Through investments in the U District Partnership (UDP), the University is helping improve the safety and cleanliness of the University District. Recent examples of the UDP’s work include:
- Ambassador Program: The UDP contracts with a private security firm to provide a mixture of security presence, visitor assistance and social service referrals along the Ave. Ambassadors patrol the Ave and area around Light Rail seven days per week. They also work closely with UDP’s REACH social worker to coordinate help for unhoused people in the area.
- Neighbors with Multiple Needs: In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, City Attorney, Public Defender’s Association, REACH, LEAD and others, the UDP is creating “care plans” for unhoused neighbors to connect them with services needed to stabilize their lives. These could include help with daily medications, housing or other social services depending on their needs.
- Cherry Blossom Festival: The UDP organized 34 businesses to offer cherry-related food and drink specials to celebrate the blossoms. The UW supported this with web links and signage directing people to businesses on the Ave. More than 20,000 people visited the festival website, and 800 people scanned the QR Code on signs in the Quad. Several local businesses reported dramatic sales increases – one reporting a 700% increase in one day. Other businesses sold out of food or had lines of people before they even opened.
- Tree Lighting: The UDP added year-round tree lighting along the Ave and 43rd to create a safer and more welcoming environment at night. The new lights have changed the atmosphere of the area and contribute to a sense of revitalization. The UDP is planning to expand the lights to 45th and up the Ave.
- Broken Windows Fund: A broken window can be very expensive to replace and merchants in the U District have struggled to fix them. The UDP recently created a fund to grant up to $1,000 for window replacement and façade repair. They are also connecting businesses with contractors who can do the work quickly and reliably.
- Street Fair 2022: After a two-year pause for the pandemic, this popular festival along the Ave returns on May 21-22. The UDP will place special emphasis this year on creating opportunities for restaurants and merchants from the Ave to have a presence at the fair.