Seattle Chosen as Part of “What Works”

The City of Seattle is a leader in utilizing Open Data.  Websites like  and have demonstrated the City’s commitment and effective use of open data resources.

Performance Seattle home page.

Performance Seattle home page.

Now, Bloomberg Charities just chose Seattle as one of the first eight cities to participate in the “What Works Cities” program.

In the next three years, Bloomberg Charities will give 100 cities part of a $42 million initiative aimed at helping cities develop data-driven projects that improve their communities.

Seattle will focus on integrating data and evidence into their contracts to achieve better results.

To learn more and apply to be a What Works City, visit

Shaping Seattle Lets You Swipe Through The Construction

Construction. Sometimes it seems like it’s happening everywhere in the City of Seattle.

A wide aerial view of active Seattle development projects that require Design Review.

A wide road view of active Seattle development projects that require Design Review

Now, with a new online map, you can easily keep up with every project on your desktop, laptop or mobile device.

Mayor Ed Murray announced Shaping Seattle: Buildings, a new interactive tool from the Department of Planning and Development. It’s an interactive, online map that provides locations and detailed information of active Seattle development projects that require Design Review.

An aerial view of projects in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.

An aerial view of projects in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.

Shaping Seattle: Buildings offers both road (blue) and aerial views (above).

The interactive map gives you many detailed options and opportunities to comment online and in person.

The interactive map gives you many detailed options and opportunities to comment online and in person.

The app gives users the ability to:

  • View proposed building design and project status
  • Download project documents
  • Comment on the project
  • View upcoming public meetings about the project

You can click on any project and it brings up more detail including the timeline and any upcoming public meetings.

The app was designed using a mobile first approach and uses location awareness. The app was developed with flexibility to scale and add new map layers and additional data sets. It was developed by the IT team of Ken Schell, Julie Gephart, Reiko Feinstein and Tara Zaremba in collaboration with key business staff. From concept through implementation, the team delivered in just under 4 months.

eBay Users Should Change Password due to Breach

All eBay users should change their passwords immediately.  Due to a security breach, customer account information for eBay’s millions of users has been compromised.  To reset your password, here is the eBay password-reset page link .

In a post yesterday on the company’s official blog, eBay said the “database, which was compromised between late February and early March, included eBay customers’ name, encrypted password, email address, physical address, phone number and date of birth. ”  You can read the rest of the blog here.

According to reports and the company, the breach did not affect PayPal systems.  However, eBay and PayPal are affiliated entities and you might also consider changing your PayPal password.  It is always best to use a unique password for every online account.

Users should be especially wary of “phishing” attacks.  Just like during other major events, criminals will use keywords such as “eBay” and “password change” to lure victims into clicking malicious links in emails.  Don’t get tricked – never click links in emails.  Instead, type the website name into your browser for safety.

Watch the Seattle Channel’s elections coverage and remember to vote by Tuesday, November 6

This is the first Presidential Election that King County has voted all by mail. Voters are reminded to turn ballots into ballot drop boxes before 8 pm on November 6 or make sure the ballot is postmarked November 6 or earlier.

If you’re a new voter and you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. New voters can register in person until Oct 29. Here’s how:

Registered voters should receive ballots no later than October 23. Track your ballot packet and get questions answered at

The Seattle Channel has covered the election during the last few weeks, and a roundup of the video election coverage can be found below:

 Don’t forget to vote on or before Nov. 6!

Evergreen Apps Challenge to award $75,000 in prizes at Oct 1 event

Winners of the Evergreen Apps Challenge will be named on October 1, 2012, at Seattle City Hall. Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine will kick off  the event with $75,000 in prizes  awarded for the best new civic apps, including two people’s choice awards. The people’s choice awards will be decided by those in attendance and everyone who registers gets a vote.

 “The intersection of technology and society inspire our storytelling at GeekWire, and this event combines these themes along with one that is close to my heart: doing well by doing good.  I can’t wait to see what the app developer community has created for this challenge,” said Rebecca Lovell of GeekWire, who is emceeing the awards ceremony.

Registration is free at The event will be held Monday, October 1, in the Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, in Seattle, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Music and light refreshments will be provided.

See entire announcement here:



$75,000 in prizes for best apps – deadline Sept 6

The State of Washington, King County, and the City of Seattle are alerting local applications developers that the deadline for submitting apps to the Evergreen Apps Challenge is only one week away. Eligible entries should be submitted before 5 pm PST on Thursday, Sept 6.

The Challenge is open to people who live, work or study in Washington State and Washington small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

 “The Evergreen Apps Challenge encourages people to find interesting and innovative ways to use government data to improve their community”, said Ted Schmitt, chair of Seattle’s Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board. “This is a great opportunity for application developers, designers, entrepreneurs and anyone with ideas for improving their community to leverage the data our government creates everyday to create fun, useful and accessible tools for everyone.”

 The StateCounty, and City have all made datasets available for public use, though any data about Washington State, King County or Seattle can be used for the challenge. Review detailed rules at to see if your application or idea is eligible.

 Prizes will be awarded on October 1 at a celebration at Seattle Center.



What do you want to ask Mayor McGinn?

Wednesday, August 22, at 7 p.m. is Ask The Mayor on the Seattle Channel. Got a burning question?  

Here’s how to get your question to Mayor McGinn:

  1. Call 206-684-8821 during the live show from 7-8 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 22.
  2. Email:
  3. Submit a question online:
  4. Twitter: @SeattleChannel
  5. Facebook:


Geeks on a Ferry – August 14

Application developers, entrepreneurs, designers and students who are interested  the Evergreen Apps Challenge and government data are invited to take a ferry ride from Seattle to Bremerton and work on their entries.  Geeks on a Ferry will take place August 14 from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. aboard a Washington State Ferry and at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton. 

Participants will board the 3 p.m. ferry in Seattle and have the use of free wi-fi onboard, provided by Boingo Wireless, Inc. Once in Bremerton they will spend four-five hours at the Kitsap Conference Center where dinner will be provided along with presentations about building applications with Socrata Open Data and ESRI Maps. Wi-fi will also be available on the return ferry ride.

 The registration fee is $35 for professionals and $15 for students and includes the ferry ride and dinner. Please register at

The Evergreen Apps Challenge is sponsored by Seattle, King County and Washington State and offers more than $75,000 in prize money for development of apps that use government data and stimulate economic development throughout the state. State support comes from the Washington State Broadband Office, which is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is charged with coordination, programming, and outreach on broadband issues including opportunities for funding.  The challenge is open to small businesses and individuals who live, work or study in Washington State. Learn more about the challenge at

The Evergreen Apps Challenge closes September 6, 2012, and awards will be presented on October 1 in Seattle.


15 Organizations Receive 2012 Boost grants

The Department of Information Technology has awarded the 2012 Communities Online Boost Grant to 15 Seattle organizations.   Funds of up to $1000 per organization were used to help enhance the use of online tools for community building and civic engagement. Congratulations to the following organizations awarded Boost Grants for 2012:

206 Zulu – The goals of the 206 Zulu project are to update their website as the ultimate resource hub for all things Hip Hop and community related. The site will include content and resources for the community to learn about the local history, news, resource directory, access archived multimedia, and be able to contribute their own stories through the site’s own integrated social media capabilities.

Afrique Service Center – The goals of Afrique Service Center’s project are to create a blog for their current website, creating an environment for community feedback and opportunities to collaborate on solutions to neighborhood and community issues.  The blog will also offer more opportunity to develop community partnerships, working together, and improving the local communities and neighborhoods

Backpack Academy – Backpack Academy will use Boost grant funds to develop a website for their local program, which will include a blog, event calendar and parent resources such as online registration and program schedule.  There will be a link to Seattle Public Schools and additional educational materials to help parents access their child’s student records and progress.

Coleman Neighborhood Association – The Colman Neighborhood Association will use Boost grant funds to transition their email listserv to a website using NextDoor.  They will also be purchasing 2 netbooks to be placed in two cafes where residents can go to blog and post other useful content relevant to their community.

El Centro de la Raza – The goals of this project are to create and online volunteer management system using their current Salesforce contact management system.  They anticipate this will lead to greater retention of their current volunteers and facilitate the recruitment of new volunteers, as more content will be available remotely.  They will continue to partner with NPower on this project as NPower originally created a customized Saleforce database for El Centro de la Raza.

El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social – El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social is seeking completely redesign their website, which will include a blogging feature, event calendar and education tool.  They will be using funds to purchase a desktop computer to better facilitate the upkeep of their site.

Feet First – Feet First will develop a widget for their current website that will allow city residents to report problem areas that prevent walkability.  The project will eventually lead to integration with a smart phone app.  Residents will be able to see the status of their actions, as this project will coordinate with SDOT and other city departments as needed.

Pinehurst Community Council – The goals of this project are to better integrate their web presence of their web blog/website ( and our Facebook and Twitter accounts using WordPress plugins and widgets.  They anticipate that by doing this they will be able to better focus on content and engaging with their audience, while making it easier for their audience to post content as well.

Powerful Voices – Powerful Voices will use grant funds to expand the use of social media to build community and connections with their stakeholders. The focus of this project is to continue implementing their strategies on these platforms: YouTube, Facebook, website, Pinterest and Constant Contact, while also launching a blog to support development of unique content.

Raja for Africa – Raja for Africa will use Boost grant funds to develop blogging capabilities for their website.  They will also be hosting classes for youth and parents to learn how to blog. The project seeks to have more engaged youth in news and blogging, building community through social media, developing user’s knowledge about Internet use, and promoting media literacy to generate real world impact.

South Beacon Hill Association – The South Beacon Hill Association will use Boost funds to create a website for their neighborhood, which will include a blogging feature, event calendar and feeds from the Seattle Police Department.

South Park Area Redevelopment Committee – The goals of the South Park Area Redevelopment Committee project will be to update their current home page with new website architecture.  The project will make it easier to navigate around the site; give a comprehensive overview of what the neighborhood has to offer; and give better connections to their government partners.

Southeast Seattle Education Coalition – SESEC has developed a basic WordPress website, This project will develop sister website pages branded for the All Fives in Five Action Summit. We will leverage WordPress functionality, including Event Manager, to manage the event and develop other functionality, including a members-only section where Action Teams can collaborate.

Unified Outreach – Unified Outreach will use Boost grant funds to expand their website to include updatable news/blog pages.  This new portion of the website will act as a hub for local artists and youth interested in participating in their charity’s programs.

Urban Financial Services Coalition – UFSC Puget Sound Chapter will upgrade their website by adding the capability of managing their contacts, connect with volunteers and to better interact with the community at-large.  They will be adding features such as a Community Talk link that will connect with government, exploring the use of Constant Contact to manage volunteer hours, and creating both volunteer and blog portals

Read more about the Seattle Communities Online Project, Neighborhoods on the Net, and access training materials and  resources at

Comments to FCC support digital literacy and broadband

This week the City of Seattle and the Washington State Council on Digital Inclusion submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on proposed changes in rules that would expand telephone support programs to include broadband deployment and adoption.

Comments support the FCC’s desire to use savings from the Lifeline Program/Universal Services Fund to support programs and services to improve digital literacy and broadband adoption among Americans who face barriers to benefitting from these technologies. 

Here are the key positions taken in the comments:

  • A wide range of disadvantaged residents need these programs to help them access jobs, education, health information, and essential services. These include immigrants and refugees, disabled, communities of color, and seniors. Let local communities propose projects that best serve local needs and leverage community assets.
  • Community based non-profit organizations and local governments should be eligible organizations in addition to schools and libraries.
  • The FCC should build on organizations with training expertise and what has been begun by the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  
  • The FCC should develop other funding mechanisms, as well as encouraging industry incentives and partnerships that sustain digital literacy training programs and do not reduce funding for existing voice and broadband programs.
  • The FCC should support sharing of best practices and training in delivery of digital literacy.
  • We support the American Libraries Association position that money should also not be taken away from E-rate for this effort.

The City of Seattle has been a leader in digital inclusion efforts with programs including the Technology Matching Fund program, Seniors Training Seniors in Technology, RecTech/Parks Department computer learning centers, and Access for All cable broadband program for non-profit tech learning centers. See

See more about the Washington State Council on Digital Inclusion on the Communities Connect Network learning and resource hub at This includes a directory of technology learning centers across the state.


Link to the FCC filing: or