Vote Now to Save Seattle Parks

On October 15th, our petition that has the support of over 20,000 citizens was sent to Seattle Mayor Durkan and the Seattle City Council urging them to protect our parks from development. The Mayor’s reply was disappointing. The full text of our letter and the Mayor’s reply are below.

Clearly, City Hall is not listening to the people of Seattle and does not intend to respond to the questions and concerns of the people. In fact, Mayor Durkan did not reply to any of our questions about why City Hall is studying the development of parks for housing when thousands of acres of surplus government property in King County are available and there is existing capacity for 200,000 new housing units in Seattle.

We need to make our voices heard. Vote for a candidate who has pledged to protect Seattle parks.

We have another opportunity to make our voices heard. We can protect our parks for future generations by electing council members who are committed to protecting parks. If you are a resident of Seattle, vote now (ballots must be submitted by November 5th, 2019) for a candidate who has pledged to protect parks. Coincidentally, all of these candidates have been endorsed by The Seattle Times editorial board.

These candidates have pledged to uphold the Seattle ordinance that protects parks from development or changes of use. We strongly encourage you to vote for one of these candidates. (Updated/corrected to include incumbent Councilmember Lisa Herbold who had previously pledged support for our petition and should not have been required to reply to our October 15th email in which we had requested a reply from Mayor Durkan and councilmembers. Thank you for your support, CM Herbold!)

District 1: Lisa Herbold or Phil Tavel
District 2: Mark Solomon
District 3: Egan Orion
District 4: Alex Pedersen
District 5: Ann Davison Sattler
District 6: Heidi Wills
District 7: Jim Pugel

Not sure what district you live in? Click here to find your district.

Not registered to vote? Register online now

If you live outside of Seattle city limits please take the time now to write to Mayor Durkan <> to remind her that Seattle parks are a reason for you to visit and spend money in Seattle.

You can also build support for parks by encouraging your friends to sign the petition

Read Our Letter to City Hall and Candidates for City Council and the mayor’s response

Mayor Durkan, Seattle City Councilmembers and Candidates for the Seattle City Council,

Over 20,000 citizens have signed our petition urging you to protect Seattle parks from redevelopment: 16,443 online and 4,066 signatures collected on paper at Seattle golf courses. Our petition urges you to uphold the 1996 Protect Our Parks Initiative 42 which has protected Seattle parks from development or change of use for the past 23 years.  We respectfully request your reply to this appeal. Please take into consideration these facts before you reply.

Seattle’s population is expected to continue to grow rapidly. Seattle needs more parks and green spaces, not less. 

  • Seattle devotes less land to parks (12.5%) than cities such as New York (21.7%), San Francisco (19.6%), Phoenix (15.2%) or even Las Vegas (19.4%) (Seattle Times)
  • Seattle currently has the capacity to build 200,000 additional housing units without sacrificing a single acre of park land. (City of Seattle)
  • As shopping continues to move online, many brick and mortar retail spaces will no longer be needed. We have the opportunity to repurpose and rezone these spaces for housing and save our parks for future generations.
  • Thousands of acres of surplus public lands are currently available in Seattle and King County for the development of affordable housing. These parcels can be viewed via this mapping tool that was developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • If revenue generation and ‘ability to use’ are the standards by which we judge the worthiness of any given park use, then every park use that does not generate ‘adequate’ revenue or cannot be used by everyone (due to lack of interest, age or limited abilities) is at risk of being developed. If this is to be our standard, then our dog parks, soccer fields, softball fields, swimming pools, the Arboretum and the Woodland Park Zoo, to name a few park uses, are at risk of being converted to housing. 

If the City’s legislative authority decides to remove the protections included in I-42, then we are prepared to collect the necessary signatures to place a new I-42 initiative on the ballot next year.

We await your reply to our petition, which will be shared with our petition signers and other interested parties.


Margaret Anthony
Founder, Save Seattle Golf 

John Wisdom
Founder, Save Seattle Parks

The Mayor’s reply to our letter

Dear Margaret and John:  

Thank you for reaching out to Mayor Jenny Durkan regarding our City’s public golf courses. We appreciate your time and input, and that you care so much about this issue that you took the time to write. 

Seattle Parks and Recreation commissioned a study of the financial sustainability of City-owned golf courses. This includes an analysis of potential long-term models that could ensure the financial sustainability of the courses. That study is still underway and not focused on any single golf course, but is a holistic look at the use of this particular public land in our City. 

As we study the future of the City’s four golf courses, Mayor Durkan believes we have an opportunity to examine our courses with the goals of supporting our parks and green spaces, addressing affordability, and advancing race and social justice.

Mayor Durkan strongly believes that it is in the best interest of Seattle residents to ensure public property is utilized in a way that maximizes its benefit to the community. At the Mayor’s direction, Seattle Parks and Recreation will begin to explore a full range of potential options for these courses.  

Thank you again for reaching out. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to follow up with me directly. 

Sincerely,  Kelsey, on behalf of Mayor Jenny Durkan
Communications Associate (She/Hers)
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan | City of Seattle

Read Next: An urbanist defense of Seattle parks and golf courses

One thought on “Vote Now to Save Seattle Parks

  1. Jésus Aguirre was brought in to do privatization or private-public projects.
    Partly it’s necessary for counteracting ossified bureaucrat incompetency and union laziness.
    Green Lake pool,
    Lawn bowling grab ( Heidi Wills was in on it, sorry to say),
    Now whipping up righteous snobby anti golf mood.

    Charles Ragen


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