In spite of many challenges, 2017 has been a year of wins and progress for growth management across Washington. Take a a look at some of what your support has made happen:
Calling all community organizers with a passion for housing affordability! We're seeking a Housing Outreach & Mobilization Coordinator to work closely with our staff on housing affordability advocacy in Seattle from January through June 2018. We're especially seeking candidates with previous campaign or grassroots organizing experience, strong self-direction, and excellent written and verbal communications skills.
Futurewise lost a great friend and supporter in September. We were saddened to learn from our Spokane office of the passing of Elizabeth Cocchiarella due to pancreatic cancer. She lived life fully, gave generously and anonymously – and in this season of thanksgiving, we celebrate her life with gratitude.
It was but a year ago that I sent a message out to all of you, lamenting what had transpired the night before on election day 2016. We were eating doughnuts in the conference room - comforting one another, and suggesting that maybe it wasn't as bad as it looked. Looking back, it seems we were quite naïve.
This October, Futurewise brought together state and local agency stakeholders for a day-long convening focused on the use of innovative financing and funding approaches for solving environmental challenges. Field experts from across the county – from Maryland, to Chicago to California – presented a wide range of financing approaches, including the use of public-private partnerships and credit trading, to advance the construction of green stormwater infrastructure, improve the resilience of forests against wildfires, and solve surface water quality issues. Futurewise will beworking with stakeholders over the coming year to identify and advocate for pilot projects here in the Northwest that take advantage of these tools – including how they may be used to improve land-use outcomes in urban and rural areas of Washington.
Are you a sharp, energetic self-starter with excellent communication and interpersonal skills? Do you know someone else who is? We're seeking the perfect fit for a new team member who will educate and engage the public on the benefits of environmental quality, working directly with community members, partner organizations and decision makers.
This October, Futurewise will be hosting a convening on innovative financing tools such as pay for success, credit trading, environmental impact bonds, and community-based public private partnerships - with the hopes of inspiring local governments and agencies to start thinking creatively about how to solve some of our region's most pressing environmental and infrastructure challenges.
The City of Pasco - one of the cities in the Tri-Cities region - was the 10th fastest growing city in Washington State last year. The city, as well as the region in general, is seeing a huge influx of residents from other parts of the state, as well as young families and retirees in search of reasonable home prices and fair weather. All that growth means that urban development is more likely to start spreading out - an easy prospect in an area surrounded by seemingly limitless development potential. However, the sprawl protections enabled through the state's Growth Management Act limit that potential, which means that cities and counties in the region need a proactive strategy for economically viable growth in the coming decades.
Futurewise Executive Director, Chris Wierzbicki, and Darcy Nonemacher, Government Affairs Director for the Washington Environmental Council talk with Diane Horn of KEXP about the wrap up of the 2017 legislative session on this "Sustainability Segment." Click hereto listen.
With the closing of the 2017 legislative session on July 20th - after three overtime sessions - it's clear that the people of Washington lost out to the power of special interests on a number of fronts.
On June 21, 2017, Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Christopher Culp denied motions by Okanogan County to dismiss Futurewise and the Methow Valley Citizens Council appeals of the Okanogan County comprehensive plan and zoning regulations. If granted, these motions would have ended the appeals.
If someone tells you the Growth Management Act is responsible for a housing shortage, do not believe them. According to just issued Census data, Washington State ranked sixth in the number of total building permits issued in 2016 - see a very short article from Planetizen here.
The next four years of Seattle's City Council and Mayor's Office will have a lot to contend with as our region continues to grow, especially in terms of housing and transportation. Come join us and other local groups to make your voice heard and learn where the candidates stand on the land-use issues that impact the daily lives Seattleites.
Despite years of work on behalf of Futurewise and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative partners, and thousands of dollars of investment, the Pierce County Council is ready to scrap protections for local farms. This piece from King 5 tells the story.
Believe it or not, I started out my career by determining how to best pave over farmland to make room for new big box retail stores. This was New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the late 1990’s, and the “birthplace of the mall” was riding a wave of commercial sprawl that was eating up soybean and corn fields far outside the urban core. I was an engineer-in-training, tasked with figuring out how big of a hole needed to be dug in the ground in order to contain all the runoff generated from the endless acres of asphalt parking.
On March 13th, Futurewise joined Seattle for Everyone coalition partners and neighborhood activists in support of housing affordability at the public hearing on the Downtown/South Lake Union Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) rezone.
Doug Trumm of The Urbanist takes a look at Futurewise’s Spring Breakfast and Livable Community Awards, featuring keynote speaker Dwayne Marsh of the Center for Social Inclusion and awardees Kittitas County, the City of Bellevue, Beacon Food Forest, Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, King Conservation District, and Yesler Community Collaborative—six groups that have excelled in community-building to advance equity and environmental causes. Check out the article!
On March 2, 2017, Futurewise hosted our annual spring fundraising event - which this year was a breakfast hosted at the Westin hotel in downtown Seattle. We were please to host 350 guests, and honor a number of partners with a Livable Communities Award (see the previous blog post for details on the awardees).
Each year, Futurewise presents its Livable Communities Awards to programs and projects that are helping to make Washington State a better place for all. This year's awards will be given out at our Spring Breakfast this Thursday, March 2 (register here), but here's a sneak peak of our dedicated and diverse group of awardees!
Futurewise works closely with legislators and partners every year during the legislative session to protect and enhance Washington State’s growth management laws. This year, our legislative agenda covers a wide range of urban livability and natural resource protection issues.
Seattle for Everyone's broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor and social justice advocates, environmentalists and urbanists joined neighbors from across Seattle and U District residents to support a more affordable and inclusive city at the Seattle City Council public hearing on the U District upzone.
The work is just beginning! Together we can make Sound Transit 3 a successful investment - not just in transit - but for how the region tackles land-use and regional transportation that will combat the impacts of climate change. In the next few days we'll be posting more about how our region can leverage this incredible opportunity.
Futurewise’s Director of Planning and Law, Tim Trohimovich, was invited to speak at the Washington Section of the American Water Resources Association’s Annual State Conference on October 26, 2016. Tim’s presentation documented that the water levels in wells in Washington State are going down, that overdevelopment in rural areas and on farmland is causing the wells of rural residents and farmers to go dry, and that rapidly increasing permit-exempt wells are threatening the water fish need for their survival. Tim explained solutions that address these serious water problems and that comply with the Washington State Supreme Court’s landmark Whatcom County decision that Futurewise and its local partners won on October 6, 2016. The Whatcom County decision was widely discussed at the conference.
Futurewise participated in "scenario planning" with other state-wide transportation partners to determine how the Washington State Transportation Plan (WTP) could be updated to deal with an uncertain future. In accordance with the graphical image shown here, WSDOT determined that two factors in the future with the highest level of uncertainty and the highest level of importance were "technological change" and "natural disasters and climate change." The four teams involved in the planning exercise discussed the opportunities and challenges resulting from four scenarios:
On October 6, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court concluded that Whatcom County's "comprehensive plan does not protect water availability because it allows permit-exempt appropriations to impede minimum flows." This decision builds on Futurewise's 2011 win in the Kittitas County decision.
The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) is a comprehensive strategy for addressing Seattle’s housing affordability crisis. HALA contains 65 recommendations aimed at increasing the city’s supply of both affordable and market-rate housing, increasing protections for vulnerable tenants and homeowners, and creating streamlined processes to reduce the time and cost of housing development.