Chief Sealth Trail Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Rendering of the planned new sidewalk path and green infrastructure along the Chief Sealth Trail, near Wing Luke Elementary.
Updated rendering of the planned green stormwater infrastructure along the Chief Sealth Trail, near Wing Luke Elementary.

Project description

Reducing stormwater pollution and improving drainage

More than 12 million pounds of pollution are carried into our water bodies through stormwater runoff each year. Stormwater that falls on the roofs, streets, and parking lots in your neighborhood can pick up harmful pollutants before eventually draining into Lake Washington. The pollutants can harm fish, wildlife, and our ecosystems.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) plans to build new green stormwater infrastructure at the intersection of S. Kenyon St and the Chief Sealth Trail to manage stormwater runoff in the Othello neighborhood. The project will use special soil and deep-rooted plants to filter and temporarily hold stormwater. The project will help protect Lake Washington’s water quality by filtering stormwater from about 25 acres of neighborhood at the top of the hill and improve the function of the downstream storm system in Othello.

This project is in partnership with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and their Safe Routes to School program, which recently completed sidewalk and pathway improvements at this location. SPU is also partnering with Seattle City Light and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture to enhance the area with additional public artwork. 


SPU’s green stormwater infrastructure will be located at the intersection of S. Kenyon St and the Chief Sealth Trail (aerial map of the project area.). This is the area east of Wing Luke Elementary, along 39th Ave S.

What's happening now?

The design of the project is ongoing, and we have incorporated many comments from our engagement activities completed in 2023. We will continue to provide opportunities to learn more as the design continues.

SPU has partnered with Seattle City Light and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture to select RYAN! Feddersen to create public artwork as part of this project. You can learn more about her work here. There will be opportunities to engage with RYAN! later this year.

SDOT recently completed their Safe Routes to School sidewalk and pathway improvements in this area. SPU has worked closely with SDOT to confirm the new sidewalk is compatible with the future construction of this project. The green stormwater infrastructure project is expected to begin construction in the summer of 2026.

Community benefits

This project seeks to bring multiple benefits to the Othello neighborhood and surrounding ecosystems, including:

  • Improved stormwater drainage 
  • Healthier creek, lake, and saltwater ecosystems
  • Landscape improvements
  • New public artwork

By partnering with SDOT, SPU can improve open green spaces, align with community priorities for better pedestrian safety and connections, and enhance the use of the Chief Sealth Trail. 

Community involvement

The SPU team engaged with the nearby community in 2023 to learn what elements were important and meaningful between the preliminary design options. Summaries of the survey and engagement results are available in the Project Documents section below. The preferred alternative that is currently being designed incorporates elements from both options and several community priorities we heard during engagement, including natural landscape improvements, public artwork, seating, and a connecting stairway.

SPU will be sharing more information about the project design later in 2024. There will also be opportunities to engage with the project artist. Please check back as we update our community events calendar or sign up for our project mailing list to stay up to date.

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.