Claiming the power of unity across neighborhoods

In late 2014 Yesler Community Collaborative was formed with the vision of supporting both the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace and the health of the historic and culturally sensitive neighborhoods nearby. The work was initially funded by Seattle Foundation and a $500,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase. The assumption was that the organization would sunset after five years as major redevelopment of Yesler Terrace was completed.

Since its inception, the work of the collaborative has been directed by a three-member nonprofit board and supported by three principal consultants. After an initial period of trust-building across neighborhoods and organizations, YCC was able to play a pivotal role in amplifying the influence of neighborhood organizations in policy directions within City government.

Over time, the focus of the collaborative shifted from specific involvement with redevelopment at Yesler Terrace to the issues of gentrification and displacement in the surrounding neighborhoods. This occurred in response to the influx of affluent workers and the subsequent increase in real estate values and rents. Anti-displacement policies and social justice initiatives were successfully advocated for and some nonprofits organizations forged collaborative relationships.

Convening and Connecting Community Leaders

This video explores YCC’s investment in building trust among partners as a foundation for effective collaboration.

Articulating a Common Vision

This video addresses the challenges of developing common understanding and vision within community-based organizations across neighborhoods. Here are a couple of terms within the video that might benefit from further explantion:  “EDI” refers to equitable development initiatives. “Africatown” is shorthand for Africatown Community Land Trust, an emerging community development organization in the Central Area.

Collective Impact in Policy Making

The story of YCC’s advocacy efforts is articulated here. Partners and city leaders speak about some of the following issues:

  1. Comprehensive Plan or Comp Plan:  a 20-year vision and roadmap for Seattle’s future. It was updated in 2017-18 and YCC participated in its latest revision process.
  2. HALA or HALA recommendations:  the Housing and Livability Agenda is a multi-pronged strategy for addressing housing affordability in Seattle. It was created by a 28-member stakeholder group convened by Mayor Ed Murray in 2014. YCC responded to and advocated for several provisions within it.
  3. Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requires new developments to include affordable homes or contribute to a City fund for affordable housing.
  4. Neighborhood Preferences: YCC worked with city staff to formulate this policy which allows new housing developments to specifically market their new apartments to residents or former residents of the neighborhood where the new development is located.

Lessons Learned

What does it take to be effective as a collaborative? What is the future of YCC? These and other topics help to articulate the lessons learned from YCC’s five years of operation.

YCC Final Report - Nov 2019

The report below details the history of Yesler Community Collaborative over its five years of activity. 

Documenting Yesler Community Collaborative

As the five-year period came to an end, YCC’s consultants and board spent several months documenting the work of the collaborative while making plans to transition to a new identity as Crescent Collaborative. A main focus of this documentation was a series of videotaped conversations among leaders who had been involved in YCC’s work. These conversations were then edited into five short videos so that the story of YCC could be expressed in the words of the participants themselves. The introductory video is presented at the left. The other four videos are available below it.