By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Kind of sad … but things change.”
So mused Tamsen Spengler, who is now the former co-chair of the Southwest District Council, after its vote last night to disband.
Its remaining active members aren’t dropping out of community advocacy; most of them are active with the relatively new District 1 Community Network.
The SWDC was a holdover from the days before the city declared West Seattle and South Park as District 1. Southwest was one of 13 neighborhood districts comprising the city, two in West Seattle.
Each district had a council as a sort of umbrella group for community organizations and institutions in the area. Before then-Mayor Ed Murray‘s abrupt move in 2016 to cut the city’s ties with the district councils, they had a few basic roles, as recapped last night before the vote: Vetting and making recommendations on applications for some city grants, and serving as community point people for information about some city initiatives and projects.
In exchange, the city provided some administrative support – with one coordinator per district until cuts in xx, and $500 annual funding to cover meeting expenses, generally room rental. The district councils also sent reps to a citywide council that talked about big-picture issues.
Though the councils declared defiantly after the Murray move that they would keep going, the ranks have shrunk. West Seattle’s other neighborhood-district council, Delridge, has gone on indefinite hiatus after a meeting at which there were four attendees, none of whom wanted to take the baton from the group’s longtime leader, who had made it clear he needed to move on.
Nine people showed up last night to discuss and decide the SWDC’s future. Much of the discussion focused on how, while the SWDC has been wheezing along, the D1CN – launched almost a year ago – has had energy and collaboration. And a relationship with the city – Councilmember Lisa Herbold or a member of her staff have been at every D1CN meeting, it was noted. South Park reps are part of it too, so it’s truly D1-wide.
So after a little more discussion to ensure those present were ready to vote on pulling the plug on the SWDC, that’s what they did. If you’re interested in getting involved with D1CN, its next meeting is 7 pm November 26th at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse (4705 W. Marginal Way SW).
Our archived coverage of the last decade of Southwest District Council meetings is here.