2020 ANNUAL REPORT 1
DEAR FRIENDS 2020 was a year like no other. In February, after our annual board retreat, we had developed a robust plan to implement more programs than ever before, increase our staff and boost our fundraising efforts. Then COVID hit and changed everything. We were forced to take a step back, re-evaluate our priorities and recenter our work around public health protocols while encouraging our community to use the park safely. Many of our resident neighbors live in small apartments and couldn’t socialize with their family or friends indoors so the park became a meeting place, a place to breathe fresh air, see their kids play, watch the leaves flicker in the sunlight and listen to the birds. The essential qualities of the park that we love so much became the medicine that got us through the most difficult of days. We didn’t need large events to understand that parks are an essential component to the health and wellbeing of our city and ourselves. Through small interventions and consistent presence, our small team was able to highlight and nurture the aspects of the park that mattered most while planning for a bright future of celebrations to come. The impacts of COVID were felt widely throughout our City and we saw the struggle manifest itself in many of our Downtown public places. In partnership with 4Culture and Evergreen Treatment Services, we met the call to care for our unhoused neighbors, putting resources toward direct outreach and hygiene services. We also maintained regular communication with our Seattle Parks & Recreation team and lobbied the Mayor’s office to address larger maintenance and safety issues. As challenging as this year has been, I am proud of our accomplishments and grateful for our resilient community. I feel more certain than ever of the importance of our work. Thank you for your continued support and love of Freeway Park and we hope to see you out in the park soon! Sincerely,
ABOUT ABOUT FREEWAY FREEWAY PARK PARK ASSOCIATION ASSOCIATION
The Freeway Park Association mobilizes resources and community members to ensure widespread enjoyment and the continued maintenance of Jim Ellis Freeway Park in partnership with the City and the community, for present and future generations of Seattle residents and visitors.
Through the creation of rich and dynamic outdoor experiences in a well maintained and safe environment, the Freeway Park Association is recognized as the innovative driving force behind Seattle’s most iconic downtown park and is a model for community/ city partnerships working toward the improvement of urban public spaces.
OUTREACH + ENGAGEMENT
PROGRAMMING + ACTIVATION
We develop diverse programs, events and activation strategies that bring people together in the Park.
We mobilize our community and work with federal and local agencies to identify and steward capital improvements for this unique public asset.
ADVOCACY + STEWARDSHIP
We offer a range of opportunities for our community to be involved in our work and communicate with a diverse toolkit of outreach methods, both online and in person.
We work alongside Seattle Parks & Recreation to build a diverse team of stakeholders who care for, activate, raise funds and awareness for Freeway Park.
FREEWAY PARK IS A SPECIAL PLACE. A PLACE OF RESPITE One of Lawrence Halprin’s intentions, when he designed Freeway Park in the 1970s, was to provide a place of respite in the heart of Seattle’s bustling city center. He envisioned an urban oasis with fountains and greenery that would remind visitors of the waterfalls and vegetation found in the nearby Cascade Mountains. Freeway Park remains a place of respite, exploration, and wonder through all the changes of 2020. RECLAIMING PUBLIC SPACE FOR PEOPLE When it opened in 1976, Freeway Park started a trend that has grown exponentially over the years: reclaiming the gaps that interstates made through our cities by repurposing those spaces to reconnect communities. This precedentsetting park is the result of community activism and forward thinking, a jewel of the Seattle civic process. Lawrence Halprin’s masterful design
created a park that, to this day, is both a civic gathering place and a network of small, intimate spaces. THE PEOPLE MAKE THE PARK From the beginning, Freeway Park was designed as a place for people to come together and 2020 showed us just how important parks are for social connection. After the initial stay at home order was lifted and we saw neighbors come back into the park, the place came back to life. We all took a collective sigh of relief to see each other again. Grandparents met their families and watched their grandkids play. Friends walked together and got caught up. Dogs fetched and barked with joy. Hospital workers took a break and breathed the fresh air. While the park has been much more quiet than usual, the moments that we are able to share there are made all the more sweet knowing that better days are on the horizon.
e v A
3 PARK PLACE
OUTREACH + ENGAGEMENT Keeping park patrons in the loop on upcoming events, while reaching out to new neighbors and communities, requires strategic and diverse outreach methods. Though our in-person outreach methods drastically changed in 2020, we stayed active on social media and sent out regular e-newsletters to keep in touch with the community.
38 147 hours of
VOLUNTEERISM Volunteers are the backbone of our community, donating time and energy to help steward the FPA mission.
164 176 ‘19
COVID won’t keep us from enjoying our shared backyard! There are just a few simple things you can do for your health, for your neighbors and for Freeway Park.
Freeway Park Association produced eyecatching signage to welcome people back to the park during the Summer. The signs reminded people of public health practices like wearing a mask and washing your hands, offered ideas for COVID-safe activities in the park, and prompted people to use the park as a place for mindfulness and peace.
WASH YOUR HANDS
SMALL + SIMPLE
gatherings no more than 5 people
next chance you get
be a good neighbor
thank you for
at least 6 feet
WELCOME TO FREEWAY PARK
... and stay home if you have any symptoms
Freeway Park Association has non-medical, cloth masks available during our office hours in the Upper Lawns. Tuesday & Thursday Afternoons
FREE TESTING If you live, work, or regularly visit Seattle and you have reason to believe you may have COVID-19, you can schedule an appointment to be tested for free at the following locations: Drive-through » Aurora 12040 Aurora Ave N
Walk-up » Rainier Beach 8815 Seward Park Ave
» West Seattle
3820 6th Ave S
We’re so happy you’re here! There are many new rules guiding how we act in relationship to COVID 19... AND there are still so many ways you can use and experience your neighborhood park. Whether you need some open space, a connection to nature, or a safer way to meet a friend for lunch, we hope you enjoy this unique place.
2801 SW Thistle St
To schedule a test, visit http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19/ » Take a moment to breathe covid-19-testing
deeply. There are fragrant blooms for every season.
Call 206-684-2489 for assistance.
» Dig in the dirt at one of
FPA’s park clean-up days.
» Find a nook to read a book.
GET INVOLVED! FOLLOW US on Social Media JOIN our committees
» Enjoy a slow, meditative walk. » Bring a yoga mat for some stretches in the sun.
WELCOME TO FREEWAY PARK
Did you know that exposure to nature reduces stress and anxiety? It is crucial to our mental and emotional health to get out into our public parks and there are plenty of ways to enjoy this particular slice of nature in the city.
» Request a self guided plant tour at the concierge cart.
Follow us and tag us in your adventures @freewayparksea Contact the Freeway Park Association anytime to share your ideas for more activation in the park or just to say hello!!
VOLUNTEER at events or become a garden steward
We’re so happy you decided to visit! There are many new rules guiding how we act in relationship to COVID-19... AND there are still so many ways you can use and experience you neighborhood park. » Bring a lawn game to
» Have a picnic.
play in small groups.
» Explore the Canyon Fountain.
» Take your dog for a walk.
» Run or walk the 1.2 mile
SHARE the park with your friends
» Say hello to neighbors.
SIGN UP AT FREEWAYPARKASSOCIATION. ORG/JOINUS
» Post info to the community board.
walking loop .
» Write on the chalkboard.
» Visit the concierge cart for up to date goings-on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
Follow us and tag us in your adventures @freewayparksea Contact the Freeway Park Association anytime to share your ideas for more activation in the park or just to say hello!!
HOW DO PEOPLE USE FREEWAY PARK? FPA staff count visitors and observe behaviors for 30-minute intervals between 12-2pm Monday - Friday in both Seneca Plaza and the Upper Lawns throughout the year. UPPER LAWNS
NEW METHODS In 2020, inspired by The Gehl Institute’s Public Life Data Protocol, we updated our method of recording how people use Freeway Park. We combined elements of this protocol to help us understand public life specifically in Freeway Park. Our observations looked at how people move through the park, how and where people linger, and who uses the park. Using this updated method will help us to more directly compare changes in park use from year to year. MOVEMENT Making regular counts of how many people move through the park not only reveals how busy a space is, it also reveals how accessible it is by different modes of transportation. We made special note of where
people most commonly enter and exit the park and what paths people take through the space. The pie charts on the next page show the most commonly used entrances and exits. PAUSES Where people linger and what they’re doing when they linger reveals their level of comfort in the park. By comparing the number of people moving through the space with the number of people who take the time to pause, we get an insight into whether they are using the park as a destination or a pathway. As we ramp up programming and art installations in the coming year, these data will help us to decide where in the park to locate activations. Additionally, these data reveal patterns of use that future activations might address.
represents a path someone used to walk through the park. The more opaque the line, the more people were observed walking along this path.
UPPER SENECA HUBBELL + SENECA
WSCC GARAGE ALONG SENECA
PIGOTT CORRIDOR 66
6TH + UNIVERSITY
6TH + SENECA
% 36 FEMALE
% 70 ADULTS
STOP + STAY A WHILE
Where people paused in the park and what they were doing
PARK USERS BY
PARK USERS BY
age 65 and over
AGE AND GENDER These data give us a better sense of who is using a particular space, who does not feel welcome to do so, or who is unable to access it at all.
SITTING IN A GROUP
under age 5
*NOTE: This is observational data only and may not accurately reflect gender identity of all park users. Typically we collect surveys for park visitors to report their own gender identity but could not in 2020 due to COVID.
23 %WSCC Plaza
MOST COMMONLY USED PARK ENTRANCES
% Pigott Corridor
% 31 6th + University
% 30Seneca Upper
8+%Hubbell Seneca % 14Seneca Along
% 31 8th Ave Underpass
bikes, skateboards, wheelchairs, strollers, etc.
% of park visitors were
97 ON FOOT 3ON WHEELS % Place WSCC Garage
% of park visitors moved through the park
% 3 Hubbell
SENECA PLAZA % 6th 17 + Seneca
% 13 SENIORS
% 15 YOUNG
% 61 MALE
% 3 OTHER/UNKNOWN
PROGRAMMING + ACTIVATION Due to the impact of COVID, FPA was unable to do on-theground activations from March -July. However, we stayed active from afar and remained in touch with our neighbors about the evolving public health protocols and the importance of parks for mental health and wellbeing. And as summer dawned in Seattle and outdoor recreation became possible again, FPA hired a Program Manager and our small team got back to work! Despite the shortened programing year, the maintenance on the fountains, and the many unknowns we were all grappling with, FPA was able to bring a sense of joy and togetherness back to the Park while maintaining public safety and wellbeing.
WELCOME + SAFETY PARK CONCIERGE Our park concierge program provides a regular and welcoming presence in the park. We develop relationships with park users, act as eyes on the park and report maintenance/ safety issues to City agencies. COVID RELATED MATERIALS During regular ‘office hours’, the concierge cart offers up to date public health information, hand sanitizer, masks, water and cold weather kits for free to park users. OUTREACH SERVICES We partner with REACH in their work to “build relationships with people experiencing homelessness and connect them to the help that they need - everything from food and clothing to medical care, shelter and mental health and/or substance use treatment.” REACH sets up a bi-monthly pop up tent in Seneca Plaza to provide direct outreach to clients.
TOGETHERNESS In a time of isolation and disconnection for so many, it was paramount to us that we 8
Thanks to a generous grant from 4Culture, we were able to put funds directly toward areas of our work that would make the most impact in our community which, like everywhere else, struggled to come together and feel safe in a world dominated by COVID.
create opportunities for people to safely come together. Our Community Board provided a unique opportunity for dialogue without the need for face to face communication. Our weekly Weeding Parties and annual Bulb Planting Party gave community members, especially those stuck in small apartments, opportunities to get their hands in the dirt and connect with nature and neighbors in a COVID safe environment. COMFORT & COZINESS: As winter descended on Seattle, we wanted our neighbors to feel like the park could still provide comfort and respite so we created a cozy corner of the park with socially distant adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and warm blankets. *All our materials are cleaned between uses.
ART AND JOY This year, more than ever, art and play were essential to our communal wellbeing. We were thrilled to bring back some of our honored traditions, the Illuminations winter light installation and the colorful Box Kite Lanterns (this year painted by students from O’Dea High) And for the very first time, in lieu of live musicians in the park, we installed Music from the Maples which plays ambient music from speakers in the trees.
PROGRAMMING DURING A PANDEMIC 2020 caused us all to take a step back and reassess why we do what we do. Freeway Park Association is no different. The forced pause in programming and slow, careful restart forced us to reassess our priorities and truly lean into what is most important at this time. The diagram below shows what reassessment revealed to us. We asked ourselves the following questions:
do we plan activations in the park?
PUBLIC MENTAL HEALTH
can park activations meet each of these goals?
ACCESS TO NATURE
It’s been proven that exposure to nature lowers blood pressure and decreases anxiety.
SAFE SPACE TO SOCIALIZE The safest place to socialize during this pandemic is outdoors.
PLAY + JOY AS ANTIDOTE The world can feel heavy; the park offers deLIGHTful surprises.
EYES ON THE STREET We keep an eye out for each other.
BUSTING SOCIAL SILOS Public space is safer when people see themselves in others.
OWNERSHIP OF SPACE People feel responsibility for its condition and for other guests.
MAINTENANCE People respect a space that is well maintained.
given these priorities, are the best fit for Freeway Park?
MUSIC hours MUSIC MUSIC hours hours
78 LAN 78 78 LANTERNS LANTER 64 648 648 1512 1512 1512 hours
ILLUMINATIONS hours ILLUMINATIONS ILLUMINATIONS hours hours
We highlight the arboretum and connection to nature available in the park.
We create safe spaces for people to still be able to see their friends and remain connected to their communities. We provide artful activations that delight and encourage people to use the park in new, creative ways.
We create reasons for more people to enjoy the park during a wider variety of times. We prioritize activations that encourage different groups to interact, revealing similarities between groups. We create activations that allow people to make a difference in how the park looks or feels. We support SPR’s maintenance crews and provide opportunities for community members to help out.
COMMUNITYBASED PLANNING Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) received $10 million in funding as part of the public benefit package associated with the Convention Center expansion. Freeway Park Association (FPA) and partners helped steward the historic funding initiative. Of the $10 million, $750,000 is for activation within the park and $9,250,000 is dedicated to capital improvements which covers construction (approx $6 million), as well as design and project management, permitting, sales tax and contingencies. IMPROVEMENT PROJECT| ONLINE OPEN HOUSE As part of the project, SPR and FPA hosted an online open house from July 7 to August 5, 2020. Visitors to the online open house had the opportunity to share feedback on park-wide improvements, area-specific improvements, and their overarching priorities for selecting improvements within the park. After extensive outreach, approximately 1,400 people visited the online open house and 531 individuals completed a survey.
THANKS TO OUR 2020 TEAM: David Graves and Katie Bang, SPR Lara Rose, Calder Gillin & Team, Walker Macy The FPIP Advisory Committee
VISIT THE PROJECT WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE: www.seattle.gov/parks/ about-us/current-projects/
PRIORITY IMPROVEMENTS Respondents identified which 3 improvements and repairs are least important to them and 3 that are most important to them. Here’s what we learned: LEAST IMPORTANT
Drainage and Irrigation Repairs
Park Entrances Improvements
Upper Lawns Improvements
Seneca Plaza Improvements
Clear views into and out of the park
Signage Waste bins + dog bag dispensers Benches Bike rack
When asked about improvements to park entrances, respondents identified clear views and better lighting as their top priorities.
The improvement project seeks to preserve the park’s mature trees and shrubs while also opening up views to bring in more sunlight. Survey participants ranked their priorities for the natural landscape.
Maintaining a full tree canopy
such as flowering trees + spring bulbs
More sunlight in lawns + fountain areas
Improving sight lines
SUPPORT NATIVE PLANTS + EVERGREENS
Tree health + structural issues
SUPPORT IMPROVED SIGNAGE
SUPPORT IMPROVED LIGHTING
NEXT STEPS Along with technical considerations, the public input from the online open house will help the project team identify which improvements will take place within the existing budget. Seattle Parks and Recreation will provide additional updates to the public and opportunities for feedback as the project progresses through design.
PARK-WIDE IMPROVEMENTS DIRECTIONAL OR INFORMATIONAL SIGNAGE The directional or informational signage strategy includes a “family” of signs throughout the park, including entrances markers, maps featuring the park’s primary areas and features, directional signs, and interpretive elements. PLANTING The park’s mature planting areas and huge trees create a lush, serene environment. For many people, this is the reason to come to the park. The Improvement Project will make the park’s planted areas to be more attractive, more sustainable, more comfortable, and easier to maintain. LIGHTING While the park’s main path is well lit, the rest of the park is very dark. We heard from many people that this situation makes them feel uncomfortable walking through the park after dark. Through multiple “layers of light,” the design strategy will make Freeway Park easier to navigate and more welcoming in the early morning and evening hours.
2019 - Summer 2020
YOU ARE HERE
Fall 2020 Winter 2021/22
PARK-AREA IMPROVEMENTS UPPER LAWNS WHICH TWO IMPROVEMENTS TO THE UPPER LAWNS DO YOU LIKE MOST? Improvements in this area would enhance the character and use of the Upper Lawns space to make it better connected to the rest of the park, more comfortable and functional as a neighborhood park, and inviting.
Expanded lawns areas with more room to sit or play.
Adding steps and raising the lawns to make original concrete features more accessible for play
Improved visibility at the entrance from Convention Center Plaza.
New family-friendly restrooms in the original restroom building.
144 105 96 119
PIGOTT CORRIDOR WHICH IMPROVEMENT TO THE PIGOTT CORRIDOR DO YOU LIKE MOST? Improvements are focused on creating a welcoming park entrance and overlook at the top of the Corridor with views to Puget Sound. Possible improvements include: A. New entrance signage with park map. B. New overlook with park bench.
C. Selective pruning or removal of some evergreen trees to restore views.
SIGNAGE with park map
NEW OVERLOOK with park bench
selective pruning or removal of some evergreen trees to
* IMPROVEMENT PROJECT GRAPHICS/INFO: WALKER MACY
with seating and park map
8TH AVENUE ENTRANCE
more visible + open entrance with
VIEWS TO PUGET SOUND
WHICH IMPROVEMENT TO THE 8TH AVENUE ENTRANCE DO YOU LIKE MOST? Improvements in this area are focused on inviting more people into the park and helping them to get oriented. Possible improvements include:
% NEW STAIR
A. A more visible and open entrance with views to Puget Sound.
leading to plaza
B. New stair leading to plaza (replaces existing stair leading to underpass). C. Improved plaza with seating and park map.
SENECA PLAZA WHICH TWO IMPROVEMENTS TO SENECA PLAZA DO YOU LIKE MOST? Improvements are focused on encouraging exploration and play, improving the fountains, making the space more accessible, and supporting activities and events possible.
130 156 96 73 52
New staffed park building
Modifications to the existing Cascade Fountain/ Children’s Fountain
A sunnier area around Cascade Fountain.
Planting changes around the Plaza’s perimeter
Better access and visibility at the Canyon Fountain
ADVOCACY + STEWARDSHIP Partnerships are the fuel of any community nonprofit and FPA relies on our neighbors and other organizations with similar missions and visions to guide and support our work. To this end, we engage individuals, businesses and organizations to join our community of park advocates by becoming dues-paying members, event sponsors or volunteers.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS Tim Holt | President Washington Holdings
Doug Holtom First Hill Improvement Association
Mary Cutler | Vice President Town Hall Seattle
Brian Hultz Horizon House
Sheila Smith | Secretary ACT Theatre Dan Johnson | Treasurer Washington State Convention Center
Jennifer Casillas Downtown Seattle Association Mike James First Hill Resident, Royal Manor Rich Mencel Virginia Mason Medical Center
Alex Hudson Transportation Choices Coalition
OUR EMERITUS COUNCIL Bob Anderson
OUR STAFF Riisa Conklin Executive Director Anna Snyder Kelly Program Manager
David Brewster Joan Carufel Mike Evans Marilyn Hoe
2020 FINANCIAL SUMMARY REVENUE
M A K
A WSCC Funding
B Membership Support
C City of Seattle Funding
E Program Grants
F Contributed Support
G Interest Income TOTAL
EXPENSES H Staffing I Activation and Equipment
D F E G
$88,841 $35,576 $20,700
K Office and Overhead
L Marketing and Outreach
NET INCOME 14
M Revenue - Expenses =
OUR ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERS Our Members are the fiscal stewards of Freeway Park, paying annual membership dues that directly support programming and activation in the Park.
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS ∙ Bob Anderson ∙ Lyle Appleford ∙ Mark Barbieri ∙ David Brewster ∙ Patrick Burns ∙ Erica Bush ∙ John Carr ∙ Jay Conklin ∙ Mary Cutler ∙ Ruth Darden ∙ Shulamit Decktor ∙ Drew Dresman ∙ Elizabeth Edgerton ∙ James Erickson ∙ Shawn Evans ∙ Debra Feist ∙ Lee Fogel
OUR PROGRAM PARTNERS Our Program Partners collaborate with FPA to produce and promote meaningful programs and experiences in the Park.
∙ Seth Geiser ∙ Linda Harris ∙ Tim Holt
∙ ACT Theatre
∙ REACH Outreach Services
∙ Alex Hudson
∙ Compass Housing Alliance
∙ Royal Manor
∙ Daniel Johnson
∙ Downtown Seattle Association
∙ Seattle Parks Foundation
∙ Helen Jones
∙ First Hill Improvement Association
∙ The Cultural Landscape Foundation
∙ Kelly and Darlene Krenzke
∙ O’Dea High School
∙ Visit Seattle
∙ Bruno Lambert
∙ Performance Sound
∙ Christie McDonald ∙ Rich Mencel ∙ Jordan Monez
OUR CITY PARTNERS
∙ Linda and Paul Niebanck ∙ Nancy Olsen ∙ Sheila Smith ∙ Mildred L. Templeton ∙ Elizabeth Topping
BECOME A STEWARD OF FREEWAY PARK There are many ways to help support Freeway Park and the work of the Freeway Park Association. Find out more at FreewayParkAssociation.org/joinus OR drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKE A GIFT TO FREEWAY PARK Your tax-deductible donation is so important in keeping this historic park an active, vibrant space for all. Support the Freeway Park Association with a financial contribution.
BECOME A MEMBER OF FPA Your tax deductible membership comes with a variety of benefits including free books at our summer sales, event calendars and a true voice at the table with your neighbors as we work together to steward this historic and beautiful public park. Your company or organization can also donate at a higher level and join our Board of Directors and Park Committees who value and support the park as a resource to their business, their employees, their patrons and their tenants. Organizational Memberships and Sponsorships elevate your company’s visibility, showcase your commitment to the local community, and provide unique engagement opportunities (including corporate volunteer days) for your employees.
SPONSOR AN EVENT We invite you to become a Freeway Park Partner and support our popular calendar of free, year-round events in downtown Seattle’s largest public park. Corporate sponsorships provide special opportunities for companies of all sizes and interests to reach the diverse community of Freeway Park users. We are interested in working with you to tailor a sponsorship benefits plan to align with your strategic objectives.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER FPA relies on the energy and hard work of our neighborhood stewards. We offer a wide array of opportunities to get involved and are always looking for more! Please consider lending a hand, meeting other stewards of the Park and getting involved.
IN MEMORY OF JAMES ERICKSON 1935 - 2020 FPA BOARD MEMBER AND TIRELESS COMMUNITY ADVOCATE THANK YOU JIM. WE WILL MISS YOU.
THIS REPORT WAS DESIGNED AND PRODUCED BY FPA. •
REPORT INFOGRAPHICS/ DESIGN: ANNA SNYDER KELLY • IMPROVEMENT PROJECT GRAPHICS/ INFO: WALKER MACY