History of the Expansion Proposal

Update: The order of this chronology has been reversed, with the latest events now at the top.

  • 2017-05-20: Media coverage: Capitol Hill Times.
  • 2017-05-07: PVP attorney David Bricklin sends a letter to Seattle Parks and Recreation leadership and staff, disputing Parks’ legal interpretation that Initiative 42 does not apply to the museum expansion project. For details, please see our Legal Action page.
  • 2017-03-29: Protect Volunteer Park files an appeal (PDF) of the DNS decision issued on 03-16. For more information on our legal process, see Legal Action to Protect Volunteer Park.
  • 2017-03-16: Seattle Dept. of Construction and Inspection (DCI) issues a Mitigated DNS decision (PDF) for the project. This means DCI decided not to require an Environmental Impact Statement.
  • 2017-03-14: News article, “Museum Expansions That Think Inside the Footprint”: New York Times.
  • 2017-02-10: Media coverage: Daily Journal of Commerce.
  • 2017-01-23: Response from SAM CEO Kimerly Rorschach (PDF provided by KOMO News), to Jesús Aguirre’s letter of 2017-01-06.
  • 2017-01-16: The Cultural Landscape Foundation adds Volunteer Park to its Landslide list with “At Risk” status, because of the proposed museum expansion.
  • 2017-01-13: Media coverage: Seattle Times op ed. Discusses suggestions by some people at public meetings that the Asian Art Museum should move to Chinatown – International District. Protect Volunteer Park has never endorsed this idea, which we agree is offensive. We disagree however that we are engaged in “fearmongering and get-off-my-lawn-ism”. Also, the headline reads “Stop protesting Seattle Asian Art Museum renovation” which is misleading. Literally no one opposes the renovations. The issue is the expansion.
  • 2017-01-06: Parks Superintendent Jesús Aguirre sends a letter to the SAM CEO requesting a “project pause” to address questions raised by the community and by the Board of Park Commissioners.
  • 2016-12-23: Media coverage: The Architect’s Newspaper.
  • 2016-11-14: Media Coverage: Capitol Hill Seattle. City Council removes $850,000 from Mayor Murray’s $5 million 2018 funding request for the museum expansion.
  • 2016-10-05: Briefing for Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (minutes (PDF)), presented by SAM staff and project team. Architect Sam Miller is reported saying he had encouraged Seattle Parks Dept. to attend this briefing but they declined.
  • 2016-10-04: Media coverage: Architect.
  • 2016-09-16: Mayor Murray submits his proposed budget with the Capital Improvement Program giving the museum project $14 million in 2017 and an additional $5 million in 2018, on top of the $2.1 million already spent on the design.
  • 2016-09-11: Media coverage: Capitol Hill Seattle.
  • 2016-09-10: Media coverage: The Stranger. SAM CEO Kimerly Rorschach describes the City’s contribution as $2 million for design, plus the $11 million, plus funding for an escalator (amount TBD), and that SAM is requesting an additional $5 million.
  • 2016-08-28: Media coverage: Capitol Hill Seattle.
  • 2016-08-26: Media coverage: The Stranger.
  • 2016-08-12: Architectural Review Committee of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board is briefed on the project. No minutes are available.
  • 2016-07-18: Media coverage: Capitol Hill Times. SAM COO Richard Beckerman is quoted as saying the City is dedicating $13-14 million to the renovation project.
  • 2016-06-09: Media coverage: Capitol Hill Seattle.
  • 2016-06-02: Media coverage: Daily Journal of Commerce.
  • 2014-09-29: City Council reallocates the $9 million to other Parks priorities, as agreed on 09-15. (Ordinance 124590).
  • 2014-09-15: SAM is still not financially ready to continue the renovation project. Because of the impending expiration of the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, City Council and SAM agree that the City will use the $9 million elsewhere, and later provide funding from other sources for the museum project. The ordinance notes that “City and SAM came to an informal understanding that the City would contribute $11 million toward completing the project”, and therefore the funding to be provided in the future is $11 million, not $9 million. It provides for the $11 million to be adjuted for inflation. Also, the agreement raises the possibility of a larger project, the “Possible Alternate SAAM Project”, which would need to be mutually agreeable to the City and SAM. (Ordinance 124571)
  • 2008-11-04: Seattle voters approve the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, allocating $9 million for “Renovations to the Seattle Asian Art Museum including seismic and HVAC upgrades”.
  • 2008-09-25: Washington Mutual Bank is seized by federal regulators, putting its landlord SAM in financial trouble and forcing SAM to suspend the project.
  • 2007-12-10: City Council votes to provide $2 million to SAM to finance the design of Asian Art Museum renovations (Ordinance 122590). City spending on the Olympic Sculpture Park is reduced by $2 million in exchange. The resulting agreement (PDF) is finalized on 2008-07-24.