Seattle Housing, along with its architectural firm, Mithun, met with hundreds of citizens, city leaders and community groups, as well as High Point residents, 60 percent of whom were immigrants, speaking many different languages. At hands-on workshops in packed local community halls, Seattle Housing representatives would pause after a sentence or two so that bi-lingual attendees could interpret for High Point residents who did not speak English, guaranteeing all voices and opinions would be heard. In addition, a visual design survey was mailed to residents of surrounding neighborhoods, requesting their thoughts on what the new High Point should look like.
The developer also listened to the very youngest of the High Point residents who became concerned about what would happen to the many mature trees that had sheltered them in the shade or served as first base in a pick up game of ball. "The developer hired an arborist to evaluate the neighborhood trees, and wherever possible, we designed the streets and buildings around the best specimens," says Bert Gregory, a principal with Mithun Architects. "During construction, fencing was placed around the trees with signs noting the tree's scientific and common names as well as its estimated value. If a contractor damaged the tree, they would be fined that amount." 100 trees with an estimated value of $1.5 million were saved, amplifying the feel of an established Seattle neighborhood.
Clearly, the entire community - from City Hall to the city streets - was actively involved in the process, setting the stage for something truly extraordinary - a mixed-use, mixed income, mixed age, culturally diverse, "healthy" neighborhood.