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Red Barn Ranch

What's Happening Now?

As a part of the visioning process for Red Barn Ranch, Headwater People completed a Place Assessment that provided broader and expanded historical timeline, narrative, and use of the land and the people.

The purpose of this Place Assessment is to reinstate and elevate the stories and participation of the area’s BIPOC communities as they related to the property. The Place Assessment is a summary that will build on the next steps of the visioning process if community members have more records to share.


Following our partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation to support a recommendation towards the use of the Red Barn Ranch site, we convened a community review panel to support the drafting of a Request for Proposals (RFP) and selecting a consultant to design and facilitate a visioning and community engagement process. Review panel participants consisted of Board of Park Commissioners/Park District Oversight Committee, Equitable Development Initiative Advisory Board, and representatives from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities with experience in agricultural and rural land development.

The purpose of the visioning process is as follows:

  • Include community stakeholders in identifying the priorities that best meet the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative’s (RSJI) goals
  • Provide a pathway for collaborative design for the site that elevates areas of common interest
  • Clarify the potential public benefits that could be provided with activation of the property
  • Increase transparency in the City processes regarding surplus property
  • Deliver a recommendation to the Mayor and City Council on an approach to property utilization that best meets the shared goals of the process participants

In November 2021, we announced and received RFP's. The community review panel selected Headwater People, a consulting group, to steward the process in meeting the following goals:

  1. Consistent with the RSJI, acknowledge and address historical harms caused by systemic and institutional racism, particularly as they relate to the areas Black and Indigenous communities.
  2. Explore alternative ways to distribute limited City resources to communities most impacted by historical racist policies and practices that emphasizes collaboration and co-design as opposed to competitive disposition processes.
  3. Identify protocols for Seattle's community-based organizations to better support Tribal Sovereignty outside of the City's government-to-government relationships.

Headwater People is conducting research to uncover and understand if there are any historical significance of the site to the Coast Salish people. Uncovering any historical significance is critical to the process to ensure there is no continued harm perpetuated to Indigenous communities through historical erasure. Background research will also support in meeting the third goal (mentioned above) by supporting the identification of protocols and a framework the City can use to better engage with and respect Tribal Sovereignty outside of and building on the City’s government-to-government relationships.

Next steps by Headwater People include:

  • Engaging with Muckleshoot tribal leadership in the interest of strengthening City-Tribal intergovernmental relations
  • Conducting individual and group interviews with additional stakeholders and in accordance with the City’s Procedures for Evaluation of Reuse and Disposal of the City’s Real Property, as amended in Resolution 31837 (September 2018).

    For More Information

    If you are a stakeholder and want to participate in the public engagement process, please contact Abesha Shiferaw at or Sarah Ballew of Headwater People at

    Historic Timeline

    1857: Muckleshoot Reservation was established
    Pre-1940s history of the property has been difficult to identify. But it should be noted that the history of the land and people pre-colonialism is a critical narrative that needs to be included order to honor the whole narrative of the land

    1940 - 1966
    In 1949 the Red Barn Ranch was fully developed with a barn, farmhouse, etc. In 1960 the Ranch was sold to Dr. Singer of Tacoma who added a bunkhouse, an additional barn, and a two-story farmhouse. After the sudden passing of the doctor, the property was sold.

    1966 - 1970
    Based on advocacy from Elgin Baylor and the Seattle Supersonics, the City purchased Red Barn Ranch with State funding restricting use of the property. The property was then converted into a recreational camp for youth

    1971 - 1972
    Renovation/development of the property into a camp for youth.

    1972 - 1982
    Facility operated as a Model Cities Program and was funded/staffed by the City, until the program and staff were cut during the annual budget process.

    1983 - 1985
    Facility closed and City did minimal ground and building maintenance.

    1985 - 1987
    Facility operated as a conference & recreation center by a private concessionaire under concession permit.

    1988 - 1991
    City issued a use agreement with Auburn School District to run a multi-purpose program for kindergarten and first grade classes.

    1991 - 1994
    Site closed.

    1995 - 2010
    City authorized management of facility by Camp Berachah through a series of annual use permits and renewals.

    2011 - 2014
    City executed joint one-year agreement with Camp Berachah and Seattle Tilth (the latter to launch a demonstration garden and farm incubator program); extended annually.

    2014 - 2018
    Seattle Tilth operating the site solo through one-year extensions to 2011 agreement. Tilth vacated the property in March of 2018.

    2018 - present
    Property has been vacant; King County Sheriff's Office uses site for occasional drills.

    Restrictive Covenant from the State is removed to facilitate potential disposition of the property.

    Planning and Community Development

    Rico Quirindongo, Acting Director
    Mailing Address: P.O. Box 94788, Seattle, WA, 98124-7088
    Phone: (206) 386-1010

    The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) develops policies and plans for an equitable and sustainable future. We partner with neighborhoods, businesses, agencies and others to bring about positive change and coordinate investments for our Seattle communities.