YEAR | 2014

Benton County

Shoreline Master Program Update

As part of a team, BERK assisted Benton County in its Shoreline Master Program Update consistent with the Shoreline Management Act. BERK’s technical role was to provide analysis, policies, and regulations regarding land use, public access, and permitting. In addition, BERK provided public engagement and facilitation services including development of outreach advertisements and materials; a community visioning questionnaire; and facilitation of public workshops Shoreline Advisory Committee meetings.

Washington State Frontiers of Innovation Work Group

Adolescent Brain Development Action Plan

On behalf of the Washington State Frontiers of Innovation Work Group, BERK synthesized the content for Adolescent Brain Development Action Plan. This cross-sector team of experienced practitioners from the neuroscience, education, and health disciplines developed the Plan to achieve more effective policy and practice around adolescents in schools, youth programs, and communities. Using the content from Work Group participants, BERK wrote the final plan and designed accompanying communications materials.

King County Department of Transportation

Boeing Field Strategic Business Plan Update

BERK worked with King County International Airport to write and communicate their 2014-2020 Business Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan keyed in on core business model issues and developed strategies to address them in an attractive concise manner, backed by an existing in-depth technical report.

City of Bellevue

Economic Development Plan

BERK worked with the City of Bellevue on its Economic Development Plan. The Plan development process built on our facilitation of an interdepartmental staff retreat in 2012 to develop a common understanding about the elements of a successful economic development strategy, and how those elements can be proactively applied in Bellevue. The Plan was developed to align the efforts and expectations of City Council, staff, and partners, and clearly state the City’s economic goals and priorities. The Plan is structured around Direct Economic Development Strategies that describe specific actions the City will take to support targeted portions of its economy (including a focus on technology entrepreneurism and positioning Bellevue as a Pacific Rim gateway), and Foundational Strategies that the support quality of life for Bellevue residents and all of Bellevue’s businesses and economic clusters.

City of Renton

Community Needs Assessment

In advance of the City of Renton’s comprehensive plan update, BERK conducted an assessment of community needs for human services and housing. The Needs Assessment includes an analysis of City demographics, population trends, housing supply and housing quality and makes recommendations on how the City’s goals and policies could be aligned to best meet community needs. As part of the assessment, BERK designed and implemented an outreach and engagement plan to engage key assessment stakeholders in building a common understanding of community needs and priorities for City actions and investments.

Washington State Department of Public Health

Foundational Public Health Services – Phase 1

BERK worked with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Public Health Improvement Partnership (PHIP) as part of a multi-year process to define and cost foundational public health services in Washington State. BERK conducted research and a literature review to support PHIP in refining its definition of foundational programs and capabilities. BERK then developed an assumption-based model to estimate the cost of these services. BERK conducted data collection and stakeholder interviews to gather a sample of cost estimates from current service provides. The cost model scaled the sample up to a statewide estimate based on program- and capability-specific assumptions of cost structures to estimate the total cost of providing the foundational public health services statewide. BERK’s model also broke down estimated costs by current revenue sources to help PHIP move toward its ultimate goal of identifying a sustainable funding framework for foundational public health services.

City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management

Seattle Disaster Recovery Plan

BERK is leading the development of a community disaster recovery plan for the City of Seattle. The process involves significant stakeholder engagement to establish a framework for disaster recovery, establishing decision making processes and a standing Community Disaster Recovery Task Force, as well as detailed guidance and options for individual Recovery Support Functions, including housing, economic recovery, and health and social services. BERK is leading efforts to identify participants for an Executive Advisory Group and Disaster Recovery Planning Committee and designing a series of meetings for each group that will lead to the development of the Disaster Recovery Plan and Task Force. In this work, BERK is supporting Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management and managing the work of two subcontracted firms.

Jeff Arango, AICP

Jeff is an Associate Principal and Senior Planner. His experience and expertise includes land use, urban design, street design, urban revitalization, transit oriented development and parking analysis. Prior to joining BERK, Jeff served as the Director of Community Planning for the City of Langley for more than three years. He also served as the Planning Director in Essex Junction, Vermont from 2002 through 2008.
Jeff has a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Washington with a Certificate in Urban Design, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University. Jeff has presented at national conferences including the Future of Places conference in Buenos Aires Argentina, the Institute of Traffic Engineers Annual Meeting, and the Vermont Housing Conference.

Melanie Mayock

Melanie is an Associate Planner and Policy Analyst with a varied background in public policy and outreach. She recently earned a dual Master’s degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning at the University of Washington. During graduate school, Melanie held leadership positions with the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, representing graduate students to state legislators and others. She also handled external affairs for the U.W. Transportation Services department. Prior to graduate school, Melanie’s career path included managing business accounts at carsharing firms Flexcar and Zipcar, conducting outreach for the Duwamish Transportation Management Association, and grassroots organizing with the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C. Melanie holds a B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University.

Reservations Implementation

City of Seattle Office for Education

Early Learning Enrollment and Quality Gaps Analysis

BERK worked with the City of Seattle Office for Education to develop a comprehensive picture of public programs and services that support young children (birth-3rd grade) by providing child care, education, health care, and other wrap-around services. We researched and inventoried more than 50 public programs and developed visual infographics illustrating the key components of each. The goals of this study included: (1) creating an accessible picture of the economics of the existing early learning and support system, (2) informing early learning policy discussions by showing the various programs and connections (or lack of connections) across revenue sources, and (3) helping identify potential gaps in service.

City of Bremerton

Gorst Creek Annexation Analysis

BERK conducted an analysis for the City of Bremerton to understand the short- and long-term fiscal impacts of annexing the Gorst Urban Growth Area (UGA). BERK used a flexible, assumption-driven financial model that modeled the cost and revenue structures of the City of Bremerton under two scenarios: the financial future of the City within its current boundaries, and the financial future with Gorst UGA as part of the City. The analysis included in-depth looks at the potential annexation impacts to both the operating budget and the capital budget. Quantitative modeling work was incorporated with stakeholder interviews and discussions with City staff to develop a complete picture of potential impacts.

King County Department of Transportation – Metro Division

King County Low Income Fare Task Force

King County Ordinance 17757 approved the creation of a low-income transit fare program and directed King County Metro to develop an implementation plan to successfully launch the program by March 2015. As part of this, a Task Force was formed to review the implementation plan and submit a report to the Executive and County Council by August 15, 2014.

BERK facilitated the Task Force, which met five times between June and August 2014, and drafted the recommendations and final report based on the ideas and input of the members. The Task Force provided Metro with suggestions on the application process, income verification, and outreach and marketing.

Washington State Transportation Commission

Road Usage Fee Study

In 2012, the Legislature provided funding “to determine the feasibility of transitioning from the gas tax to a road user assessment system of paying for transportation.” The purpose of the study was to determine whether road usage charging makes sense for Washington, and if so, make recommendations about what next steps should be taken or further studied. The WSTC convened a 20-member Steering Committee representing a broad group of stakeholders. The consultant team had only three meetings before the Committee presented its recommendations to the Legislature and had to communicate volumes of technical materials to ensure common understanding of the options and issues and facilitate discussion. Given the tight timeline we used email surveys and individual phone calls in addition to the facilitated meetings to solicit input and questions. The Committee continues to meet to provide ongoing input on business concepts and policy objectives.

City of Renton

Land Use and Comprehensive Planning Support

BERK has been working with the City of Renton on various land use plans and comprehensive plan chapter updates for the past few years. Currently, we are working with the City to update the Transportation, Housing and Human Services, and Utilities Elements of their Comprehensive Plan, as well as developing land use plan alternatives to assist with the Land Use Element Update. Lisa Grueter, AICP is serving as Project Manager or Project Director on these Comprehensive Plan Element efforts. Lisa also served as the EIS lead to produce a site specific analysis of the Sunset Terrace property redevelopment and a programmatic analysis of a larger Sunset Area neighborhood planned action area for the City of Renton and Renton Housing Authority.

Port of Tacoma

Puget Sound Regional Maritime Transportation Disaster Recovery Exercise Program

BERK was part of a consulting team organizing and facilitating a Puget Sound Maritime Transportation Disaster Recovery Exercise Program. The project culminated in a day-long regional exercise involving staff and leadership from the Ports of Everett, Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma; state and federal emergency management; utility companies; transportation and transit agencies; union representatives; and private industry representatives. To support the exercise, BERK built a financial and economic impact model that provided real-time, quantitative feedback on how the disaster scenario and the ports’ decisions impact port business operations and the regional economy.

The exercise enabled the Puget Sound maritime transportation community to advance its capabilities to reinstate operations quickly after a disaster, and the findings were incorporated into a Maritime Transportation Disaster Recovery Framework for the region.

City of Seattle

Seattle Preschool Action Plan

In September 2013, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed its Preschool for All Resolution (Resolution 31478), endorsing voluntary, high-quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds. BERK worked with Dr. Steven Barnett, Dr. Ellen Frede, and Columbia City Consulting to develop program recommendations building from the resolution, previous research and efforts, stakeholder outreach and evidence-based practices.

The recommendations addressed nine programmatic features, including staff education requirements, student eligibility, and curricula; timeline to full program implementation; accountability, oversight, and evaluations, and the financial implications. BERK built a financial model designed to estimate potential costs and revenues associated with the program and to allow for evaluation of alternative options for delivering high quality preschool.

In June 2014, the City Council unanimously approved the Seattle Preschool Program. In November 2014, Seattle voters passed Proposition 1B in support of the Preschool Program. The City will now take the first steps toward universal and affordable preschool.

King County Low Income Fare Task Force Facilitation

EPA SmartGrowth – The Smart Location Database

Itala Souza

Itala is the Business Administrator and manages the firm’s finances, including invoicing, accounts payable and receivable. She is also the firm’s benefits administrator, and works closely with all our vendors. Prior to joining BERK, she worked as a legal assistant for a local immigration law firm where she worked with members of Washington’s predominately Spanish-speaking community who were in immigration proceedings. Itala’s varied background and unique skill set has led her from a desk job at a New York City publishing house to living and working on a variety of organic farms across the U.S. She spent time on an urban farm with at-risk youth and a remote biodynamic farm in upstate New York. In all cases, her days were spent connecting children and young adults with food and their environment, focusing on nutrition and local food access issues.

Aaron Raymond

Aaron is a GIS Analyst with six years of professional experience in GIS with a background in urban planning. He specializes in geospatial technologies, cartographic design in both print and digital formats, advanced spatial analysis, and integrating information and data from a variety of digital and non-digital sources. Aaron has contributed to a wide array of planning projects including shoreline planning, land use planning, utility location alternative analysis, and environmental impact mapping and analysis. Prior to BERK he worked as a GIS Analyst at another consulting firm. He also has previous work experience in management consulting, organizational development, and the hospitality industry. Aaron has published research in the area of urban historical GIS. He has bachelors’ degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and holds a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington.

Izzy Cannell

Izzy is an Associate land use planner who works on comprehensive plans, shoreline master programs and environmental review projects. She helps local governments with analysis, policy development, community engagement, and the local adoption process. Prior to BERK, Izzy worked for a local government planning department at one of the nation’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organizations. In Ketchum, Idaho, Izzy helped with the community outreach element of the city’s Comprehensive Plan update, completed a sustainability audit of the municipal code, and rewrote regulations. Izzy received an honors B.A. in environmental policy from Hamilton College and her Master in City Planning with a concentration in Land Use and Environmental Planning from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design.

City of Bellevue Economic Development Strategic Plan

City of Bellevue

Comprehensive Plan Update Best Practices Research

BERK is currently working with the City of Bellevue to review best practices for comprehensive plans from 5-10 similar sized cities across the country. We are identifying “state of the art plans” – particularly those which best integrate a Vision and implementation strategies. As part of this research, BERK is reviewing staff and public comments on each Plan, and is providing findings and recommendations to the Community Development Department. Lisa Grueter, AICP is serving as Project Manager for this effort. In collaboration with the City, Lisa also led an analysis of the long term future of the City’s Light Industrial Zones with land use recommendations.

City of Shoreline

Commercial Density Standards, Comprehensive Plan Update 2012

BERK completed commercial density, land use policy, and environmental review recommendations over a two-month period to support the City’s Comprehensive Plan Update adopted in December 2012. A central aspect of the study was the evaluation of the City of Shoreline’s consolidation and amendment of its mixed-use commercial zones, an important tool in the City’s quest to meet its Vision 2029 principles of compact mixed-use growth along corridors. Our Commercial Density Analysis led to alternative distributions of mixed-use housing growth, which supported analysis of potential transportation impacts and environmental review recommendations.

Vivien Savath

Vivien is a Senior Associate with a background in policy research and analysis, strategic evaluation and management consulting. She enjoys collaborating with communities and organizations to design strategies for addressing complex issues. Prior to BERK, Vivien worked as a Research & Evaluation Specialist at an international rural land rights non-profit in Seattle and as a David L. Boren Graduate Research Fellow in Beijing. She has also worked as a strategic management consultant in the private sector for Fortune 50 companies. Vivien earned her B.A. in Economics with a minor in Statistics from Dartmouth College; and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School.

Kevin Ramsey, PhD

Kevin is a Senior Associate specializing in demographic analysis, housing needs assessment, land use forecasting, and GIS. He has experience working with local governments and community stakeholders to assess complex challenges and evaluate strategies for pursuing sustainable and equitable development. Kevin draws on his academic training to design nuanced studies to inform difficult policy questions such as how to address housing affordability challenges without putting existing residents at greater risk of displacement.

Prior to joining BERK, Kevin worked for the U.S EPA’s Smart Growth Program where he led and advised the development of geospatial data and tools to support local planning and policy making. Examples include the Smart Location Calculator, Location Affordability Portal, and Healthy Communities Assessment Tool. Kevin has published research in peer reviewed journals and earned a PhD in Geography from the University of Washington.

Island County Transportation Plan

College Access Now Strategic Plan

City of Seattle Preschool for All Action Plan and Financial Model

State Auditor’s Office Department of Developmental Disabilities Performance Audit

Claire Miccio

Claire is an Associate with experience helping teams in utilities, non-profit, libraries and local government perform to their highest potential. Claire specializes in strategy development, decision analysis and program evaluation. Her interests in public policy and urban infrastructure have led her to enjoy the challenges of problem solving with diverse stakeholders in regulated environments. Prior to joining BERK, Claire served as Strategic Planning Program Manager for Tacoma Water, Graduate Funding Information Manager at UW Libraries and a Research Assistant for WSDOT Environmental Programs. She holds a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington and a BA in English from Smith College. Claire also attended Middlebury College’s Language School, where she studied Italian language and literature.

Jennifer Tippins

Jennifer is an Associate Planner with a background in land use planning, community development and digital media. Her strengths lie in qualitative research and analysis, visual and graphic communication, and community outreach experience working with diverse populations. Jennifer has worked on many aspects of the planning process with a focus on outreach and community engagement. Prior to BERK, Jennifer worked as a Design Lab intern and Alley Project Coordinator with the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. Jennifer received concurrent master degrees in Urban Design and Planning and International Studies from the University of Washington and a B.F.A. in Media Communications from New York University. She was a Fulbright scholar in Hong Kong and a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar in Shanghai.

Lisa Sturdivant

Lisa Sturdivant is a planning and policy analyst with a background in IT and database administration. She specializes in data architecture, analysis, and visualization across a wide variety of subject areas and platforms. Prior to joining BERK, she worked as a GIS and database specialist at URS Corporation. While there, she helped design, support, and maintain database applications in support of several federal environmental compliance programs. Lisa received a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Sciences from the University of Arizona and she is currently completing her Master’s thesis in Urban Planning at the University of Washington with specializations in Urban Design and Environmental Planning. She also studied architecture and housing policy at the Universidade Federal da Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. Her experience in a wide range of areas informs her work in the development of policies, tools and analysis to support resilient and equitable communities.

Montana James

Montana is a Project Associate with a background in public service and government. She supports the firm through her organizational, analytic, writing, and research skills with experience in stakeholder engagement, synthesis of participant feedback, and project coordination. Montana has worked with local and state governments and nonprofit organizations on projects including library valuation studies, health and human services assessments, and economic feasibility studies. Prior to joining BERK, she worked for Senator Jon Tester managing constituent services for his state field offices. Montana graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science and International Development from the University of Montana.

BERK Founder Retires

CCER Dropout Re-Engagement Financial Model