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Council Supports Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan, Equitable Development Projects

Council unanimously adopted two resolutions yesterday that advance community investments and neighborhood planning in Seattle. The resolutions support community work in Rainier Beach and neighborhoods facing high risk of displacement.

Resolution 31710 recognizes the Rainier Beach neighborhood community and their coordinated efforts with the City to plan for, and advance, neighborhood priorities through the completion of the “Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update.” It also states the City will continue collaborating with the Rainier Beach community to develop and implement an action plan for the Neighborhood Plan Update.

The Plan reflects collective efforts by the Rainier Beach Action Coalition, Rainier Beach Merchants Association and the broader Rainier Beach community with Seattle departments, to inform City policies, programs, and investments for those areas included in the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update.

“I want to thank all the community members who are deeply involved in bringing this vision to fruition and their deep commitment to Rainier Beach,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, Southeast Seattle). “As a longtime resident of South Seattle, Rainier Beach is one of our most culturally and economically diverse neighborhoods in Seattle. With this resolution the City maintains a multi-year partnership between neighborhoods and the City in building innovative community structures and visionary neighborhood investments. Community members have made tremendous efforts in the development of the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update.”

Resolution 31711 declares support for six community-initiated projects contained in Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan for the Central Area, the Chinatown/International District and South Seattle, and identifies next steps for implementation of those projects over the next twenty years.

“Race and Social Equity is one of the core value of Seattle 2035, Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan,” said Harrell. “Communities have come together to identify specific projects that build on shared assets to support jobs and economic development for marginalized community members, and we are proud to support them with this resolution.”

“Seattle is set to add at least 70,000 more people over the next 20 years, so it is essential that we include resources and opportunities for current residents to thrive as the city continues to grow,” said Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle). Growth shouldn’t come at the cost of the residents who already live here, which is why these neighborhood-driven projects, from the Southeast Economic Opportunity Center to the Little Saigon Landmark Project, are so essential to support.”

“Career opportunities and cultural preservation are vitally important for displacement prevention, in addition to affordable housing,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle). “These community-led projects are strong investments in community. Through job training, entrepreneurship support, and the creation of cultural anchors, communities can give themselves the tools they need to succeed while neighborhoods are able to retain their sense of place in the wake of ongoing development.”

In 2016 the City Council added funding to help facilitate the development of an equitable development implementation strategy for Seattle 2035.  Subsequently, the Office of Planning and Community Development and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights have worked closely with communities in the Central District, Chinatown/International District, and Rainier Valley to identify strategies to mitigate the impacts of growth on marginalized communities.

Six community-initiated equitable development projects are identified as priorities for mitigating further displacement and increasing access to opportunity in the Central Area, the Chinatown/International District and South Seattle:

  • Multicultural Community Center
  • Rainier Beach Innovation District
  • Southeast Economic Opportunity Center
  • William Grose Center for Cultural Innovation
  • Little Saigon Landmark Project
  • Equity Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) for Affordable Commercial Space strategy

The resolution directs the Office of Planning and Community Development to work with the City Budget Office and the community sponsors and to continue to develop and identify resources to fully implement the projects, including City financial support for organizations sponsoring the projects listed above and a possible Equitable Development Implementation Fund. The resolution also asks the Office of Planning and Community Development to report annually on progress towards implementing these six projects.

The Council requests that the Office of Planning and Community Development begin work with additional communities facing a high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity to further identify additional community-led strategies or projects that can support jobs and economic development as well as reduce the threat of displacement.

The Full Council unanimously approved the legislation on Monday, September 26.

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