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Duwamish Valley Community Equity Program

About

In 2013, the Cumulative Health Impacts Analysis (CHIA) was co-authored by Just Health Action and the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group. The CHIA found that a range of health exposures and impacts disproportionately affect people in the Duwamish Valley, an area with the greatest number of contaminated waste sites, poor built environment characteristics, and severe air pollution compared to the rest of Seattle. Life expectancy in the neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park is up to 13 years shorter than wealthier parts of Seattle. With the support of this data, the Duwamish Valley is characterized as an area with disproportionate health impacts and environmental injustices where more effective actions and investments are needed to address health and economic inequities.

Recognizing that some near-Port communities, such as the Duwamish Valley, experience a higher proportion of environmental impacts and lack equitable access to the Port’s benefits to the region, the Port of Seattle, Duwamish Valley community members, and health equity non-profit, Just Health Action, launched a pilot project in 2017.

Originally as part of a U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Pilot Project technical assistance grant, the pilot project focused on improving engagement with near-Port communities that experience environmental justice issues. Following two years of focused work, the pilot phase of the project is complete and the Port is prepared to transition the work into a long-standing program.

On May 28th, 2019 the Port of Seattle passed a Motion to build an ongoing Duwamish Valley Community Equity Program (DVCE) that formalizes the collaboration with Duwamish Valley communities. View this historic Commission meeting here!

The Program seeks to achieve three shared goals:

1) Community-Port Capacity Building

2) Healthy Environment and Communities

3) Economic Prosperity in Place

Accomplishments

  • Established Youth Habitat Stewardship Program to Create Green Job Pathways in 2019- see video above for our launch on Earth Day!
  • Sponsored Duwamish River Mural Art in South Park in 2019.
  • Port hosts its first-ever Multilingual "Port U" Educational Boat Tour along the Duwamish River and Elliott Bay in 2018.
  • Conducted resume and career readiness workshop to encourage youth from Duwamish Valley Youth Corps to apply for the Port's High School Summer Internship Program. In 2018, six youth joined the Port!
  • Development of a Port Community Action Team, a collection of community leaders representing Georgetown and South Park who advise and inform the outcomes and strategies of the program.
  • Commission authorization and funding to extend program beyond "pilot" phase and explore long-term policy opportunities to sustain the work.
  • Capacity-building workshops for Port staff and community members on equitable development, community benefits agreements, environmental justice, and collaborative problem solving.
  • Northwest Seaport Alliance funds community science research to identify air quality solutions in Georgetown and South Park.

 

Contact

For questions, please email Christina Billingsley, Sr. Program Manager, Environmental Engagement at Port of Seattle - billingsley.c@portseattle.org.

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