Advocacy Update – November 2021

This month in state and local advocacy: a big fail by the state redistricting commission; C-PACER comes to King County; Mayor Durkan announces climate initiatives from Glasgow; opportunities to serve on Seattle boards; ongoing Comp Plan programming; and more!


Washington Redistricting
Washington’s redistricting commission, charged with determining new state and Congressional legislative districts after the 2020 census, failed to meet its Nov. 15 deadline to agree on new district maps. The failure of the panel, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, means the state’s election maps for the next decade will be determined by the state Supreme Court. At least three of the four commission members are required to agree before maps can be finalized. The Supreme Court now has until April 30 to draw its own maps. This is the first time since Washington adopted a constitutional amendment creating the redistricting commission in 1990 that the commission has failed to produce final maps on time.

State Legislative Session Kicks Off in January
The state legislative session begins on January 10, 2022, and will be virtual for the public again this year. The Senate will hold sessions in person for senators only while the House is expected to continue the hybrid model with some members in person and some participating virtually. Public testimony and member meetings with the public will continue to take place online. Look for additional information on the session from AIA Washington Council in the weeks ahead. And note the legislative preview events under “Events” below.


King County Council Passes C-PACER Ordinance
This week the King County Council unanimously adopted a C-PACER ordinance that will bring low-cost, long-term financing to support energy efficiency and resiliency projects in commercial and multi-family buildings. C-PACER, Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy & Resilience, provides private loans that can be used by building owners to finance deep energy and resilience-related retrofits. Importantly, these loans are treated as liens by the county, so they do not show up on an owner’s books and they stay with the building when sold, not the owner. This allows owners to make long-term investments in their buildings even if they do not plan to maintain ownership over the long term.

AIA helped to pass state legislation to authorize C-PACER financing in Washington, but each county must authorize its own C-PACER program. These loans will support the county’s climate goals and allow larger commercial building owners to make improvements required by the state’s Clean Buildings program. To date, C-PACER programs have also been authorized in Thurston, Whatcom, and Clark counties.

Seattle Announces New Building, Transportation, and Workforce Climate Actions
As part of the COP26 climate summit, Mayor Durkan announced a new Executive Order directing Seattle departments to implement new actions toward net-zero emission buildings, healthy and equitable transportation, and clean energy workforce development. The executive order will do the following:

  Building sector

  • Direct the Office of Sustainability & Environment to create legislation for carbon-based building performance standards for existing commercial and multi-family buildings 20,000 sq ft or larger in 2022 (the state’s building performance standard applies to buildings 50,000 sq ft or higher). AIA will be meeting with OSE staff in December to help flesh out this program.
  • Prohibit fossil fuels in city-owned buildings by 2035.
  • Provide options to lower upfront and operating costs for affordable housing.

  Transportation sector

  • Expand free transit for Seattle Public Schools middle and high school students with additional ORCA cards for middle school students.
  • Expand Seattle’s Stay Healthy Streets to establish the first urban pedestrian zone. Potential sites will be identified by December 31, 2021, for implementation in summer 2022.
  • Take legislative and permitting action to incentivize transportation electrification.
  • Launch a $1 million pilot to convert heavy-duty diesel trucks operating in the Duwamish Valley to electric.

Just transition

  • Launch a clean energy workforce committee to advance the economic equity goals of Seattle’s Green New Deal in alignment with the Green New Deal Oversight Board.
  • Deploy new 2022 clean energy workforce investments and identify capacity and funding needs and regional partnerships to prepare, connect, and diversify workers in the growing clean energy sectors.


AIA Seattle Launches Comp Plan Programming in January
Seattle’s upcoming update of its Major Comprehensive Plan (2022-24) is arguably one of the most critical points in the city’s history. Required by the state to plan for how the city will accommodate growth over the next two decades, the Comprehensive Plan will address crucial questions around how we distribute opportunity, what our neighborhoods should look like, and what changes we need to make to create a more sustainable and resilient city.

AIA Seattle will participate in this process in two ways:

  1. As a group of citizens working to identify our collective priorities around growth, housing, and more and providing this feedback to the city.
  2. As an interpreter, educator, and resource for our members and the public to equip them with the tools they need to participate in the process.

We will use our skills and creativity as architects, design thinkers, and urban planners to educate our members and the public on the big ideas that are driving Seattle’s civic conversation about its future while providing opportunities to discover and debate key questions and policy choices. AIA’s Public Policy Board and Housing Task Force will be leading this effort; if you’d like to join in the event planning, whether that’s one event or more, we’d love to have you! Please let Kirsten know.

Seattle Design Commission Seeks Architect
The Seattle Design Commission is looking for an architect to join the commission for a two-year term beginning in March. Members do NOT have to reside in Seattle. The Commission reviews city-funded capital projects and projects that seek long-term or permanent use of a right of way. Commissioners typically serve 15 hours a month in meetings that occur during the day. Commissioners receive a small stipend for their time. Materials must be submitted by Nov. 29. More information is available here.

Seattle’s Design Review Boards Looking for Members
Seattle is looking for qualified candidates to fill 14 upcoming openings on the city’s Design Review Boards. Board members evaluate the design of new buildings based on citywide and neighborhood-specific design guidelines. The boards review large mixed-use developments, multifamily housing, and commercial projects. The volunteer positions will start on April 4, 2022. Read more about the specific positions open on each board, as well as qualifications and expectations, here. Application materials must be received by Dec. 15.

Associates: AIA National Associates Committee
AIA Washington Council is seeking candidates to serve as Washington’s state representative to the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) for a 2-year term. The NAC represents associates in both traditional and non-traditional paths by providing information and leadership to AIA components. The NAC representative will be involved in addressing local and national issues and will help to shape new policies. The appointed representative will also become an AIA|WA Board Associate and ex-officio member of the AIA|WA board of directors for the duration of their NAC term. Applications are due November 30, 2021.  More information, including qualifications and how to apply, is available here.


AIA Seattle Housing Task Force
The Housing Task Force meets monthly via Zoom on the second Thursday of each month at noon. All are welcome. For info on how to access the meeting, contact Kirsten.

AIA Washington Council Pre-Legislative Session Events
AIA|WA is hosting three webinars the week before the state legislative session begins in January:


Thanks to AIA Seattle members who met with our reached out to elected officials in the last month!  Your advocacy makes a huge difference.

  • Carrie Anderson | Sen. Reuven Carlyle | building decarbonization
  • Geoff Anderson | Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley | building decarbonization
  • Kjell Anderson | Sen. Reuven Carlyle | building decarbonization
  • Jed Ballew | Sen. Liz Lovelett, Rep. Debra Lekanoff, Rep. Sharon Shewmake | building decarbonization
  • Adam Bettcher | Sen. Derek Stanford & Rep. Davina Duerr | building decarbonization
  • Julie Blazek | Sen. Liz Lovelett, Rep. Debra Lekanoff, Rep. Sharon Shewmake | building decarbonization
  • Carl Dominguez | Sen. Reuven Carlyle | building decarbonization
  • Kristen Dotson | King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer | C-PACER
  • Mike Fowler | Sen. Christine Rolfes | building decarbonization
  • Anjali Grant | Rep Steve Bergquist & Rep David Hackney | building decarbonization
  • Bert Gregory | Sen. Reuven Carlyle | building decarbonization
  • Chris Hellstern | Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Liz Berry, Rep. Noel Frame | building decarbonization
  • Nancy Henderson | Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley | building decarbonization
  • Doug Ito | Rep. Cindy Ryu | building decarbonization/housing; letter to City of Shoreline Council | commercial energy code
  • Annalee Shum | King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn | C-PACER
  • Pepe Valle | Sen. Derek Stanford | building decarbonization

We’re sorry if we missed you!

We’d love to hear from you! To comment or for more information on these or any other topics, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Policy & Advocacy
AIA Seattle & AIA Washington Council
206-957-1926 |