Friday Jan 18, 2019

"Waterfront Seattle, Transforming Seattle’s Relationship to Puget Sound"

Patrick Gordon

Principal ZTF Architects, Seattle

Editor: Bob Holert Introduced by: John Schwager

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John Schwager introduced his friend Patrick Gordon, Principal with ZTF Architects, to discuss the changes that are completed or underway on the Seattle waterfront. Patrick strongly believes that the problems created by this construction will be short-term but the benefits will definitely be long-term!

These changes include replacing the viaduct with the tunnel (which is almost complete), opening up the property left after the viaduct demolition for a park and connecting the city to Elliott Bay. Other projects are replacing Colman Dock, upgrading the Aquarium and Pike Place Market. Just recently the Seawall was replaced. This combination of projects in the waterfront area is very complex with the idea to bring people together, not separate the waterfront from downtown Seattle.

The viaduct was built in the early 1960s and over time, people recognized it separated Elliott Bay from downtown. In addition, the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 brought attention to the fact it was a public safety problem. In 2008, the SR99 steering committee decided to tear the viaduct down but the controversy with how to replace it lasted for many years. The 142 different property owners along the waterfront needed to have a say. Options were considered and debated. Seattle formed a Central Waterfront Steering Committee to evaluate what the city could/would get from the replacement. They looked at examples from around the world – Copenhagen, San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, New York’s High Line, etc. Governor Gregoire, Mayor Nichols, King County Executive Sims were all heavily involved. The designer that did the design of the High Line in New York was chosen.

Today the seawall is complete, with consideration for habitat, safe infrastructure and the protection of Tribal rights. Thousands of hours have gone into the plan for the park along the waterfront. History, maritime needs and ferries were all taken into consideration. A connection to downtown Seattle through the Pike Place Market will be constructed. The final Waterfront Park will be 26 blocks, with the completion of Pier 62 this year and the remainder completed in 2023.

The final design will provide better pedestrian access with major changes in character and use of the waterfront. – bikes, plant landscaping, civic spaces and people space. The Aquarium will be expanded and there will be steps from above to the waterfront. You can find out more online at Friends of the Seattle Waterfront.

Kaj Pedersen as acting President opened the meeting. He then did the invocation while Steve Roberts introduced guests and visiting Rotarians. Note January is Vocational Month in Rotary. Steve Szirmai did his membership minute and then Dennis Newell reminded everyone of the BBRC Retreat at Port Ludlow May 3 and 4.

Wendi Fischer led a fun exercise for vocational month – describe your vocation in 5 words or less. There were some creative responses to this! Madeline Gauthier reminded everyone she still needed RYLA applications from HS sophomores and juniors.

Kaj reminded everyone that District Conference is in Spokane in May 2019 with the featured speaker Bill Gates Jr. The meeting was closed at 830 AM.

About the Speaker

Patrick Gordon of ZTF Architects, Seattle has over 35 years of professional practice, Patrick has made significant contributions to the Seattle community. His leadership is exhibited in the breadth and scope of the projects for which he has been responsible. His impressive portfolio includes major design work for Expedia at its new headquarters near Pier 91, Vulcan in South Lake Union, and Microsoft in Redmond and Issaquah.