DSA Names Leslie Smith 2014 Downtown Champion

DSA surprises Leslie Smith with the Downtown Champion 2014 Award at the DSA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Award presented at Downtown Seattle Association Annual Meeting

SEATTLE –The Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) has named Alliance for Pioneer Square Executive Director Leslie Smith as the recipient of the 2014 Downtown Champion Award at today’s DSA 56th Annual Meeting.

The award was presented in recognition of Smith’s ongoing commitment to Downtown Seattle and for her leadership in the revitalization of Pioneer Square, which this past year has welcomed hundreds of new residential units and numerous new businesses, including eight new bars and restaurants, with another seven expected to open in the coming year.

Leslie Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square, accepts DSA's 2014 Downtown Champion award.
Leslie Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square, accepts DSA’s 2014 Downtown Champion award.

Each year the DSA presents the Downtown Champion Award to an individual, company or organization that has made a significant impact in furthering DSA’s mission.

“Leslie personifies the title Downtown Champion,” said DSA President & CEO Kate Joncas. “She loves this city, loves her neighborhood and has made an unbelievable difference in the ongoing improvements to Downtown’s most historic neighborhood.  Leslie and her team have really elevated Pioneer Square.”

Last year’s “Downtown Champion,” Seattle developer Matt Griffin presented Smith with the award on stage at The 5th Avenue Theatre in front of an audience of more than 600 Downtown Seattle residents, business and community leaders. Also joining in the presentation were Alliance for Pioneer Square co-chair and president of Daniels Real Estate, LLC Kevin Daniels, fellow Alliance for Pioneer Square co-chair and former Seattle Mayor Charles Royer, and Mike Flood Vice President of Community Relations for the Seattle Seahawks  – presenting sponsor of the event.

Griffin, applauded Smith for her tireless effort and numerous successes already realized in spurring more economic and residential activity in Pioneer Square.

Daniels and Royer also praised Smith for her leadership and perseverance in the effort to rejuvenate Seattle’s oldest neighborhood.

Also participating in the award presentation were Pioneer Square residents Jen Kelly and Tija Petrovich, E. Smith Mercantile ower Kate Poole and Vulcan Community Relations Manager Phil Fujii.

Joining the Seattle Seahawks as DSA annual meeting sponsors were platinum sponsors Mack Urban, ShareBuilder 401k by Capital One and Vulcan Inc.; gold sponsors Amazon, Clise Properties, Comcast Business, Cushman & Wakefield| Commerce, GLY Construction, Helsell Fetterman, Howard S. Wright, McCullough Hill Leary, PS and Washington Holdings; media partners Seattle Channel and The Seattle Times; and venue sponsor The 5th Avenue Theatre.

In addition to Griffin, previous award recipients include: Tom Douglas (2012) Charles Royer (2011), Vulcan Real Estate and Seattle Parks Foundation (2010), FareStart (2007), Seattle Art Museum (2006), Plymouth Housing Group (2005) and Pike Place Market PDA (2004). In 2008 – the year of the DSA’s 50th anniversary – the award was presented to an initiative from each of the previous five decades including the Seattle World’s Fair, establishment of Seattle Housing Resources Group (now known as Bellwether Housing), Downtown’s cultural arts renaissance, Washington State Convention Center and Freeway Park, and Downtown’s Retail Core revitalization.

About DSA

Established in 1958, the Downtown Seattle Association (http://www.downtownseattle.com) is a member-based non-profit organization that champions a healthy, vibrant urban core. By advocating on behalf of business, non-profit, arts and residential interests throughout Downtown Seattle, DSA ensures that Downtown is a world-class place to live, work, shop and play.

Downtown Access & Mobility Study

Future center city transportation network

People and businesses are moving Downtown in greater numbers than we have seen in generations.  From tens-of-thousands of housing units to a new waterfront and a possible arena, this incoming development is on par with the scale of investment in an Olympics host city or Lower Manhattan.

To get a better idea of what type of changes this development will bring in the next ten years, Historic South Downtown teamed up with Seattle’s Department of Transportation and the Downtown Seattle Association to study the impacts on access and mobility.  Findings from phase one of this study resulted in three categories of recommendations: 1) construction hub coordination; 2) prioritization and coordination of major investments; and 3) best practices for construction impact mitigation in major cities.

To read more about phase one of this study or the recommendations, download the reports below:

Downtown Access Strategy Phase 1

Downtown Access Study Review



Don Blakeney

Historic South Downtown Board Member

Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area

Tell Legislators to Preserve Bus Service to Downtown

Via Downtown Seattle Association Public Policy Advocacy

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Action Requested:

Contact King County legislators using the link below, and urge them to develop a solution for funding King County Metro and pass a comprehensive state transportation package:

Move King County Now contact link


King County Metro transit service is at risk. The special session in Olympia has provided another chance to secure a funding package that will preserve transit service, but that window will soon close. We’ve reached a critical period in which we need to impress upon lawmakers how important Metro service is to the Downtown, and regional, economy and the ability for tens of thousands of commuters to get between work and home each day.

Commuters and employers alike stand to be severely impacted if the state legislature does not adopt a transportation package. Faced with a budget shortfall, Metro cuts will amount to a loss of 17 percent of service, affecting eight out of every 10 riders, with more than 70 routes eliminated completely – click on the map to get a visual depiction of the massive scale of the route reduction:


74 routes to be eliminated

Reductions in bus service will place an estimated additional 30,000 vehicles on our roadways each day and make getting around King County more difficult, whether you’re in a car, bus or truck.

What’s at Risk Without a Funding Solution:

  • 74 routes eliminated across the county (35% of Metro system)
  • 107 routes will have services reduced or revised (50% of system)
  • Only 33 routes unchanged but would likely become more crowded (15% of system)
  • 600,000 service hours to be reduced
  • 17% cuts to transit will affect 8 out of every 10 transit riders and make it harder to get to work
  • All areas of the county will be impacted (kingcounty.gov/am/future/)
  • Cuts would mean a loss of 14 million rides annually
  • Of the impacted routes, 43% are peak, 56% are all day and 1% are “night owl” routes
  • Metro’s level of service will be the same as in 1997, despite adding 360,000 more King County residents
  • An estimated 30,000 additional vehicles will be put back on the road due to transit service reductions
  • This is not just a King County problem; failure to pass a funding package will put our state at a competitive disadvantage


DSA Public Policy Advocacy Since DSA was founded in 1958, we have been a leader in the revitalization and development of Downtown into a thriving, world-class destination, business center and collection of neighborhoods. Successful leadership and partnerships have earned DSA its reputation as an expert on issues facing Downtown. The strength of our advocacy program is driven by the work and support of distinguished volunteers who lend their expertise to the achievement of our mission to champion a healthy, vibrant urban core. Read our strategic plan.

Meet your Downtown Ambassadors now serving additional blocks of Pioneer Square


As of July 1, the Metropolitan Improvement District is now serving additional blocks of Pioneer Square! Stop by Cherry Street Coffee House in Pioneer Square to meet your MID Ambassadors. The first 50 people to come by receive a free medium coffee beverage of your choice!

When: Wednesday, July 10, 7:30 to 10:00 am.

Where: Cherry Street Coffee House – Pioneer Square (103 Cherry Street)