image of Bruce Harrell the Mayor of Seattle
Mayor playing Pickleball

Statement from Mayor Harrell

Downtown is the heart of Seattle and is powered by people – workers, neighbors, families, and visitors alike. Our Downtown Activation Plan is designed to bring Downtown into a new age. Downtown must be safe, welcoming, and a neighborhood for all. ​ 

This is an exciting time, where we all get to dream, partner, and create the future of our city’s core together. Earlier this year, in my State of City address, I called for us to embrace bold, creative thinking to design the Downtown of tomorrow. This is not about restoring the Downtown of the past, but rather reimagining what is possible as our city evolves. ​ 

Our goal is a robust Downtown neighborhood with more housing and amenities – ensuring Downtown is more than just a great place to go to work, but also a place where residents can afford to live, learn, shop, play, and so much more. Like Downtowns across the United States, ours faces complex challenges including the remote work revolution, an ever-evolving retail landscape, affordable housing pressures, homelessness crisis, addiction crisis, safety, and environmental priorities. The problems are real, but they are not insurmountable, and together, we can work to make positive change for our city.​ 

Collaborating across levels of government and with private, nonprofit, and philanthropic partners, we are building a new Downtown that embodies our One Seattle values and vision. Our possibilities are endless, and together we will make them happen. ​

How We Got Here

Jan 25

Downtown Convention Center expansion opens

Feb 21

Mayor Harrell announces his intention to focus on revitalizing Downtown at State of the City speech

Mar 2

Seattle launches inaugural Film Commission to bring more film production to Seattle and Downtown

Mar 10

Mayor Harrell announces the addition of 24 new cherry blossom trees to replace eight declining trees outside Pike Place Market

Mar 14

Downtown Seattle Association hosts annual State of Downtown

Mar 22

Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) announces competitive Call for Ideas to explore converting Downtown commercial spaces to housing

Apr 17

Announcement of Executive Order on Fentanyl Use and immediate Downtown activations

Apr 28

Seattle Office of Economic Development and partners host Black Tech Night Downtown

May 10

Seattle CityClub’s Civic Cocktail with Mayor Harrell

May 11

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) announces Cinerama acquisition

May 20

Around 4,000 volunteers participate in the One Seattle Day of Service

Jun 6

Office of Planning and Community Development announces office to housing contest winners

Jun 13

City Hall Park reopens with activations throughout summer 2023

Jun 28

Official Launch of the Downtown Activation Plan in Westlake Park

Jul 28

Mayor Harrell and Office of Economic Development expand Seattle Restored to activate commercial storefronts

Why This Plan Was Made

We believe that Seattle is worth fighting for and we see Downtown as a critical proving point around the future of our city and the region. Seattle is dying to some because they once saw it as alive. We see this sadness, cynicism, and lack of enthusiasm as a form of trust. A waning one, but a fire that is still lit.

We acknowledge that Downtown has not always been a welcoming place for all people. Today, we aim to reimagine what our shared future will look like and how Downtown is You.

We believe that Downtown is the Heart of Seattle. It is the undisputed economic engine of the region where job opportunities, major sporting and art events, opportunities for small business, restaurants, and culture all come together.

Downtown is a vibrant, diverse set of neighborhoods where Seattleites work, play, and live. Right now, 100,000 people already live Downtown. That’s one out of every seven Seattle residents who call Downtown home.

Downtown is an urban core that connects locals at events, parks, restaurants, and cafes. It welcomes millions of tourists and conference goers each year and is the art, music, and cultural hub of the region.

Downtown is home to many of our city’s critical human services that aim to help all live a life of dignity and fullness.

And this is just the beginning. Although the plan is now launched, the real work has only begun. We know that we have not heard from all members of our community and our goal is to continue to refine this plan as more people are engaged. Please send us your feedback and sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you updated on our progress.


The Downtown Activation Plan was created through a collaborative process with City of Seattle Departments and Agencies, community stakeholders, Seattle residents, and a group of consulting partners who helped pull all the input together.

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