Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6 – Northwest Seattle), Chair of the City’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, introduced a proclamation recognizing Samuel Assefa, the outgoing Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) today during a meeting of the Full Council.
Assefa has served since the department’s inception in 2016. During his time at OPCD, Assefa oversaw planning for one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, and spearheaded implementation of the Equitable Development Initiative, which provides assistance and funding for community-based organizations and development projects that respond to displacement pressures and advance equity in historically marginalized communities.
“Under Director Assefa’s leadership, OPCD led the implementation of Mandatory Housing Affordability, which will create thousands of desperately needed affordable housing units in Seattle and has already raised more than $66 million for affordable housing,” said Strauss. ”Known to his friends as Sam, Director Assefa also helped establish criteria for Mutual and Offsetting Benefits property transfers in response to community, which has allowed for the transfers of properties like the Central Area Senior Center and Byrd Barr Place in the Central District.”
Assefa is a nationally- and internationally- recognized leader in urban planning, bringing a forward-thinking and equitable approach to shaping the built environment, which was informed by his work in cities such as Chicago, Boulder and San Francisco.
“During his tenure, Assefa brought a very important personal perspective and lived experience as an immigrant and refugee after coming to the United States as a teenager fleeing a coup in Ethiopia,” concluded Strauss. “For these reasons and many, many others I am pleased to proclaim today, March 29, 2021 to be Sam Assefa Day.”