Lake City Collective
The Lake City Collective has the initial goal of working across the many cultures in Lake City to build their capacity to participate in the planning and development efforts that affect them. Creating a unified voice among the mosaic of cultures that currently lack cohesion and political agency will allow marginalized populations to address issues like economic development, affordable housing, displacement, early learning, access to open space/recreation, and a spectrum of other livability issues.
The Lake City Core and Little Brook neighborhoods have experienced rapid population growth, an increase in resident diversity, and a wealth of foreign-born community members in the past few years. These residents are primarily renters, and a high proportion of them are cost-burdened and live in government-assisted households. Little Brook Park is the only park within a half-mile walk of nearly 4,500 people, of whom 23% are children, 45% are low income, and 51% are minorities. Even so, many residents avoid it due to contamination and safety concerns. Highway 522 (Lake City Way) splits the neighborhood in half, severely limiting community organization, safe pedestrian corridors to and among schools, green space, and other neighborhood services and exacerbating both air pollution and cultural barriers among the many ethnicities represented in the neighborhood. Many of the residents and immigrant- and minority-owned small businesses are at high risk of displacement as Seattle becomes less affordable and new development prices people out – indeed many are recent transplants displaced from other neighborhoods in Seattle
In recent years, many public and nonprofit planning processes have begun to address the issues described above. However, the many different ethnic groups in Lake City are not tied together in common purpose and have had limited participation in these processes. Recognizing this, community leaders Peggy Hernandez, Cesar Garcia and Tsegay Berhe established the Lake City Collective to create a unified voice among the mosaic of cultures that currently lack cohesion and political agency. Grass-shoots leaders from a range of ethnicities will act as credible ambassadors to their respective communities, with the lived experiences critical to engaging these populations – meeting residents where they are in religious institutions and local businesses to engage them on their own terms. Once these lines of communication are established, then the Collective will begin to build consensus on and advocate for shared needs and goals that address a whole spectrum of livability issues.