Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Federation nixes proposed solicitation legislation


March 31, 2010

Councilmember Tim Burgess

600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor

P.O Box 94749

Seattle, Washington 98124-4749

Subject: Proposed Aggressive Solicitation Law

Dear Councilmember Burgess:

On Thursday March 25th at our monthly meeting, with 18 Community Council’s represented, the Federation voted unanimously to oppose your “aggressive solicitation” proposal.

As written, the proposal would give Police broad authority to cite anyone who they determine has caused a reasonable person “to feel compelled” to give. Such vague language turns police into psychologists who must determine the mindset of the person who has been solicited – were they compelled or not? It invites selective enforcement and discrimination against those who don’t look quite right—whose only crime may be their mere appearance—perhaps it’s their color or dress that may be a discomfort to others and thus cause someone to feel compelled to give. It’s overly broad and will invite abuse at the expense of people whose only crime is that they are poor. It casts a net over all who are homeless and in need, not just a few who cause problems.

In San Francisco, where a similar law was put in place in 2004, in four years, 56,000 citations were issued, costing the city 10 million dollars in court and enforcement costs. (Note that “only” about half of these citations were related to panhandling – the rest for other “quality of life” violations.) The majority of those arrested were people of color. All these resources that should have been directed to fighting real crime were wasted. According to one city supervisor (a city councilmember there),“If you had been here several years ago, before the ordinance passed, and came back today, you wouldn’t see a difference in the level of panhandling. There’s as much as ever."


What the San Francisco law did, however, was cause great hardship for many homeless and low income people whose only crime was that they were poor. Most of those who are issued a citation cannot pay it, and then warrants are issued.

To quote from “A study Conducted by Religious Witness” entitled “To Determine the Extent and Cost of the Enforcement of ‘ Quality of Life’ Ordinances Against Homeless

Individuals in San Francisco during the Newsom Administration (January 2004-March 2008, ” those arrested under the law in San Francisco, when warrants are issued (since many who receive citations cannot pay the fines) these people "can't pass the standard background checks required for many services like federal housing assistance, SSI or SSDI benefits, employment or even some substance abuse treatment, because they have outstanding warrant."

In other words, a faulty citation for the crime of being poor which cannot be paid because they are poor—warrant issued—and then they are denied access to housing and services needed to help them out of poverty.

This divisive legislation takes us back 15 years to the era of Mark Sidran when without a doubt it was one of the most divisive and conflictual periods in this city’s recent political history. Why take us back to those times with such controversial legislation will do nothing to address real crime?

There already are numerous laws on the books dealing with real street-related crimes, including laws against assault, pedestrian interference, expectoration, trespass, urination, property defacement, theft, graffiti, drug loitering, stalking, littering, public drinking, menacing, malicious harassment, obstruction, to name just a few. It may be that a stronger police presence is needed to apply laws already on the books to respond to these and other real crimes. If so, then let’s move in that direction, rather than waste time, limited resources and jail space on laws that cast a net over everyone.

More importantly, let’s move forward with real solutions that truly help get people off the streets. We want to see, instead, legislation introduced now and first that calls for more money and new programs not just rearranges existing budgets and deck chairs. A far better approach would be a funding package for more housing, livable wage jobs, and community-based treatment, counseling and services for those with disabilities (and linked to housing).

Thank you for considering the views of the Seattle Community Council Federation.


Jeannie Hale, President

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE

Seattle, Washington 98105

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631

cc: All City Councilmembers

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Dialogue with Councilmember Mike O'Brien


Regular Meeting

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency), Pacific Marine Center on Lake Union

1801 Fairview Avenue East

Thursday, March 25, 2010


A Dialogue with Councilmember Mike O'Brien

Councilmember Mike O’Brien chairs the Council’s Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee and serves on the Regional and Sustainable Development, Finance and Budget and Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committees. What are Councilmember O’Brien’s priorities? Should updating neighborhood plans be a grassroots effort or will the top down approach implemented by the Council work? What components should be included in the Council’s work plan to address the recent audit of District Councils? Will the Council reign in the Department of Neighborhoods in its efforts to lessen the role of district councils in rating large project neighborhood matching fund grants? These are just a few questions that will surface at the March meeting.

The March meeting will also include our monthly Round Robin of issues in your neighborhood. It is your opportunity to brief our citywide membership about what you are working on and to share perceptions on what is going right and what isn’t with our city government.

If you have informational materials you would like distributed at the meeting, please email electronic copies or links to Jeannie Hale at

7:00 Call to Order and Introductions


1. Changes to the agenda

2. President’s report

7:15 A Dialogue with City Councilmember Mike O’Brien

8:15 Round Robin

1. Proposed Aggressive Solicitation Ordinance (Come prepared with direction from your group. Information at

2. Changes to Lowrise Multifamily Zoning

3. Neighborhood Design Guidelines

4. Confirmation of Peter Hahn, SDOT Director

5. QFC vs. University Village

6. Other issues/projects

9:00 Adjourn

NOAA is a federal facility on high security alert, so attendees must enter by the security gate and may need to present photo ID. If you haven't attended a recent Federation meeting, please send your name, contact information, and address to to be added to the entry list. No e-mail? Call 206-365-1267. The building is ADA compliant, with ample parking in front.

Seattle's Urban Villages and Status of Neighborhood Design Guidelines Setting “Planned” Character

3.21.10 SCCF draft by A. Nissen—circulate for confirmation

Per Comprehensive Plan @ A-5 Development Standards: “the City uses development standards to ensure that new development is consistent with the existing and planned character of a neighborhood ...”

Using the following sites:

These villages DO NOT have design guidelines and must rely upon Development Standards, Citywide Design

Guidelines, and Review Boards to set their intended “planned” character.

Urban Center villages (villages with historic districts not included)

1. Denny Triangle

2. Ravena

3. University District Northwest?

4. 12th Avenue

5. First Hill

Hub villages

6. Bitter Lake

7. Fremont

8. North Rainier

Residential villages

9. 23rd & Jackson

10. Aurora Licton

11. Columbia City

12. Crown Hill

13. Eastlake

14. Madison Miller

15. Westwood Highland Park

16. South Park

17. Rainer Beach

These villages HAVE Neighborhood Design Guidelines theoretically setting intended character

Urban center villages

1.Belltown 2004

2. Capitol Hill 2005

3. Northgate 2003

4. Pike/Pine 2000

5. South Lake Union 2005

6. Uptown 2009

Hub villages

7. Ballard 2001

8. Lake City/North District 2007

9. West Seattle Junction 2001

Residential villages

Admiral 2002

10.Greenlake 2001

11.Greenwood/Phinney 2006

12. Morgan Junction 2007

13. North Beacon Hill 2006

14. Othello 2006

15. Roosevelt 2000

16. University 2005

17. Upper Queen Anne 2009

18. Wallingford 2005

A Modest Proposal for Neighborhood Design Guidelines

WHEREAS, at Sally Clark's Townhouses Forever event at the Taproot March 20, Sally called Bill Bradburd's "complaint" about sequential Neighborhood Planning misdirected: the Council DID CARE and HAD DONE ALL IT COULD.

WHEREAS, the above can be interpreted two ways, the more appropriate being an INVITATION to transform the City's view of neighborhoods with needs into neighborhood with assets.
My reference no greater authority than Obama's favorite organizer (no not Alinsky) John McKnight, who learned all about from DON; I mean the DON that now hanging out at the UW.

WHEREAS, Sally Clark is no longer NP gatekeeper: the Council, in its wisdom, split Land Use, aka Urban Design, in three: Clark took "built environment," O'Brien took neighborhood planning/utilities, Conlin took sustainable/regional development, and not be be forgotten, Licata took Housing. (O'Brien and Conlin, both non COBE members, attended Clark's Taproot affair.)

WHEREAS, attached you will find a two part list, the first part lists the urban villages that 16 years after the urban village strategy was adopted still have NOT set the intended "planned" character for their village in the form of Neighborhood Design Guidelines (NDG). The second part lists the villages that have done so. HALF are still missing-in-action. Shameful.

WHEREAS, I have included there the links to the references I used. While at the link where all the NDGs are kept, open some of them and do some exploring. I find that the last produced ones have learned from the earlier ones, providing ample proof that neighborhoods CAN bootstrap these documents at will. In fact, that is the City's intent. Icing on the cake is that NDG are not limited to what they now call "growth areas" (villages) conserve areas (outside) can do NDGs too.

I THEREFORE PROPOSE that SCCF and CNC initiate a neighboring mentoring service wherein neighborhoods with experience help all to find the intended "planned" characters of "growth areas" that are still missing in action, to decide whether NDGs early on the learning curve need attention, and to set design priorities in conservation areas, e.g. undesignated villages and surrounding neighborhoods. E.g., these topics could be explored in more detail at SCCF's annual late spring workshop.

1. Yes, NDGs are only as good as developments standards, which at the moment are going from "so complicated as to be no law at all" to "return of a failed experiment on steroids".

2. Yes, NDGs are only as good as the criteria for Design Review and the qualifications, values, and integrity of the reviewer(s), both administrative and board.

3. Yes, NDGs rely on the clarity and effectiveness of the Citywide Design Guidelines (CDG), upon which they are based. DEADLINE for CDG update COMMENTS MARCH 31!

4. No, NDGs will not rezone, however no existing NP did that, although a number of savvy ones limited certain upzones. There are two places OUTSIDE of waiting for NP update to raise the issue of miszonings: a) at the required once-a-decade Comprehensive Plan reconsideration now getting underway and b) as an annual Comprehensive Plan amendment proposal submitted just like the developers do (may disappear, if MFU Rezone Criteria are passed in the form submitted to Council or, as is now possible, a worse form.

Anna Nissen
Nissen/Nissen Architect

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Multifamily Housing Regulations on

Yesterday there was yet another public hearing about boosting Seattle’s population density, this time, by revising the multifamily housing regulations for “lowrise” housing zones -- more height, more dwellings on each new site, and less or no parking spaces.

All the proposals have strong support by the development community and some environmentalists, who like to repeat the notion that increasing density increases affordability, and that increasing density prevents sprawl. I say: untrue for both! Well, look around!

Here’s the point: we should be discussing how we and future generations want to live. Lower relative income in the future suggests smaller, simpler housing. The need for psychological well-being translates to livable neighborhoods and dwellings that resemble homey places to live, better places to be when we won’t be traveling so much.. Sustainability also means treating the environment gently and making wise use of resources. It’s not rocket science, but it does demand the careful crafting of neighborhood plans and city policies.

Here is my testimony to the City Council Members present (Richard Conlin, Sally Clark, Sally Bagshaw, and Tim Burgess):

“I like the direction of these proposals towards creating more human scale for living conditions, a sense of neighborhood, and buildings that have some appearance of being homes.

But one word is missing from the proposal: trees.

Alvar Aalto, considered the genius of human scale design had a dictum: build no buildings higher than the highest trees. This principal is valid in so many ways other that the ability of tall trees to give scale to buildings -- among them, stormwater retention, shade, air quality, and support for habitat.

The examples and photographs provided to illustrate the proposed new types of buildings under the code all have nothing but tiny trees, There is simply no space to provide for substantial trees.

I’d like to see these new regulations and all new projects evaluated for effect on the city’s tree canopy goals and the effect on infrastructure, namely the stormwater drainage system. Also, the restriction of the number of parking spaces on site should be carefully evaluated to make sure that pushing the cars into the streets may result in streets so packed with parked cars that developing Green Streets later will be impossible.

John Barber


Friday, March 19, 2010

Puget Sound Pollution comments deadline March 23!





Dear Heather,

As you know, in recent years there has been a steady increase in cruise ships departing from Seattle for Alaskan cruises. These ships travel through Puget Sound, the Straits and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (when traversing south), contributing to threats to human health and the Sound’s unique and diverse marine resources.

Instead of being regulated by a permit (similar to those for sewage treatment plants), they operate under an MOU (memorandum of understanding) between the WA Dept of Ecology, the Port of Seattle and the NW CruiseShip Association. This voluntary agreement currently addresses some aspects of water pollution. We are asking you to support three amendments to the MOU to help reduce the cruise ship pollution in three specific ways.

Please take a moment right now to provide your input!
For your convenience we have set up an easy to use web comment form, just click here.

The public comment period ends at midnight on Monday, March 22nd, so act today.

In order to stem the tide of cruise ship air and water pollution in Puget Sound and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, we urge you to tell the WA Department of Ecology and the Port of Seattle that you support the following three amendments to cruise ship rules:

  1. Ban the discharge of treated wastewater while cruise ships are docked in Elliott Bay;
  2. Ban the discharge of all cruise ship wastewater in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary; and
  3. Ban the incineration of cruise ship solid waste (which includes sludge, plastics, and other wastes) while they are in Puget Sound and the Strait.

Please take action by clicking here.

Or, you can email Ecology directly: Please address your comments to Amy Jankowiak at
To send comments to the Port of Seattle Commissioners:

Remember, deadline is midnight on Monday, March 22nd, so act today.

Together we can and will recover Puget Sound back to health by 2010.

Thank you in advance for responding to this call to action.


Rein Attemann

For more information about the Cruise MOU click here.

Multifamily Land Use Regulations and Related Issues

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March 18, 2010

Councilmember Sally Clark, Chair, Committee on the Built Environment

and Members of the City Council

600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor P.O Box 94749

Seattle, Washington 98124-4749

Subject: Multifamily Land Use Regulations and Related Issues

Dear Councilmember Clark and Members of the City Council:

The proposed amendments to the lowrise multifamily land use regulations, individually and as a whole represent a 180 degree course-change that can not legally be adopted without first changing the Comprehensive Plan. Adoption in reverse order is contrary to one of the Growth Management Act's (GMA) principal tenets—that development regulations are to be consistent with adopted Comprehensive Plan goals and policies. RCW 36.70A.040 (3) (d). The proposed schedule for adoption strongly suggests another Declaration of Non-Significance, whereas environmentally, as well as fiscally, such a course-change would be inferior to the current plan.

Even before the GMA, the Seattle City Council adopted policy directives to guide major changes in development regulations. Doing so enables deciphering where results and intents disagree to arrive at effective corrections. For instance, the 1988-89 Council addressed bad results from policies adopted in 1981 and regulations adopted in 1982. Citizens reported huge out-of-place apartment buildings. The Office of Long-range Planning calculated median density in, for example, L-3 30% in excess of the density limit prior to the policy promise of slightly lower density through “indirect measures,” which were very similar to those now proposed. The problem was resolved by late 1989.

With all today's precautions, curing a bad outcome is less, not more feasible. As too-tightly packed townhouses proliferated for a decade, huge, unacknowledged risk of community-wide fire growth has accrued. The suspect code interpretations are still staunchly defended. The proposed solution not only makes matters worse but is eerily similar to the 1982 experimentation.

The concerns elaborated briefly below are further documented in the enclosed report prepared by architect Anna Nissen. The report is also online at

The real problem is misidentified, extremely dangerous and would continue. Squeezing in too many townhouses is undeterred by the proposed amendments. And the much bigger problem— the increasing risk of community-wide fire growth—is worsened by allowing all buildings to be built within seven feet of adjoining rear properties and multifamily neighborhoods to be built-out chockablock as illustrated in the Nissen report. The townhouse packs mock the urban village strategy. Permitting ignores evidence that they are as dangerous as they look. A national dialogue has been taking shape in recent years over confirmation that the deadly fires associated with sudden, premature collapse of buildings framed with pre-fabricated wood members are not incidental and are to be expected. Seattle officials still take no heed of that problem, nor of having reimposed the old risk of community-wide fires as neighborhood after neighborhood have been overrun with unsprinklered, too tightly-packed, inadequately accessed buildings, many with pre-fabricated framing.

The following development standards are called out in the current Plan and would be upended as follows:

  1. Context-based evaluation criteria for rezones
    • remove distinction between zone purposes
    • change criteria focus from surrounding character to planning objective
    • increase zoned capacity 28% by text upzoning L-1 to L-2 and L-3 to L-4
  2. Predictable building placement and bulk compatible with existing or intended character as applicable
    • reject compatibility, either existing or intended.
  3. Tangible limits on lot coverage, density, and building width and depth
    • reject tangible limits on lot under 9000 s.f. and increases those limits on lots 9000 s.f.
    • remove limits on assembling of lots (encourages huge buildings in small-scale neighborhoods)
  4. Ground-related housing, open space, functional yards, infiltration of storm water, & fire safety
    • strike “open space” and “ground-related” from the definitions
    • move yards and open space to roof tops, and internal courts
    • hold density superior to fire safety or infiltration of storm water
  5. Context-based height limits and roof forms.
    • reject compatibility with surrounding roof forms and neighboring heights.
To keep this letter short, please refer to the attached list from the Nissen Report for further specifics on how and where the proposed amendments improperly rewrite the Plan. That list references a 6th item —the addition last month of “building types” as a “re-visioning tool” to make sense of the proposed amendments. It too, is not a part of the current Plan. Furthermore, when considered in other cities it is subordinated to contextual considerations and subjected to long, long public dialogues. Denver, for example, began in 2005 and its 4th draft may or may not be adopted this spring ( and

Instead of whitewash, what has gone wrong needs analysis and “learning from failure.”

From a citizen's point of view, the Council, perplexed by overly complex land use regulations, replaced impartial, generalist policy analysts with imports from the department crafting the proposals as well as assessing outcomes. This has undermined the Council's role in setting city policy and masked the hazardous consequences of a decade's worth of evaded design review thresholds, subdivision thresholds, environmental thresholds, and access standards. Even worse, instead of eventual correction, the original folly is about to be parlayed into wholesale destruction of the adopted framework for accommodating growth—Seattle's most innovative thinking—summarily deemed overly restrictive at the exact moment the rest of the nation is rapidly advancing it.

Over on the executive side, the technicians responsible for development of land use amendments, neither skilled in fire risks nor urban design, do not recognize that they proliferated fire risks for a decade and instead characterized complaints as aesthetic preferences. Eventually they settled upon aesthetic relief, i.e., criteria-less Administrative Design Review conducted by those who proliferate the fire risk.

Legislation first enacted in 1994 enables townhouses to be individually sold on “unit lots.” Seattle's present code SMC 23.53.025 sets the width of any necessary access easement and the vertical clearance over it according to the total number of “dwelling units,” not “unit lots” (“buildable” or otherwise), that will be served by the easement. The standards are easy to understand, yet City records provide few clues as to why they are not being applied. Construction permits and subdivision decisions leave to each other (in effect, neither) any check that the dimensional standards for easements are followed. Almost all townhouse developments that share an access easement are divided into certain multiples of units that are then processed in a piecemeal fashion even where they are reviewed – and constructed – contemporaneously. When questioned by the press, officials deem the interpretations permitting the townhouse packs “perfectly legal.”

Do not pass these amendments; do not subject townhouses to criteria-less Administrative Design Review. Instead:

  1. Enforce existing safety standards at once and take a lead role in a national dialogue to rid us of serious, yet avoidable fire hazards created by over-reliance on modern codes, materials, and fire-fighters.

Seattle Community Council Federation

Multifamily Land Use Regulations and Related Issues

March 18, 2010

Page 4

  1. Correct the one or two numerical standards that inappropriately disfavor apartments in apartment zones (see Nissen report at Recommendation).
  2. Make the required once-a-decade review of the Comprehensive Plan meaningful by raising provocative issues similar to what the Mayor is doing with the “Youth and Families Initiative.” Attract significant numbers of residents with the notion of “housing as if people matter” instead of planning abstractions.
  3. Then, the following will fall readily into place:
    • An effective minimum set of multifamily “districts” or overlays
    • A “first tier” of clearer, more fool-proof development standards that promote safety, conserve existing housing, and assure infill that fits in and responds to the greatest unmet need: modest, (relatively) inexpensive housing with long term appeal—Seattle, like most places, once built and conserved it naturally.
    • A “second tier“of design review criteria, guidelines, and process; dependent upon the strong foundation of the first tier, and that are clear and rigorous enough in themselves to put creativity to effective use.
    • Completion of design guidelines for the half of the villages without them.

Thank you for considering the views of the Seattle Community Council Federation.


Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image.Jeannie Hale, President Anna Nissen, Land Use Committee

3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE 206 Highland Drive

Seattle, Washington 98105 Seattle, Washington 98109

206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631 206-284-1385

Monday, March 15, 2010

Open Gov conference, City Hall, March 26-27

Open Gov conference should help government be more of an open book

The city of Seattle is sponsoring a conference on using technology to open up government to citizens, writes guest columnist Sarah Schacht. She asks where better than Seattle to guide technology to meet the needs of citizens to access information across government agencies

Special to The Times

OPEN Government, or "Open Gov," is the developing civic idea of the moment. The discussion is about promoting democratic applications of technology to make government accessible and accountable. Buzzwords like "Gov 2.0" or "sunlight as disinfectant" are bouncing around government circles.

There's still a distance between the ideal and reality. From local to federal levels, some government agencies have begun opening their databases of government information via sites and "apps" competitions. But so far this is often more window dressing than useful tools for citizens who want to become informed and empowered within government.

Too many of these early experiments publish already available government data, not new sets of data like legislation or tax statistics. In the rush to hop on the "open gov" bandwagon, emphasis can easily fall on providing data for data's sake, rather than information that is accessible, easy to understand and empowering.

Given this newfound interest in sharing information, there's an opportunity to adopt standardized, efficient technology across governments. Essentially, it's an opportunity to get our governments to speak the same data "language." This would enable easy information sharing across governments and with the public, saving taxpayer money and increasing efficiency.

The importance of this was exemplified by the recent tsunami warning that went out to 58 countries around the globe, each with individual formats for tidal-warning information.

On the morning the news reported that a tsunami might reach as far as the Pacific Northwest, I was concerned about my family's home on Whidbey Island, just 5 feet from the beach. Checking the Internet and wondering if we should board up our windows and evacuate, I found different sources were giving various projections of the likelihood of tidal surges. The best information I found wasn't from local news or NOAA, but from Canada, giving tidal surge information for Vancouver Island.

I had the knowledge and networks to find information across borders, but what if all this data from different sources had been able to "talk to each other" and extrapolate predictions? More citizens could have made critical decisions more quickly.

Whether in emergency response or day-to-day operations, we could be working more efficiently across borders, bringing down costs and engaging more citizens. Now is the time to get government and nongovernmental agencies from around our region working together, using a common data language from city to county to state to the national level.

That's why I'm delighted that Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn seems to be signaling a commitment to a new era by sponsoring a conference on making "Web 2.0" and government work together. On March 26-27, Open Gov West will host decision makers, citizen activists and government technology managers from across the greater Pacific Northwest and British Columbia to discuss strategies for regional collaboration and opening government.


OPEN GOV WEST, hosted by the city of Seattle and Knowledge as Power, will be held at Seattle City Hall March 26-27. For more information, go to:


Another Backward, Half-Baked Idea for Seattle Center

The Owners of the Space Needle Want a Massive Chihuly Glass Museum Next Door

Maybe not. An idea for a huge, new, ill-defined pay-to-play tourist attraction—a Dale Chihuly exhibition hall, to sit at the base of the Space Needle—is already in the design stages. It was the idea of a wealthy local family, the Howard Wright family, which owns the Space Needle. The plan calls for a 44,550-square-foot exhibition hall of Chihuly's glass art, to be placed inside and to extend the current Fun Forest arcade pavilion. The plan does not describe Chihuly's vision, but it calls for a whopping 21,500 square feet of exhibition space, plus a retail shop and cafe. (By comparison, the Henry Art Gallery has about 14,000 square feet of galleries and the Frye Art Museum about 12,000 square feet.) Admission would be paid, and the venture would be for-profit. The Wrights would pay for construction, and the museum—the Wrights prefer it not be called a museum, and they have a point, since it won't have curators, but no other word is quite right, either—would be privately run.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Council Seeking Input on SDOT Director

March 8, 2010


Laura Lockard, Council Communications

Office: (206) 684-8159, Cell: (206) 650-6692

Seattle City Council seeking public input on confirmation of Acting SDOT Director Peter Hahn

SEATTLE – Today Seattle City Councilmember and Transportation Committee Chair Tom Rasmussen announced the confirmation schedule and is seeking public comment on theconfirmation of Acting Department of Transportation Director Peter Hahn. Councilmember Rasmussen strongly urges all citizens to participate in this confirmation process.

“The Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation holds a critical leadership position in this city,” said Councilmember Rasmussen. “The Director’s position requires the experience and training to manage a large department with responsibilities for regional and local transportation projects. It also requires the ability to meet the daily challenges of a large department that affects the lives of people in Seattle every day. This is the community’s opportunity to tell the Council what they would like to see in the person who would lead their Transportation Department.”

The Director's Office oversees all of the functions, staff and services of the department, guiding and shaping SDOT to attain their values, vision, mission and goals. It also manages centralized administrative services, community relations, city-wide Commute Trip Reduction and Rideshare programs, street use appeals, and coordinates development and implementation of major transportation projects.

Discussion of Acting SDOT Director Peter Hahn’s confirmation will occur at the upcoming transportation committee meeting, Tuesday, March 23, with a public hearing in council chambers at 9:30 a.m. At this meeting, Mr. Hahn will outline his vision and approach to managing SDOT while Councilmembers will have the opportunity to share with him their expectations and goals for the department.

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to have further discussion and take a final vote, Tuesday, April 13, followed by a Full Council vote Monday, April 19. Public comment will be accepted until Monday, April 19 and may be emailed directly to Councilmember Rasmussen at

The confirmation packet can be located online at C.F. 310432.

About Peter Hahn:

Mr. Hahn has over 25 years of leadership experience in all areas of public transportation and infrastructure management. He was most recently the Deputy Public Works Administrator – Transportation, for the City of Renton. He managed a team responsible for the implementation and improvement of major works, including a bicycle master plan, regional trails, Sound Transit facilities, bus and other transit services. Before joining the City of Renton, Mr. Hahn was the Director of Public Works for Snohomish County from 1992 to 2006. He successfully led a department of 650 employees and oversaw a budget of $200 million. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s in Engineering from City College of New York.

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Council’s website at Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook at Seattle City Council.

Laura Lockard

Communications Manager

Seattle City Council


206-650-6692 (bberry/cell)


Is pleased to invite you to their next discussion.

Our guest will be Councilmember Sally Bagshaw when wel meet for breakfast at 9:00 A.M. Saturday morning March 13th, at the Salmon Bay Cafe in Ballard, 5109 Shilshole Ave NW, in a semi industrial area. Click here for a map and directions. Please note: Use of this meeting place is contingent on each of us placing an order and leaving a generous tip for the competent and pleasant waitstaff. See you there.

We are pleased to have an opportunity to meet and talk with Sally Bagshaw in her first year on the City Council. Will she become our champion? We could ask.

The notion of livable neighborhood that we all cherish is sometimes a very abstract set of values. How can we communicate those values into decisions council members will need to make? We may need to become better and more persistent at explaining what those values are.

Some of those values might be open space, protecting our urban forest, protecting views of our beautiful mountains, privacy, even the very abstract concept that in these NW climes we need sunlight on our streets and in our neighborhoods. We would like to walk about and feel safe and have a place to park our cars when we use public transportation getting to work. Restricting density to urban villages is a thought. And maybe we can ask her to continue to listen to neighborhoods her entire term as she is doing now.

Sally is a mom as well as a being a very multidimensional woman. Do you suppose we could ask her what happens if you feed way too much candy to a little kid? Likely she knows instinctively when a child has had enough and reached their capacity. Let’s hope she can take that instinctive sense of reaching a reasonable capacity and apply it to City Council decisions on growth.

As citizens we are fortunate to have a Council Member who brings such a rich background and experience to the job. While she admits to not having extensive experience with Seattle’s neighborhoods she has already demonstrated an amazing willingness to visit neighborhoods and listen.

Sally was Chief of the Civil Division for KC prosecutor Norm Maleng, where she and other attorneys advised on legal issues for KC council, Metro, Harborview,and the Sheriff's office. She worked on creating a region-wide transportation system, she also worked on projects for the Port of Seattle, homeless issues, and environmental issues. She pursued a lifelong passion and learned to fly and works now as a volunteer for an organization called Angel Flight to get sick kids to medical facilities.

Sally's committees include:

Chair: Parks and Seattle Center - Parks, public grounds, recreation, community centers, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, and Seattle Center
Waterfront Planning

Member: Built Environment

Alternate: Housing, Human Services, Health, & Culture