Rose Center for Public Leadership Working with Mayor Murray in Rainier Beach

 In All News, Press Releases

SEATTLE, WA – March 16, 2015 – The Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to help the city attract investment to implement community goals in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The panel of experts from around the nation arrive in Seattle today and will spend four days working with City staff and the Rainier Beach community to help it capitalize on its assets to attract private investment, jobs and economic development that supports this diverse community. The panel will make recommendations on how to implement the vision established by the community through previous planning efforts.

The Rose Center’s mission is to encourage and support excellence in land use decision making by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to foster creative, efficient, practical, and sustainable land use policies. Each year, the center’s Daniel Rose Fellowship program invites the mayors of four large U.S. central cities to select a team with land use decision-making authority to receive technical assistance on a local land use challenge. This year’s fellowship class is from the cities of Pittsburgh, Boston, Omaha and Seattle.

Mayor Murray’s team includes Rose Fellows Kathy Nyland, senior policy advisor in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation; Steven Shain, transit oriented development manager, Department of Planning and Development; and Nathan Torgelson, deputy director, Department of Planning and Development; who are assisted by their team coordinator Mei Tan, also a senior policy advisor in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation. In addition to technical assistance on their city’s land use challenge, the fellowship program provides participants with leadership training and professional development opportunities from NLC’s and ULI’s respective programming and networks of private- and public-sector members.

The land use challenge for the city of Seattle, as identified by Mayor Murray and his fellowship team, is to determine how to best leverage Rainier Beach’s assets to attract private investment and create economic development aligned with the community’s vision. The city is planning for development around the light rail station that capitalizes on its unique location at the intersection of industrial and residential neighborhoods. The goal is to create living-wage jobs, education, and training to create community stability and economic mobility for current residents, while also supporting opportunities for additional housing. Over the past decade, the city, Seattle School District, and Sound Transit have invested heavily in the neighborhood and in 2012, the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan was updated to help identify opportunities for greater public and private investment, including the development of an innovation zone. But it has not yet attracted major private investment and stable jobs paying livable wages, something desired by many residents.

The panel, co-chaired by Seattle’s Rose Fellowship faculty advisers-urban designer Antonio Fiol-Silva, principal, Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, in Philadelphia and urban economist Nadine Fogarty, vice president, Strategic Economics, in Berkeley, California-will meet with Mayor Murray and his team to tour the site and meet with community and civic leaders and other stakeholders. Drawing upon their professional expertise and experiences, the panelists will apply the information gathered from the site tour and stakeholder meetings and present recommendations on how to implement the community’s vision. All of Seattle’s expenses to participate in the program-including the panel’s visit-are underwritten by the Rose Center to ensure objectivity during the process.

According to Rose Center Executive Director Jess Zimbabwe, the panel’s work represents an excellent opportunity to revitalize an existing, underinvested area that has great economic development potential. “We are very excited to work with Mayor Murray and his team to help re-energize Rainier Beach,” Zimbabwe said. “The goal is to leverage the area’s human capital, facilities and existing activities to attract and nurture new businesses that will provide employment opportunities within a reinvigorated mixed-use urban neighborhood.”

“Local officials play a critical role in land use decision-making, and we are excited to see the opportunities and outcomes in Rainier Beach resulting from the Rose Center’s partnership with the City of Seattle,” said National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “The National League of Cities is proud to support the Rose Center’s mission to work with elected leaders and staff to promote the best land use policies in urban areas, which results in building better communities for our residents.”

“We are honored to have been selected to participate in this prestigious program,” said Mayor Murray. “We have already invested in a new library, community center and light rail station in Rainier Beach. We want to encourage additional private sector investment that benefits the people of the neighborhood and creates jobs that pay a livable wage. We look forward to new insights from these outside experts as we implement our development strategy for the neighborhood.”

The Daniel Rose Fellowship is the flagship program of the Rose Center, established in 2008 by the ULI Foundation Governor Daniel Rose. The purpose of the fellowship program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning, and analysis needed to successfully improve their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S. or foreign city, working retreats at NLC’s and ULI’s national conferences, and study visits to each of the four fellowship cities. The cities of Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit; Hartford, Connecticut; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Minneapolis; Nashville; Oakland, California; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Sacramento, California; Tacoma, Washington and Tampa, Florida have participated in the first five years of the fellowship program.


NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: Representatives of the Rose Center will be making a public presentation with preliminary findings from 9-11 a.m. PDT on Thursday, March 19th at the Seattle Central Library located at 1000 4th Avenue in Seattle.

About the Rose Center for Public Leadership
Founded in 2008 with a major gift from real estate developer Daniel Rose, the Rose Center provides public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks, and other resources to encourage and support excellence in land use decision making. The yearlong Daniel Rose Fellowship program provides the mayors of four large U.S. cities with ULI assistance on a local land use development challenge. Beginning in 2014, the Rose Center operates as a partnership between the Urban Land Institute and the National League of Cities.

About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute ( is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 33,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

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