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Maynard Ave Green Street (#4)

The trees, plants, benches and public art that line Maynard Avenue north of Jackson Street are no ordinary sidewalk improvement project. Welcome to the Chinatown-International District’s first green street. Developed by InterIm CDA, this self-sustaining watering system captures rain from the nearby building – Nihonmachi Terrace Family Housing – to water the trees, shrubs and grasses.

Runoff from the roof flows into the cistern at the top of the block. The water then flows from planter to planter, slowly filtering before entering the city stormwater system. Seat walls provide places to stop and rest while making the climb up the street. Screen printed historic and current-day photos on porcelain tiles are set into each bench to honor the Japanese American experience in Seattle’s Japantown (Nihonmachi). Accompanying kiosks printed in English and Japanese share more about the neighborhood.

Images

Maynard Ave Green St, view looking north on Maynard Avenue.

Alabastro Photography. Courtesy of Wing Luke Museum.

Maynard Ave Green St, detail of the seat wall with embedded historic photos.

Alabastro Photography. Courtesy of Wing Luke Museum.

Stories

InterIm CDA

“Located in the heart of the city, the International District has been the historical, cultural and political center for Seattle’s Asian American communities. The International District was one of the few places where Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants could live. For first generation immigrants, it was their first home in America. For their children, the second generation, it was the neighborhood they grew up in. For their grandchildren, the third generation, it was the neighborhood which gave them their identity as Asian Americans and the opportunity to repay their elders. For me, the International District became a central part of my life, beginning with the times I spent as a child in my father’s hotel room, and in the restaurants, barbershops, gambling parlors and pool halls of the area. For all of us, the International District meant a sense of community.” – Uncle Bob Santos, Make Hum Bows, Not Hot Dogs

Chinatown-International District in the 1970s. The construction of Interstate 5 had cut the neighborhood in half, threatened air quality and created noise pollution. The construction of the Kingdome stadium was also going to negatively impact the neighborhood’s residents by driving up cost of living and creating a more industrial setting. Health, housing and other social service resources specifically targeted for Asian and Pacific Islanders were scarce.

In the face of these challenges, local business and community leaders formed InterIm CDA to address this need. Led by Uncle Bob Santos, InterIm CDA created and preserved affordable housing, health clinics and other resources to help this predominantly low-income immigrant and refugee neighborhood. Today InterIm CDA provides planning, advocacy, social services, affordable housing, a community garden (see the nearby Danny Woo Garden) and environmental justice programs.

Danny Woo Garden, located at Maynard Ave S and S Main St, developed by InterIm CDA.

Danny Woo Garden, located at Maynard Ave S and S Main St, developed by InterIm CDA.