State of Downtown 2021

Recovery Starts Here

Thank you for making DSA’s 2021 State of Downtown a success.

Broadcast from the historic Smith Tower in downtown Seattle, DSA President & CEO Jon Scholes looked back on the events and issues that shaped 2020 and explored what post-pandemic recovery looks like for downtown and Seattle.

A cross section of high-profile local leaders also shared perspectives on Seattle’s future — from the outlook on our retail, arts and tourism sectors to the importance of public safety and inclusivity in our recovery.

Guests were treated to musical entertainment from The Black Tones at the start and end of the event and received a digital copy of our highly anticipated State of Downtown report.

Watch the Full Event

Event Emcee

Monique Ming Laven

Monique Ming Laven
Anchor, KIRO7 News

Monique Ming Laven is an award-winning journalist and anchor of Seattle’s KIRO-TV News. Prior to her 2006 arrival in Seattle, Monique reported and anchored stations throughout Midwest, earning the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best News Series and the Associated Press Award for Best Documentary.

Our Expert Contributors Include:

Pamela Banks

Pamela Banks
Director of Recovery & Equitable Investments, City of Seattle

In December 2020, Pamela Banks was appointed by Mayor Durkan to this newly created role. Pamela was previously the President & CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and prior to that served in various positions for the city of Seattle.

Carmen Best

Carmen Best
Retired Chief of Police, City of Seattle and Law-enforcement Analyst

Carmen Best served in the Seattle Police Department for nearly 30 years, rising to lead the department as Chief of Police in 2018. In 2020, she retired from SPD and became a NBC/MSNBC contributor and a KING 5 Law-enforcement Analyst.

Jenny Durkan

Jenny A. Durkan
Mayor of Seattle

Jenny Durkan was elected the 56th mayor of Seattle in 2017. During her term, Durkan has focused on housing affordability, homelessness, providing free college tuition to high school graduates and police reforms. Prior to becoming mayor, Durkan was a US attorney for Western Washington.

Michael Greer

Michael Greer
President & CEO, ArtsFund

Michael Greer joined ArtsFund in June 2020, after an extensive national search for the role. A former professional dancer, he previously served as executive director of the Oregon Ballet. He’ll lead ArtsFund through a dynamic and changing cultural environment.

Tod Leiweke

Tod Leiweke
CEO, Seattle Kraken

As CEO of the Seattle Kraken, Tod Leiweke is responsible for fielding a competitive NHL expansion team scheduled to take the ice this fall at Climate Pledge Arena. The arena is currently undergoing a $1.6 billion renovation while Kraken practice facilities are in development at Northgate.

Jamie Nordstrom

Jamie Nordstrom
President of Stores, Nordstrom

A fourth-generation family member, Jamie Nordstrom began his career in the stockroom of Nordstrom’s Bellevue location in 1986. He now supports the strategic direction and daily success of the retailer’s 100 stores.

Tom Norwalk

Tom Norwalk
President & CEO, Visit Seattle

For the past 12 years, Tom Norwalk has led Visit Seattle, the private, nonprofit marketing organization that promotes Seattle as a destination for international and domestic leisure travel, meetings and conventions. Tom also spent nearly 20 years in various roles with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Surya Vanka

Surya Vanka
Founder & Chief Designer, Authentic Design

With a background in industrial design, Surya Vanka founded his Seattle-based company in 2014. He helps a wide variety of corporate and nonprofit clients develop innovative solutions to challenging problems worldwide. He is part of a team engaging with DSA to created a collaborative, inclusive process to inform a plan for downtown recovery.

Thank You to Our Sponsors


Presented by

Lane Powell PC


Economic Report

The Residences at Rainier Square



Columbia Hospitality

Unico Properties LLC




Lease Crutcher Lewis

Seattle Mariners

Seneca Group

Vulcan Real Estate

Media Partner

Puget Sound Business Journal


In cooperation with

Metropolitan Improvement District


Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
Chief Seattle Club
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
McCullough Hill Leary, PS
Pacifica Law Group
Seattle Bank
Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Stokes Lawrence PS
Washington Holdings
ZGF Architects LLP