Duwamish Valley Program Annual Update 2020

End-of-Year Progress Report

View of Mt. Rainier and Duwamish river from South Park Bridge

Celebrating the Resilience of Seattle’s Duwamish Valley

Resilient communities have called the Duwamish Valley home since time immemorial — from the fishing and winter campgrounds of the Duwamish Tribe to the first European settlers in the Pacific Northwest, up to the people living in it today. The neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown are close-knit communities, home to nearly 6,000 people and numerous businesses and industries. Yet these communities have experienced inequities for years, and both climate change and COVID-19 have magnified existing health, economic, and environmental disparities. 

Since 2016, the City of Seattle’s Duwamish Valley Program has been working to create real positive change in the Duwamish Valley and build a more equitable and resilient city. Through collaboration with community organizations and residents, we are working to advance a new model for how city policies and programs can address health, equity, and climate change for our residents and businesses in the Duwamish Valley. But, as you might imagine, things got a little complicated in 2020.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to our local government, ranging from budget cuts to staff emergency response redeployment and more. We are extremely proud of the work we did and for our nimble response to ensure Duwamish Valley stakeholders were connected to and benefitted from the City’s COVID‐19 relief and response efforts. Despite encountering many obstacles and delays due to the pandemic, the Duwamish Valley Action Team (DAT) made progress on implementing the Duwamish Valley Action Plan. We would like to highlight the following:

COVID-19 Relief & Response

In partnership with Villa Comunitaria, Concord PTA, and Georgetown community leaders, we were able to support 34 South Park and Georgetown families and individuals with rental assistance, utility payments, back-to-school expenses, and healthcare costs. In addition, we were able to provide technical assistance and/or four rounds of protective supplies and gear to 17 women- and BIPOC-owned small businesses in Georgetown and South Park.

West Seattle Bridge Closure

Residents of the Duwamish Valley have been heavily impacted by the West Seattle Bridge closure because of all the detour traffic moving through the neighborhoods. Community groups have worked closely with the city to identify projects to help with the environmental and safety impacts, such as speed bumps and tree plantings to offset the increased carbon emissions. To date, the city has allocated over $3 million in transportation-related projects to help the South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods.  

Georgetown Flume Off-Leash Area

The Georgetown Flume is a historic site that transported water from the Duwamish River to the Georgetown Steam Plant until it was decommissioned. The City and community partners are working to convert the land into a new community asset. The eastern portion of the site will be developed into a new off-leash area, and the western portion will be developed into a shared use path for those walking, biking, or rolling between Georgetown and South Park. Learn more about project from our colleagues in the Parks department.

Supporting the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center

With support from OPCD, we provided financial support to Duwamish Tribal Services to support the improve access to the Duwamish Longhouse & Cultural Center and programs, which will include an expansion of their parking lot.

Climate & Community Resilience Grant

The Duwamish Valley Program applied for and received $600,000 in funding to continue developing and implementing the Resilience District concept. Funding from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will support the City with developing a Resilience District — a geographic strategy, inspired by global models, focused on adapting to flood risk and other climate change impacts as a key first step towards adapting to a changing climate, while taking a comprehensive approach that fosters community resilience.

And there’s even more!

We would also like to celebrate how the Duwamish Valley Action Team made great progress on all seven priority areas in the Action Plan

In 2021 and 2022, many of these projects will go from planning and design to construction, so you will be seeing on-the-ground improvements. Additionally, in the next couple of months, we will be officially launching our Resilience District work and look forward to co-developing solutions with residents, industries, philanthropy, and other non-City partners that will have a positive effect on our communities’ wellbeing for years to come.

Thanks for your ongoing support. Here’s to a resilient Duwamish Valley!

Seven Priority Areas

Healthy Environment

Healthy Environment

Goals include increased health of and amount of tree canopy cover and other green infrastructure, improved outdoor and indoor air quality, decreased incidence of asthma, and increased access to affordable, healthy, and culturally-acceptable foods in the Duwamish Valley.

Parks & Open Space

Parks & Open Space

Goals include maximizing existing parks and open spaces, improving access to the Duwamish River, addressing open space disparities, and ensuring Duwamish Valley residents - particularly communities of color, immigrants, refugees, Native peoples, and people with low incomes and disabilities can enjoy high-quality places to recreate and access nature.

Community Capacity

Community Capacity

Goals include centering the experiences of Duwamish Valley residents and their increased ability - particularly BIPOC, low-income, and other marginalized communities - to meaningfully influence the design of and participate in decision-making processes regarding City policies, programs, and services for the Duwamish Valley.

Mobility & Transportation

Mobility & Transportation

Goals include increased development of non-vehicular mobility options to achieve a safe, connected, and accessible Duwamish Valley, including safe walking and biking connections and  improvements to freight mobility and transportation access that do not conflict with the residential community.

Economic Opportunity

Economic Opportunity & Jobs

Goals include increased income, access to jobs, and youth pathways as important anti-displacement strategies, maintaining the industrial land base while encouraging cleaner industry, increasing opportunities for local jobs, and a thriving and diverse business district in proximity to the neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown.

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing

Goals include increased access to low-income and affordable housing that do not promote improvements that ultimately displace current residents, ongoing support of the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition, and promotion of affordable commercial spaces, equitable development, and anti-displacement.

Public Safety

Public Safety

Goals include increased investments to promote safety measures while also proactively recognizing and mitigating the institutional and systemic issues related to over-policing of communities of color, low-income communities via the use of excessive force and racial profiling.

Sustainability and Environment

Jessyn Farrell, Director
Address: 700 5th Avenue, #1868, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94729, Seattle, WA, 98124-4729
Phone: (206) 256-5158

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