Perkins+Will, where he is involved in planning and design projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. He brings experience in community outreach, neighborhood-scale planning, and data visualization. He received his Masters in Architecture from Pratt Institute in New York and his Bachelors in City and Regional Planning from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, during which he studied abroad in the Czech Republic.

Michael lives in Pioneer Square with his fiancé and dog, and enjoys traveling on weekends, participating in design competitions, and eating as much food as possible.

Lauren Craig

Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2016

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Lauren brings to the Commission a critical policy analysis lens, with experience at the intersection of development and public policy at the federal, state, and local level in various jurisdictions. Lauren is currently the Strategic Research Manager for labor union SEIU 775. Previous positions held include policy counsel for the Seattle non-profit Puget Sound Sage's affordable housing and land-use campaigns, a regulatory attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in New York City, NY, and an environmental public policy analyst for the regionalist think tank Bay Area Council in San Francisco, CA.   Lauren holds a law degree from Rutgers School of Law in New Jersey, where she co-chaired the Rutgers Law Human Rights Forum, and focused her legal studies in the fields of environmental and equitable development. 

Lauren is honored to have been chosen for a seat on Seattle's Planning Commission, as she believes the city is a special place, gifted with an enormous opportunity to shape positive growth.  Lauren lives with her husband in Lower Queen Anne and plans to stay a while.  She a dedicated transit rider, hiker, and book-reader.

Molly Esteve

Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2016

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Molly joined the Commission to share her passion for developing livable, sustainable communities that support a diverse socio-economic population. Molly is the Get Engaged commissioner for 2015-2016, and is excited to inspire youth engagement in government.

Molly spent time in college camping across the American West studying the politics of public lands. She has since worked on the conservation and stewardship of open spaces, and recently moved to Seattle to work to better provide essential services to low-income people and those who experience homelessness.

Molly grew up in Portland, Ore., exploring the city's corners by bike. She now lives in Capitol Hill, and loves the neighborhood for its walkability and lively parks.

Sandra Fried

Housing and Neighborhoods Committee
Term: Expires 2018

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Sandra holds a degree in Public Policy. She works at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation managing relationships with public health multilateral organizations. Previously at the Gates Foundation she was a grantmaker working internationally to improve access to information through public libraries. In her first job in Seattle, she led homelessness grantmaking and programming at United Way of King Country.

She is happy to serve on the Planning Commission and to sit on the Housing and Neighborhoods Committee. She has a special interest in considering policy and programming through the lens of the lowest income earners and those experiencing homelessness in our community.

Sandra is a native of Quito, Ecuador, and has lived in Seattle for fourteen years. She lives in Columbia City with her husband and daughter.

Yolanda Ho

Housing and Neighborhoods Committee
Term: Expires 2018

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Yolanda is committed to making cities environmentally sustainable and socially just. As a
Planning Analyst at Community Attributes, she works with a wide array of clients to develop
economic impact studies, subarea plans and economic development strategies.

She joined the Planning Commission because of her interest in helping to develop policy that improves the
quality of Seattle's built environment for the benefit of all residents. In addition to her
background in environmental management, planning and urban design, she brings to the
Commission her insights from the design and construction profession with her prior experience
as a landscape architect in Philadelphia.

Yolanda lives with her husband and their dog in Columbia City.

 

Amalia Leighton

Amalia Leighton

Housing and Neighborhoods Committee
Term: Expires 2016

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Amalia currently serves on the Housing and Neighborhoods Committee.

Amalia is a Civil Engineer, SvR Design Company; and brings experience in infrastructure, transportation, environmental planning and design and environmental permitting. Interested in affordable, livable communities that include housing variety, open space, green infrastructure, and transportation options.

Amalia lives with her husband and child in the Wallingford neighborhood.

Jake McKinstry

Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2018

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With a passion for developing unique urban mixed-use infill projects that focus on community & sustainability, Jake brings a broad depth of development experience to the Commission. His expertise spans many project types from new ground up development to adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

Jake is a Principal at Spectrum Development Solutions - a real estate advisory and development firm that approaches every project with the goal of meeting a need and providing value to the communities in which we work, build and live. Spectrum's development projects encompass new student housing and mixed-use multifamily projects to neighborhood healthcare clinics and master redevelopments of large sites. 

Jake is a LEED Accredited Professional with a Master of Science degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Boston College. Jake recently served on a working group for the Mayor's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) taskforce and has been an active leader in Habitat for Humanity & Jimmy Carter Work Projects since the age of 15.

Tim Parham

Tim Parham

Co-Chair Housing and Neighborhoods Committee
Term: Expires 2016

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Tim is a Real Estate Development Associate, Plymouth Housing Group; a non-profit that works to prevent homelessness and address its root causes.  He has experience in transit-oriented development, low impact development, economic development, and affordable housing policy, and developing and maintaining urban supportive housing. Interested in creating affordable communities near our cities transit investments. Involved with Othello Station Community Advisory Team and Othello Park Alliance.

Tim lives with his wife in the Othello neighborhoood.

Marj Press

Marj Press

Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2016

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Marj currently serves on the Land Use and Transportation Committee and represents the Planning Commission on the Light Rail Review Panel.

Marj serves on the Planning Commission because it is an exceptional opportunity to give back to her community.  She has a strong commitment to make Seattle a great place to live as demonstrated by her long career in urban planning.

Marj is a small business owner in the Capital Hill neighborhood.  Marj is also an immediate Past Chair of the American Planning Association (APA) Divisions Council.

Marj has over twenty-plus years as a planner analyzing the feasibility and environmental effects of transportation infrastructure projects in the Puget Sound Region and across the United States, with a particular focus in transportation and environmental planning; community outreach and consensus building; bringing together multi-disciplinary interests and ideas; and project management.

Marj lives in the Wallingford neighborhood but enjoys all our wonderful neighborhoods with their nuances and distinct features and to experience the diversity (food, activities, and physical features) available in and around Seattle.

Commissioner David Shelton

David Shelton

Co-Chair Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2017

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David joined the Planning Commission to apply his experience as a professional planner and his personal commitment to sustainable transportation and development to help make Seattle a great place to live and work.

David is a transportation planner with Parsons Brinckerhoff, where he leads planning studies on multiple transportation modes, including light rail, streetcar, bus, ferries, pedestrians, bikes, and autos. David previously served on the board of Transportation Choices Coalition and is passionate about providing abundant, convenient, and safe travel choices for residents of Seattle. He regularly bikes or walks from his home to his office in downtown Seattle, and he loves that his kids would rather walk, bike, or take transit than ride in a car. His favorite parts of Seattle alternate between the verdant natural places (such as Volunteer Park, Interlaken Park, and Lake Washington beaches) and the vibrant urban places (such as Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and the Pike/Pine corridor).

David lives on Capitol Hill with his wife and two kids.

Spencer Williams

Co-Chair Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2018

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Spencer is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Seattle Housing Authority. He is committed to enhancing the experience of the built environment, broadening prosperity, strengthening the viability of community plans, and contributing to the vitality of the places people live, work, and play.

He brings to the commission years of policy and design experience at a variety of scales, a love for urban environments, and a commitment to expand opportunity throughout the Seattle. Previously, Spencer worked within the Urban Design Studio at the City of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability on a variety of neighborhood plans as well as citywide strategic and comprehensive plans. Spencer's previous work focused on growth management, designing integrated infrastructure systems, creating & tracking performance metrics, and community engagement- with a special focus on engaging youth in the planning process.

Spencer lives in the West Seattle neighborhood. He enjoys cooking, biking around Seattle, and exploring Washington State.

Commissioner Patti Wilma

Patti Wilma

Land Use and Transportation Committee
Term: Expires 2017

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Patti's commitment to a livable Seattle spans a 40 year career in land use planning and architecture.  Her interests include how residential communities must accommodate higher densities and a population that desires “in-city” services and amenities while maintaining the neighborhood character as well as open space, how the public realm can enhance the livability and health of a city, and quality transit oriented/mixed use development.  

As a life-long resident of Seattle, Patti is a past member of both Queen Anne and Wedgwood Community Councils and the Queen Anne/Magnolia Design Review Board.  She currently works for the City of Bellevue Planning and Community Development Department with a focus on urban design and land use. 

Patti lives with her husband in the Wedgwood neighborhood.