Looking Back at 2020 in Pioneer Square

The Alliance for Pioneer Square is grateful to serve the Pioneer Square community by helping preserve what makes our neighborhood the most authentic, engaging and dynamic neighborhood in Seattle.

Thank you to those who live, work and visit our neighborhood for your unwavering commitment to Pioneer Square. You are a part of a unique social fabric of individuals who together make this neighborhood a one-of-a-kind place.

2020 was a year unlike any other in Pioneer Square’s history. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire focus of the Alliance for Pioneer Square has been supporting the needs of our neighborhood. As we look forward to the year ahead, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some highlights from 2020 in our efforts to serve our community.

In 2020 we assembled several programs and strategies to assist the businesses of Pioneer Square through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond as guided by our COVID-19 Recovery Plan, focusing on Business Development, Public Realm, Marketing and Communications, Advocacy and Leadership.

Business Development

Building Community We created the Pioneer Square Business Owners & Managers Facebook group for business owners and managers to ask questions and share support among one another.

Technical Assistance: We facilitated a series of technical assistance workshops to provide neighborhood businesses with learning opportunities.

One-on-One Business Support: We regularly assisted business owners in navigating City and State resources to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Retail Kits: We collected and distributed over 150 COVID-19 retail kits to ground floor businesses to provide essential resources required to remain open to foot traffic.

Public Realm

Mural Project: We completed a rapid response program to beautify boarded up storefronts with artwork from local artists, funded by the Pioneer Square BIA, Pioneer Square Resident’s Council and private donations culminating in over 40 completed murals.

Alley Lighting Matching Fund: We allocated funds to seven property owners to match their investment for eight alley lighting improvement projects.

LUSIO Lights Pioneer Square: We partnered with LUSIO to install nine light-art installations in locations across the district to attract neighborhood visitors.

Marketing and Communications

Robust Marketing Campaign: We fast-tracked the creation of an online marketplace for businesses to pivot and generate revenue through online sales, as well as coordinated a multi-channel advertising campaign entitled ‘Support PSQ.’

Increased Frequency of Communications: We swiftly created the following communication points: a regularly updated web page with resources to connect businesses with up-to-date information, a bi-weekly resource roundup email series reiterating our comprehensive resource page, a bi-weekly public safety email series to address continual and emerging street issues, and a webinar to share resources and hear directly from neighborhood stakeholders on the issues directly impacting them.

Public Relations: We launched a public relations initiative in collaboration with Allison + Partners to re-invigorate how the story of Pioneer Square is told to the broader community

Passport to Pioneer Square: We introduced the Passport to Pioneer Square program in early November 2020 to drive neighborhood foot traffic and business patronage.

Advocacy

A Voice for Pioneer Square We consistently and directly voiced our businesses’ needs to the Office of the Mayor and Seattle City Council to unwaveringly advocate for Pioneer Square. In 2020 we:

• advocated the City Council to implement a cohesive approach to homeless outreach following the dissolving of the Navigation team.
• urged City leaders direct resources for cleaner, safer, and more welcome neighborhoods.
• asked that City address public health, safety, and maintenance concerns in urban parks.

Leadership

Small Business Support Program: We immediately began fundraising to address critical needs to stabilize our neighborhood’s nonprofits and small business, and obtained $120,000 in seed funding from Historic South Downtown and the Seattle Sounders RAVE Foundation. A community review panel award of funding to 35 projects totaling $170,000 through the Pioneer Square Small Business Support program

Convening Stakeholders: We brought together a diverse and representative group of neighborhood stakeholders to lead a multi-year Pride and Resilience initiative.

A New Strategy In fall 2020, the Alliance for Pioneer Square released Your Pioneer Square: 2025 Strategic Plan and COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan. The COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan is meant to tell the story of what we have done, what we are doing, and what we plan to do for the 18-month period immediately following the pandemic shut down. Your Pioneer Square: 2025 Strategic Plan outlines our organization’s strategy in concordance with the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan and beyond.