DON Director’s Budget Communication

Dear Community Member:

This afternoon, Mayor Murray presented his Proposed 2015-‘16 Budget to the Seattle City Council. While the Mayor did not discuss all of the specifics of the proposed budget, I want to share information regarding his budget as it relates to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods (DON). Even though the city has not quite recovered from the impact of the recession and has new and pressing needs, the department has still been given additional opportunities to continue our mission.

The biggest change for DON is that the Office of Education and Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) are leaving the department to create the new Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL). Even though this does not impact the work of the department, you will see a significant drop in our total budget of $6.5 million that will be transferred to the new DEEL.

In the proposed budget are several technical adjustments. They include adjustments for healthcare costs, retirement, COLA, inflation, etc., staff funding alignments*, and reductions due to one-time projects that were funded last year. Based on these adjustments, you may see increases or even decreases in program budgets, but they don’t negatively affect the staffing level or the ability to operate DON programs or services.

*In order to have or even keep administrative support for programs, positions have been funded from various pockets. The proposed budget now aligns the positions with their program. This includes management positions as well.

Here are the notable changes to our budget:

P-Patch Community Gardening Program

With the rapid increase in the number of P-Patch gardens, the proposed budget includes $24,207 to fund increased water costs ($10,000) and the regular maintenance to the new web-based database ($14,000) that will launch this fall. It also increases the existing half-time administrative staff to a full-time position which will be covered using existing funds.

People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE)

During its two-year pilot, PACE has been led by three Neighborhood District Coordinators. Due to the fact that this work is very extensive and has been “additive” to the work of the District Coordinators, the PACE program could not continue under this staffing model. The Mayor’s proposed budget includes a new half-time position that will be dedicated to oversee and operate PACE to help us continue this successful program.

Neighborhood Matching Fund

Over the years, the Neighborhood Matching Fund has accrued a fund balance of $1.5 million. These are dollars that have not been awarded or are underspent by projects. Because this money is available and can be reallocated for other neighborhood purposes, it will be used to support projects through the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund (small projects only). This one-time use of the fund balance in 2015 will have no impact on the total award resources available to neighborhoods through the Fund; plus these dollars will be used to support neighborhoods’ transportation needs.

The Mayor’s Proposed 2015-‘16 Budget can be found at Seattle City Council will review the budget, conduct meetings with each department and hold public hearings on October 7 at Garfield Community Center and October 23 at Seattle City Hall. You can learn more on their website at

Thank you for your interest and support of our mission to strengthen our vibrant neighborhoods and engage all communities – work that makes Seattle such a great place to live.


Bernie Matsuno, Director

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Neighbors invited to International District ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s ‘Find It, Fix It’ Community Walk, focused on several crime hotspots, makes its way to Seattle’s International District on Thursday, Sept. 11. This is the seventh walk hosted by the mayor in neighborhoods around the city.

At the events, community residents, police, and city officials walk together to identify physical disorder and solve it. As a result of these walks, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and Seattle Public Utilities have worked – and continue to work – to make improvements in Seattle’s neighborhoods. Watch videos, view photos and read actions taken as a result of these walks at:

International District Find It, Fix It Community Walk: Thursday, Sept. 11, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
S. King St. and Maynard Ave. S.
Meet at Hing Hay Park (Map)

6:00 – 6:15 p.m.

Short program featuring Mayor Ed Murray, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Seattle Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole, and department representatives.

6:15 – 7:30 p.m.

Walk commences along the following route:

  • West on S. King St.
  • North on 5th Ave. S.
  • East on S. Jackson St.
  • South on 12th Ave. S.
  • West on S. King St.

7:30 p.m.

Walk concludes and department representatives are available for follow-up questions.

Another ‘Find It, Fix It’ walk is scheduled for Sept. 17th on Capitol Hill.

For more information on Murray’s public safety strategy for Seattle, visit


Bitter Lake Fire Station Open House Saturday September 6, 2014

Fire Station 24, located at 401 North 130th Street,  hosts an open house 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014

SEATTLE – The Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, Local 27, invite the community to check out the completed seismic and safety upgrade of Seattle’s Fire Station 24, located at 401 N. 130th St. in the Bitter Lake neighborhood during an open house from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6.

“Our firefighters play an important role in this tight-knit community,” said Fire Chief Gregory Dean. “Here is a chance for the residents to meet their local firefighters, learn more about their lifesaving techniques and see their improved work facility.”

Fire Station 24 is one of 32 neighborhood fire stations being upgraded, renovated or replaced through the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Program, which was approved by Seattle voters in 2003. Fire Station 24 houses one engine company (E24) and a reserve engine. It was built in 1975 and, as one of the newer stations in the system, was in generally fair condition but required minor seismic retrofits to meet current earthquake safety standards. Remodeling to enhance operations was also part of the $2.1 million project.

“Fire stations are integral parts of the communities they serve, and our firefighters protect public safety and respond to natural disasters every day,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The upgrades and improvements made to Fire Station 24 better equip the firefighters to continue that work and provide them a safer environment. I encourage the public to check out the newly upgraded fire station and meet their neighborhood firefighters.”

As part of the safety upgrades to the facility, seismic strengthening on the structure and asbestos abatement in the ceiling were performed. This project added decontamination facilities and EMS equipment storage, as well as new interior lighting and paint. The crew bunk and living areas and the physical training room were configured, and restroom facilities were altered to comply with current building codes.

The Fire Station 24 project was developed by the City of Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, designed by Hoshide Wanzer Williams Architects and built by Van Rossen Construction. Project construction began in July 2013 and was completed in March 2014.

City Awards Nearly $1.65 Million to Support Neighborhood-Initiated Projects

Gathering Buildings for Beacon Food Forest, a 2012 Large Project Award Recipient

Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council announced today nearly $1.65 million in matching funds to support neighborhood-initiated projects across the city. Forty-three community groups received awards from Seattle Department of Neighborhoods’ Neighborhood Matching Fund Program for projects as diverse as an Afro-Latino arts education program to the creation of welcoming gateways to neighborhoods.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund recipients received awards from the Large Projects Fund (for projects up to $100,000) and the 2nd round of the Small and Simple Projects Fund (for projects up to $25,000). These cash awards go to neighborhood groups committed to fostering and building a better community. In total, the awards range from $3,523 to $100,000, and communities have pledged to match the city’s $1,648,289 million contribution with resources valued at nearly $2.9 million.

“The Neighborhood Matching Fund demonstrates the city’s commitment to provide concrete ways to help community members make Seattle such a vibrant place to live,” said Mayor Murray. “In order to initiate these projects, neighbors have to connect with each other to create a common vision. The Matching Fund provides the opportunity, and our community members turn their creative ideas and energy into reality. Since this program started 26 years ago, thousands of projects have happened across the city.”

Recipients of the Neighborhood Matching Fund match their awards through a combination of locally raised money, donated materials and expertise, and volunteer labor. “I am always impressed by the dedication of the volunteers who work so hard to make these projects happen,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, chair of the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. “These volunteers are committed to making our neighborhoods better, and we are all richer due to their efforts.”

For the Large Projects Fund awards, the Citywide Review Team (CRT) recommended the projects to the Mayor and City Council through an open competitive application process. Made up of volunteer representatives from each of the 13 neighborhood districts, plus four at-large community members, the CRT reviews applications, interviews applicants, and makes funding recommendations. The applications are also reviewed by members from district councils.

The Large Projects Fund awards up to $100,000 and is open for applications once a year. The Small and Simple Projects Fund, which has three opportunities to apply annually, awards up to $25,000. The next deadline is October 6, 2014.

Created to promote and support neighborhood-based, self-help projects, the Neighborhood Matching Fund is managed by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Since the program began 26 years ago, the Fund has awarded approximately $50 million with a community match of more than $71 million to thousands of events and projects around the city. To learn more about the Fund, visit

Night Out and Picnics in the Precinct Happening in August

This year marks the City of Seattle’s 30th Annual “Night Out Against Crime” celebration on Tuesday, August 5. Recently, Mayor Murray laid out a comprehensive public safety plan for Seattle that underscores the importance of providing opportunities for youth and community members to enjoy their streets and public spaces citywide. The Mayor believes Night Out is a great example of the types of opportunities that exist for reconnecting community to Seattle streets. Night Out, an annual national event hosted locally by the Seattle Police Department, shows that residents and City government can mobilize resources and energy together to move toward a safer and more connected Seattle. We hope you’ll join in making this Seattle’s best Night Out yet.

Sign your block up for Night Out:

  1. Register your event and add it to the map. (When you register your event in Seattle, most non-arterial streets can be blocked off—without a fee—so you and your neighbors can take over the street.)
  2. Invite your neighbors by printing off the materials on our website and distributing around your block.
  3. And finally, help us promote Night Out around Seattle by liking the Night Out Facebook Page, sharing updates, and inviting others do the same.

If you have any questions, you can email or call your Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator.

Attend a Picnic in the Precinct:

Another key element of safer communities is when we all know our local police officers.  Coming up are several opportunities for you to get to know the Seattle Police Officers who protect your neighborhood. Meet the new Chief of Police, Kathleen O’Toole, your local police officers, and other community members at one of four upcoming Picnics in the Precincts:

  • Tuesday, August 5th:  West Precinct Picnic / National Night Out

o   Occidental Square in Pioneer Square, 5pm – 8pm

  • Saturday, August 16th: South Precinct Picnic

o   New Holly Campus (7058 32nd Ave S), 1pm – 4pm

  • Sunday, August 24th: North Precinct Picnic

o   University Heights Center (5031 University Way NE), 1pm – 4pm

  • Saturday, August 30th: East Precinct Picnic

o   Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Ave), 1pm – 4pm

Whether it’s getting to know your neighbors better or building a stronger relationship with the officers in your neighborhood, a safer Seattle takes all of us organizing and working together. Take a moment to register a Night Out event on your block and put your local Picnic in the Precinct on your calendar. We hope you’ll take some of these important opportunities to build public safety across the city.