If 2022 reminded us of anything, it’s that centering community leadership is imperative for successful, long-term environmental justice work in the Duwamish Valley. For example, the King Tide flooding in late December 2022 demonstrated the power of community to distribute resources as first responders and to lead government to manage the devastating impacts of environmental injustice and climate change. We are grateful to community leaders and our partners at Seattle Public Utilities, the Office of Emergency Management, the Human Services Department, and the Office of Housing (among many others) for providing relief and assistance to families and businesses in South Park as they recover from the floods.
At the same time, these flood events underscore an important shift in our work. As we continue to hold fast to community priorities, we are moving from short-term responsive planning to long-term proactive implementation.
The last few years have seen increases in investments in the Duwamish Valley. Many of these investments help fulfill our mid-term objectives in the Duwamish Valley Action Plan. In 2022 alone, the Duwamish Valley Program secured nearly $9 million of investments from our partners across the Duwamish Valley Action Team (DAT), which represents 18 City departments. City staff from these departments lead this work, drawing on existing community partnerships, and building new ones. Many of these investments we outline here in our Annual Update.
To learn more about all the great work that the Duwamish Valley Program and our partner departments have accomplished in 2022, check out our Annual Update report! As you will see, the Duwamish Valley Program has continued to adapt to a dynamic landscape of community priorities and ensure that we honor our mandate to advance environmental justice and equitable development in the Duwamish Valley.
As our work has grown, we have added staff to support our work. In Fall 2022, the Duwamish Valley Program welcomed Grant Gutierrez as the Duwamish Valley Program Coordinator. In this new role, Grant will help lead community engagement and ensure our accountability to community priorities while implementing certain projects that advance the Duwamish Valley Action Plan. You’ll likely see Grant out in the community at events and at community meetings in South Park and Georgetown. Please join us in welcoming Grant to the Duwamish Valley family!
Growing our staff capacity was essential to help us focus on an exciting new initiative: the Duwamish Valley Resilience District. The Resilience District grows from the Action Plan’s long-term strategy to develop and implement a geographic strategy to mitigate and adapt to flood risk and other climate change impacts (page 83). It is a holistic approach to climate change adaptation that includes priorities like affordable housing, alongside mitigating flood risks and sea-level rise adaptation, to bolster the ability of community to thrive in place. The Resilience District reflects the spirit of the Mayor’s One Seattle approach to help us fulfill many of the commitments in the Duwamish Valley Action Plan in strong collaboration with departments across the city, community organizations and industrial business leaders. This work will be led by the Resilience District Advisory Group, which has just been selected! There will be many more opportunities for community to shape this work. Stay tuned!
Thank you all for your continued partnership. Be sure to check out the website for the full 2022 updates, and stay tuned for more to come from our team and beyond.