Annual Report


The Downtown Seattle Association is your advocate for an economically competitive downtown, a vibrant urban experience, and dependable, effective transportation to and through downtown.

Celebrating Sixty Years

For 60 years, the Downtown Seattle Association has been a constant voice in shaping a healthy, vibrant downtown. Because we believe when downtown thrives, the whole city flourishes.

Today, we are focused on three key priorities: ensuring economic vitality and competitiveness, enhancing downtown’s public realm, and improving transportation and access in the center city.

Over the past year, with the help of our members, ratepayers and partners, we’ve made significant progress in all of these areas. We successfully fought the City’s ill-conceived jobs tax and moved forward with plans to transform Third Avenue, as well as the Pike-Pine corridor. We’ve achieved a 10-year goal of lowering downtown drive-alone commutes to less than 30 percent. And we’ve advocated for more downtown light rail stations with Sound Transit’s expansion. We’ve continued efforts to enhance downtown parks and public spaces and activated them with free music, art, classes, food trucks and daily staffing provided by our ambassadors.

Whether you’re an existing DSA member, a MID ratepayer, a partner, or a prospective member, we invite you to read our annual report, learn more about our efforts and join us as we continue our 60-year legacy.

Jon Scholes



Jon Scholes
President & CEO

2017 Key Statistics






MID ratepayers



Downtown neighborhoods



DSA event attendees

Over $40M

Over $40M

Public and private investment committed to downtown through DSA-led or DSA-related efforts



Commuters received transit benefits as a result of Commute Seattle’s efforts

Urban Experience

Stewarding a clean, safe and welcoming downtown for everyone

Ambassadors Keep Downtown Safe, Clean and Inviting



Gallons of trash collected



Graffiti tags removed



People offered directions or information

Downtown Ambassador keeping downtown clean

A Clean Team ambassador uses a specialized gum vacuum purchased in May.

Homeless Outreach

  • 28 people connected with permanent housing
  • 56 people connected with job training
  • 146 people connected with case-management services

Enhancing Urban Parks and Public Spaces






Food truck appearances



Hours of live music

Statistics compiled from July 2017 to June 2018 in Westlake Park and Occidental Square.

Playful Improvements Come to McGraw and Westlake Squares

In May 2018, DSA unveiled a variety of enhancements to historic McGraw Square and nearby Westlake Square, adding:

  • Food
  • Games
  • Raindrop seating
  • Wave benches
  • Rain gardens
  • Staffing 

New Look, New Use for Third and Pine

In January 2018, DSA opened Pine Street Plaza at the intersection of Third Avenue and Pine Street. This new space in the heart of downtown now includes: 

  • Staffing
  • Music
  • Games
  • Food

Breathing New Life into Public Spaces

Occidental Square Play Place, coming soon. Rendering: Berger Parntership
Rendering: Berger Parntership

Coming soon:
Play Place at Occidental Square

2018 Brings Quick Wins, Development of Long-term Vision for Third Avenue

DSA-led efforts are already making real-world improvements to this busy corridor while we shape a vision for one of America’s great streets.

  • Launched the Third Avenue Task Force and engaged a range of downtown stakeholders and agency partners to shape the long-term vision
  • Retained a design firm to lead the visioning process
  • Created a “Quick-Wins” task force to make immediate progress on the physical environment, including:
    • Fixing broken transit screens
    • Filling dangerous tree-pits with rubberized filling to improve walkability, safety and cleanliness
    • Repairing or removing non-functional streetscape elements, including newspaper boxes and phone booths
    • Removing an unused bus supervisor kiosk in front of the post office
    • Cleaning by ambassadors using the All Terrain Litter Vacuum and Green Machines

Transit Kiosk


Moving more people to and through downtown quickly and safely using safe, reliable and efficient transportation options

  • Achieved 10-year goal of lowering downtown drive-alone commutes to less than 30 percent
  • Helped drivers take advantage of reduced rates in participating garages
  • Advocated for more downtown light rail stations in Sound Transit 3 package
  • Worked with City of Seattle to install bike lanes on Pike and Pine streets for safe, fast transportation on two wheels
  • Completed a coordinated near-term action plan with investments to help us through the period of maximum constraint
  • Launched an inter-agency 20-year transportation and public realm vision for downtown called Imagine Downtown
  • Guided plan for new streetcar connections with five new stations downtown

Economic Competitiveness

Supporting strategies that encourage job growth and enable more people to live and work in the center city

  • Spearheaded the Pike Pine Renaissance to leverage $40M in public and private funding for an improved pedestrian thoroughfare from Capitol Hill to the Pike Place Market
  • Successfully repealed Seattle’s tax on jobs
  • Engaged, interviewed and evaluated dozens of candidates for local public office, including Mayor and City Council
  • Helped secure an upzone of downtown and South Lake Union
  • Supported the successful passage of the Washington State Convention Center Addition plan at City Council
  • Produced original social media campaign promoting members and ratepayers


Rendering: LMN Architects

About Us

DSA is a nonprofit membership organization focused on making downtown Seattle a great place to live, work, shop and play through public policy advocacy, economic development, marketing, urban planning and public realm stewardship. With funding from Metropolitan Improvement District ratepayers, we employ more than 120 ambassadors who provide cleaning, safety, concierge and outreach services throughout downtown.


DSA envisions downtown Seattle as everybody’s neighborhood – a global and growing 24/7 center for business, residents and visitors that is vibrant, welcoming, clean and safe. One that is easy to get to and through,and is the region’s center of innovation and culture. Downtown is a collection of 12 unique neighborhoods – each maintaining its own authentic character, leadership and sense of community. Together, they create an active and diverse urban environment with something for everyone.