LYNNWOOD, Wash., September 21, 2021 – On Monday, the Lynnwood City Council discussed the results of the South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan survey, which were released a few days previous. Council also introduced the new Social Justice Coordinator after much debate surrounding the position.

South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan Survey Results

Community Planning Manager Ashley Winchell presented the results of the South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan survey to the council. The South Lynnwood project is in its second phase after receiving the results of the survey which was open May 18 to June 18 of this year. The third phase will look at how to implement and adopt the ideas outlined in the survey and by the council.

The survey, which was available in English and Spanish, online and paper, was created to generate representational community feedback to determine how the city of Lynnwood can best serve the culturally rich South Lynnwood area.

Though the survey generated 210 responses from the area, respondents were not representational of the racially diverse area, with 74.4% white respondents, 16.9% Hispanic, 16.3% Asian, and only 5.2% Black or African, 2.3% American Indian, and 1.2% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. 

The results indicate that the community members want South Lynnwood to be a more attractive local hub with a focus on safe, pedestrian accessibility. The respondents also indicated that the neighborhood is looking for more small businesses, such as coffee shops, local breweries, and restaurants, to meet the community’s needs and to create a “small village” feel.

Winchell explained that industrial business owners in the area fear that plans to update South Lynnwood may lead to rezoning, but she explained that the city plans to keep the area industrial to accommodate the many industrial businesses to keep South Lynnwood economically stable.

During the meeting, Councilmember Patrick Decker asked if food trucks might be a viable option for the neighborhood, but it is unclear if the area is zoned for food trucks.

In her presentation, Winchell outlined the 10 goals moving forward with the South Lynnwood Neighborhood Plan:

  1. The South Lynnwood neighborhood succeeds because it has a collaborative relationship with the city.
  2. South Lynnwood feels like a small village with an easily recognizable identity.
  3. Residents of all ages have safe places to play and learn.
  4. There are many ways to get around the neighborhood, and walkways feel safe to use.
  5. Preserve existing housing that is affordable and safe so that people can stay in South Lynnwood.
  6. Residents are protected from displacement.
  7. Housing is connected to transportation and businesses.
  8. Community members can access affordable space for small business creation.
  9. The community and businesses have a strong working relationship.
  10. South Lynnwood’s economy is responsive to community needs and industry trends.

Social Justice Coordinator Position and Survey

Doug Raiford was introduced to the Council after his first five weeks of employment for the city. Raiford, who moved to Washington to pursue international advising, has spent the last five years on equity and inclusion work in the state. He became aware of the position while living in the area.

His introduction to the council went smoothly, despite the council voting to delay filling the position until the city could respond with suggestions for the new role. Mayor Nicola Smith moved forward with filling the position, despite the vote, claiming that the debate surrounding the position was “a very clear example of institutional racism.”

The council intended to conduct a community equity survey before filling the Social Justice Coordinator position to clarify the job description. The survey has been contracted out to BSD Planning for $40,000. The firm specializes in consensus facilitation, inclusive processes, organizational development, and place management.

“The goal of the survey was to see whether Lynnwood is a safe, welcoming, and equitable place, and if not, how we can improve,” explained Julie Moore, Public Affairs Officer.

Online and paper survey options will be available, as well as Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese translations with additional languages remaining a possibility. The survey will be posted to the city website once it becomes available. 

Olivia Thiessen

Olivia graduated with her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in English in 2020. While completing her degree, Olivia worked as a college grammar and composition teacher and wrote for various magazines and websites. She spent the last year writing secondary English and history textbooks but has recently shifted gears to focus on writing for the media. She believes journalism is the greatest tool within a free society and is passionate about bringing truth to local citizens.

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