WSU’s Everett Campus Hosting August 15 Ribbon Cutting and Open House

EVERETT, Wash. – WSU North Puget Sound at Everett announced an August 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for the campus’s new building at 915 N. Broadway in Everett.

“This is a landmark occasion for our entire region. Washington State University is thrilled to be opening the doors of our new, state-of-the-art building to the public on August 15,” Paul Pitre, chancellor of WSU’s newest campus, said. “This building represents decades of work by this community to create local access to four-year degree programs. WSU is incredibly proud to be an important part of that and to continue our growth into the future.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. and will include WSU president Kirk Schulz, Pitre, city of Everett mayor Ray Stephanson and Everett Community College president David Beyer.

“The programs offered in this building will help address some of our region’s most pressing economic challenges,” Stephanson said. “We are competitors in the worldwide marketplace and our businesses need a talented, well-trained workforce in order to thrive and expand. This is where that workforce will come from.”

The open house will include opportunities for tours and photos, chances to learn about the nearly 30 programs offered in the new building from WSU and the Everett University Center partners, information from the construction team, and more. Each WSU North Puget Sound at Everett and Everett University Center program/partner will be assigned a space to engage with community members, who will be guided by an event passport. Those interested can learn more on the Facebook event page.

Continue reading in WSU News

Martha Aitken

Senior Associate for Metropolitan Extension
Phone: 206-219-2429

Martha brings 20 years of experience in the non-profit and business sectors, as well as leadership roles with WSU county Extension, to the Metro Center. She is known for her ability to effectively manage diverse projects ranging from small and local to multi-state and national, and her ability to build relationships between the community and academia. Martha often provides leadership on Metro Center projects related to improving equity and access, organizational development and professional development.

Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension
WSU Seattle Office
901 5th Avenue, Ste 2900
Seattle, WA 98164 (MAP)

Updated on 8/1/17

Mapping Average Commutes from Anywhere in the Seattle Area

WNYC recently released an interactive map of commute times across the U.S., based on data from the Census Bureau. Zeroing in on the Seattle area, it looks like the folks over in Bellevue have got it best (16.5 minutes) while most everyone else is sitting somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, which would put everyone within range of the nationwide average of 25.4 minutes.

Continue reading and see what your city’s average commute time is in Curbed Seattle

Originally written by 

Revised Community Revitalization Plan

Arlington and Darrington are small communities in the foothills of the Cascades, located about one hour north of Seattle, and linked inextricably by history and geography. On March 22, 2014, we experienced a devastating mudslide that took 43 lives and temporarily closed State Highway 530, the physical and economic lifeline between the towns. In the aftermath, what emerged was evidence of two resilient and interdependent communities with a shared goal of growing their economies while preserving quality of life.

The America’s Best Communities competition is—and has been—a means of making progress toward that goal, as well as an important component of our collective economic development strategy. However, we have created a comprehensive approach to leverage local and regional assets and coordinate efforts; because the execution of the tactics outlined in our Community Revitalization Plan is based on the larger North Stillaguamish Economic Redevelopment Plan (ERP), we can rely on the latter to provide guidance and ensure that we maintain the course in the coming years. The goals in the ERP center on infrastructure, industries and employment, community and workforce development, resilience and sustainability, placemaking and rural innovation. These six goals are used to organize strategies and tactics in our CRP, and the two documents work in tandem to demonstrate a comprehensive economic development strategy for the region.

Achievement of Short-Term Tactics
We met or exceeded our commitments for every tactic presented in our CRP. This document presents a summary of our progress and impact for every tactic.

The can-do attitude of our community members and partners was truly awesome, and our results reflect their eager and willing attitude. In addition to the funds from ABC, we were able to leverage other funding sources and in-kind contributions to accomplish even more.

Where We’re Going
We will continue to enact the strategies contained in the ERP opportunistically, but we are extremely well-positioned to leverage additional funding from ABC to implement catalytic projects and improve the fortunes of residents and business owners in our region. The landslide is an element of our past that will forever affect our communities, but we are committed to a resilient and sustainable future, and ABC can be a part of this mission.

For every strategy achieved during the CRP, we’ve started thinking about where we need to go next to maintain momentum, capitalize on success and magnify our impact. That information, drawn from the ERP, the thoughts and suggestions of community members, and other lessons learned during the implementation of our CRP, is presented in this document.

Continue reading this article

SR 530 Mudslide: Long Term Recovery Report

On the morning of Saturday, March 22, 2014, a portion of an unstable hill collapsed, causing the most deadly natural landslide in US history. A wave of mud and debris, 25 feet high and traveling 60 miles an hour, engulfed an entire neighborhood four miles east of Oso, Washington. It swept across the Stillaguamish River and buried State Route 530, cutting off communication and transportation to small communities east of the slide. The slide covered nearly a square mile, destroyed 49 homes, and took 43 lives. President Elson Floyd quickly committed the resources of Washington State University to assist in the recovery, and asked WSU Extension to be on point for the institution.

In April 2014, as emergency response efforts turned toward long-term recovery strategies, WSU formed the interdisciplinary SR 530 Mudslide Recovery Team. Co-led by WSU Snohomish County Extension1 and the WSU Division of Governmental Studies and Services (DGSS), the team included members from the WSU Extension Community and Economic Development (CED), Youth and Family, and Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Units; the WSU Energy Office; WSU Everett; and CAHNRS Communications—all with diverse experience and backgrounds. The Team collaborated with elected leaders, tribal officials, area nonprofit leaders, state and federal agency personnel, and local citizens, making relevant expertise from across WSU available to aid in the rebuilding efforts and helping the communities move toward self-reliance and sustainable economic futures. The uniqueness of the WSU effort lies in the depth and diversity of team members who worked collaboratively to positively impact the community.

WSU’s initial response included one-year tuition waivers for students from the region, the placement of WSU-paid student summer interns in the communities, and the implementation of youth and economic development programming. Almost immediately, the WSU team started planning for transition from direct service to a more sustainable model.

Continue Reading the SR 530 Long Term Recovery Report

One Tool for Dismantling Structural School Segregation in Seattle: Better Zoning

View Ridge Elementary is one of Seattle’s highest-rated public elementary schools. Eighty-five percent of View Ridge students demonstrate or exceed grade-level proficiency on math and English standardized tests, well above the state average of 55 percent. But despite being a public school, it tends to be expensive to attend View Ridge—prohibitively so. There’s a structural reason for this: The city has zoned 93 percent of the school’s attendance area single-family zoning. Unless a family is wealthy enough to afford a house in the neighborhood, where home prices average $850,000, or lucky enough to find an affordable rental (only a quarter of dwellings in the surrounding census tract are renter-occupied, and rents average $3,000 per month), the chances of attending this school rest on the whim of the district lottery via the open enrollment process. This school year (2016-2017) just four out-of-area students won admission to View Ridge, and all of them already had siblings attending the school.

The story of View Ridge is not uncommon in Cascadia’s largest city, nor in other cities across the region. Though Seattle boasts many high-performing public elementaries, most of them sit in the city’s most expensive and restrictive residential neighborhoods—places where zoning regulations prohibit nearly any housing that isn’t a single-family, detached structure. On average, single-family zoning covers 72 percent of land in attendance areas of Seattle’s 13 top-rated, non-option, public elementaries. (The city has 16 schools that received a perfect 10 score on the GreatSchools rating system. Three of these schools are option schools which don’t have typical attendance areas and so these are excluded from this calculation.)

When communities impose this kind of restrictive zoning pattern, it results in only a small slice of the city’s families being able to afford homes within most of the top schools’ attendance zones. Housing prices average over 20 percent more in neighborhoods surrounding the city’s top 16 elementary schools—all those that received a 10, the highest score possible, on the GreatSchools rating system—than in the city as a whole. In addition, these neighborhoods offer a lower proportion of rental units than the city average. And, in many cases, this cycle reinforces itself: Wealthier neighborhoods pour private funding into their public schools via PTAs and other fundraising, paying for things like added tutors, smaller class sizes, and after school enrichment programs. These private dollars likely boost school performance and in turn, the presence of a top ranked school further boosts real estate prices in the vicinity.

Continue reading in Sightline Institute

Originally written by Margaret Morales in Sightline Institute

The World’s First Floating Light Rail

Seattle already has the world’s longest floating bridge, and next month, it’s going one step further: building the world’s first floating light rail line.

The undertaking is part of a $3.7 billion project to build a light rail corridor linking Seattle to the city of Bellevue on the east side of Lake Washington by 2023. It’s a tricky endeavor; the floating bridge has to withstand the pressure of two pairs of 300-ton trains traveling at speeds of up to 55 mph. To make it happen, the transit agency Sound Transit is turning to cutting-edge earthquake technology. With 50,000 riders expected daily, there’s absolutely no room for mistakes, the Seattle Times reports:

A derailed train would sink 200 feet to the lake bed. If track components break or wear out, transit service would be halted for maintenance, or subjected to slowdowns.

Still, this isn’t a city that shies away from massive infrastructure ventures. Its replacement project for the Alaskan Way Viaduct introduced us to Bertha, the world’s largest tunnel boring machine, which emerged from its controversial years-long trek under downtown Seattle earlier this year. And as I reported in December, it’s also working on a new “flexible” bridge designed to ride out an earthquake with little to no damage.

Seattle is also home to four of the world’s longest floating bridges. One of them, the Lacey V. Murrow Bridge, spanning more than 6,600 feet along Interstate 90, connecting Seattle to nearby Mercer Island. (The original version of that bridge was the longest floating bridge in the world until 1963, when the city completed a 7,500-foot span of State Route 520 just a few miles north. In 2016 the city replaced SR 520 with a 7,700-foot bridge, which is the current record holder.)* Come June, its two reversible HOV lanes will be replaced with railway tracks, and the rest of the bridge will be reinforced to sustain the added weight and movement. The light rail, according to the Times, will be 30 percent heavier than what the bridge is currently designed to withstand.

To grasp the complexity and the immense challenge ahead, it helps to understand how these bridges work. The I-90 bridge, as it’s better known, is essentially supported by more than two dozen massive pontoons—watertight concrete blocks filled with air. Buoyancy helps these structures stay afloat, and maintenance checks are strenuously done to prevent any cracks. According to the Times, some of the gravel within the pontoons will be removed to prevent the rail cars from throwing off the balance, thereby keeping buoyancy.

The more significant challenge is at the hinges that join the floating and fixed sections of the bridge together. Below the deck, pontoons are linked together, and steel cables anchor them to the lake bed, which helps keep them from violently wobbling during strong winds and fierce waves.

Continue reading in City Lab

Originally written by Linda Poon in City Lab

WCMER and Metro Center Evaluation Internship


To establish a robust evaluation plan for the WSU Metro Center, based on qualitative and
quantitative data, which can also incorporate evaluating the WCMER and each member
metropolitan Extension program. Both the WSU Metro Center and WCMER’s ultimate impact is to
elevate the stature of Extension and LGU’s to metropolitan decision makers.

About the Center’s

WSU Metro Center: The WSU Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension
was established in Jan, 2016. It is one of 3 subject-matter centers housed within WSU Extension’s Community and Economic Development Unit. It is located in on the campus of WSU Everett with offices also in WSU Seattle, but has a statewide mandate. The Metro Center puts ‘the people’s university’ to work for Washington’s cities, bringing world class expertise to help inform data driven decisions and implement change that works. Utilizing applied research, the Metro Center’s work is outcome driven and solution oriented, geared toward developing practical knowledge and place-based solutions to alleviate modern world problems. It operates on a project basis; developing unique teams to address specific issues requested by funding partners.

WCMER: The Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research
was established in 2015 and is a membership organization comprised of 7 Land-Grant University Extension programs and hosted by the WSU Metro Center. This regional Center will a) increase the internal capacity of Western Extension programs to address metropolitan issues and b) elevate the stature and value of Cooperative Extension to external metropolitan audiences. Its primary activities are conduction applied research and professional development for member institutions. The Center has an advisory board comprised of platinum member institutions.


The plan is to establish an evaluation framework that, through quantitative and qualitative approaches, will create a robust evaluation of the WSU Metro Center, WCMER, and its member states’ metropolitan Extension programs. The cornerstone elements of the evaluation will be:

  • Quantitative data: Extension programs currently collect numerous quantitative data across
    all their programs, whether they occur in metropolitan areas or not. The goal of this element
    is to determine what metrics would be unique to Extension activities in metropolitan areas
    that can be or are already being collected.
  • Qualitative Data: Qualitative data will be collected on two levels for separate purposes:
    • State-level: Through Key Informant Interviews, data will be collected related to the target goal of understanding the impact of Extension within member states. Key informants would be identified by WCMER Advisory Board members for their metropolitan communities.
    • WCMER level: Through surveys and / or interviews, WCMER member institutions will evaluate the effectiveness and benefit of the WCMER and its activities.

WCMER Intern Opportunity

Under the direction and supervision of WSU Extension Evaluation Specialist, Rebecca Sero, the
intern will:

  • Conduct a comprehensive literature review to determine what, if any, quantitative metrics are being used to evaluate activities similar to those performed by WCMER Extension programs in metropolitan communities. WCMER has compiled a literature database that may be used as a starting point with any new records being added to. This database is in EndNote and the intern would be provided with a copy of the program to use during the duration of the internship.
  • Assist in the development of both sets of qualitative data assessments
  • Execute the qualitative assessments
  • Assist in qualitative data analysis and report development.


The plan is to fully design and implement the evaluation plan during FY2017, specifically:

  • Conduct the comprehensive literature review and formulate draft qualitative metrics for presentation at the National Urban Extension Conference, May 9-11, 2017.
    • May include presenting and receiving draft feedback from the WCMER Advisory Board members prior to the conference.
  • Design and collect the Key Informant Data (summer 2017):
    • May: Assist with tool design
    • June: Conduct phone interviews
    • July & Aug: Analyze data
    • Sept: Write summary reports for WSU Metro Center, WCMER, and member states.


The WCMER Evaluation Intern will receive a stipend of $5,000 for their work along with the opportunity to co-author scholarly publications from this work. At this time we do not have funding to support travel to the National Urban Extension Conference.

To Apply

To apply, submit the following materials with the subject line “Evaluation Internship Application” to

  • Cover Letter that describes your interest in this position and any relevant experience
  • Resume, including three professional references and their contact information
  • Statement of Intent/Goals (i.e. what do you want out of this internship, and how will this experience advance your career goals?)
  • Writing sample

For more information, contact Evaluation Specialist, Rebecca Sero at

Printer friendly version: WCMER and Metro Center Evaluation Internship

27 Actions Cities Can Take to Realize the Benefits of Shared-Use Mobility

From the launch of electric bikesharing systems to the rise of new carpooling concepts and microtransit services like Bridj and Chariot, cities today are facing the biggest disruption to the transportation sector since the automobile replaced the horse-drawn carriage.

While these new forms of shared-use mobility can offer wide-ranging benefits – such as increasing access to transportation, reducing reliance on private autos and cutting congestion and carbon emissions – they also present a challenge for local governments, which must regulate in a quickly changing environment and do their best to ensure the public good is upheld without stifling innovation.

A great deal has changed in the last year, as cities have begun to work more closely with the private sector to develop new solutions. In just the last month, for instance, Florida’s Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority rolled out a plan to subsidize first/last mile Uber trips to its transit stops, while Portland’s TriMet transit system announced that riders will soon be able to hail a Lyft ride or reserve a Car2go vehicle using its new mobile ticketing app.

Despite this progress, however, many cities have still found themselves playing catch-up as new shared modes proliferate, and have struggled to balance divergent goals including:

  • Maximizing access
  • Preserving safety
  • Ensuring support for public transit networks
  • Managing traffic
  • Allocating parking and other uses of curb space
  • Ensuring all communities are served
  • Providing clear and consistent guidelines for a quickly evolving industry

While a handful of cities like Seattle and Los Angeles have begun work to develop their own comprehensive mobility plans, the focus on catch-up in most regions has meant few cities have developed a long-term vision for a public-private mobility world. And even fewer have had a chance to reorganize or build new capacity, resulting in confusion over who is best suited to oversee these new modes of transportation.

Continue reading at Meeting of the Minds

Originally written by Sharon Feigon in Meeting of the Minds

Urban Food-Energy-Water Summit

Urban Food-Energy-Water Summit
Friday November 18, 2016
The Brightwater Convention Center (Link)
Woodinville, Washington


The goal of this summit is to gain a deeper understanding of food, energy, and water interdependence in the greater Seattle area. It will bring policy decision makers, producers, government agency personnel, NGO representatives, industry representatives, researchers and members of the public who are interested in local food policies and programs together for thought provoking discussions. The summit provides an opportunity to learn about research that is underway at Washington State University (WSU) seeking to model complex linkages and feedbacks among natural resource systems. We will present findings from a survey of diverse stakeholders’ perspectives about local food and agriculture in Seattle and surrounding WA State. By the end of this summit, participants will deepen their understanding of food, energy and water interdependence. Panelists will share perspectives from different sectors on food-energy-water interconnections. During afternoon sessions, participants discuss characteristics of a resilient regional food system and help identify future research directions. Stakeholder input will inform future research directions and will support local decision makers when developing policies.

Panel Discussion Session (open to the public)
8:30-11:00 am
A morning session with presentations about current research, discussion of the need for integrated natural resource management approaches, and a panel discussion in which stakeholders will share diverse perspectives on visions of the food system of the future and interconnections among food, energy and water systems. The morning session will include coffee and light refreshments.

Breakout Sessions and Luncheon (invitation only)
A by-invitation afternoon session to cover interconnected food-energy-water issues in greater depth in small group discussion sessions. During the afternoon session a local food buffet will be provided for all participants. If you would like to participate in this session, please contact Brad Gaolach or Liz Allen.

Agenda for Attendees


Print Summit Agenda (PDF)

Keynote Speaker:

steve-moddemeyer-2Steve Moddemeyer CollinsWoerman, Principal

Keynote speaker Steve Moddemeyer, President of Seattle-based architecture and sustainability planning firm CollinsWoerman, will kick of the day with a discussion of the need for integrated natural resource management approaches.

With nearly 25 years of experience, Steve Moddemeyer leads governments, land owners, and project teams towards increased sustainability. With his extensive experience with complex public/private development issues, he specializes in creating tools and policies to develop resilient infrastructure systems for neighborhoods, cities and new town developments. Steve’s additional specialties include creating sustainability strategies for large urban redevelopments; developing resilient urban infrastructure systems for water and energy; suggesting policy for climate change adaptation; and advising cities, utilities, and Tribes on techniques and tools for advanced sustainability strategies.

National Academy of Sciences Resilient America Seattle Pilot
University of Washington College of the Built Environment Masters in Infrastructure Management
Evergreen State College Center for Sustainable Infrastructure
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington


Morning session panelists will discuss their vision for the future of local food systems and perceived barriers to to increasing local food production. Panelists will also reflect on Food-Energy-Water interactions described in the report from stakeholder interviews that they found surprising or intriguing.

Chris Curtis, Director of Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets

Carrie Sessions, Policy and Legislative Lead for the Water Resources Program at the Washington Department of Ecology 

Hannah Cavendish Palmer, Manager of the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative 

Michael Lufkin, Local Food Economy Manager for King County

Siri Erickson-Brown, Local Roots Farms

More Information

Brightwater Convention Center
22505 State Route 9 SE
Woodinville, WA 98072-6010
206-263-9412 or 206-263-8930
View GoogleMaps

Visit this link for driving directions.

Washington State University Metro Food-Energy-Water Seed Grant Research Team

Liz Allen, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
Michael Brady, School of Economics & Extension
Doug Collins, Small Farms Program & Crop and Soil Sciences
Bradley Gaolach, Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension
Kevan Moffett, School of the Environment
Julie Padowski, Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach
Kirti Rajagopalan, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources
Sasha Richey, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Us

Brad Gaolach
WSU North Puget Sound at Everett
2000 Tower Street – MS45
Everett, WA 98201 (MAP)