Key player in Seattle waterfront improvement to speak at WWU

Ken Johnsen will present “Transforming Seattle’s Central Waterfront” as part of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in Room 204 of the Academic West building on WWU’s campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Johnsen graduated from WWU with a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, and is a principal at Shiels Obletz Johnsen. He is the consultant project manager for the Waterfront Seattle program. Johnsen will present a Waterfront Seattle program overview including design, planning and community involvement challenges and opportunities.

Waterfront Seattle is a partnership between the city of Seattle and the community to create a dynamic public waterfront in downtown Seattle. Building on 10 years of public planning, this large-scale design process includes a range of improvements extending 26 city blocks from Pioneer Square to the Olympic Sculpture Park. The transformation of the central waterfront is because of the need to replace the failing Alaskan Way Viaduct roadway and Elliott Bay Seawall. The future waterfront is envisioned as a vibrant public and cultural space reconnecting Seattle’s downtown to the waterfront, including parks, paths, gathering spaces and a new urban street to accommodate all modes of travel.

In July 2012, Waterfront Seattle shared its concept plan and strategic plan, which were the culmination of years of design work, civic leadership and community engagement. In August 2012, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved Waterfront Seattle’s concept design and the proposed $1.1 billion funding strategy. The project team will continue to advance the design and begin environmental review in 2013. More information and images of the proposed design are available at

For more information about the event, contact the main office of Huxley College at 360-650-3520.

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