OSE Launches New Duwamish Valley Program

In June, the Office of Sustainability & Environment launched a new program to align and coordinate place-based efforts and investments in the Duwamish Valley. Seattle’s Duwamish Valley boasts a diversity of cultures and a strong sense of identity but also faces social, racial, health, environmental, and economic challenges at a magnitude far greater than the Seattle community as a whole.

The overarching goals for the Duwamish Valley Program are to advance environmental justice, address racial and neighborhood-level disparities, reduce health inequities, and create stronger economic pathways and opportunities. This program is a key strategy for advancing many of goals and recommendations of the Equity & Environment Agenda, Seattle’s environmental justice action plan.

Internally, the program will work closely with key City departments to deliver coordinated investments that address City and community priorities such as: reducing health impacts from toxics and pollution; infrastructure improvements; increased mobility; increase access to parks and nature, anti-displacement; and greater economic opportunity. Externally, the program will build strong partnerships in the community and with other agencies to support collective action across many partners and sectors.

OSE conducted an extensive search to find the right person to lead this environmental justice work and serve as the Duwamish Valley Advisor. Alberto J. Rodríguez previously worked as the Environmental and Community Health Programs Manager of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/TAG and was previously appointed by Mayor Murray to the Community Partners Steering Committee, which guided the development of the Equity & Environment Agenda. The combination of his skills, experience, passion, and community connections made him the ideal candidate for this position.

Originally from Honduras, Alberto moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2010 after getting his degree in Biology and working on several environmental conservation and research projects in Honduras and Guatemala. In the U.S., his work has focused on community-led environmental conservation and meaningful community engagement, with an emphasis in advancing environmental justice and health equity. His inclusive and unconventional community engagement and environmental conservation work has been featured at several local, national, and international conferences and recognized by the Sustainable Path Foundation, International River Foundation, and International Water Centre Alumni Network. Alberto is a volunteer and member of the Leadership Team of the Seattle Chapter of the Environmental Professionals of Color (EPOC) as well as an Executive Committee member of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club.