Thursday, 27 February, 2020

When Thinking Globally and Acting Locally Is No Longer Optional: Why Seattle Needs Buses



The scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change is now irrefutable.* Climate change is not some far off disaster that can be passed on to our descendants in the distant future, scientists are not conspiring against drivers or the oil companies, and environmentalists are not making it all up to bring about government tyranny. Climate change is a real threat at our door, and its effects can already be felt here and everywhere else.

In March, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report outlining the most dire consequences of climate change, including the acidification of the oceans by carbon dioxide (CO2), mass migrations of people as coastline disappears and water dries up, violent conflict over dwindling resources, and the possible collapse of the world’s food supply. The effects are already being felt in the United States, where a minute change in temperature (less than two degrees so far) has led to longer, hotter summers, and has contributed to droughts, floods, severe storms and the collapse of migratory systems. In our own backyard, pine forests are dying because longer summers have led to a rapid increase in mountain pine beetle populations.

Currently there are no viable miracles of science or geoengineering that can reverse the warming of the planet without creating new, potentially graver risks. The only responsible course of action we can take is to sharply reduce the amount of CO2 we’re pumping into the atmosphere. And this means weaning ourselves off fossil fuel.

One relatively easy way of starting this process is reducing the number of gasoline-burning cars on our roads, and the best way to do this is to make public transit and alternative forms of transportation a priority. Encouraging walkability and bicycle commuting are part of this, but it’s impractical to ask Seattleites to hoof or pedal it to work every morning in the rain. Only a robust transit system–buses, light rail and trolleys–can move the volume of people necessary for keeping our regional economic engine, Seattle, moving. Transit is not only good for our overall quality of life (who wants to spend two hours a day stuck in traffic and the resulting cloud of smog?), it helps reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

When it comes to forward-thinking policies and legislation, Seattle and Washington State have led the country. We were one of the only two states, along with Colorado, to throw out moribund drug laws and legalize marijuana. We have consistently supported LGBTQ rights, finally approving gay marriage in 2012. Seattle is now in the process of instituting the nation’s highest minimum wage, making it one of the most labor-friendly cities in the world. We have been on the right side of many issues, and there is no issue more serious or pressing than climate change.

Recently, King County voters rejected Proposition 1. This would have provided funding to Metro to maintain its current bus routes, a level of service that should actually be increasing to meet the ever-growing number of riders but instead now faces severe cuts. Even though it was packaged with a series of driver-friendly road improvements, many shortsighted county voters saw it as a regressive tax subsidizing Seattle bus riders at their expense and voted No, even while Seattle voters overwhelmingly approved it. When it comes to transit, King County does not have our back.

This setback should not be a cause of despair, but a wakeup call. If we want to get serious about addressing climate change and live up to our much-touted green image, if we want to be a leader on this issue, we have to go it alone for now. Until recently, Initiative 118 offered us the only path. It would have  increased the city’s property tax and raised $155 million in total revenue over a six-year period to purchase Metro service. However, Mayor Ed Murray has recently announced his own plan, one that would draw on a $60 car tab fee and a .1% sales tax increase to raise $45 million a year, essentially resurrecting Proposition 1 for a Seattle-only vote in November.

Like all political solutions, the new proposal is not perfect. It doesn’t address the immediate cuts in service, and it still depends on the county to carry out its end of the deal. But Keep Seattle Moving is already working to ensure that the needs of our community are addressed in the final proposal before it goes out to voters. Whatever plan we end up with, it will be a first step towards Seattle having more control over its own transit system.

This is not about patting ourselves on the back–it’s about the survival of our city, of our region, of global civilization. Certainly our current economic vitality and quality of life are not going to survive if the burning of fossil fuels is allowed to go unchecked. Seattle talks a lot about social justice, and this is a perhaps the most important social justice issue there is. Poor, working people are the most adversely affected by transit cuts, and they will be the most vulnerable to the disruptions, conflicts and displacements if the darkest predictions of climate scientists come to pass.

Seattle must lead on this issue by creating a viable transit system, one that efficiently moves people while reducing the city’s carbon impact. Not for bragging rights, but so that others can follow our example and do their part in taking on the greatest environmental challenge of our age. Help us do this by continuing the fight to increase transit options in Seattle, and voting to restore bus service in November.

*The mechanism of anthropogenic climate change is simple and well understood. When the sun’s energy hits the surface of the Earth as visible light it is reflected back into space as heat-producing infrared radiation. When we burn fossil fuels they release CO2 into our atmosphere. As it turns out, CO2 is very good at absorbing infrared radiation, and prevents it from escaping back into space. That surplus of solar radiation is trapped on Earth and gradually begins to warm the atmosphere and oceans. This is not theory; it is lab-tested scientific fact with a large body of evidence.

You Need it Too


Picture 7


“How you doin’?” I ask her at Campus Parkway inbound. It’s nearing midday, sunny, on a half-full 70.
“Swell,” she says happily, sounding surprised to see me. I won’t see her smile again.
“Thats excellent!”

She’s telling me the details of her morning, which don’t sound swell at all. Sitting at the front now, putting that chat seat to use, she might be in her late teens, African-American, with short hair and flair to spare in her denim outfit.

She carries the weight of someone who knew how to be happy in an earler time, but whose circumstances have pulled her in another direction. A sonorous melancholy pervades her monologue, in my mind entirely inappropriate for the young girl she is. She’s experiencing dizziness, she tells me, perhaps from low blood circulation, headaches, and sciatica-
“A lot of bus drivers get that. My sciatic nerve hurts someimes.”
“Yeah, I bet it’s from all the sitting.”
“I don’t know if I have kids, man. I dont know if they’re dead or not dead, sometimes I just feel them out there, and I don’t know. And it’s so hard to find out ’cause I don’t know how old I am, or for sure who my parents are. See I used to think I was adopted, but….”I forget the rest. It sprang unbidden from her, shaking in her voice. I remember only the glassy look in her eyes, a face I see in the mirror when I’m very ill, those hollow liquid irises yearning for respite. I remember the downbeat inflection, a timbre that wouldn’t exist if loving friends and parents dwelled in the sidelines of her existence. Who on earth am I, to be complaining about my sciatic nerve?

“My mom lives in Federal Way,” she’s saying.
I wonder after her family situation, and consider the decorum in asking. After a pause I say, “can you go see her, or is that not an-”
“Well, she in Federal Way but I don’t know where.”
“Okay.” I continue, hoping that she finds her kids, encouraging her toward the echoing suggestion telling her they’re alive, the validity of that instinct, the fact that intuition springs from somewhere real. A mother knows. For myself, intuition, conscience, instinct- whatever name we give to that small voice inside us- knows more than our reasoning minds can ever comprehend in a given moment. At the very least it represents the sum total of knowledge gained in all our life experiences, and shouldn’t be ignored. Your gut has a simple wisdom that would take years to parse out.

“I have faith in what I believe,” she says, listening.
“It’s hard not to.”
Thoughtfully: “yeah.”
“Are you goin’ downtown right now?”
“Yeah, I’m goin’ the Orion Center.”
“Oh, that’s a good spot.”
“Yeah, they’re great there.”
“They almost had to shut down.”
“Yeah, money problems, they almost had to go.”
“Oh, that’s fuckin’ bullshit and terrible.”
“But they ended up getting stuff, somehow they got money and they’re still there.”* Always something to be thankful for.
“I’m tryin’ ta get some food. There’s supposed to be a lunch there, free lunch starting at twelve.”
“When does it go ’til?”
“I think one.” It’s 12:48. I’m at Fairview and Denny. “Okay, we might make the end of it.”
“Wait no, I think it ends at 12:30, 12 to 12:30, yeah.”
“Shoot, well it’s 12:48 right now.”
“Oh, that’s shitty,” she breathes. No lunch today. She sighs a sigh whose burden carries the heartache of the ages.
“Do you like peanut butter and jelly?” I ask.
“Yeah, thats what’s up.”
“I have two peaut butter and jelly sandwiches on me, thats all the food on me. You can have ’em if you like.”
She thinks a brief moment and says, “I’ll take a peanut butter and jelly!”
“Okay, lemme pull over at this stop, I’ll grab ’em for ya.”
At Boren I reach behind my seat and hand her both sandwiches.
“Oh, you should keep one,” she says, concerned.
“What? No, it’s okay. You should have both of ’em. I can always… I’ll deal.”
“No no, you should have one too.” She hands it back.
I can see she isn’t going to take both sandwiches, and reluctantly concede.
“Thanks!” she says. Her eyes have a spark in them now, embers coming back to life.
“Thank you! You be safe today!”
“You too, have a good day!”I couldn’t believe it. She still had room in her headspace to think not just about her own troubles, significant as they were, but also to consider my needs as well. A friend who canvassed door-to-door for parenthood resources once told me that the people who donated the most were poor and working class immigrant families- those least equipped to do so, in other words. I felt utterly ridiculous, taking back the second sandwich, knowing how much more she needed it than I; but I could see how much she cared, how deeply she knew of the value of food and kindness. She had to behave as she did. The things you learn at ground level.

*YouthCare’s Orion Center was planning to close its doors last February due to expiring grants and federal funding, but continues to remain a valuable resource due to a pool of funds coming from a holiday concert charity challenge, pledges from local foundations, and a very successful luncheonLearn about the Center and the success story of Calvin, who today seems “a typical, if overachieving, college-bound freshman;” ’twas not always so.

The Double-Edged Sword of Public Records – Housing and Jobs vs. the Public Right to Know


My Trusty Gavel by Brian Turner on Flickr.

The Problem

In the present information age, with access to details about virtually anyone’s life available to all, we often tend to look upon such information as either useful or interesting–or at its worst, embarrassing. However, such easily discoverable online information–some of which may be erroneous–can often have real life consequences involving basic needs like housing and employment.

There is no better example of damage caused by lack of privacy than the easy availability of records of both criminal convictions and arrests in the State of Washington. Once a person is arrested, even if no conviction ever occurs, the record of arrest remains a matter of public record indefinitely. The same is true when charges are filed but later dismissed. Employers screening applicants for work and landlords screening applicants for housing have ready access to this arrest and non-conviction data through literally hundreds of companies offering “background checks.” Most rejected applicants will never know for certain that they were turned down because of an arrest that never led to a conviction.

Current options for cleaning up your record

In Washington, a person who is aware that such information exists has very limited options for “erasing” it from public records. By following a step-by-step process, which usually requires the assistance of an attorney, and meeting many different criteria, one can remove some or all of this information and be legally entitled to then tell a prospective employer or landlord that they “have never been convicted of a crime.” However, the mere fact that the arrest or non-conviction data remains on the record could lead the prospective employer or landlord to conclude the applicant had lied on his or her application. Further, even if the employer or landlord is savvy enough to understand the difference between an arrest and a conviction, there is nothing to prevent them from taking a “better safe than sorry” approach and rejecting the application.

The difficulty sealing your record

In Washington, it is very difficult to seal a record and prevent it from becoming part of your “criminal history.” Our Supreme Court has decreed that the public’s interest in full disclosure trumps the privacy interests of the individual. So in order to seal–or prevent disclosure of–such a record, a person must prove that they have been actually harmed by the record being in the public domain. Simply asserting that the record could make it difficult to find housing or a job is not sufficient. This becomes an almost impossible task because it is not likely that a prospective employer or landlord will tell the applicant the true reason they are being rejected.

Of further concern is the fact that companies offering background checks may be using old databases which still show the information thought to be sealed. Chasing after literally hundreds of these companies is simply not practical.

There are also serious “access to justice” issues with the existing process because many low income individuals simply cannot afford a lawyer to present and argue these difficult motions to seal in court.

Proposed changes in the law

The City of Seattle sought to address this problem in 2013 by enacting an ordinance prohibiting an employer from inquiring about criminal history until after all applicants have first been screened for qualifications. Employers must then take the further step of proving how the arrest or conviction would affect job performance. While a nice first step, this prohibition does not include housing applications, and enforcement of the ordinance will prove to be a daunting task.

Other groups are seeking wider reform–statewide legislation that would allow sealing a record if the mere threat  that this information could cause a denial of suitable housing or employment is established. However, such legislation is not popular with many powerful interest groups including landlords, the press (which always has an interest in full disclosure), and large businesses. Such a legislative debate would also provoke a separation of powers conflict between the courts and the legislature.

Solutions to the problem are therefore hard to come by. What is needed is a holistic look at the pervasiveness of information technology in the 21st century and an examination of how that technology interacts with criminal justice, the public’s right to know, and the often unforeseen and far-reaching consequences to people’s lives. The disproportionate impact of ready availability of arrest and non-conviction data on minorities is also an unfortunate reality, and should fairly be considered in fashioning a solution. Suggested compromises have included time limitations on the availability of arrest and non-conviction data as well as a simplified process that would allow those without the ability to pay for a lawyer to have such information permanently removed from their record. However, nothing that involves balancing individual rights with the public’s right to know is ever easy.


Damon Shadid is a Seattle attorney who practices both criminal defense and immigration law. He has been active in many issues involving race and social justice for many years and is a member of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Roundtable. Damon is currently a candidate for Seattle Municipal Court Judge.

Baugruppen: Proactive Jurisdictions


Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a series on Baugruppen, private owners collaboratively building affordable multifamily projects. Read Part 1 or check out the series.

For this installment of the Baugruppen: Badaβ Concepts series, I’ll be highlighting a few policies cities have enacted to allow this ‘self-organized collaborative building’ thing to grow well. And I do mean well, with tens of thousands of completed units in these cities in just over a decade. As I’d like to see this kind of innovation Stateside, I felt the policy overview a good starting point.

Freiburg, Tuebingen, Hamburg and Berlin are baugruppen hot beds that have shaped and promoted this development on an extensive level. There are others (Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Leipzig, Muenchen) and the concept is moving into other countries including Austria, France and the UK. These jurisdictions have given a phenomenal amount of support, as they see the obvious benefits–to owners, certainly–but also to the greater community, and have worked diligently to get these built. Proactive governmental agencies can seem rare, but these ones are allowing a truly fundamental shift in the way communities are made (not just buildings!), and we should be copying them where we can.

Tuebingen (BaWu)

With a ‘people over profits’ mentality, Tuebingen’s BG model represents a higher plane of thinking and results in a quality of sustainable urbanism very difficult to come by in developer-driven models. By the mid-90s, Tuebingen was beyond affordable for many residents. Even with a high level of density, housing prices were high and land was scarce (Seattle!). In an effort to adjust this, the City purchased brownfields vacated by NATO in the southern part of town, determined legal limits, and engaged in actual urban planning (gasp!).

Mayor Murray’s Seattle-Only Plan for Metro


 After a whirlwind week, the bus saga continues. Today, Mayor Ed Murray presented his blueprint for a Seattle-only measure to restore King County Metro Transit service in the city. The plan is very similar to the original countywide Proposition 1, which proposes to use a $60 flat car tab fee and 0.1% sales tax increase (the image above incorrectly notes 0.01%). During the press conference, Murray stressed the urgency of reversing the bus cuts and his plan:

When so many people in this city rely on transit for their livelihood, especially those with lower incomes, we cannot delay. We must act to preserve bus service in the city and on key intercity routes. And we know that this is what Seattle wants: two-thirds of voters in last month’s election said so loud and clear.

Under the proposal, the car tab fee and sales tax will raise $45M per year to reverse most service cuts in the city*, create a fund to cost-share cross-jurisdictional routes with neighboring cities (called the Regional Partnership Fund), and subsidize car tab fees for low-income drivers. The car tab fee would raise approximately $24M per year while the sales tax would raise another $21M. Low-income drivers will pay a reduced fee of $20 for their car tabs.

In the interim, Murray intends to have the City act immediately to stop all cuts to Night Owl routes like the 7, 49, 82, 83, and 84. Funding for Night Owl routes will come directly from the Seattle Department of Transportation budget. Metro had proposed the elimination of all Night Owl service beginning with the September 2014 service change.

Meanwhile, the Regional Partnership Fund (RPF) would have $3M to spend annually on cross-jurisdictional routes like the 215 (Issaquah-Downtown), 303 and 308 (Lake Forest Park/Richmond Beach-Downtown), and the 167 (Renton-UW).These tend to be peak-hour expresses to regional employment centers in the city, but also comprise many all-day Seattle routes like the 5, 131, and 372. Seattle would cost-share with regional partners to pay up to 50% of the cross-jurisdictional service, the remainder of which would be paid by that partner. Regional partners could be any other agencies, city, business group, or employer.

If you remember the crisis of last week, Murray initially opposed a Seattle-only option to save Metro. Murray was unhappy with the I-118 effort because of funding mechanism and the non-regional nature of the legislation. Universal pre-kindergarden, the primary policy issue of the Murray administration, uses the property tax as its means of funding. Murray was concerned that the additional property tax measure of the Metropolitan Parks District, publicly funded council races, and I-118 could compound to cause voter fatigue in the fall. (Though there is no evidence to suggest that that is true.) At the same time, Murray argued that Metro is supposed to be a regional service, not just a local one. In Murray’s words, a Seattle-only measure could lead to the “Balkanization of Metro”. However, the Office of the Mayor began to change their tune late last week to support a Seattle-only package, which lead I-118 petitioners to suspend their effort.

Last night, King County Executive Dow Constantine laid out a streamlined framework for local cities to buy back service hours. The framework allows cities to work with King County Metro Transit to determine service to be restored. Constantine said:

This program provides a clear path for jurisdictions to obtain more local transit service, as a bridge to keep buses on the road until we can get permanent and sustainable revenue authority from the Legislature for the regional system. Until the Legislature acts, I cannot ask cities to accept cuts they are willing locally to prevent.

Cities must pay the full operational and capital costs of that service because King County will not cost-share for any restored hours. An agreement to restore service must be approved by the County Council and Executive.

Assuming Seattle does restore service hours to Metro, the first opportunity to do so will only be in February 2015 meaning that currently proposed cuts will still go through in the September 2014 service change (excluding the Night Owl routes). Constantine and Murray intend to continue their effort to champion a countywide option for funding Metro next year. Assuming a countywide measure is able to later rescue Metro, the proposed Seattle-only measure could be phased out in as little as 2 years.

While Murray’s plan seems comprehensive, there’s still ample opportunity improve the transit package. The City has a number of other tools in its arsenal besides the car tab fee and sales tax. Goldy over at the HorsesAss gave us two such options last week: increasing the parking tax and bringing back the head tax (assessed on employees who drive solo to work). Both options could be enacted councilmanically instead of going to the voters or the Transportation Benefit District process. Councilmembers have already stated their strong support for reversing Metro service cuts and that they are open to any and all ideas. We hope that they will evaluate all options in addition the Mayor’s proposal.

Any measure that uses the sales tax and car tab option must be approved by the Seattle Transportation Benefit District Board (composed of the full City Council) with a deadline of August 5th in order to appear on the November ballot.

*90% of the service cuts impacting 110,000 boardings would be reversed, meaning that 100,000 boardings would be maintained. 

Follow Up: Factoria Frequent Service


 A map of frequent service to and from Factoria. The thick red line is the frequent corridor shared by routes 240 and 241 and the thick blue line is the peak-only frequent corridor shared by routes 114 and 240. The purple, green and orange lines represent the less-frequent portions of routes 114, 240 and 241, respectively.

When we wrote about how to implement frequent service in Factoria, we envisioned a likely yes vote on Proposition 1. However with the failure of the proposition, this vision will be impacted.

The cuts

All of the routes involved with the frequent service are getting cut in some way. Here’s how:

  • The 114 will be reduced to 3 trips in either direction, instead of 5 inbound and 4 outbound.
  • The 210 will be entirely deleted. This should not be a surprise as the only real source of ridership for the route is at Eastgate Park and Ride.
  • The 240 will end service at 9pm instead of 11pm.
  • The 241 will be cut to hourly midday and Saturdays.

The impact on the frequent service

  • The frequent service corridors for the 114/210 between Factoria and Downtown Seattle and the 210/240 in Eastgate will be deleted.
  • The frequent service corridor for the 114 and 240 in Newport Hills and Newcastle will loose service span.
  • The frequent service corridor for the 240 and 241 between Factoria and Downtown Bellevue will be kept (see below).

How to maintain frequent service

Since the 241 is slated to be cut to hourly middays and Saturdays, a series of improvements in service efficiency will have to be made in order to keep the 241 running half-hourly during those periods. This means that a lot of reroutes will have to be made:

The reroute of the 241 off 108th Ave NE will save up to three minutes per trip outbound and five inbound, while improving the quality of service with no speed bumps and the elimination of the three turns required to reach Bellevue TC.

The big reroute of the 240 to reach Bellevue via Bellevue Way and 112th Ave SE instead of detouring to Eastgate Park-and-ride will save anywhere between 8 and 15 minutes per trip, depending on the time of the day. Those savings will reduce the length of the route (in time) by as much as 20%, allowing for slightly shorter layover times. Currently, the 240 has an extra-long 25-minute layover at each end of the route. It seems reasonable to cut those layover to 15-17 minutes considering the fact that the route is shorter. Combined with the shorter layover, the reroute would allow for each bus to basically run one bus earlier than currently for each turnback.

What could've been a good idea if the bus turned right instead of going straight
Downtown Newcastle Bus Stop, photo by the author.

Another issue is routing in Newcastle. Currently buses come from Newcastle way (behind the photographer in the photo) then pull over into the bus stop, which is designed to have the bike lane away from it. The bus lane then becomes the right-turn lane onto Coal Creek Parkway. The buses eventually end-up running on Coal Creek parkway but not after making a detour which requires them to go straight at the above intersection, make an awkward right-turn at the top of the hill then enter Coal Creek Parkway via a left turn at a long light. This design creates conflict between the buses that must pull back into the middle lane to go straight, the cars that turn right and the bikes which have buses crossing into the lane twice.

The solution would see the buses take the right turn into Coal Creek directly, saving a couple minutes per trip. This makes more sense with the map shown below.

A map of what the reroute would look like. The red line would be the deleted routing, the green line would be the new routing and the blue lines indicate no change.

In the original post, it was mentioned that the 114 would need to be rerouted all the way to Eastgate Park and Ride via Factoria. Due to the funding shortfall it would only be rerouted to Factoria (to replace the 210 as the peak-only route to Downtown Seattle), but not to Eastgate Park and Ride.

So what does this all do?

  • The hours saved by rerouting the 241 off 108th Ave NE would accumulate as the day goes on, and provide additional trips to restore some mid-day service.
  • The 240’s huge time savings would mostly be spent on adding trips to the 241 to keep half-hourly mid-day and Saturday service, although some savings would be used to keep the 240 running until 11pm. This restores service on routes 240 and 241 to their current levels.
  • The small time savings of the Newcastle detour would allow the 114 to detour off to Factoria without requiring more time on the run.

If the 240’s re-route proves to be very successful and saves more revenue hours than expected, it could be spent on adding a fourth trip to route 114, thus keeping the 15-minute peak-only service south of Factoria for longer.

Event Reminder: Meetup at GGLO


We’re giving GGLO’s swanky space at the Harbor Steps a spin this week. So if you want to join us for our weekly meetup, come on by 1st Avenue and walk down the Harbor Steps a half block. In case you’re not familiar with the Harbor Steps, it’s the pedestrian hillclimb that extends from 1st Avenue and University Street, right across the street from the Seattle Art Museum. Our weekly meetup runs from 6pm to 9pm, so feel free to drop by at any time. And if you need a reminder, add the event to your e-calendar. We hope to see you tonight!

Hack to End Homelessness: Organizing Tech Workers for Social Good

Volunteers begin working at Hack to End Homelessness.

Several months ago I wrote about why tech workers should care about housing issues. I argued that the tech industry can’t help but alter the character of the city, and that gives those of us in the industry an obligation to engage constructively in urban issues, especially around housing. Since then I co-organized an event, called Hack to End Homelessness, that showcases one way that the tech industry can have a positive impact on the city.

The centerpiece of Hack to End Homelessness was a weekend-long “hackathon”, a popular concept from the tech industry where participants come together in teams to rapidly build technology around some theme. For Hack to End Homelessness we partnered with a dozen non-profits working in homeless services and advocacy to design meaningful projects that volunteers could accomplish over a weekend.

Volunteers begin working at Hack to End Homelessness.

Volunteers begin working at Hack to End Homelessness. Photo by Sol Villarreal.

This model of collaboration was new to most of the non-profits, but by the end of the process the enthusiasm from both the non-profits and the volunteers was overwhelming. Over the course of the weekend 40 volunteers completed nine different projects. One group created an iPhone app to be used by Union Gospel Mission volunteers to survey and respond to the needs of people living on the streets. Another started a Twitter-like peer-to-peer support network that works on low-end mobile phones. A third built maps of housing expenditures, to be used for advocacy in the state legislature. A full list of projects, all of which directly addressed the needs of a non-profit, is available on our website.

Graham Pruss and Jeff Lilley demo their app for surveying the needs of people living on the streets.

Graham Pruss and Jeff Lilley demo their app for surveying the needs of people living on the streets. Photo by Dawn Stenberg.

My takeaway from this past weekend is that there’s a huge need for technology in the non-profit space and an untapped supply of interested tech workers. All that’s needed is to provide a bridge between the two communities. If you’re a non-profit looking for tech help, or a technologist looking to get involved, there are a few of local organizations you can look to, including Seattle Works, 501 Commons, Seattle GiveCamp and Seattle Tech4Good. And, of course, check back soon at for news on what we’re doing next around homelessness and other issues.