The Equitable Development Initiative

Earlier in 2016, OPCD created the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), a set of strategies that emerged from our Growth and Equity Report, part of the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan update. The EDI involves many different City departments coordinating to address equity in our underserved communities and displacement as Seattle grows. Various EDI strategies will:

  • Advance economic mobility and opportunity
  • Prevent residential, commercial, and cultural displacement
  • Build on local cultural assets
  • Promote transportation mobility and connectivity
  • Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods

City department directors are working together to make decisions around the EDI. Here are some updates.

The EDI Fund: Mayor Murray announced in October that the City has signed an agreement on the pending transfer of the Civic Square project next to City Hall, with $16 million in proceeds to establish the new EDI Fund. The Mayor’s EDI budget also includes an additional $200,000 in General Fund in 2017 and thereafter, and $430,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in 2018 and thereafter, to support organizational capacity building, feasibility studies, etc.

The City has created a committee of the Capital Cabinet composed of the directors of the Office of Planning and Community Development, Office of Economic Development, Office of Civil Rights, Office of Housing and Department of Neighborhoods to help manage the overall initiative and fund, including developing funding criteria and community engagement process. The directors are reviewing how to best leverage City dollars to support EDI communities and projects. Expect to hear more about the EDI Fund and decision-making processes in early 2017.

OPCD EDI Staffing: OPCD is pleased to announce that Ubax Gardheere will join us as manager of the OPCD EDI staff team in late November. Ubax comes to us from Puget Sound Sage, and she brings experience in both policy development and community organizing around a diversity of issues. Our current EDI team is already engaged with communities throughout the City including the Central Area, Rainier Beach, Chinatown/ID, Delridge and Duwamish, to name a few.

Click on these links for more information about the Growth and Equity Report and related documents.