Chinatown International District (CID)

Acknowledging Harm

The Chinatown International District (CID) is a historically significant and culturally rich community in Seattle’s south downtown that has seen decades of insufficient investment, harmful public policies, and institutional racism. In recent years, the community has faced new public and private development pressures, the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence.

In 2023, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the CID to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places—marking Washington state’s first inclusion on the list since it was established in 1988.

The City of Seattle acknowledges the harmful and cumulative impact of governmental policies and projects on the CID. This community-led visioning for equity and justice is a call to action for sustained investments, trusted relationships, and capacity building.

Jenifer Chao
This community-led visioning process is pivotal to how the City is building trust in BIPOC communities like the Chinatown/International District. Our job, alongside Mayor Harrell, is to invest in the community’s vision for transformational change. — Jenifer Chao, Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

CID Visioning Advisory Group: Community Self-Determination

In 2019, a group of CID organizations came together informally as the CID Visioning Advisory Group to identify how the community can have a stronger voice and influence in the face of multiple pressures. With funding from the City of Seattle, the group has sponsored a community process to:

  • build a structure for inclusive community engagement and decision- making,
  • ensure community self-determination in projects that impact the CID, and
  • create a long-term community vision and plan.

A large group of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian people pose for a group shot in rain gear outside Mike's Noodles.

Photo courtesy of SCIDpda

CID Program Deliverables & Implementation Resources

Use this Toolkit to ensure opportunities for meaningful participation of diverse communities in the CID. It will also help you build powerful community voices and advocacy for projects and policies that affect the CID. Implementation of those projects in a way that supports community goals and needs is also covered.

The Toolkit has three parts:

  1. Workbook - A comprehensive guide for planning a community engagement process.
  2. Research & Resources - Additional information to supplement the Workbook.
  3. Planning Guide - A streamlined overview of the Workbook and Research & Resources.

Based on input from hundreds of CID community members from 2020-2022, the CID Neighborhood Strategic Plan shares community concerns and strengths, while outlining a 10-year vision, goals and strategies for the CID.

The Neighborhood Strategic Plan is focused on 6 community-identified priorities.

  1. Community Safety and Health: Individual and community safety, health and wellness.
  2. Business and Economic Strength: Thriving neighborhood businesses, including preservation of longstanding/legacy businesses who wish to stay in the CID.
  3. Neighborhood Character, History and Culture: The culture and history central to the CID's identity is preserved and honored, and other communities that are part of the neighborhood's diverse history and identity are also recognized and celebrated.
  4. Housing: Available for both longtime/existing residents, particularly elders and families, and for residents who can strengthen a customer base to support neighborhood businesses.
  5. Transportation and Mobility: Ease of getting around, within, to and from the neighborhood, with a priority on residents, particularly elders.
  6. Community Strength and Self-Determination: A CID inclusive of diverse groups and across generations, who use collective voice and power for community self-determination of the CID's growth and development.

As of August 2023, the CID Visioning Advisory Group is creating a roadmap that includes a feasibility study and implementation of the CID Neighborhood Strategic Plan, outlining implementation costs, naming required private and public partners, and levels of coordination from CID stakeholders.

Ongoing City Partnership 

The City of Seattle is partnering with the CID Visioning Advisory Group to understand the needs, priorities, and impacts of our work in the CID. We are supporting the efforts of the CID community convening the City’s internal CID team, piloting new neighborhood-based tools for transparency, and supporting the CID community in amplifying their work and the implementation of their plans.

Two people paint a mural on a boarded up storefront.

Photo courtesy of SCIDpda

CID Visioning Advisory Group Membership

Community Strategist & Facilitator, Headwater People, Cyndy Wilson, Matt Echohawk-Hayashi


Jenifer Chao, Director
Address: 600 4th Avenue, 4th Floor, Seattle, WA , 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA, 98124-4649
Phone: (206) 684-0464
Fax: (206) 233-5142

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