Looking Back at 2020 in Pioneer Square

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to Pioneer Square. You are a part of a unique social fabric of individuals who together make this neighborhood a one-of-a-kind place.

2020 was a year unlike any other in Pioneer Square’s history. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire focus of the Alliance for Pioneer Square team has been supporting the needs of our neighborhood. As we look forward to the year ahead, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some highlights from 2020 in our efforts to serve our community. In 2020 we assembled several programs and strategies to assist the businesses of Pioneer Square through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond as guided by our COVID-19 Recovery Plan, focusing on Business Development, Public Realm, Marketing and Communications, Advocacy and Leadership. A brief recap of our activities, programs, and strategies are outlined below.

The Alliance for Pioneer Square team is grateful to serve you and our community by helping preserve what makes our neighborhood the most authentic, engaging and dynamic neighborhood in Seattle.

Lisa Dixon Howard, Executive Director
Jessa Timmer, Deputy Director
Karen True, Economic Development Director
Chris Woodward, Business Development Director
Sara Pizzo, Public Realm Manager
Thembela Mavuso, Marketing Manager
Nikki Somers, Office Manager
Business Development

  • One-on-One Business Support We regularly assisted business owners in navigating City and State resources to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • COVID-19 Retail Kits We collected and distributed over 150 COVID-19 retail kits to ground floor businesses to provide essential resources to remain open to foot traffic.
Public Realm

  • Mural Project We completed a rapid response program to beautify boarded up storefronts with artwork from local artists, funded by the Pioneer Square BIA, Pioneer Square Resident’s Council and private donations culminating in over 40 completed murals.

  • Alley Lighting Matching Fund A community review panel allocated funds to seven property owners to match their investment for eight alley lighting improvement projects.

Marketing and Communications

  • Robust Marketing Campaign We fast-tracked the creation of an online marketplace for businesses to pivot and generate revenue through online sales, as well as coordinated a multi-channel advertising campaign entitled ‘Support PSQ.’

  • Increased Frequency of Communications We swiftly created the following communication points: a regularly updated web page with resources to connect businesses with up-to-date information, a bi-weekly resource roundup email series reiterating our comprehensive resource page, a bi-weekly public safety email series to address continual and emerging street issues, and a monthly webinar to share resources and hear directly from neighborhood stakeholders.

  • Public Relations We launched a public relations initiative in collaboration with Allison + Partners to re-invigorate how the story of Pioneer Square is told to the broader community

  • Passport to Pioneer Square We introduced the Passport to Pioneer Square program in early November 2020 to drive neighborhood foot traffic and business patronage.

  • Advocating to the City We consistently and directly voiced our businesses’ needs to the Office of the Mayor and Seattle City Council to unwaveringly advocate for Pioneer Square. In 2020 we:
  • advocated the City Council to implement a cohesive approach to homeless outreach following the dissolving of the Navigation team.
  • urged City leaders direct resources for cleaner, safer, and more welcome neighborhoods.
  • asked that City address public health, safety, and maintenance concerns in urban parks.

  • Small Business Support Program We immediately began fundraising to address critical needs to stabilize our neighborhood’s nonprofits and small business, and obtained $120,000 in seed funding from Historic South Downtown and the Seattle Sounders RAVE Foundation. A community review panel award of funding to 35 projects totaling $170,000 through the Pioneer Square Small Business Support program

  • Convening Stakeholders We brought together a diverse and representative group of neighborhood stakeholders to lead a multi-year Pride and Resilience initiative.

  • A New Strategy In fall 2020, the Alliance for Pioneer Square released Your Pioneer Square: 2025 Strategic Plan and COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan. The COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan is meant to tell the story of what we have done, what we are doing, and what we plan to do for the 18-month period immediately following the pandemic shut down. Your Pioneer Square: 2025 Strategic Plan outlines our organization’s strategy in concordance with the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan and beyond. 
Please let us know how we might best support you. Feel free to contact any of us with comments, questions, suggestions, or concerns.