Advancing Equitable Outreach and Engagement

Message from Kathy Nyland, Director

Mayor Murray recently issued an Executive Order directing the city to approach outreach and engagement in an equitable manner. Putting an equity lens on our approaches is bold and, yes, brave. It shows a commitment to practices that address accessibility and equity.


What does this mean?

  • We often hear that meetings can feel like we are “checking a box.” The Mayor’s action means we can create processes that are more relationship-based and build authentic partnerships.
  • It means that we can create plans that are culturally sensitive, which includes an emphasis on translated materials.
  • It means we broaden access points, identify obstacles and turn them into opportunities.


What else does this mean?

  • It means we have an opportunity to recreate, re-envision and reconcile many lingering issues, including defining the difference between neighborhoods and communities, providing clarity about roles, and creating a system of engagement that builds partnerships with, and between, communities throughout the city of Seattle.
  • It means that we will be working to expand choices and opportunities for community members throughout this city, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of those who face barriers to participation.
  • It means that we’ll work with city offices and departments on community involvement to ensure that they are effective and efficient through the wise use and management of all resources, including the community’s time.
  • And it means we will expand the toolbox and make some investments in digital engagement.

 

Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where the Department of Neighborhoods comes in.

This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city.

 

“This is not about silencing voices. It’s the exact opposite. It’s about bringing more people into the conversations or at least creating opportunities for people to participate so they can be heard.”

 
Face-to-face meetings are incredibly important and those are not going away. But not every person can attend a community meeting, and the ability to do so should not determine who gets to participate and who gets to be heard.

We’d love to hear what tools YOU need to be successful and how WE can help you. Share your ideas with us:

  • Send an email to NewDON@seattle.gov.
  • Share your comments below.
  • Contact us at 206-684-0464 or mail us at P.O. Box 94649, Seattle, WA 98124-4649.
  • Join and follow the conversation online using #AdvancingEquitySEA at:

Facebook – @SeattleNeighborhoods
Twitter – @SeaNeighborhood

This is about making things easier and less exhaustive. This is about connecting communities to government and to one another. This is about moving forward.

Kathy Nyland, Director
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

People’s Academy for Community Engagement Now Accepting Applications

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications to the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE), our civic leadership development program for the next wave of community leaders. The fall session begins September 27 and runs through December 6.

During the 10-week program, 25-30 emerging leaders (18 years and up) will learn hands-on strategies for community building, accessing government, and inclusive engagement from experts in the field. PACE has a strong focus on Seattle’s community and neighborhood organizations and the city’s governmental structure and processes.

Fall sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Miller Community Center. Topics include: Approaches to Leadership, Government 101, Community Organizing, Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, Public Speaking, Conflict Resolution, and Sustaining Involvement.

Tuition for the 10-week program is $100. Tuition assistance is available. To apply, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/programs-and-services/peoples-academy-for-community-engagement/pace-application. The application deadline is Friday, August 12 at 5:00 p.m.

Given the popularity of the program, PACE will be offered three times a year: winter, spring and fall. The winter session will begin in January of 2017. For more information, visit our webpage and for questions, email PACE@seattle.gov.

Belltown Find It, Fix It Community Walk

Mayor Murray’s Find It, Fix It Community Walks provide a unique opportunity for community members to identify neighborhood needs and discuss challenges directly with City leaders. The second walk of the year will be held in Belltown on Tuesday, June 28.

Belltown Find It, Fix It Community Walk
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Sign-in and refreshments provided by Starbucks from 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Program and walk from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Meet at the Belltown Community Center located at 5th Ave and Bell St (415 Bell St)

Schedule
5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

  • Sign-in and refreshments at Belltown Community Center


6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

  • Welcome remarks from Mayor Ed Murray


6:15 p.m. – 7:25 p.m.

  • Walk commences along the following route (map):
    • West on Bell St.
    • North on 2nd
    • West on Vine St.
    • East on Battery St.
    • West on Bell St.


7:25 pm – 7:30 p.m.

  • Walk concludes at Western Ave and Bell Street
  • City department representatives available for follow-up questions

 

Participants can use the Find It, Fix It mobile app on the walk. This smartphone app offers mobile users one more way to report selected issues to the City. Make sure to download the app before the walk.

In partnership with Cities of Service, the City will offer up to $5,000 in grants for community-led projects to each 2016 Find It, Fix It Walk neighborhood. The Belltown Community Project Grant Application is available on June 23 at www.seattle.gov/finditfixit until Friday, July 8. If you have an idea for a project in Belltown, apply today!

For more information on the Find It, Fix It Community Walks program, contact Laura Jenkins at 206.233.5166 or laura.jenkins@seattle.gov or visit www.seattle.gov/finditfixit.

Seattle City Council Approves Designation For Two Historic Landmarks

Seattle City Council recently approved landmark designation ordinances for two city of Seattle landmarks. Located in Downtown and South Lake Union, these buildings showcase the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Seattle.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Board approved the nomination, designation, and controls and incentives for each of these landmarks, and provided draft ordinances to the City Council. The final step to the process is approval by City Council.

The new landmarks are:

  • Fire Station No. 5 built in 1963 (address: 925 Alaskan Way). Designer: Robert Durham of Durham, Anderson & Freed
  • Pioneer Sand and Gravel Company Building built in 1927 (address: 901 Harrison St.). Designer: The Austin Company

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program is responsible for the designation and protection of more than 400 historic structures, sites, objects, and vessels, as well as seven historic districts located throughout the city. Visit our webpage for more information on the landmark designation process and to view other city landmarks.

Construction of Denny Substation to Start in March

An artist’s rendering of the future Denny Substation.

Construction on Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation is scheduled to begin in March, led by The Walsh Group, which has been hired as the general contractor.

“The Denny Substation is a critical project for providing reliable service to our growing community now and for many years to come,” Interim Customer Service and Energy Delivery Officer Mike Haynes said. “We’re pleased to have The Walsh Group as our general contractor. Walsh has a clear focus on safety and brings experience from a wide variety of large construction projects across the country and the local connection of a regional office in Tukwila.”

When finished, the Denny Substation at Denny Way and Stewart Street will be the utility’s largest. This is the first substation City Light has built in 30 years.

Power Engineers will serve as the project manager and is overseeing electrical design. The team also includes NBBJ, architect; and KPFF Consulting Engineers, structural and civil engineer. Valley Electric, W.A. Chester and Transcon are key subcontractors.

Substation work will coincide with the underground distribution network being built to ensure more reliable power delivery to customers and a transmission line that will carry power to the substation.

The Denny Substation will distribute electrical power to north downtown, provide back-up power to other substations and support the regional transmission grid. The project will be complete in Q1/Q2 2018 with transmission line and electrical components added later.

The Denny Substation is one of the major initiatives in Seattle City Light’s Strategic Plan. The project includes: a major new electrical substation near Denny Way and Stewart Street, a transmission line from the new station south to an existing substation in the SODO neighborhood, and a network distribution system extending north of Denny Way.

The Denny Substation will ensure high reliability and sufficient electrical infrastructure to meet customer needs as growth continues throughout the South Lake Union, Cascade, Denny Triangle, Uptown, and Belltown and First Hill areas. More information on the project can be found at: www.seattle.gov/light/dennysub.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.