Earl’s Cuts and Styles had been an important cultural center and meeting place for the African American community in the Central Area at 23rd and Union since 1992. With the planned redevelopment of Midtown Plaza, many in the community worried that the barbershop would not survive. It was hard to imagine the Central Area retaining its identity without Earl’s. The surrounding community made a commitment to saving, and therefore, moving, Earl’s business.
Construction of the Liberty Bank Building across the street presented a not-to-be-missed opportunity. It had available commercial space and a developer, in Capitol Hill Housing, that takes advantage of its affordable housing developments to also address broader community development needs. Capitol Hill Housing had made a commitment to honoring the legacy of Liberty Bank, the first African-American owned bank in the Pacific Northwest, in its new building on that historic site. Leasing the commercial spaces to Earl’s Cuts and Styles, an African-American-owned business serving that community, was an ideal way to carry out that commitment.
One of the keys to Earl’s successful relocation was the assistance of Seattle University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center’s RAMP-up program, Randy Massengale and Amelia Marckworth from RAMP-up worked with business owner Earl Lancaster to help him make the transition not only to a new space but also to new ways of managing his business.
On December 19, at the Crescent Collaborative’s monthly policy group meeting, the story of this transition provided a powerful example of small business survival in gentrifying neighborhoods. Massengale and Marckworth discussed their work with Lancaster and shared lessons learned from their experience. The move required about three years of planning, including small business technical support, putting together the necessary funding from many sources and managing the design and construction of the new space. Financing for the relocation came from grants and loans from Craft3, Capitol Hill Housing, the City of Seattle Offices of Economic Development and Arts and Culture, and the Central Area Collaborative.
About 30 collaborative partners from community-based organizations, financial intermediaries, city government and subject matter experts contributed to the discussion. Many policy group members, including Ken Takahashi (Seattle Office of Economic Development), Che Wong (Craft3), Inye Wokoma (Wa Na Wari), Jill Fleming (Capitol Hill Housing) and Dennis Comer (Central Area Collaborative) also had a part in helping Lancaster move his shop. They each shared their perspectives on the experience with the group.
Ellen Kissman (Crescent Collaborative Consultant Team member) Massengale and Marckworth, are preparing a case study of Lancaster’s story that will inform the Collaborative’s policy and systems change agenda, as well as being a resource for others working to help small businesses in changing neighborhoods.
Four board members representing their neighborhoods and two ex officio members have recently joined the Crescent Collaborative board. The neighborhood representatives are:
- Maiko Winkler-Chin (top left), Executive Director of the Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority, will represent the Chinatown-International District and Little Saigon.
- Andrea Caupain Sanderson (top middle), Executive Director, Byrd Barr Place, will represent the Central Area.
- Anne McCullough (top right), Executive Director of the First Hill Improvement Association, will represent First Hill.
- Chris Persons (bottom left), Executive Director of Capitol Hill Housing, will represent Capitol Hill.
AyeNay Abye, Deputy Director, Seattle University Center for Community Engagement, and Rachael Steward, Community Services Administrator, Seattle Housing Authority, will participate on the board as non-voting, ex officio members representing their respective institutions.
At the December meeting, the board elected officers for 2020. Maiko Winkler-Chin was elected President, and Andrea Caupain Sanderson was elected Vice President. Michael Brown was re-elected Secretary-Treasurer.
Four Crescent Collaborative organizational partners received notice of funding yesterday when Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that the City of Seattle will invest $110 million to create 1,944 new affordable homes in neighborhoods across Seattle. This is the largest one-year investment for affordable housing in Seattle’s history.
The funds invested through the City’s Office of Housing will support the construction of thirteen new buildings in Seattle for a range of communities, including seniors, low-wage workers, families and people experiencing homelessness. Crescent Collaborative partners will build 493 of the planned units in four buildings, two in Crescent Collaborative neighborhoods and two in other areas.
Mayor Jenny Durkan with Africatown’s Wyking Garrett at the funding announcement.
A partnership of Africatown Community Land Trust and Capitol Hill Housing will build Africatown Plaza, at the corner of 23rd Ave E and E Union, with 132 affordable apartments serving residents with incomes of 60 percent of Area Median Income or below.
The Seattle-Chinatown International District PDA received funding for an apartment house on Beacon Hill serving residents at 60 percent AMI. This project will create 154 units for people at risk of displacement from North Beacon Hill and the Chinatown International District. Seattle Housing Authority received funding for the 82-unit Lambow Apartments in Delridge, for low-income families and individuals.
Capitol Hill Housing received funding for The Eldridge, a 125-unit apartment house serving LGBTQ seniors with incomes below 60 percent AMI and below 30 percent AMI.
In addition, three of the thirteen new buildings will be built in First Hill by other nonprofit housing providers.
Office of Housing Director Emily Alvarado introduced the funding announcements with these words: “Today we make an historic investment in our values to create a more affordable and equitable city, to foster inclusion, to address homelessness, to advance sustainability and to further fair housing. Today we invest in the basic human needs of our neighbors and the basic infrastructure of our city. Additional information is available on the City of Seattle Office of Housing blog.
On Nov. 21, Crescent Collaborative introduced a series of five short videos that document the history of its predecessor organization, Yesler Community Collaborative (YCC).
The videos trace the history of this community collaborative from its beginnings in 2014 to the present, as it expands its board and looks ahead to ongoing neighborhood collaboration among the neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Seattle.
In order to produce the videos, YCC consultants interviewed more than 20 community members who have been involved in the work of the collaborative. These videos were then edited and condensed into five videos,each of which is approximately five minutes long. Vi Lynk was the videographer for the project. She worked with YCC consultants to shoot and edit the videos. All five videos are available in the History section of this website.
In addition to the videos, YCC also produce an eight-page final report documenting its activities. That report can be downloaded here.
Both the videos and the Final Report were introduced at the final YCC Partners Meeting, held at Washington Hall in Seattle’s Yesler neighborhood and attended by about 60 people. A panel discussion at the meeting considered the lessons learned about community collaboration over the past five years and discussed the organization’s transition to Crescent Collaborative.
At it’s November meeting the Yesler Community Collaborative Board of Directors completed the formal changes needed to continue operating as a nonprofit organization past the time that it was originally slated to sunset.
By amending its bylaws, the board changed the organizations name to Crescent Collaborative and expanded the board from three members to nine. The current at-large members–Sue Taoka, Bill Block and Michael Brown–will continue to serve. They will be joined on the board by four neighborhood representatives and two ex officio members.
The four neighborhoods represented will be Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central Area and the Chinatown-International District-Little Saigon neighborhood. Andrea Caupain Sanderson will represent the Central Area and Maiko-Winkler Chin will represent the Chinatown-International District-Little Saigon. Chris Persons and Anne McCullough have been nominated to represent Capitol Hill and First Hill respectively. Their confirmation is expected at the December board meeting.
In addition, Rachael Steward has been designated an ex officio member representing the Seattle Housing Authority. AyeNay Abye hs been designated as the ex offico representative from Seattle University. Ex officio members will participate fully in board meetings, but will not vote.
When YCC formed in 2014 the board expected that it would sunset in 2019 as work on the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace neared completion. However, YCC partners have appreciated the opportunity to collaborate and worked with the board to come up with a plan to transition into ongoing operation. The expanded board will assume a more active role in policy formation, and the organization will continue to operate with consultant help.
Learn more about new board members here: About Us
Learn more about YCC’s history here: History
On September 29 Seattle Housing Authority celebrated the opening of its third new low-income housing building at Yesler Terrace.
The seven-story building with adjacent townhomes features 111 apartments in a mix of one-, two-, there- and four-bedroom units.
The new building, easily visible on the Yesler hillside from the I-5 freeway, is a mix of lively colors and gracious public spaces. It features a solar hot water system and advanced ventilation systems for energy conservation and improved air quality. Beneath the apartment building is a garage with 52 parking spaces available at no charge to residents.
The interior of the building showcases original artwork by Thanh Tran, an artist who lives at Yesler Terrace. In the building’s artwork, Tran depicts the traditional Vietnamese Hoa Mai flowers, symbolizing good luck and prosperity, that usually bloom during Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
With the completion of Hoa Mai Gardens, its third new residential building to open as part of Yesler redevelopment, SHA is well underway toward replacing all 561 older Yesler housing units with new apartments for low-income residents.
Yesler Terrace was the city’s first public housing, built in 1940 by the then newly established Seattle Housing Authority. The redevelopment of Yesler Terrace began in 2013 after SHA, with the help of a Citizens Review Committee comprised of Yesler residents, surrounding neighbors, city officials, nonprofit service partners and citizens at large, shaped a plan for replacing Yesler Terrace’s aging housing and deteriorated infrastructure with a new community for Yesler residents and adding a significant amount of new housing for people across a spectrum of income levels. Beyond replacing all of the older units, this plan will result in 1,000 additional affordable homes, along with more than 2,500 market-rate rental apartments developed by private partners.
More information on the Seattle Housing Authority Website