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Yesler Terrace redevelopment poised to move forward

Seattle City Council considering comprehensive legislative package

SEATTLE — July 12, 2012 — Under consideration before Seattle City Council is a comprehensive legislative package that will guide the rebuilding of the Yesler Terrace neighborhood over the next 15-20 years. The legislation includes a Cooperative Agreement between the City and Seattle Housing, a Land Use Code Amendment and Rezone Ordinance, a Street Vacation Petition and a Planned Action Ordinance.

The Council will host two public hearings on the legislation, on July 17 at Yesler Community Center and on Aug. 8 at City Hall. Both hearings are at 5:30 pm.

Sally Clark, City Council President, chairs a Special Committee on Yesler Terrace. The committee includes all City Council members. In a recent radio interview (KUOW, The Conversation, May 21, 2012), Clark described the City Council's role in the process.

"When we see all this [process] done," she said, "what we need is a great deal of certainty that this project will actually play out and that low-income people will have guaranteed places to live that are part of the Yesler project."

In pursuit of that goal, the Council has been hosting a series of briefings on various topics related to the project.

"We have been working closely with City staff to provide relevant information to Council members and to answer their questions about the people who live at Yesler Terrace  now and our plans for the future," notes Seattle Housing Authority Development Director Stephanie Van Dyke. "City staff has been diligent in working out the details of the legislative package. It has been a very productive partnership."

Seattle Housing Authority has already begun the process of rebuilding the neighborhood. A HUD grant last year provided $10.3 million to begin construction in the area east of Boren between Yesler Way and Twelfth Ave. The grant is also funding a service partnership with Seattle University to improve educational outcomes for children and youth who live in the neighborhood. The Yesler Steam Plant, designated an historic landmark, is undergoing a rebuilding process that will allow it to be used for Early Head Start and other educational and job-related programs.

Seattle Housing Authority is also currently seeking a development partner for the rebuilding process. "We are convinced that for a redevelopment of this scale, the contributions of an experienced private-sector partner will add significant value," notes Executive Director Tom Tierney. Proposals from interested developers are due by August 31, 2012.

"This is a critical time for the future of Yesler Terrace," said Tierney. "The decisions and deliberations of the next few months will create a foundation for an exciting new neighborhood on this site—one that both serves the needs of those who live there now and provides a home for generations of low-income family into the future."