Ensuring impacted communities are shaping the policies and institutions that will inevitably shape their lives, health, and opportunities.

The first segment of the Puget Sound region’s new Link Light Rail runs through Rainier Valley, home to Seattle’s most racially and economically diverse neighborhoods.

While many longtime residents of Rainier Valley welcomed a significant infrastructure investment in their neighborhood, the light rail brought with it cuts and re-routes to critical bus service and new development pressures that have significantly raised the price of land near transit stations. These land price increases are due in part to the promise of transit-oriented development in Rainier Valley. The combination of the light rail as a targeted public investment, the pressure for new transit-oriented development projects and the gentrification patterns that have already taken hold in Seattle, have and will continue to put Rainier Valley low-income, communities of color and ethnic small businesses at risk for displacement.

In order to ensure that the impacted community played a role in shaping the policies and institutions that would inevitably shape their lives, health, and opportunities, Puget Sound Sage partnered with the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition to develop Leaderlink, a community leadership institute that recruited and trained leaders from the community, faith, and labor organizations on transit justice and equitable development issues.

Program Success

The partnership has grown to include collaboration on a variety of transit justice and equitable growth opportunities, such as the Rainier Beach Transit Justice Youth Leadership Project, South CORE, and Rainier Beach Moving Forward.