By: Samuel Woldemariam
The economic development town hall & night market occurred in the Rainier Beach community center plaza Wednesday, Jul 25, 2023 from 2:00 – 7:00 pm.
In attendance we had a variety of organizations, housing developments , project leads and community embers all involved in the development of Rainier Beach.
A few of those organizations / projects in attendance:
- Mt. Baker Housing & Ethiopian Village Projects
- Kay Tita Technology @ Rainier Beach
- Recreating Henderson Street Team / Project
- Cindy Jones (Displacement Prevention Strategies & Becoming Bankable)
- Harriet Tubman Center – & Catholic Community Services: Building a Healthy RB Community
- City of Seattle / King County Gov.
After a brief opening by RBACs managing strategist Gregory Davis & RBACs economic development strategist Judy Jones the event started off with a round of introductions from the community members & organizations in attendance. After introductions Judy gave some context about the development of Rainier Beach, the neighborhood is changing and there is a need to keep our neighborhood intact against a wave of gentrification. One way of doing so is housing, but how can we provide homes to our black and brown neighbors in a city that is reaching skyrocketing levels of housing prices? This is just one example of a topic that was discussed during the townhall.
Judy Jones directed those that were in attendance to break off into round table groups and deliberate these topics. From there these groups were able to interact with each other, tapping into their expertise from the different areas they worked in (housing development, community organizing, city / government and the Residents of Rainier Beach who came with the perspective of living here).
Some generational wealth building strategies that were discussed during the round tables:
- Building Housing – Mt. Baker Housing and LiHI
- Building Credit & Access to Capital – Cindy Jones, Robert Miller and Chase Bank
- Building up Small Businesses – Judy Jones, Raphael Jackson, Black Coffee, City, Shea
- Building Generational Wealth through farming – Liza and Kerry
- Building the Beach – Robert Delgardo, Mr. Davis and Patrice
- Building the Future of Jobs – Eddie (Priority Hire), Kaytita (Tech Jobs), Symtec Foundation
- Recreating Henderson Street – Project
After the round table discussions the townhall lead into a panel discussion, on the panel we had:
Gregory Davis, Lead Strategist, Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC)
Advocating to reduce displacement of residents in the Rainier Beach Community; Keepers of the RB Neighborhood Plan & Design Standards; Black Housing Initiative Champion; Food Innovation Center (FIC); Recreating Henderson Project – creating strategies to drive meaningful legislation to move RB forward!
Patrice Thomas, Equitable Development Initiative (EDI)
In May 2023 Mayor Bruce Harrell announced $13,550,000 in awards through the EDI, part of the City’s effort to support property ownership among Seattle’s diverse cultural communities in high displacement risk neighborhoods.
Seattle Within Reach Representatives Re:Devin Silvernail,
Policy Director District 2 Councilmember Tammy Morales. The Connected Communities
Equitable Development Zoning Phase II Pilot would provide development bonuses and clear administrative hurdles.
Bennet Vining & Yonas Seifu (Representing Heidi Hall) Seattle Office of Economic Development
The BCO Fund could support ownership of ground floor commercial space for small businesses. Questions: Contact Heidi Hall Community Wealth Building Manager
Seattle Office of Economic Development M: 206-561-2135 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Those in attendance were able to ask the panel questions and start a back and forth dialogue about the work that is happening in the neighborhood.