Thank you for joining us for the Sustainable Futures Fest!

Thank you to everyone that participated in last week’s Sustainable Futures Fest virtual fundraiser. We appreciate the support of everyone who tuned in and donated! In case you couldn’t catch the fundraiser live, the videos of each day are available now.

From conversations around environmental justice to innovations in environmental outreach, ECOSS is leading the region on empowering immigrants and refugees to promote community health while protecting the environment. It’s not too late to support ECOSS to go even further. Help us reach our goal of $40,000 and invest in underserved communities and small businesses.

Working towards environmental justice in the Duwamish Valley, one job at a time

The environmental sector is commonly dominated by white and affluent demographics. Yet, multiple studies have illustrated the disparity in environmental impacts on underserved and vulnerable communities. There are many barriers to closing this disparity, including lack of resources, lack of knowledge, cultural differences and more. ECOSS and several partner organizations are coming together to design a process to address one of these barriers — the gap in green career pathways centered on low-income and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

On a cloudy morning in January, ECOSS joined the Duwamish Valley Youth Corps (DVYC) and DIRT Corps for a day of habitat restoration along the Duwamish River. At a property just south of Port of Seattle’s Terminal 117 site, a future restoration site in the South Park neighborhood, youth learned about what used to be marshland along the river and how their work that day would help return the habitat to a former healthier state.

A dozen youth planted native grasses that will help prevent erosion of the bank as the river’s tides rise and fall.

Guided by George Blomberg, one of the Port’s senior environmental program managers and native plant experts, youths and adults worked together to plant native bear grass and tufted hairgrass along the Duwamish River. A couple of hours and a hundred plants later, the shore was lined with new greenery. The native grasses will help prevent erosion of the bank as the river’s current and saltwater tides rise and fall.

This work is an early phase of a series of projects with the Green Jobs Coalition, an emerging partnership that ECOSS joined with Duwamish Valley Youth Corps, Duwamish Tribal Services and DIRT Corps. Working with the Port of Seattle, the coalition envisions a Duwamish Valley with no systemic bias, where lower-income residents and BIPOC:

  1. Face no barriers to sustainable, fulfilling, inspiring, living wage careers
  2. Contribute to, and benefit from healthy, whole, self-sufficient communities restoring the health of the Duwamish River.

For many of the youth who came to plant native grasses, similar opportunities are not commonly available for them. South Park is one of Seattle’s most vulnerable neighborhoods when it comes to environmental impacts, both in terms of population demographics and environmental exposures. The coalition’s work will address these kinds of inequities while uplifting underserved communities. Stay tuned for more stories from the Green Jobs Coalition!

Skate Park Update!

Six years ago, three teenage boys arrived at a South Park Neighborhood Association (SPNA) meeting looking haggard and asking for a place to stretch out on their skateboards without being hassled. Previously marginalized due to their age and inadequate skating accommodations, the teenagers were finally granted their skating sanctuary.

The SPNA responded to their plan to create a skateboard in South Park. And now, after a long grueling process, the skate park will open as soon as the finishing touches are completed. Through donations and volunteer labor this park has grown into a glowing achievement for the South Park skateboarding youth and greater South Park community. Read this Seattle PI story from 2006 after news broke that South Park would get a skate park.

Implementing great ideas takes a great amount of effort. The River City Skate Park has been no exception. Since its inception, very little of the process has gone smoothly. A litany of events has occurred including rafting and re-drafting the park five times to fit city requirements, a stolen CAT machine, persistent rains, budget constraints and miscommunications, mud, and ever-pervasive knotweed. Despite these unexpected surprises, hundreds of people have rallied behind the skate park supporting it through creative and improvised ways. Fundraising efforts included a punk rock show in South Park, winning a highly sought after Tony Hawk Foundation grant, support from the city of Seattle, local businesses, and in-kind donations from Grindline, a skate park construction company, and proceeds made by an event hosted by ECOSS.

Grindline completed the construction this fall. They are known worldwide in places like Japan, Israel, and British Columbia. Their South Park design includes a nod to Mother Nature and Green Man, the four volcanoes, spectator seating, an Aztec sundial calendar center piece, and the purposeful alignment of the body of the park. It’s a hypnotizing design, pleasing to the eye as well as a good ride for skateboarders of all levels. Beginners will find the shallow alleyways easy to maneuver while more advanced skaters can test themselves by scaling up the walls, avoiding doorways propelled by the sheer force of gravity and skill.

Only final touches remain to be completed on the park. People who are interested in joining the River City Skate Park efforts can contact Kate Thibault at (206) 767-043 or . It’s been a long road, but everyone – funders, planners, construction workers, skaters and the neighborhood – are ready to put the park to use.

More information is on the River City Skate Park website.

Share the ride, get great prizes – New carpool Promo in the Duwamish

New Carpool Promotions in the Duwamish/Coffee for Carpoolers

The Duwamish TMA is offering a $5 Starbucks card for the first 50 people who join the TMA’s Network on  You’re eligible if you work in SODO, South Park, Georgetown, or North Tukwila and your employer is NOT affected by the Commute Trip Reduction Act.  (Ask us if you’re not sure.) There’s no required number of carpool trips – simply register at, join the TMA Network, and have coffee on us!

To Join the TMA Network:  After you register at, click “My Networks” under the Profile tab and search for Duwamish.  Use password DTMA.  To collect the Starbucks card, click on “Incentive Programs” under the Rewards tab and Submit Request.  Questions?  Contact Melanie at (206) 762-2470,

Win an iPad or Getaway has a summer promotion with fabulous prizes for carpoolers and vanpoolers.  Register at, carpool or vanpool at least 2 days/week between August 9th and September 19th, add those trips to the online tracking calendar for at least one week during the promotion period and you’re eligible to win!  Prizes include an Apple iPad, five luxury vacations, and weekly drawings for $50 gift cards.  Details are online here.

Why Share the Ride?

Carpooling can be a great option to get to work quicker and save money.

You’ll reduce wear and tear on your car and spend less on gas. Plus you can use the HOV lanes, which tend to move faster.  The ride-matching website can help you find carpool or vanpool partners who have similar routes and schedules.

Neighborhood Revitalization and Beautification spreads to South Park

In the wake of the bridge closure, The City’s Office of Economic Development (OED) has put aside funding for street beautification projects along South Park’s business district on 14th Ave South, as well as a marketing plan for the neighborhood and money for community events.

City beautification projects began during the rise of urban planning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as cities were growing and expanding. However, the rise of the new American city brought crowding, crime, poverty and urban blight. Middle and upper class city dwellers moved to the suburbs as tenements rose and city centers became  dangerous, unsanitary and largely unlivable. Early efforts to revitalize and beautify the cities came largely from the folks who left them – people who wanted to restore the pride of their cities.

“Generally stated, the City Beautiful advocates sought to improve their city through beautification, which would have a number of effects: 1) social ills would be swept away, as the beauty of the city would inspire civic loyalty and moral rectitude in the impoverished; 2) American cities would be brought to cultural parity with their European competitors through the use of the European Beaux-Arts idiom; and 3) a more inviting city center still would not bring the upper classes back to live, but certainly to work and spend money in the urban areas.” (source)

Although original efforts may not have been made with the intent to help lift people out of poverty, it was believed that a beautiful city would lead to a “harmonious social order.” The movement had its first major success in Washington D.C. (and culminated with  the National Mall and Union Station) and spread to other cities like Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and many others.

And now, South Park.  In recent years, crime has decreased and the streets are cleaner and safer.  New businesses have started lining 14th Avenue. But how will this forward momentum be maintained now that the bridge is gone?

Today, common city beautification projects include preventing and removing graffiti, creating community gardens, planting trees, building parks and greenspaces, litter and illegal dump cleanups and enhancing public spaces (source). How do you think these types of efforts will affect South Park? Besides the obvious answer (new bridge!), how can the community keep growing and thriving? Add your input here or email to get involved in beautification projects in the neighborhood.

South Park Bridge – the beginning of the end.

The King County Department of Transportation has this to say about the South Park Bridge: “The existing bridge was built in 1929-1931. The substandard lane width of the bridge carries approximately 20,000 ADT with 14% being truck traffic. It is severely deteriorated and vulnerable to seismic. The bridge is one of a few river crossings connecting to industrial area.”

Blogger Gurldoggie‘s insight about the neighborhood make it clear why it needs and deserves this gateway into the community: “South Park is a fascinating little neighborhood on the southern edge of Seattle, mostly built from the 1920’s through 1950’s to provide homes for the Boeing workers whose factory was in full bloom at the time. Since then the fortunes of Boeing and all of the industries that surrounded it have waxed and waned, and South Park has come through many rough patches. Statistics from the 1970’s and 80’s suggest that it was Seattle’s most dangerous zip code for quite a while, but in recent years the neighborhood has undergone a rennaisance, finally getting a long sought library and community center, and becoming the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Seattle.”

The bridge is slated to close on June 30th.

Community meetings have been held, studies have been made and at the end of the day, the bridge is simply not safe enough for continued use, and there is not enough money for replacement (estimates for this project come in at around $130 million). According to the Seattle Times, “The federal government last month rejected King County’s request for $99 million in stimulus dollars to pay most of the replacement cost for the bridge. Instead $30 million was awarded for a competing Seattle project to transform one-way Mercer Street into a landscaped, two-way boulevard.”

South Park Bridge Press Conference Update

The ECOSS staff just got back from the South Park Bridge Press Conference where the bridge replacement Environmental Impact Statement was signed by Kathleen Davis, Director of Highways and Local Programs at the State Department of Transportation; Harold Taniguichi, Director of the Department of Transportation; and Dan Mathis, Washington division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration. With all plans approved, the replacement of the bridge can move forward pending funding from the federal government.

We have long heard the reasons why this bridge needs replacement. It has a sufficiency rating of four (out of 100). Truck traffic volume is between 4-10 million tons of freight per year. Over 20,000 vehicles per day cross the bridge. For those of us who work and live in South Park, we are well aware of the potential impacts of closure.

But the most compelling speech came from long time South Park resident and ECOSS supporter Geoff Belau who discussed the bridge’s symbolism to the community, and who was kind enough to let us post his speech here.




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South Park Farmer’s Market needs your feedback

Taken from the South Park listserv:

Hello South Parkians! The Folks who put on the South Park Market on Wheels this year are looking for community feedback. We would like your input so we can make it even bigger and better next year. Please let us know what you liked, what you wished you would have seen, how you felt about the 10-3 time ect. and in general how we can better serve the community. You can email the listserv if you want to stir the discussion or just email me personally at I will record all comments and bring them to our next meeting. Also we will need volunteers in the not too distant future to help us with the planning for next year, so if you interested in helping us out send me your contact info. Thanks so much, and thank you to all of you who came and supported us!

Free Self Defense Class in South Park

From the bulletin board at the South Park Neighborhood Center:

My name is Elizabeth and I am offering a free self defense class for the South Park community (all ages, men and women) on August 16th from 12-4pm at the Neighborhood Center (8201 10th Ave S).

The class will be very informal. Basically, I have a self defense book with excellent photos. I plan on demonstrating each move and then have everyone pair up and practice. After 20 minutes, I will demo the next move. It will take us two hours to go through the following moves:

1. Knee kick front/side

2. Stomp kick shin/instep

3. Elbow Strike forward/upward/side/back

4. Palm heel strike (with face scrape)

5. Hug defense

6. Rear defense

If there is interest and time we can also do ground defense, choke hold and wrist grab.

Will is one of our neighbors who has experience with self defense and he has offered to come and help demonstrate the moves, answer questions, and be an ‘attack dummy.’ He Describes himself as a 5’9” tall mean who is close to 400lbs and can be very intimidating when he wants to.

I will spend the first half hour of the class talking about using common sense to stay safe (trusting instincts, watching body language, yelling “NO!” etc), then 2 hours to practice moves, with potential additional half hour for those extra moves. The last hour of class will be open for people to practice whatever they want to, ask questions, and continue to discuss other personal empowerment techniques.

Please RSVP so we can get enough drinks – 940-6145