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Yesler Terrace Archive

Historical Context Yesler Terrace logo

The planning for Yesler Terrace formally began in April 2006 when Seattle Housing Authority hired staff to manage the planning effort and begin recruiting members of a Citizen Review Comittee. The first meeting of the Citizen Review Committee, chaired by former Mayor Norman B. Rice, took place on October 25, 2006.

The Seattle Housing Board of Commissioners approved Guiding Principles, recommended by the Citizen Review Committee, on December 6, 2007. In recommending adoption of the Guiding Principles, CRC Chair Mayor Norman B. Rice said, "These principles point to a balance between serving the needs of current and future residents and acknowledging the opportunities of the redevelopment for the larger community."

In 2008 and 2009, staff, consultants and members of the CRC worked on developing various site concepts and development scenarios for Yesler Terrace, which led to the eventual development of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The various documents they considered, and the minutes of the Citizen Review Committee, along with news stories that mark significant milestones, are contained in this archive.

In October 2010, the Draft EIS was published. After public hearings, comments and further research, the Final EIS was published on April 14, 2011.

Other significant studies done in 2010 included a Sustainable District Study in coopration with the City of Seattle and a Renovation Cost Anaylsis.

Citizen Review Committee Minutes

Archive Materials by year


Planning glossary

A glossary of urban planning and design terms was developed by consultants CollinsWoerman to assist members of the Citizen Review Committee and the public in understanding common planning terms.

Community Workshops
July - October 2008

The Yesler Terrace redevelopment team, including consultant CollinsWoerman, worked with the community to gather input from residents on conceptual site alternatives. A total of five workshops were held from late July through mid-October 2008. Information about the results of each meeting is available in ten languages, in PDF format (download Adobe Reader).

Workshop on Community Priorities
July 31, 2008

Workshop on Living in an Urban Environment - August 5, 2008

Workshop on Housing and Living at Yesler Terrace - August 14, 2008

Workshop on Job Opportunities at Yesler Terrace - October 1, 2008

Workshop on Making Yesler Terrace Healthy and Safe - October 15, 2008

Yesler Terrace Background Report September 2008

Planning consultant CollinsWoerman prepared the "Yesler Terrace Background Report" in September 2008. This background report highlighted existing conditions that could affect strategic redevelopment.
Research focused on five dimensions of the neighborhood: physical, environment, social, economic and regulatory system.

Report findings have helped to guide team efforts through a common understanding of what is there today and how it came to be. The background report has been the foundation for subsequent strategic analysis leading to selection of a preferred redevelopment alternative. A six-page Executive Summary of the report available is available in PDF format:

The complete 102-page Yesler Terrace Background Report (PDF, 6.73 MB) is also available.

Planning Concepts -
November 2008

As part of the Seattle Housing Authority’s effort to redevelop Yesler Terrace, the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) was formed to develop definitions and guiding principles which would help direct the community’s vision for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. Using the CRC’s work as a source, the Seattle Housing Authority and a consultant team created draft planning concepts intended to stand in support of the committee’s recommendations. The concepts have been reviewed and discussed by the CRC and the community. The Planning Concepts were then published in November 2007.

For the complete report: "Planning Concepts: Working Toward a Community Vision."

The planning concepts for Yesler Terrace redevelopment are available in nine languages in additoin to English, in PDF format (download Adobe Reader).


Planning elements overview - January 2009

This overview presented a more detailed redevelopment schedule and illustrated key redevelopment elements, as they related to the Guiding Principles and planning goals.
Yesler Terrace planning elements overview

(PDF, 3.85 MB).

Urban design case studies & elements - February 2009

Four urban design case studies were assembled by consultants CollinsWoerman, along with a collection of urban design elements. They were developed to offer intriguing ideas and components that could  be integrated into the redeveloped Yesler Terrace. Urban design case studies and elements
(PDF, 10.4 MB).

Local neighborhood studies - February 2009

An exploration of two existing urban neighborhoods in Seattle—Belltown and First Hill—and how they compare to Yesler Terrace.
Neighborhood studies (PDF, 3.02 MB).

Financial model overview February 2009

A summary of the Yesler Terrace financial model, including assumptions for costs, revenues, land use, and planning was presented to the Citizen Review Committee by Seattle Housing Authority's financial consultants
Financial model overview (PDF, 88 KB).

Exploration of ideas - March 2009

As part of the CRC's consideration of various approaches to Yesler Terrace Redevelopment, a document was developed to explore concept variables related to redevelopment: building height/massing and open space. Download the
Exploration of ideas (PDF, 5.52 MB).

Concept variables and planning concepts - April 2009

As the CRC began to explore the implications of various ideas for the redevelopment, consultants devloped a series of planning concepts to give committee members more concrete ideas about possible choices. Variables explored in the various concepts included topography, connections/edges, circulation, office uses, and retail uses. Three distinct planning concepts are outlined in this document. Concept Variables and Planning Concepts
(PDF, 16.2 MB).

Evaluation of concepts
May 2009

The Citizen Review Committee engaged in a participatory process to evaluate the three concepts presented in April 2009. The evaluations and comments from this exercise are summarized here.and refined by the CRC. Download the
Concept Evaluations
(PDF, 5.35 MB).

Evaluation document - May 2009

CRC members and Yesler Terrace residents evaluated three redevelopment concepts using seven criteria outlined in this document. CRC member and resident comments related to the concepts were noted. General questions were answered as well. Evaluations of concepts (PDF, 944 KB).

Evaluations summary - May 2009

The evaluation report reflects thoughts from the CRC about the individual concept variables as well as each of the three preliminary concepts. These thoughts and comments were considered along with input from other stakeholders and consultants (i.e. City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Transportation, Utilities, Seattle Design Commission, the development community, financial consultants, etc.) to inform and guide the Yesler Terrace redevelopment plans.
CRC Evaluations Summary (PDF, 5.55 MB).

Environmental Review Process

Beginning in late 2009, the Housing Authority worked with the City of Seattle and consultants to study the impacts of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace on the surrounding enviroment. A wide variety of issues were studied. The formal process concluded in 2011 with the publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statment.
Environmental Review Process and Documents

2010 Sustainable District Study

In partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Housing commissioned a study by national experts in mid-2010 to evaluate the sustainability potential of the Yesler Terrace redevelopment.

Initial study findings indicate that opportunities are worth pursuing in the area of district heating, use of renewable energy sources and water re-use for potentially significant decreases in water usage.

To access the Sustainable District Study findings.

2010 - Renovation Cost Analysis

This study was conducted to estimate the costs associated with the replacement and rehabilitation of Yesler Terrace. The report is referered to in the Final EIS.

To access the Yesler Terrace Renovation Cost Analysis.

News stories

Since the beginning of the Yesler Terrace planning process in 2006, milestones have been noted in news stories published in the "News and Reports" section of this website. For information and perspective on the redevelopment process and events specific to Yesler Terrace, review this archive of news stories.