We at Great City support Proposition One and urge you to vote Yes for Parks on your Ballots!

Seattle’s parks and community centers are key to our social and civic infrastructure, providing opportunities for respite, recreation, education and community building. Equally important, our parks house critical green infrastructure that provide valuable ecosystem services: storm water mitigation, pollution control, carbon sequestration and habitat. Chronic underfunding and the substantial maintenance backlog directly threaten the legacy of our parks system and the significant social and ecosystem services it provides.

Below are just a few of the essential programs that will receive the sustainable funding they desperately need with the creation of the Seattle Parks district:

  • Major Maintenance Backlog/ Property Management, Increased Preventative Maintenance/ Environmental Sustainability Fund/ Fully funding the Green Seattle Partnership through the Saving our City Forests Fund.
  • Restore Community Center Operations; Access and programs for Citizens regardless of age, abilities and means.
  • Building for the Future: The Park Land and Acquisition and Leverage Fund/ Major Projects Challenge Fund/Funds to Maintain the New Waterfront Park & to Develop and Maintain Smith Cove and 14 additional New Parks.
  • Neighborhood scale improvements through Neighborhood Park Enhancement Funds/ Activating Urban Parks/ Putting The Arts in Parks, Creating Additional Pea-Patches and Activating and Connecting to Greenways.

We believe Seattle’s parks and community centers deserve a long-term investment. A park taxing district will provide a stable and reliable funding source enabling the city to manage and plan for the long term. Continuing cycles of uncertain funding and deferred maintenance threaten the health of our natural areas, the quality of our facilities and programs and will result in significant loss of value and increased costs over the long term.

Last year Seattle was the fasted growing city of all major cities in America. We need our parks need to stay healthy and keep our city livable, green and vibrant. Our continued prosperity hinges on providing a vibrant metropolitan center with significant opportunities for people and businesses to connect and engage. Parks help make it happen.

Anti-tax opponents of the plan are working to defeat the measure and have succeeded in rewriting the ballot measure description in an effort to scare voters away. That’s just another reason your support for the campaign is so essential. The benefits of the park district are clear and we need to get the information out to voters. We urge you to get involved with the campaign and to talk to your friends and neighbors about why you support sustainable funding for Seattle Parks.


Are you tired of aging, neglected public restrooms in our parks? Do you often wonder why Seattle has not fixed the leaking rooftops in public stadiums and community centers? Three local Parks fanatics will frame these issues for us and speak about the intended solution, the upcoming Seattle Parks District, at our next Brown Bag Lunch. Please join us at noon on Thursday, July 10th as we discuss funding for Seattle Parks.

Brown Bag Lunch: Seattle Parks District
WHEN: Thursday, July 10th; 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: GGLO Space at the Steps, 1305 1st Avenue, Seattle (1/4 of the way down the Harbor Steps)
SPEAKERS: Thatcher Bailey, Executive Director of the Seattle Parks Foundation; Michael Maddux, Parks & Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee; and Brice Maryman, Seattle Board of Parks Commissioners

Aging and neglected facilities are one of the biggest problems facing the city’s well-loved parks system. For years, residents have dealt with deteriorated community centers and stadiums, failing heating and electrical systems, leaking roofs, muddy sports fields, and crumbling stairs and retaining walls. In 2008, a Parks Levy raised millions of dollars for acquiring land; however the levy didn’t include money for major maintenance. As a result, there remains a large lack of funding for upkeep throughout the Parks system.

In August, Seattle residents will vote upon a measure called the “Seattle Park District.” The measure allows the City to create a new, permanent taxing district that would raise $57 million a year for Seattle parks after the current levy expires this year. This Metropolitan Parks District would have its own taxing authority to address an almost $270 million backlog in parks maintenance and to restore community-center hours that were cut during the recession.

  • How can Seattle address these chronic, structural funding gaps?
  • What potential solutions is the City suggesting?
  • How will the Parks District work to reduce maintenance backlog?
  • How will the Parks District be governed?

We welcome everyone to come to this event. There will be ample time to ask questions of the speakers and have your voice heard regarding the district.



After decades of relatively little development activity, Seattle’s University District is experiencing significant change that will shape the community for years to come. The opening of an underground Link Light Rail station in 2021 is being preceded by new in-fill development throughout the neighborhood. The University of Washington continues to grow, as well, under a President passionate about integrating the institution into the city. It all adds up to a very interesting future for the U District. That interest is expected only to intensify, prompting the city to take a fresh look at the Urban Design policy for the neighborhood.

Check out the just-released Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which follows several years of study and outreach led by the DPD and community partners in the neighborhood, and let us know in the comments:

What do you think is the right way forward for a growing U District?


From the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development:


U District Urban Design Alternatives

The City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) addressing several alternatives that could result in a rezone, allowing for increased height and density in the U District neighborhood. The affected area is generally bounded by Interstate-5 on the west, 15th Avenue NE on the east, Portage Bay on the south and Ravenna Boulevard NE on the north. The DEIS is a programmatic-level analysis of environmental impacts of two rezone alternatives and one “no action” alternative. The alternatives evaluate a range of possible map and text amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code (Seattle Municipal Code Title 23). A Determination of Significance was previously published for this proposal in September 2013.

The City Council is expected to consider action on this proposal in 2015, after completion of a Final EIS.

Responsible Official: Diane Sugimura

Contact Person: Dave LaClergue
Phone: (206) 733-9668
Email: dave.laclergue@seattle.gov
Issuance Date: April 24, 2014
Date comments are due: June 9, 2014

Date of Public Meeting:

An open house and public hearing to accept verbal comments on the Draft EIS will be held on May 20, 2014 at University Temple United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. University Temple is located at 1415 NE 43rd Street.

Availability of Draft EIS:

Copies of the Draft EIS are available for public review at the Central Branch and the University Branch of the Seattle Public Library, University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library and Built Environments Library, and the University Neighborhood Service Center. Interested parties may obtain copies of the Draft EIS free of charge (while supplies last) at DPD, 20th floor Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue

Q: What are YOU doing this Thursday? 
A: Hmmm…. I’m not sure.
Q: Would you like to talk about the future of our Great City?

Enjoy some local libations as we roll out plans for a variety of upcoming Brown-Bag topics and discuss ways to support the long-term sustainability of parks and green space in Seattle!

Great City’s Annual Member Meeting

When: 5:30 P.M. on Thursday, March 20th

Where: Pike Brewing Company, 1415 1st Avenue


Image Credit: Paul Joseph Brown

The Duwamish River is Seattle’s only river. In 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared the lower Duwamish River a Superfund Site, meaning it is one of the most toxic hazardous waste sites in the nation. In February 2013, the EPA released a proposed cleanup plan that aims to restore the river through dredging (removing) contaminated soil, capping (covering) existing pollution leaving it behind, and natural recovery (not doing anything hoping clean sediment from upriver will eventually cover the pollution).

Unfortunately, this plan falls short of the robust cleanup that t
his river needs and Seattleites deserve in two major ways.

Firstly, the EPA’s proposed plan fails to protect the health of people who eat fish from the Duwamish River. Numerous subsistence fishermen rely on the river for food and others, such as Tribal members, have cultural ties to the river and its fish. Instead of ensuring edible fish, the EPA plans on using “institutional controls” to educate and discourage people from eating Duwamish River seafood. However, signage and other controls are notoriously ineffective at preventing the consumption of fish from contaminated sources. Fish with toxic levels of contaminants threaten the health and cultural traditions of the communities that rely on the river.

Image Credit: Paul Joseph Brown


Secondly, the EPA’s plan relies too heavily on “natural recovery” as a method of cleaning up the river. Natural recovery means that the EPA will simply observe areas with relatively low-levels of toxins to see if natural processes are removing the contamination. But this method is risky considering that events like floods, earthquakes, or shipping accidents can re-expose toxic materials left behind. Physically removing (dredging) contaminated soil is a much more certain and permanent solution, but the plan only intends to do this on 20 percent of the Duwamish River.

Image Credit: Sauer Photography

Fortunately, we have chance to speak up for a truly clean and safe river. But we only have until June 13th to provide our comments, input and concerns regarding the future of the Duwamish River.

Come attend one of six public meetings to ensure a cleanup that is environmentally just and provides A River For All: you, residents of the area, tribal and subsistence fishermen, fish, wildlife, businesses, industries and workers.

1. Multilingual Informational Workshop and Public Meeting

Thursday, May 9, 6:00 PM

Concord International School

723 S Concord Street – English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali and more

Food • Art • Child Care • FREE  tickets to the Seattle Aquarium!

2. Audiencia Pública Sobre la Limpieza del Río Duwamish (en Español; simultaneous English interpretation available)

Miércoles, 15 de mayo, 5:30 PM

South Park Community Center, 8319 8th Avenida S.

Comida • Cuidado de niños • Boletos para el Acuario de Seattle GRATIS!

3. The Duwamish in 3-D (a large-scale model of Seattle’s only river built in an indoor beach volleyball court)

Thursday, May 23, 6:00 PM

Sandbox Sports – 5955 Airport Way S

Food • Art • Child Care

4. EPA Public Hearing on Proposed Cleanup Plan for the Duwamish River

Wednesday, May 29, 2:00 & 6:00 PM

Town Hall (downtown Seattle)

1119 Eighth Avenue – Spanish interpretation available

Food • Art • Rally***

***Join us and hundreds of other people to rally for A River For All!  Check our website for information and updates:


For more details and information, please click here or email us at contact@duwamishcleanup.org or call us at (206) 453-9803.

Image Credit: Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition




TODAY –> Tuesday, March 5 @ Reception 5:30 (Arch 250), Lecture @ 6:30 pm  – Architecture Hall 147 – Department of Architecture Lecture Series


Douglas Kelbaugh “Landscape Urbanism vs. New Urbanism: the Environmental Paradox of Cities”


Join the Department of Architecture for a lecture by Douglas S. Kelbaugh FAIA, Professor and former Dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, received a B.A. Magna Cum Laude and an M.Arch degree from Princeton University. He was principal in Kelbaugh and Lee from 1977 to 1985, an architecture firm in Princeton, New Jersey that won 15 design awards and competitions. His 1975 passive solar house in Princeton was the first to use a Trombe wall in America and the first of many pioneering solar buildings, which were featured in over 100 books and periodicals. In 1985, he became Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he was principal in Kelbaugh, Calthorpe and Associates. He has chaired or keynoted many national conferences on energy, architecture and urbanism, organized two dozen design charrettes, and consulted on projects around the world. Editor of the urban design bestseller The Pedestrian Pocket Book and author of Common Place: Toward Neighborhood and Regional Design, his most recent book is Repairing the American Metropolis: Beyond Common Place.


Alex Merrick takes a flying leap off a closed and unused section the 520 Bridge into the cool water of the Washington Park Arboretum below on Monday August 8, 2005 in Seattle. The unused ramp is a popular spot where Seattelites have plunged into the water below for many years. Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO, SEATTLEPI.COM FILEYesterday, The Seattle Times reported that “the ramps to nowhere” are going away. The unofficial public swimming infrastructure is making way for a new Highway 520 floating bridge. That project has caught the attention of neighbors in Montlake, Madison Park, Laurelhurst, and Capitol Hill who have come together to ask for the replacement project to help reconnect their neighborhoods and “make it safe, comfortable, and convenient for everyone, from an 8-year-old child to his 80-year-old grandmother, to bike and walk” in their neighborhood.

The Cascade Bicycle Club reports overwhelming community support. Nearly 1,200 people wrote the Seattle City Council telling them to “get SR 520 right!” The groundswell has catalyzed a City Council resolution calling for the city to work with WSDOT to improve walking and biking connections in Montlake and to figure out how to build a shared use trail on the new Portage Bay Bridge.

Here is an image of the impact to the Portage Bay Bridge footprint if a few feet were added on each side for non-motorized options:

And that’s not all:

But wait, it gets better. Councilmember Conlin has introduced an amendment to help ensure the biking and walking improvements work for people of all ages and abilities. This means they’ll build protected bike lanes and neighborhood greenways instead of just slapping some paint on the road and calling it good.

For more information about this effort and how you can lend your voice to the call for new non-motorized connections between neighborhoods, check out the Cascade Bicycle Club or Central Seattle Greenways.

I have great summer memories of leaping off the Arboretum’s unfinished freeways. I always marveled at the seemingly limitless appetite of road builders. Let’s hope the city and state jump right into the work of planning other ways for us to get around, building a future of vibrant urbanism that’s less dependent on private automobile ownership and use.


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