Homelessness in City Records

Homelessness in Seattle is a longstanding and complex problem, reaching into issues of poverty, health care, employment, criminal justice, addiction, disability, and more. City officials and residents have looked for solutions for well over a hundred years. The history of homelessness as documented in Seattle city records can be traced through: legislation; records from department heads and elected officials; reports created by or for city departments; and petitions and letters submitted to city officials by residents. Records documenting homelessness and the issues that have created and contributed to it are vast and varied, with the earliest dating soon after the city was incorporated in 1869.

This is far from a complete history of homelessness in the city. Rather, it is intended to be a guide to the kinds of records in the archives that are available for more research on the topic.

Early Efforts

The earliest city ordinances specifically related to indigent and unsheltered residents were overtly discriminatory and punitive, and intended to judge who were the worthy poor and who were not. Ordinance 32, passed on November 14, 1872, provided for the punishment of vagrants, who were defined as "any person able to work and support himself in any honest or respectable calling, not having the wherewith to maintain himself, who shall be found loitering or strolling about in any street, alley or common or any public or private place, within the city, or who shall be an idle, dissolute person, or who shall go about begging, not having any regular lawful business, or who shall occupy for the purpose of lodging or any other purpose, any barn, shed, shop, vessel or place other than such [as] is [are] kept for that purpose, without permission from the owner or party entitled to the possession thereof, or who shall lead an idle, immoral or profligate course of life." The ordinance stipulated that those found guilty of vagrancy were to be fined "no less than five dollars nor over one hundred dollars." If the fine could not be paid, the person would be "committed to hard labor for use of the city at the city prison until such fine be paid by due course of law." The following year, Ordinance 42 further qualified the definition of vagrancy to include "dissolute Indian women" found "strolling about on any street" after 8 or 9pm, unless they were "actually leaving the city by steamer or other conveyance."

In June 1889, the Seattle Great Fire destroyed 100 acres in Seattle's business district and waterfront, displacing thousands of residents overnight. By necessity, the newly homeless quickly occupied hastily constructed tents, which soon covered much of the downtown area. As the months progressed into fall and winter, some tent residents petitioned the city to allow them to improve and reinforce their improvised dwellings. Other residents wrote to the city to protest the “untidy appearance” and unsafe nature of such reinforced tent dwellings, or “shanties.” City officials denied requests to improve the tents, and encouraged the quick rebuilding of more permanent, fireproof structures. By May 1890, the city had banned tents within the area destroyed by the fire, and Seattle had mostly been rebuilt.

However, so-called “shacks” continued to appear around the city, particularly in the “Skid Road” area in Pioneer Square. Letters and petitions were sent to city officials asking for the shacks to be removed. One such petition was received in May 1907 from residents along Yesler Way, complaining about the “unsightly” nature of an encampment located between Third, Yesler, and Jefferson “on the triangle in front of city hall,” an area near today's City Hall Park. Other letters sent to the city protested the criminalization of the indigent and unsheltered, or asked for the city’s support with their efforts to provide food and shelter to those in need.

Since at least the 1890s, one way the city assisted poor and unsheltered residents was by providing free water to agencies that worked to help them, for example, hospitals, shelters, orphanages, and other charitable organizations. The city would also occasionally provide grant funds to such charitable organizations to help with food and shelter assistance. But state law required that county governments, rather than municipal, provide support for indigent populations, so creating programs and services in this realm was not considered to be the city’s responsibility. 

During the financial crises of 1907 and 1914, unemployment in Seattle, as elsewhere, grew. On November 10, 1914, Police Chief Austin Griffiths wrote to City Council asking for assistance. “I am informed that beggars are increasing,” he wrote. Citing the high level of unemployment, he explained that the city jail was serving as a default shelter for people who did not have a place to stay the night. “It is not a police problem but is a social problem,” he wrote. “To the misfortune of being without work is often added the stigma of being treated as a vagrant or criminal.” He suggested that the city and county coordinate efforts to provide employment to those needing it. “The county theoretically is the source of poor relief,” he wrote, “but practically this burden falls upon the city.” City Council passed Ordinance 33988 later that month providing for "relief and care" of the unemployed of Seattle, to take effect immediately.

The Great Depression and Hoovervilles

In 1929, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. The numbers of shacks in Seattle increased rapidly, soon establishing so-called “Hoovervilles.” The largest of these was located on the tide flats, with others located in other areas of the city near garbage dumps, as salvaging waste could sometimes provide a small source of income. Numerous petitions and letters were received by the city from residents requesting the removal of such encampments, citing them as unsightly and public health nuisances.

City officials considered how to solve the problem as the numbers of shacks increased. In 1937, the Superintendent of Buildings requested permission to “wreck unauthorized shacks,” proposing that the salvaged building materials could help pay for the work of destroying them. The following year, residents of Hooverville wrote to ask the city for permission to stay in their makeshift homes. By 1939, the city's Housing Authority was tracing the size and locations of “shacktowns” throughout the city.

In 1941, a shack elimination program began. As WWII loomed and land near the tide flats was needed for war production facilities, the city systematically evicted residents from Hoovervilles and burned the structures. By April 1942, the city reported it had burned about 600 shacks, with about 75 still planned to be destroyed (see also our Digital Document Library on Hoovervilles in Seattle).

A key sanitary facility for Hooverville residents and members of the Skid Road community was the public “comfort station” or restroom under the pergola in Pioneer Square. It had served as a significant resource to the neighborhood since opening in 1909 and during the Depression it became even more essential. In 1943 it was closed by the city for renovations. Residents and charitable organizations lobbied the city to restore it, citing a lack of public toilets and washing facilities in the area. A 1949 Planning Commission survey of sanitary facilities in Pioneer Square reinforced this conclusion, citing the large number of homeless and “unemployable” people in the area, and recommending that a sanitary and social center be established nearby.

In 1952, the city entered into a contract with the Lutheran Compass Mission to “establish and maintain a recreational center for homeless men in the Skid Road area” with toilets, showers, and laundry facilities. The city continued supporting the mission for this purpose into the next several decades.

Model Cities and Expanded Social Services

Seattle's Model Cities programs in the late 1960s and through the 1970s included several that worked to address homelessness and related issues, such as unemployment, disability, mental illness, and addiction. The Central District, the International District, and Pioneer Square (including portions of Skid Road), were designated Model City neighborhoods and targeted to receive services intended to alleviate these issues.

Projects initiated and supported by the Seattle Model Cities Program (SMCP) included drug and addiction treatment services, outreach programs for at-risk youth, health care services for low-income and transient populations, and food, shelter, and referral services to the Skid Road community. The SMCP also helped to begin the city's Neighborhood Cleanup Program in 1972, which evolved by the mid-1980s to become the Seattle Conservation Corps (SCC). The SCC still exists today as a Parks Department program, and continues to provide training, work experience, and income to people experiencing homelessness.

In 1971, the Office of Human Resources (later the Department of Housing and Human Services) was established and tasked with developing, implementing, and managing social services for low-income and disadvantaged residents of Seattle. The department administered family and youth services programs, senior citizen services, community service activities, and the Seattle Veterans Action Center. The department would also work to help the city develop priorities and strategies for combatting homelessness by identifying at-risk populations, reviewing and assessing existing policies, and researching and reporting on current and future housing availability.

The Housing Levy, New Initiatives, and Civility Laws

In 1981, Seattle voters approved a bond measure to provide revenue for affordable housing for low-income and disabled persons. In 1986, another bond measure was passed by the voters, authorizing a levy to provide housing for low-income households and establishing city housing development programs. The Housing Levy remains a source of funding for affordable housing in Seattle. Over the past 40 years, Seattle residents have consistently supported this resource, with the most recent Housing Levy in 2016 receiving a voter approval rate of over 70%.

Additional programs and services to combat homelessness were initiated throughout the 1980s and 1990s, with several supported by federal funding. In late 1983, City Council passed Resolution 27029 establishing an Emergency Human Services program “to meet critical needs for emergency shelter, emergency food, and primary health care services in Seattle.” The following year, the Downtown Housing Maintenance Ordinance established minimum maintenance standards for rental housing in the downtown area and created a Downtown Housing Maintenance Fund to provide financing for the maintenance and rehabilitation of downtown rental housing. Other programs included the Homeless Assistance Fund Family Program, the Homeless Employment Demonstration Program, and the establishment of a transitional home for homeless teenage parents and their children.

In 1989, the city adopted a Homeless Priority Agenda prepared by the Human Services Strategic Planning Office. The agenda defined the “Dynamics of Homelessness in Seattle” and was used as a guide for implementing city efforts to combat homelessness. Working with King County, the Homeless Family Project, and Central Seattle Recovery Center, in 1994 the city received federal funding from HUD to launch a new Innovative Homeless Initiative Demonstration Program intended to serve people with chemical dependency issues and assist them in obtaining and retaining permanent housing. Additional HUD funds were awarded the following year to support transitional housing and services for homeless families, youth, and single adults.

Also during this time, ordinances to increase the penalties for infractions such as loitering, camping, and panhandling were passed by City Council. In 1985, the city passed an ordinance against aggressive begging, allowing the police to determine when panhandling was aggressive enough to constitute harassment, and intervene. In 1993 and 1994, a series of "civility laws" were passed by City Council at the urging of City Attorney Mark Sidran. One of the laws was Ordinance 116538, which allowed for the closing of spaces underneath bridges and viaducts when necessary to “preserve the public peace.” This law was partly in response to what Sidran described as illegal activity and "sanitation and other public health hazards" created by the presence of encampments under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Also passed were ordinances defining "aggressive begging," and making public urination, defecation, and liquor consumption criminal acts. One of the laws - Ordinance 116885, as amended by Ordinance 117103 - banned sitting or lying on the sidewalk in the downtown area from 7am to 9pm. Sarah McConahy, a formerly homeless youth, and John Hoff, an advocate for Seattle's homeless, were cited under the law. When they both were found to have violated the ordinance, they joined in an appeal to challenge the law in court. The state Court of Appeals and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the ordinance did not violate constitutional rights, and the state Supreme Court declined to take up the case, allowing the law to stand.

According to a 1999 Department of Human Services report evaluating the city's progress towards homelessness program goals, the city spent over $100 million that year on initiatives to combat homelessness.

Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and Civil Emergency

In 2005, a new regional initiative was launched. The Committee to End Homelessness in King County (CEH) was spearheaded by King County and led by a broad coalition of stakeholders, including the City of Seattle and other local governments, housing authorities, social service providers, businesses, faith-based groups, and people who were currently experiencing or who had experienced homelessness. The effort intended to “create a coordinated system to end homelessness,” and aimed to create 9,500 units while building and realigning systems to help people access and retain permanent housing. When 2015 arrived, the CEH had been rebranded as “All Home” and released a report evaluating the program’s efforts and results. It stated that the plan had “succeeded in ending homelessness for nearly 40,000 people.” However, the report also acknowledged that nearly 10,000 people were currently experiencing homelessness in King County and the numbers were continuing to grow.

In 2008, an unauthorized encampment called “Nickelsville” was established on city property along West Marginal Way, named for Mayor Greg Nickels in response (and protest) to the city's continued encampment sweeps and lack of available shelter space. After several moves, Nickelsville received a city-sanctioned site in Lake City November 2010. In April 2011, City Council passed legislation making it easier for churches to allow encampments on their property, and in early 2015, the city passed an ordinance allowing temporary encampments in more areas throughout Seattle.

In November that year, Mayor Ed Murray declared a Civil Emergency for homelessness. In June 2016, he signed an executive order to create "Navigation Center" based on a similar program in San Francisco. The Center would be a low-barrier, 24-hour shelter with streamlined access to customized services "based on flexible, housing-first practices." The city contracted with the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) to run the facility, which opened the following year. Also launching in 2017 was the city's Navigation Team, composed of outreach workers and SPD officers tasked with connecting unsheltered people with services and housing. The Navigation Team was dissolved in 2020 and replaced with the Homelessness Outreach and Provider Ecosystem (HOPE) Team administered by the Human Services Department.

In May 2022, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced his One Seattle Homeless Action Plan, outlining his office's strategy for combatting homelessness.


Early Efforts

Ordinance 32, providing for the punishment of vagrants (November 14, 1872)

Ordinance 42, qualifying "dissolute Indian women" as vagrants (August 14, 1873)

Petition from James T. Armstrong asking to enclose his tent at Fourth and Jackson with corrugated iron, as he and his family had been living in the tent as their home was destroyed in the Great Fire, September 13, 1889 (General File 990058)

Recommendation from the Committee on Fire and Water that all tents within the fire limit district be removed, November 22, 1889 (General File 990938)

Petition from over 20 property owners complaining about shanties and asking them to be removed, December 28, 1889 (General File 993677)

Petition from the Salvation Army for aid in establishing a food and shelter depot, November 12, 1897 (Clerk File 3272)

Petition from members of the Day Nursery Board for free water service, September 26, 1891 (General File 990549). 

Petition of Mt. Carmel Mission for free water, January 2, 1905 (Clerk File 26798)

Petition asking for the removal of shacks on triangle bounded by 3rd Avenue, Yesler Way and Jefferson Street, May 27, 1907 (Clerk File 32188)

Letter from the owner of the Palace Restaurant, asking for city assistance with efforts to provide food to the unemployed, January 13, 1908 (Clerk File 33891)

Ordinance 18650, authorizing a payment of $75 per month to assist the Home for Homeless Woman and Children and appropriating the sum of seventy-five (75) dollars per month from the General Fund to be paid said Home for said services. 

Council Bill 14268, a draft ordinance providing for the establishment of a municipal lodging house. Attached to the bill are two pages of statistics showing the demographics of homeless men helped by the Charity Organization Society over the course of a month and a half. These details give a rare view of Seattle’s homeless population in this era, with information including age, time in town, and nationality. 

Letter from the Chief of Police in regards to the unemployed, November 10, 1914 (Clerk File 58428)

Ordinance 33988, providing for the relief of the unemployed dependent men and women of the City of Seattle. 


Petition for removal of squatters at Lake Washington Boulevard and Newport Way, November 1, 1930 (Clerk File 128705)

Petition for removal of shacks from intersection of Van Buren and Galer Streets, February 27, 1933 (Clerk File 138723)

Protest of North End Progressive Club against shacks in the Interbay district, April 26, 1937 (Clerk File 154992)

Petition of Supt. of Buildings for authority to wreck unauthorized shacks, June 12, 1937 (Clerk File 155521)

Petition of Hooverville Committee for aid in withdrawal of W. P. A. project in Hooverville, October 26, 1938 (Clerk File 160740)

Letter from Seattle Real Estate Board approving of plan to eliminate "shacktown" area, May 2, 1941 (Clerk File 169958)

Petition from Commissioner of Health re: the destruction of vacant shacks, April 13, 1942 (Clerk File 173660)

Petition asking for the restoration of the comfort station in Pioneer Square, December 22, 1942 (Clerk File 175818)

Survey of sanitary facilities in Pioneer Square, 1949 (Document 7408)

Petition of Lutheran Compass Mission for sanitary and social center in Skid Row area, February 25, 1952 (Clerk File 215760)

Ordinance 80816, providing for the establishment and maintenance of a public sanitary and recreational center at 77 Washington Street (March 12, 1952)

Model Cities and Social Service Programs

Comprehensive Plan for Model Cities Program, October 8, 1968 (Document 1618)

Proposal for Seattle Treatment Center, January 1969 (Document 7258)

Preliminary Report, Skid Road Study Committee, March 1969 (Document 8257)

Petition of citizens for enforcement of the City's vagrancy and loitering laws, September 15, 1969 (Clerk File 264630)

Draft Work Program for the Pioneer Square rehabilitation / Community coordination project, December 1970 (Document 1960)

Communication of First Avenue Service Center urging immediate action by the city to relieve acute housing needs of skid row area inhabitants, December 29, 1971 (CF 271800)

Ordinance 100582, relating to the Model City program and authorizing an agreement with the Skid Road Community Council to provide social services for Skid Road residents (December 28, 1971) 

Situation Report from the Skid Road Community Council, 1972 (Document 2451)

Resolution 23842 supporting the establishment of recreational drop-in centers, public restrooms, park benches and bus stop shelters in the Skid Road area (1972). 

Communication of Skid Road Community Council for allocation of Model City Program funds for the purchase and renovation of a Pioneer Square hotel for use as a Shelter Facility, December 7, 1972 (Clerk File 274464)

Report of the Skid Road Community Council re the Downtown Housing Assistance Project, August 22, 1974 (Clerk File 279813)

Housing Levy, City and Regional Initiatives

Ordinance 110124, authorizing a levy providing housing for low-income elderly or disabled persons in Seattle, September 16, 1981

Resolution 27029, relating to the establishment of an emergency human services program for the provision of emergency shelter, emergency food, and primary health care services for low income residents of Seattle (November 14, 1983)

Ordinance 112383, Downtown Housing Maintenance Ordinance (August 8, 1985)

Ordinance 112333, amending 12A.06.030 to redefine menacing and amending 12A.12.010 to define disorderly conduct (July 3, 1985)

Report on Downtown Housing for the Low-Income: A Crisis Situation Time for Affirmative Steps, May 1986 (Document 1017)

Ordinance 112904, authorizing a levy to provide housing for low-income households in Seattle (July 11, 1986)

Resolution 27617, adopting the 1987 work program of the Human Services Strategic Planning Office, 1987.

Ordinance 113896, authorizing funding for continued operation of the Homeless Employment Demonstration Program (April 30, 1988)

Resolution 27790, providing guidance for the development of the Housing Levy's Special Needs and Single Occupancy Production Program Administrative and Financial Plan (May 2, 1988)

Resolution 27877, adopting a program plan for the Homeless Assistance Fund Family Program (October 3, 1988)

Ordinance 113983, authorizing the establishment of a transitional home for homeless teenage parents and their children (June 9, 1988)

Resolution 28045, adopting a Homeless Priority Agenda (August 7, 1989)

Resolution 28221, adopting a Comprehensive Homeless Assistance Plan (August 20, 1990)

Report on litter and illegal dumping control programs, overview and preliminary recommendations, January 1991 (Document 2701)

Ordinance 116538, authorizing the closure of certain areas under bridges, viaduct, s and overpasses; prohibiting entry as a crime (January 22, 1993)

Ordinance 116885, forbidding sitting and lying down upon public sidewalks in downtown and neighborhood commercial zones during certain hours (October 7, 1993)

Ordinance 116896, creating the crime of repeatedly urinating or defecating in public, or repeatedly opening or possessing a container of liquor or consuming liquor in public (October 7, 1993)

Ordinance 116897, defining the term "intimidate" as used in defining the crime of Pedestrian Interference (October 7, 1993)

Report of the Seattle Commission on Homeless Youth in Seattle, April 1994 (Clerk File 299979)

Ordinance 117111, authorizing an Innovative Homeless Initiative Demonstration Program (April 27, 1994)

Impact Report on Seattle's investment in housing, human services, and community development, 1999 (Document 12064)

Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, Civil Emergency

CAPER Report on results of Seattle's 2006 Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development, 2006 (Document 8451)

Annual Report on the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County, 2006 (Document 13237)

Resolution 31292, creating a work plan and timeline for analyzing alternatives and recommending actions that meet the long term housing and immediate survival and safety needs of homeless people who do not have access to safe shelter (May 2, 2011)

Ordinance 123729, allowing transitional encampments for homeless individuals as a use accessory to religious facilities (October 13, 2011)

Proclamation by Mayor Edward B. Murray Declaring a Civil Emergency to protect the welfare of members of the public experiencing homelessness within the City of Seattle, November 2, 2015 (Clerk File 319509)

Resolution 31630 ratifying and confirming the Mayoral Proclamation of Civil Emergency,  (November 3, 2015)

Ordinance 124747, allowing transitional encampments for homeless individuals as an interim use on City-owned or private property, (April 10, 2015)

Homeless State of Emergency Implementation Plan, 2016 (Document 13295)

Executive Order 2016-05 creating a new low-barrier 24-hour shelter program similar to the successful Navigation Center in San Francisco, CA, June 9, 2016 (CF 319815)

Making Homelessness in King County Rare, Brief, and One-time: All Home Strategic Plan, 2015 (Document 13322)

Emergency Task Force on Unsheltered Homelessness: Recommendations to Mayor Murray, 2014 (Document 13324)

Pathways Home: Seattle's Person-Centered Plan to Support People Experiencing Homelessness, 2016 (Document 12512)

Encampment Monitoring Report, 2017 (Document 13284)

Homelessness Response System Redesign, 2019 (Document 13328)


Tents after the Great Fire
Tents after the Great Fire, 1889
Image 77293, Seattle Municipal Archives
Shacks on tide flats
Shacks on tide flats, 1915
Image 77204, Seattle Municipal Archives
Shacks on beach
Shacks on tide flats, 1915
Image 77206, Seattle Municipal Archives
Interior of shack
Interior of shack, 1915
Image 77207, Seattle Municipal Archives
Hooverville shacks
Hooverville on the tide flats, 1933
Image 191875, Seattle Municipal Archives
Hooverville on the tide flats, 1933
Image 191876, Seattle Municipal Archives
Shacks near 6th Ave S.
garbage dump, 1939
Image 39279, Seattle Municipal Archives
Man sleeping on pallet of bricks
Man sleeping on pallet of bricks
at Pike Place Market, 1979
Image 36333, Seattle Municipal Archives
Man sleeping in doorway
Man sleeping in doorway
near Pike Place Market, 1975
Image 35985, Seattle Municipal Archives
Nickelsville encampment
Nickelsville, 2010
Image 165523, Seattle Municipal Archives
homeless encampment
Homeless encampment, 2012
Image 184366, Seattle Municipal Archives


map of shacks
Map of Shacks, 1941
Map 1036, Seattle Municipal Archives


Event 8178 Community Renewal Program Steering Team Meeting, August 19, 1965: Discussion about people experiencing homelessness in Pioneer Square and some examples of how other cities are attempting to address the crisis.

Event 2499 Planning and Urban Development Committee September 11, 1974:  Discussion of proposed downtown housing assistance demonstration project from the Skid Road community Council.

Event 4847 Finance Committee, September 15, 1978: Discussion of funding for emergency housing and shelters

Event 13250 Public Hearing, Finance & Budget Committee, December 20, 1984: Public hearing to determine the City budget allocation for "survival services” including testimony from a variety of organizations in Seattle that offered these services. 

Event 9270 Housing and Human Services Committee, May 5, 1987: Discussion regarding accepting funds for emergency shelter and assistance to the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC)

Event 5274 Housing, Human Services and Community Development Committee April 23, 2003: Discussion of increasing funding to Human Services Department for 2003 budget for homeless assistance.

Event 8514 and Event 8515 Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee June 25, 2013 and June 25, 2013: Discussion of proposed CB 117791 adding a new section to the SMC to permit transitional encampments for homeless individuals as an interim use on City-owned or private property.

Moving Images

Event 12684 A documentary on people experiencing homelessness in Seattle (undated)

Event 8896 TV segment about homeless children in Seattle (undated)

Event 8638 Documentary about a homeless man named Noah, 2001 

Event 3258 Mayor's press conference on hygiene center funding, 2003  

Event 3672 Mayor's press conference on proposed service center, 2004

Event 3024 Housing the Homeless in Seattle, 2004

Event 3643 Opening of Compass Center, 2005

Event 4664 Mayor's press conference DESC 10th Ave groundbreaking, 2006

Event 7349 Footage of Mayor Greg Nickels' press conference on the two year impact report for the Housing First Project, 2008. 


Explore this topic further using these resources at the archives:

General Files (Series 1802-04): Official filings with the Seattle City Clerk between 1874-1905. Includes records relating to tents after the Great Fire, petitions for charitable assistance, and requests for shack removal. Over half of the collection has been scanned and is full-text searchable on SMA’s Digital Collections site.

Legislative Records (Ordinances, Resolutions, Clerk Files). Results for Index Term: Homeless

Published Documents Collection (Series 1801-92): Published documents created by or for City agencies. Includes reports and surveys on homelessness and related topics.

Skid Road Shelter and Food Project Records, Record Series 5414-05,1969-1974 

Community Based Residential Treatment (Group Homes) Project Records, Record Series 5413-03, 1969-1974

Community Renewal Program Records, Record Series 1642-04, 1969-1970 (file)

Treatment for the Indigent Alcoholic Project Records, Record Series 5412-08, 1970-1973

Pioneer Square Neighborhood Health Station Records, Record Series 5412-06, 1970-1974

Atlas and Morrison Hotels Project Records, Record Series 5015-02, 1973-1984

Community Development Block Grant Project Records, Record Series 1605-02, 1976-1988 (files)

Arlene Oki Records, Record Series 3625-02, 1978-2010

Department of Community Development Siting Assistance Program Records, Record Series 1622-08, 1979-1991 

Homelessness Policy and Programs Records, Record Series 3628-02, 1980-2009 

Homelessness and Hunger Annual Survey Reports, Record Series 3628-01, 1983-2004

Tom Byers Records, Record Series 5274-13, 1984-1986 (files)

Community Services Division Director’s Records, Record Series 3625-01, 1985-1986 (files)

Community Development Block Grant Administration Records, Record Series 3618-01, 1985-1991 (files)

Anne Levinson Records, Series 5274-14, 1986-1987

Health and Human Services Committee Records, Record Series 4663-03, 1986-1988

Downtown Housing Maintenance Ordinance Appeals, Record Series 3403-04, 1986-1991

Legislative Department Executive Director’s Records, Record Series 4600-01, 1986-1991 (files)

Homeless Children's Network Records, Record Series 3621-02, 1987-1992

Community Development Block Grant Grantee Performance Reports, Record Series 3618-03, 1988-1999

Human Services Department Director’s Records, Record Series 3600-02, 1989-2001 (files)

Seattle Commission on Children and Youth Records, Record Series 3620-04, 1991-1994 (files)

Mark Sidran Subject Files, Record Series 4400-02, 1991-2001 (files)

Sidewalk Ordinance Records, Record Series 4402-04, 1991-1997

Sand Point Community Housing Project Records, Record Series 3637-01, 1992-1997

East District Neighborhood Service Center Records, Record Series 5752-12, 1995-2011

Housing, Human Services, Education and Civil Rights Committee Records, Record Series 4684-03, 1999-2001

Queen Anne / Magnolia Neighborhood Service Center Records, Record Series 5752-07, 1999-2000 (files)

Edsonya Charles Records, Record Series 5259-06, 2000-2002 (file)

Safe Harbors Records, Record Series 3628-03, 2001-2009

Housing, Human Services & Health Committee Records, Record Series 4672-04, 2004-2007

Human Services Department Community Services Division Digital Photographs, Record Series 3626-01, 2005

Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee Records, Record Series 4650-08, 2010-2013

Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency Records, Record Series 4616-08, 2014-2015

Select Committee on Housing Affordability Records, Record Series 4665-06, 2015

Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee Records, Record Series 4615-06, 2016-2017

Human Services and Public Health Committee Records, Record Series 4613-08, 2016-2017

Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee Records, Record Series 4679-06, 2018-2019

Select Committee on Homelessness and Housing Affordability Records, Record Series 4660-03, 2019

Elected Officials

Wesley C. Uhlman Subject Files, Record Series 5287-01, 1969-1975 (files)

Charles T. Royer Departmental Correspondence, Record Series 5274-01, 1984-1989 (files)

Jan Drago Subject Files, Record Series 4624-02,1984-2009 (files)

Jeanette Williams Subject Files, Record Series 4693-02, 1986-1988 (file)

Norm Rice Departmental Correspondence, Record Series 5272-01, 1990-1997 (files)

Sherry Harris Subject Files, Record Series 4633-02, 1992-1994 (file)

Mayor’s Office Central Files, Record Series 5200-07, 1993-2000 (files)

Paul Schell Departmental Correspondence, Record Series 5279-01 (files)

Margaret Pageler Subject Files, Record Series 4667-02, 1994 (file)

Nick Licata Subject Files, Record Series 4650-02, 1998-2016 (files)

Peter Steinbrueck Subject Files, Record Series 4684-02, 1999-2005 (files)

Judy Nicastro Subject Files, Record Series 4661-02, 2000-2002 (files)

Heidi Wills Subject Files, Record Series 4695-02, 2000-2002 (files)

Richard McIver Subject Files, Record Series 4654-02, 2001-2009 (files)

Tom Rasmussen Subject Files, Record Series 4672-02, 2004-2016 (files)

Bruce Harrell Subject Files, Record Series 4632-02, 2008-2019 (files)

Mayor’s Office Subject Files, Record Series 5200-07, 2008-2011 (files)

Sally Clark Subject Files, Record Series 4616-02, 2009-2013 (files)

Mike McGinn Subject Correspondence, Record Series 5246-01, 2010-2012 (files)

Mike O'Brien Subject Files, Record Series 4665-02, 2010-2019 (files)

Sally Bagshaw Subject Files, Record Series 4613-02, 2011-2019 (files)

Tim Burgess Subject Files, Record Series 4615-02, 2012-2017 (files)

Lorena Gonzales Subject Files, Record Series 2016-2020 (files)

Rob Johnson Subject Files, Record Series 4641-02, 2016-2018 (files)

Tim Burgess Mayoral Records, Record Series 4615-02, 2017 (file)

Kirsten Harris-Talley Subject Files, Record Series 4634-02, 2017 (files)

Abel Pacheco Subject Files, Record Series 4668-02, 2019 (file)

Archived electronic records, including email, city websites, and city social media accounts, are also available. See SMA's Digital Archives page for more information.

Municipal Archives, City Clerk

Anne Frantilla, City Archivist
Address: 600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA, 98124-4728
Phone: (206) 684-8353

The Office of the City Clerk maintains the City's official records, provides support for the City Council, and manages the City's historical records through the Seattle Municipal Archives. The Clerk's Office provides information services to the public and to City staff.