Community engagement highlights

Since 2010, more than 10,000 people have joined the conversation about the waterfront. Community participation has generated thousands of comments and ideas at hundreds of events and activities, including walking tours, large-scale public meetings, community workshops, and local fairs and farmers markets.

2018 engagement highlights + opportunities

Construction has begun! Pier 62 is being rebuilt and will be the first public space to reopen. We’re also constructing critical utilities that must be ready before removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Seattle’s waterfront is going to be a busy place over the next several years, with multiple construction projects underway. To help you stay up to date on what’s going on and what’s ahead, we launched WaterfrontConstruction.org, making it easy to find construction updates for the entire waterfront area. You can also sign up for weekly construction email updates here.

We’re also reaching out to the public, including downtown property owners, about the proposed Waterfront Local Improvement District (LID), a key component of the Waterfront Seattle Program funding plan. In May, the City Council voted to pass a Resolution of Intent to Form the proposed Waterfront LID, initiating a legislative process and a formal public discussion about whether to form the LID.

We’re also out in communities this summary and fall, participating in fairs and festivals across Seattle. Check out our events calendar to see which festivals will feature the interactive Waterfront Seattle booth.

Visit our events calendar or contact us with ideas for how to we can engage your community.

Two people, one adult and one child, posing in front of a backdrop that shows a design rendering of the future landscaped pedestrian promenade on the Waterfront.

Visitors enjoying the Waterfront Seattle booth at a festival

Photo of several visitors to an open house reading information about the Pier 62 Rebuild and looking at a map of the Waterfront Seattle Program, while other event attendees make conversation in the background.

Attendees at the Pier 62 kick-off reviewing the project design

In 2017, the Waterfront Seattle Program reached several design milestones and began preparing for construction.

Pike Pine Renaissance: Act One kicked off in 2017 with open houses in January and October, where participants learned about the project, shared their Pike and Pine experiences, and commented on proposed improvements. We also formed a project sounding board representing a broad constituency of Pike and Pine stakeholders, including property owners, residents, business owners, urban designers and community leaders.

In June, program partner Pike Place Market held the Grand Opening of MarketFront, an extension of the market that will connect directly to the future Overlook Walk. We also held an Overlook Walk open house in July to share an updated design and receive public feedback, followed by an online survey.

Construction to rebuild Pier 62 began in winter 2017. The rebuilt park will provide flexible and open space for sitting, viewing and hosting events, and will be one of the first elements of the new waterfront open to the public.

In December, crews began restoration of the historic Washington Street Boat Landing Pergola, which was moved into storage in 2014 during Seawall construction. The Pergola was reinstalled in its permanent home in Pioneer Square, where crews will be completing final restoration work in 2018. The Pergola will provide a public overlook of Elliott Bay.

Throughout the year, we provided over 70 briefings to key stakeholders, focusing our outreach on preparation for construction and sharing information about the proposed Waterfront LID.

During the summer and fall, we participated in over 21 fairs and festivals across Seattle including Festival Sundiata, PrideFest, Delridge Days, Dia de Muertos and more.

Throughout 2016, the Office of the Waterfront shared project updates with community organizations and the public. Following the April 18 release of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Alaskan Way, Promenade, and Overlook Walk, the City of Seattle accepted public comments on the document, concluding with a public meeting on May 18. 

In April, the Office of the Waterfront partnered with Washington State Ferries on a series of outreach events to share information on the State’s multimodal terminal at Colman Dock Project and Waterfront Seattle’s plans for the Marion Street Bridge and the overall central waterfront vision. In June, we hosted a public open house on the Pier 62/63 Phase 1 Rebuild, which will begin construction in 2017.  

During the summer and fall, we participated in over 23 days of fairs and festivals across Seattle including Salmon Fest, The Central Area Community Festival, Bumbershoot and many more. 

Related links:

The Office of the Waterfront began 2015 with the release of our revamped website, featuring an interactive map, budget and schedule and updated documents page. In March we joined Seattle Arts and Lectures for an evening with waterfront artist Ann Hamilton at Town Hall Seattle. In April we talked with planners from across the nation and world about our future plans for the waterfront as part of the American Planning Association National Planning Conference. 

We shared a major milestone with our partner project, Pike Place Market’s MarketFront, during their groundbreaking ceremony in June. Throughout July, we collected public feedback on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) and hosted a Draft EIS public meeting. In October, we joined The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. for a blindness simulation tour to gain a better understanding of the best sidewalk and street designs for the new waterfront.

Throughout the year, we shared updates with community organizations and the public. We attended local neighborhood events, hosted two roundtables regarding fishing from downtown piers and participated in over 30 days of fairs and festivals across Seattle, including Festival Sundiata, Pista Sa Nayon Filipino Festival, Bumbershoot and many more.

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In 2014 the Waterfront Program reached 30% to 60% design for some waterfront projects and updated the community on design progress and seawall construction. This included Waterfront Week in March, a series of events including a public meeting, a two-day discussion on art and play, and a family-focused Field Day event held on the waterfront. Field Day participants climbed into construction equipment, learned about the gribbles eating the seawall and peeked into viewfinders to see renderings of the future waterfront.

To share the latest with seawall construction the project posted videos highlighting key activities and invited the community to tour the active construction happening in the fall. The Waterfront Program also continued providing updates on both seawall and waterfront projects at community fairs, festivals and events, including Umoja Fest, Salmon Return Family Festival and many others.

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In 2013, community input became more focused to align with the design progress, including a Street + Transit Update community meeting in June to share progress on the Alaskan Way design and options for local waterfront transit. The event included a presentation that provided an overview of Waterfront Seattle and a description of the key street design elements and five local waterfront transit options being analyzed, followed by small-group discussion to answer questions and gather feedback.

Environmental review also kicked off in 2013, beginning with the scoping process for the Alaskan Way, Promenade and Overlook Walk Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Along with the scoping period from August 14 - September 25, a public scoping meeting was held September 9, where public comments were accepted and information was shared about the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the purpose of scoping and the potential environmental elements for study in this EIS.

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In early 2012, the community weighed in on specific topics at the heart of creating a great waterfront, including weather, mobility and access, environment and ecology, art and culture and what makes Seattle unique and authentic. A series of five community-led forums generated valuable feedback and ideas about the future of our waterfront. Each forum included a presentation relevant to the forum topic followed by small group discussions.

In July 2012, the Waterfront Program reached a major milestone – the release of the Concept Design, Framework Plan and Strategic Plan, critical guiding documents that capture the vision for the future waterfront and how to make it a reality. The Concept Design was developed based on an extensive outreach effort that included civic groups, property owners, stakeholders and city, state and federal agencies. A large public event was held at Seattle Center in July 2012 where the public was invited to see what’s next for Seattle’s waterfront and provide feedback and ideas.

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Major outreach began in February 2011, with a kick-off celebration held at the Seattle Aquarium. More than 1,000 people joined the event and provided feedback on questions such as, “what makes a great waterfront?” and “what is your greatest hope for the waterfront?” The feedback helped the waterfront planning and design team along with James Corner Field Operations begin to develop a preliminary design concept.

From there, the conversation continued with major events in May 2011 and October 2011, advancing the design toward a complete concept of how the new waterfront would look, feel, and function. Along the way, there were smaller conversations including briefings to community organizations and a kid-friendly photo booth at fairs and festivals throughout Seattle.

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Public involvement plans

The Waterfront Program’s public involvement strategy is about bringing people together throughout our community to contribute their values and ideas to creating a new waterfront.

Check out our foundational public involvement plans for more information on our approach to community engagement:

Email update archive

This archive shares our previous email updates with Waterfront Program news and events. Sign up for email updates to stay informed about events and opportunities to get involved.