Project Team

Steering Committee

We are thrilled to have small business owners, property owners, residents, students, workers, and professors around the table to guide this project. Members of our Steering Committee are listed below, in alphabetical order.
Don Blakeney
As the Executive Director of the U District Partnership (UDP), Don Blakeney brings with him fifteen years of local economic development and non-profit experience. Prior to the UDP, Don led advocacy and economic development for the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and was also the Executive Director of the business improvement area in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Prior to returning to Seattle, Don worked for the Times Square Alliance—a business improvement district in Manhattan’s theatre district. Don earned masters degrees in both Public Administration and Urban Planning from Columbia University and has been actively involved in the Seattle community over the past decade. He co-founded Seattle’s first storefront arts program–Storefronts Seattle–and has served on a variety of boards including Historic South Downtown, Cornish College of the Arts, the Cal Anderson Park Alliance, Friends of the Benson Trolleys. Today, Don lives on Capitol Hill with his wife Erin.
Pete Chautavipat
Pete Chautavipat and his family are the owners of Little Thai Restaurant located on NE 42nd. They have been serving the community since 1991. Growing up and having worked on The Ave all his life, Pete is excited to offer local insight to the committee dedicated to bettering 42nd.
Cory Crocker
For over a decade, Cory has advocated for making the U District the best neighborhood in Seattle. He has served as the President of U District Advocates from its inception and has successfully managed and launched several projects: U District Parklet, U District Parks Plan Update, U District Small Business Vulnerability Study, U District Station Area Mobility Plan, among others. He is currently serving as President of the U District Community Council and is a part-owner of Bulldog News Café. Cory has a MArch from the University of Washington and is a LEED AP, having co-authored the LEED Reference Guide and Toolkit for version 2.0.
John Hix
Seasoned pastor and leader with 27 years of experience in Vineyard churches, serving in steadily increasing roles from worship leader to executive pastor. Committed to helping people discover their identity and purpose in Jesus Christ, develop their relationship with the Father, and experience the fullness of life available to all through the power of the Holy Spirit. Skilled written and verbal communicator, worship leader, organizer, and planner who loves empowering and encouraging others in their God-given abilities. Skilled musician and worship leader passionate about empowering and training the next generation of worship leaders.
Judith Hix
Pastor and owner of the Seattle Vineyard Church.
Dr. Jeff Hou
Jeffrey Hou, Ph.D., is Professor of Landscape Architecture and director of the Urban Commons Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle. His work addresses public space, democracy, community design, and design activism with a focus on the agency and engagement of marginalized social groups. Jeff has served as the technical advisor to the Waterfront Seattle Design Oversight Committee. He currently serves as the co-chair of Friends of Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s Chinatown International District.
Beth Mountsier
Beth Mountsier was employed for nearly 30 years as planner, legislative analyst and government relations liaison with King County, Redmond, and Bellevue. The focus of her work ranged from affordable housing and human services policy and programs to monitoring and reporting on the work of county agencies delivering transportation, solid waste and wastewater treatment services. Prior to that she worked as a project manager and designer for architecture firms in Seattle and St. Louis. She holds a M. Architecture degree from the University of Washington. She is currently a partner/manager of Bulldog News and manager of SEVEN Market & Café and a board member at University Heights for 10 years.
John Owen
John Owen recently passed away but his influence on this project, and on the design of the built environment for our U District will forever be enjoyed by anyone who walks down The Ave. 

John was an artist, urban designer, architect, planner, and storyteller. As a partner at MAKERS through 2020, he has made an indelible impact on the urban design and planning profession, on work ranging from waterfronts and public improvement projects to site master planning, comprehensive planning, and urban design projects. Of particular note is the work he did to draft the region’s first set of design guidelines and to assist the State of Washington Department of Ecology on the state shoreline management rules. John is known for his unparalleled design and graphic skills, as well as his ability to built consensus to act on difficult planning and urban design issues. As a constant observer, critic and thinker, he has dedicated his life to understanding the human experience, natural systems and cultural change and applying his observations to help create people-oriented places that foster healthy ecological systems.
Leah Preston
Leah has been a property manager within the Green Steet area for over 25 years. As a third generation UW alumni and long term U. District resident, Leah has been a dedicated advocate for the neighborhood. Having been active in many neighborhood committees, projects, events, and public art installations over the years, she has developed a unique perspective. She is excited to lend her experience, enthusiasm for design, and long term neighborhood knowledge to this project.
Katy Ricchiuto
As the U District Partnership's Urban Vitality Manager, Katy is responsible for leading engagement with community and public agencies on the infrastructure, policy, and planning projects that are shaping the U District. Katy also leads the UDP's major beautification efforts in the U District, including public lighting, mural and public art projects, street and sidewalk placemaking, and park planning and activation. Katy has extensive experience in the intersection of environmental and urban policy and equitable community development. Previously, she was a program manager with the national non-profit EcoDistricts, where she managed capacity building and training programs to help communities and municipalities implement sustainable and equitable neighborhood projects. Katy has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a Bachelor of the Arts from The Ohio State University.

Consultant Team

Project expertise is provided by our consultant team of Site Workshop and Mayfly Engineering.
Site Workshop

Mayfly Engineering

Stakeholder Group

In addition to local business and property owners, our Stakeholder Group also includes participation by the following organizations: U District Advocates, U District Community Council, U District Partnership, University of Washington, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and the City of Seattle.
U District Advocates
U District Partnership
U District Community Council
University of Washington
Department of Transportation
Office of Planning & Community Development
Seattle Neighborhood Greenways

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