Mayor Murray unveils affordability and growth plan, Arts and Culture District for Uptown neighborhood

Today, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a plan for the future of Uptown, implementing requirements that will generate 600 new affordable homes for low-income people, providing capacity for more market-rate housing and jobs, supporting new spaces for cultural organizations and enacting the community’s vision for the future of the neighborhood. Additionally, Mayor Murray announced Uptown will become Seattle’s third Arts and Cultural District, providing resources to preserve, strengthen and expand arts and cultural spaces. Uptown has long been a cultural destination in Seattle, with over 30 arts, cultural and educational organizations located in the Seattle Center campus and surrounding neighborhood.

“By coupling growth with affordability, we are ensuring that Uptown’s booming culture and economy can be a model for community building rather than a model for gentrification,” said Mayor Murray. “With this announcement, we are ensuring everyone has access to housing in this local hub of arts, culture, transit, green space and jobs. Our housing policies must be about inclusion—this proposal makes good on that goal.”

Over the next 20 years, the proposed zoning changes will result in an estimated 600 new income-restricted and rent-restricted homes for low-income residents through the City’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, a key recommendation of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. Under MHA, Uptown developers will be required to include affordable homes in between five percent and 10 percent of each building, or contribute between $8.00 and $29.75 per square foot to the Seattle Office of Housing to support affordable housing, depending on the specific location in the neighborhood.

“Uptown is one of our fastest growing urban centers, and borders on Seattle Center, one of the great civic spaces of our city,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia). “With its connections to Downtown, the Waterfront and the growing Belltown and South Lake Union neighborhoods, Uptown is already becoming a vibrant business and residential center. Not surprisingly, rents are rising rapidly in this neighborhood, and we clearly need affordable housing right in Uptown. Through this plan, hundreds of developer-funded affordable housing units will be built. I am committed to working with Uptown leaders to ensure we are using a suite of tools to create the housing we need.”

“I am excited for the implementation of MHA in the Uptown neighborhood. Through these zoning changes, we can ensure that more people have access to this vibrant neighborhood,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle). “As an area with great access to job centers, open space, transportation, as well as arts, culture and civic institutions like the Seattle Center and KeyArena, its density and amenity mix support a high level of livability. It is important that we continue to implement MHA and create additional affordable housing in our communities so that our artists, nonprofit employees, and workers of all wages can continue to contribute to the character of Seattle.”

For more than three years, Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) worked with community members to envision a vibrant future for the Uptown neighborhood. The proposal includes neighborhood priorities, such as design standards, that support vibrant streetscapes, incentives for new arts and cultural spaces, improved connections to Seattle Center, and enhanced walkability as outlined in the Uptown Urban Design Framework (UDF).

“The Urban Design Framework in this ordinance will help create the neighborhood where we want to live and work as Uptown grows,” said Deborah Frausto, chair of the Uptown Alliance UDF Committee. “We still have work to do in creating more possibilities for open space, affordable and workforce housing, and walkable community that’s safe and welcoming. Our community, with its generosity of spirit and gifts of time and expertise, will continue to stay involved and share ideas of what they want their neighborhood to be like.”

Mayor Murray’s proposal allows new building heights for many areas of the neighborhood already zoned for multi-family residential and mixed-use commercial buildings, providing additional capacity for market-rate and income-restricted housing within walking distance of South Lake Union, Belltown and Downtown. The rezone proposal includes an increase in building height along the Mercer Street Corridor from the current 40 feet to 85 feet, the same as the current height limit on the Seattle Center campus. The iconic public views of the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline as seen from Kerry Park, Bhy Kracke Park and other key view corridors are protected under the proposal.

The triangle bounded by Broad, Aurora and Denny could feature taller, thinner, well-spaced, 16-story residential towers. Other areas of the Uptown Urban Center currently zoned for multi-family residential or mixed-use would receive one or two stories of additional height. No zoning changes are proposed outside of the Uptown Urban Center or in nearby single-family neighborhoods.

Additionally, the rezone will create incentives for new arts and cultural spaces, giving smaller organizations a chance to operate in or near Seattle Center, which attracts visitors from around the world. The rezone will also help preserve historic buildings by allowing them to sell unused development rights.

In the last two years, 20 King County Metro bus lines that serve the neighborhood have expanded service because of voter-approved Proposition 1, improving transit speed and reliability. The Seattle Department of Transportation has updated signal controls on Mercer, Roy, and Valley streets to be more sensitive to real-time traffic conditions. Similar signal upgrades are planned for Denny Way. New street connections across Aurora at John, Thomas and Harrison will ease pressure on Mercer and Denny after the SR-99 tunnel opens.

Uptown Arts and Cultural District

Since the 1962 World’s Fair, Uptown has been a hub of Seattle arts and culture with the largest concentration of diverse organizations that range from independent artists, to internationally renowned classical arts, to innovative theater and visual arts, to ethnic festivals from around the world, to major music concerts. The Arts and Cultural District designation recognizes the culturally rich neighborhood and seeks to enhance its character.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as an official Arts and Cultural District,” said Cyrus Despres, co-chair and president of the Uptown Arts & Culture Coalition. “Uptown is experiencing the same growing pains as the rest of Seattle, and we are committed to enhancing our cultural experiences and evolving our identity as a welcoming home for the arts in Seattle.”

The designation includes access to the Creative Placemaking Toolkit, a suite of tools designed to preserve, strengthen, and expand arts and cultural spaces. The district will have access to $50,000 to be used toward the toolkit’s programs and resources for right-of-way identifiers, wayfinding, busking and plein air painting, art historic markers, pop-up activations, and parklets. The toolkit was designed to support artists, art spaces, and neighborhoods in maintaining and investing in their cultural assets.

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City of Seattle Signs Net Neutrality Letter and Joins Other Cities in Protest

Today, Mayor Ed Murray joined mayors of Boston, New York and San Francisco in sending a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, encouraging him to keep the internet open. The letter articulates net neutrality rules and recognizes the importance of maintaining a level playing field for all internet content to be enjoyed by all users, regardless of their internet provider.  This letter is part of the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.

“Individuals should be free to access the Internet without discriminatory practices applied to services and websites,” said Mayor Murray. “I encourage everyone to speak up and let the FCC know these rules should be kept in place. This is about equity and the ability for everyone to access the internet.”

In February 2015, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality by reclassifying broadband as a common carrier under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Those rules went into effect in June of 2015. Now, the FCC is taking comment from the public until August 16, 2017 on a possible repeal of net neutrality.

“The fight for strong net neutrality protections is important for the internet to remain a space for creativity, innovation and free speech,” said City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. “Seattle joins a long list of cities and organizations that are championing a stand against a potential heavy-handed approach to Internet rules by the FCC.”

The FCC has already received nearly 5 million comments from the public. The City of Seattle encourages residents to comment, call or email the FCC and tell them to keep net neutrality.

FCC Contact Information:

To learn more about the City of Seattle’s Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, visit


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Mayor Murray, Human Services Department announce $30 million request for proposals for homeless services


Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a request for proposals (RFP) for $30 million of funding for homelessness services, the first time the City of Seattle has competitively bid its homeless services contracts in more than a decade. The RFP being issued by the Human Services Department (HSD) reflects the changes made under the City’s plan to address homelessness, Pathways Home, including a major focus on getting people into permanent housing. The RFP is for funding available for 2018.

“After asking national experts what wasn’t working in our homelessness services system, we are taking the major step of rebidding our contracts for the first time in a decade,” said Mayor Murray. “We are taking our system from a series of disconnected, boutique services, to a coordinated effort to connect people with what they need and get them into permanent housing. In addition to the Navigation Team, the Navigation Center and our ongoing work to address this crisis like the emergency it is, this step will help these services be more effective and impactful into the future.”

Awards made through the RFP process will be based on the key performance targets and data used by the City, including how many people are exiting homelessness into permanent housing; how long people are spending in the homelessness services system; how many people return to being homeless; how many people are entering homelessness; and ensuring we are using all available resources such as shelter beds. The funds will invest in prevention, diversion, outreach and engagement, emergency services (such as shelters), transitional housing, rapid rehousing/rental subsidies, and permanent supportive housing.

The RFP is just one tool the City is using in coordination with King County and United Way of King County to help the region address homelessness and move people into housing. All three organizations are funders who have agreed upon the performance targets listed above. By aligning across all priorities, these funders are better able to tie funding to needed outcomes. Importantly, proposals that demonstrate collaboration among programs to achieve results will receive additional credit in the review process.

HSD has been working with agencies and organizations over the past year to prepare for the outcome-based targets outlined in the RFP.

“Through this RFP, the City joins with other major funders in the area to shift from a collection of programs that are contributing to those most in need in our community, to a more integrated system that is laser-focused on supporting people who are homelessness in becoming stable and housed,” said Catherine L. Lester, Director of HSD. “The RFP looks across all of our investments with an eye toward both performance and to addressing institutionalized racism that too often contributes to homelessness.”

In conjunction with the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), HSD has developed the RFP to reflect a commitment to funding culturally-responsive services that create positive outcomes for people in need. Agencies applying for HSD funding through this RFP must demonstrate the ability to institute these principles through routine delivery of services that are person-centered, culturally competent, responsive, relevant, and accessible.

Additionally, HSD has engaged with the community in preparing the RFP itself. Councilmembers and their staffs, provider boards and coalitions, philanthropy partners, and individuals who have experience living homeless were among the audiences for more than 60 presentations given during the development of the RFP. The feedback from these sessions, as well as the results of the 2016 Needs Assessment survey that HSD conducted of more than 1,000 people living homeless, the 2015 Homeless Investment Analysis, as well as the Barbara Poppe and Focus Strategies reports were also used to inform the RFP development.

Scoring for rapid rehousing, transitional housing, emergency shelter, and permanent supportive housing will be weighted 40 percent on past performance based on the data agencies provided from January 2017 to June 2017, and 60 percent on their application and budget responses in the RFP. Other projects will be scored entirely on the application and budget responses. Applicants also will have an interview with rating panels to discuss their proposals as part of the review process. Rating panels will include city staff with knowledge of the various service areas, other public funders, staff from philanthropic institutions, and people with lived experience of homelessness.

The deadline for proposal submission is Sept. 9 and final awards will be announced in December.  Contracts will cover the 2018 fiscal year that begins in January.

HSD will host three information sessions for prospective applicants. These information sessions are:

  • Thursday, July 6 from 1:30-3:30 pm
    Lake City Public Library, 12501 28th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98125
  • Monday, July 10 from 1:30-3:30 pm
    Douglas-Truth Public Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122
  • Monday, July 17 from 10:30 am -12:30 pm
    Columbia City Public Library, 4721 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Further information about applying for the RFP is available on the City’s website at

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Mayor Murray signs resolution committing to Paris Climate Agreement

Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after signing a resolution that affirms the City of Seattle’s commitment to meet or exceed the goals established in the Paris Climate Agreement:

“As the Trump administration disavows facts, shrinks from responsibility, and retreats from leadership, Seattle is committed to being carbon-neutral by 2050. We are putting America first by putting clean air, clean water, public health and safety first. Most importantly, we are putting our children’s future first. We will continue to work with other governments, businesses, and organizations across Washington and the world to fight climate change. With the strong leadership of Governor Jay Inslee and the U.S. Climate Alliance, local governments will lead the effort to build a 21st century, sustainable economy that creates jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for all.”


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Mayor Murray announces $1.1 million in matching fund awards for community-based projects

Mayor Ed Murray has announced an investment of $1,182,400 to support 28 community-initiated projects across the City. The awards are from the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Community Partnership Fund which provides awards of up to $100,000 to community organizations committed to fostering and building our community. The awards range from $10,500 to $100,000 with the 28 organizations pledging a total of $1,729,494 in community match resources of locally raised money, donated materials, in-kind professional services and volunteer hours.

“Through the Neighborhood Matching Fund, the City helps to support the efforts of the many community members whose creativity and hard work make this a more vibrant, interesting, and inclusive city for everyone,” said Mayor Murray. “From providing free classical concerts to creating a youth fitness challenge to celebrating the rich heritage of ethnic communities – our community members can use this fund to make their ideas come alive, and we are all richer for it.”

NMF consists of two separate funds: Community Partnership Fund, which is offered three times a year with cash awards up to $100,000, and the Small Sparks Fund, which is offered on a rolling basis throughout the year with cash awards of up to $5,000. To make the program more accessible, several enhancements were introduced this year including a streamlined application, added flexibility, and faster review processes. The program improvements have already resulted in nearly half of the applications coming from first time applicant groups. The next CPF application deadlines are June 26 and September 25.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) provides more than $3 million each year to local organizations. Over its 29-year history, more than 5,000 projects have been funded in partnership with the NMF Program, and its investment in neighborhoods can be seen across the city. For more information about NMF, visit

2017 Community Partnership Fund Awards – Spring Cycle

Citywide (Across all Council Districts)

$95,400 to The Seattle Globalist to organize a series of 17 free media workshops to train diverse communities to identify and produce multimedia stories about issues facing international communities around Seattle. The stories will be featured on its website and at a public celebration this fall. (Community match: $53,760)

$100,000 to Seattle Repertory Theatre to engage all ages and backgrounds from eight neighborhoods to participate in one year of free theatre-based classes led by professional teaching artists. It will include a production of four performances featuring the participants. (Community match: $734,493)

$60,000 to Town Hall Seattle to facilitate Inside/Out Community-Created Events in four neighborhoods. Neighborhood committees will collaborate as co-creators to develop and produce three to five inclusive arts and civics events in their neighborhoods. (Community match: $100,900)

$50,000 to Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy to organize a series of workshops and events to celebrate the arts and culture of the Caribbean throughout summer 2017. (Community match: $46,440)

District 1

$100,000 to Friends of Highland Park Elementary to construct a new public entryway and new play features at the Highland Park Elementary School playground. (Community match: $129,400)

$28,300 to Friends of 5th and Cloverdale to engage the community and a landscape architecture consulting team in a design process for streetscape improvements at the intersection of 5th Ave S and S Cloverdale St. (Community match: $18,730)

$10,500 to The Community Outreach Challenge Steering Committee to host the Community Outreach Challenge, a three-day fitness challenge for youth, to promote teamwork and decision-making through fitness. (Community match: $10,940)

District 2

$30,400 to Rainier Beach Merchants Association to organize the Rainier Beach Music and Arts Fest (BAAMFest), a cultural festival held in July to celebrate Rainier Beach’s beautiful, vibrant community, cultural heritage, and highlight its business district. (Community match: $29,895)

$29,800 to Othello Park Alliance to organize the Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival in August which will include music, food, art, and dance for all ages and cultures. (Community match: $31,634)

$15,100 to Friends of Japantown and Beyond to develop a series of free community walks in Chinatown-International District this year. The walk route will include sites of historical, economic, and cultural significance to the Japanese American community. (Community match: $39,100)

$27,800 to Friends of Block Party at The Station to organize the 2017 Block Party at The Station, an annual music and arts festival which showcases South Seattle artists and small businesses. This year’s festival will spotlight marginalized communities with most festival performers being women and LGBTQ artists of color. (Community match: $18,568)

$34,000 to East African Arts & Cultural Association to organize events to celebrate Ethiopian Week in July. The events will bring together the Ethiopian community to practice their heritage, engage Ethiopian youth in relevant community issues, and strengthen mutual understanding and respect among various cultures. (Community match: $19,400)

$20,000 to Big-Brained Superheroes Club to facilitate mini workshops by the Big-Brained Superheroes of Yesler Terrace, youth ages 5-18, on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). (Community match: $23,500)

$21,200 to Soul Societies to provide art instruction and cultural exploration to approximately 50 youth as a part of Tales of Art Project. This project will provide a place for Vietnamese and East African youth to create and showcase their artwork with the hope of increasing intra-cultural awareness and appreciation. (Community match: $10,760)

$25,000 to Somali Community Services of Seattle to organize a series of theater and acting trainings for youth in South Seattle this summer followed by a public performance. This project will bring together community members from various racial and ethnic backgrounds to promote understanding and cohesion. (Community match: $14,000)

$30,000 to It Takes a Village to organize The Middle Passage Healing Project, a series of events designed to foster unity among African Americans and East Africans. Digital storytelling, dance, art, music, African proverbs, podcasts, social media and cultural recipes will be highlighted. (Community match: $42,800)

$30,000 to Fathers & Sons Together (FAST) to organize six outdoor activities and powerful lessons with the goal of empowering fathers and guardians to embrace the pivotal role they hold in the family structure and support them in mentoring their sons and male youth into manhood. (Community match: $21,400)

District 3

$99,000 to Eritrean Association of Greater Seattle to make physical improvements to the Eritrean Association Community Center to improve opportunities for community events and educational activities. (Community match: $49,500)

$30,000 to Garinagu Houngua to organize a series of music, language, history, and food workshops centered on cultural exchange between the Garifuna and Panamanian communities in Seattle.  (Community match: $35,273)

$24,000 to Ethiopian Women Mothers & Family to organize an all-day celebration at Powell Barnett Park of the achievements of Ethiopian women through arts and culture, speaker presentations, family entertainments, and role model awards. (Community match: $39,275)

District 4

$58,000 to Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange to install equipment to launch KMGP 101.1, a low power radio station, with the goal of connecting communities using arts and culture and providing equity over the airwaves. (Community match: $44,677)

District 5

$46,800 to Friends of Jane Addams Middle School to engage the community and a landscape architect to prepare conceptual landscape design drawings to improve outdoor usability and safety at Jane Addams Middle School. (Community match: $24,930)

$50,000 to Friends of Evanston P-Patch to renovate the Evanston P-Patch’s decaying infrastructure by building a new path, new fence, sheds, a greenhouse, and a community gathering space with input from gardeners and neighbors. (Community match: $49,600)

District 7

$18,100 to Discover Music in the Park to organize a free outdoor classical music and dance concert in Discovery Park this August. (Community match: $11,760)

$20,000 to Magnolia Chamber of Commerce to install “Discover Magnolia” street flags, host three art walks, and implement an art in empty storefronts program as part of the Visible Village Vitality effort. (Community match: $12,700)

$40,000 to STRUM Community Group to organize music programming and potluck events to bring together musicians from the city’s homeless population and neighbors who share an interest in making music and building community. (Community match: $50,000)

$65,000 to Sundiata African American Cultural Association to produce Festival Sundiata, June 10-11, the largest African American festival in the Northwest that celebrates the culture of people of African descent, through music, food, dance and artistic expression. (Community match: $52,660)

$24,000 to Friends of Sheridan Street End to collaborate with a design firm to prepare conceptual design and permitting for improvements that would provide greater public access and community amenities at the West Sheridan Street End. ($13,400)

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