InterIm’s Corner: A glimpse of work done by InterIm CDA in Chinatown/International District

This is a photo essay of some of the recent work done by InterIm CDA, including through their housing services programming, WILD programming and civic engagement programming. This content was sponsored by InterIm CDA.

King County, Director of Elections, Julie Wise talks about the importance of voter’s registration at the 6th Annual API Candidate Forum at Community Center in the Chinatown International District forum on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Photo by: InterIm CDA, Community Engagement and Education Coordinator, Ricky Pham.
InterIm CDA, ICHS, Seattle Parks and Recreation, LAM’S and Hau Hau Market together organizes a community kitchen for the residents of Chinatown/International District.  Information on Community Kitchen:  Monthly Community Kitchen is hosted every last Thursday of the month. November will be the last community kitchen for this year until 2020. Photo by: InterIm CDA, Community Engagement and Education Manager, Henry Liu.
InterIm CDA, organized health class for the senior residents in the Chinatown/International District. HuiLing is an instructor for the health class. Information on classes: Health classes will take place 10/14, 11/04, and 11/25 (all Mondays) from 4:45pm – 5:30pm at International House. • Photo by InterIm CDA, Community Engagement, and Education Coordinator, Ricky Pham
Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development (WILD) youth at the Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, summer 2019 with the US Forest Service. It was an educational trip for the WILD youth to learn about healthy salmon habitat. Photo by: Tribal Liaison for the Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest Drew Slaney.
Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development (WILD) youth with the seniors of the Chinatown International District (CID) distributing the replacement air filters. InterIm CDA partnered with Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to mitigate the poor air quality in the CID. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and the International District Community Center were key partners in planning for and creating the fans, as well as our community partners InterIm, ICHS, CISC, and SCIDpda. Photo by: InterIm CDA, Community Engagement and Education Manager, Henry Liu.


InterIm’s Corner: InterIm CDA condemns new immigration rule, calls on lawmakers to oppose it too

Dear friends, family, and community,

Today, InterIm is expressing it’s opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s changes to immigration law. The change in “public charge” law will go into effect on October 15, 2019. This rule will make attaining a green card or U.S. citizenship more difficult for legal immigrants if either themselves or family members rely on public benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Section 8 rental assistance vouchers. This rule is extremely harmful to low-income immigrants and refugees, is meant to discourage new immigrants from coming to the U.S and aims to discourage current immigrant residents from using the programs they are entitled to.

Nationally, about 1.1 million Asian immigrants live in families earning under 125% of the poverty line, and over 80% of Asians and Pacific Islanders who received their green cards in 2018 came through the family-based system. The International District is 53 percent Asian Pacific Islander, 58 percent foreign-born, and 53 percent non-citizens. 65 percent of us are below the federal poverty level. This rule could harm countless neighbors in our community, and we must do everything we can to oppose it.

That is why we are glad to see leaders in our community oppose this rule change. We have seen Attorney General Ferguson join a lawsuit against the administration on this rule and Senator Murray recently spoke out against the administration. We are also encouraged by congresspeople Larson, Smith, and Jayapal for their co-sponsorship of H.B. 3222, which seeks to prevent federal funds from being used to enforce this unjust rule. Every Washingtonian should contact their congressional representative and ask them to sign on to this legislation. Additionally, if anybody believes they might be subject to this rule, we urge you to consult a qualified immigration attorney. One non-profit with many qualified attorney’s is the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and you can call their Seattle office at 206.587.4009.

This content was sponsored by InterIm CDA.

InterIm’s Corner: Our homelessness prevention programs place the client’s needs at the center

The NP Hotel in Chinatown-International District is one of InterIm CDA’s affordable housing buildings. Photo courtesy of InterIm CDA. 

ICDA believes that housing is just the first step. As a Housing and Urban Development certified housing service provider, ICDA helps approximately 4,000 unduplicated individuals each year to achieve their housing stabilization goals. As a housing provider, we have 25 secure units reserved for those at risk of homelessness. In many refugee and immigrant communities, information about services is spread by word of mouth. Because of our 50-year history working within the API and refugee and immigrant communities, ICDA is a trusted provider whose name is shared when families are in trouble. Without ICDA to fill this gap in human services, many at-risk refugee and immigrant individuals and families would not use these lifesaving services.

ICDA’s approach firmly places the client in the center. We provide holistic wrap-around services that include everything from accompanying clients to negotiate with landlords to helping parents sign their children up for school. Our extensive network of partner organizations allows our clients to address a host of needs from legal aid to job training in a linguistically and culturally responsive way. Our staff speak more than a dozen languages and come from the communities we serve, so they have a deep understanding of the challenges our clients face. Our client-centered approach has made us a requested partner to pilot innovative projects such as Housing First both with the city and county over the last 10 years.

Homeless Prevention

Research shows the quicker an individual or family moves out of homelessness, the better their long-term outcomes. We consequently prioritize permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness before attending to other needs. We believe that providing stable housing will give the most essential tool in empowering our clients.

Rapid Re-housing

Rapid rehousing helps individuals and families leave homelessness and find permanent housing through subsidies such as rental assistance and moving costs. Rapid rehousing assistance is offered without preconditions (such as employment, income, absence of a criminal record, or sobriety) and services are tailored to the unique needs of the household. Approximately 85% of ICDA’s Rapid Re-housing clients exit to permanent housing with a 0% return to homelessness.


Diversion offers one-time flexible financial assistance to help families exit homelessness. We facilitate families to identify safe housing options based on their available resources. ICDA was one of the four agencies chosen to participate in the 2014-2016 Diversion Shelter Pilot Project. In those two years, we served almost 200 with over 100 diverted with only 2% returning to homelessness that we are aware of.

This content was sponsored by InterIm CDA.

Demonstrators oppose demolition of Bush Garden building as as review board inspects its condition

Demonstrators outside Bush Garden on August 27 • Photo by Chetanya Robinson 

On August 27, members of the International Special Review District (ISRD) board inspected the outside of Bush Garden’s building to see its structural condition. Waiting for them, around 26 people held signs opposing a proposed 17-story development that, if approved, would likely lead to the building’s demolition.

Holding signs that read “History lives here” and “Stop Vibrant Greed, save the Bush Garden building,” people stood silently as representatives of developer Vibrant Cities, which owns the site — including CEO James Wong and members of the design team — showed members of the board features of the building’s exterior.

To build Jasmine, Vibrant Cities’s project, would require demolishing most or all of the Bush Garden building. The ISRD board reviews alterations to buildings and new constructions in the Chinatown International District (CID). As part of its rationale for demolishing the building, Vibrant Cities presented information to the board about the history and condition of the building.

“The rationale is based on structural lack of integrity and lack of upgrades to the building and lack of retrofit,” said Rebecca Frestedt, ISRD coordinator for the Department of Neighborhoods. “And so the board is looking at some of those conditions first-hand.”

At an ISRD meeting in May, structural engineer Bruce Zhong of DCI Engineers presented a report commissioned by Vibrant Cities that said the Bush Garden building is not stable because it was originally built as a one-story building, with the second and third floors added later. Zhong said the quality and workmanship of the building are poor even compared to other buildings of its era, and it remains a public safety hazard in the event of an earthquake. Zhong said the building would be unfeasible to retrofit to the safety requirements.

During the ISRD site visit, members of Vibrant Cities pointed out loose bricks, warping of the building, and noted that it was constructed on poor soil.

Demonstratos stood silently as representatives of developer Vibrant Cities, which owns the site — including CEO James Wong and members of the design team — showed members of the ISRD board features of the Bush Garden building’s exterior. • Photo by Chetanya Robinson 

Vibrant Cities’s rationale for demolition was criticized by Eugenia Woo of Historic Seattle, who wrote in a letter to the ISRD board that the building could be rehabilitated, as other damaged brick buildings in the Chinatown-ID and Pioneer Square were.

Karen Sakata, owner of Bush Garden restaurant and bar, was among the demonstrators. Sakata doubted the condition of the building was as bad as the design team’s analysis, and said there’s great historic value to the building. “It holds so much history, not just for the International District and not just the Japanese American community, but Seattle,” she said.

In its heyday, the restaurant was like a little village for Japanese Americans, where everything from prom nights, funerals and fundraisers were held, Sakata said. On the upper floors of the building are the remains of tiny hotel rooms, where many immigrant laborers stayed. These floors were later used by the Toyo Club, a Japanese American crime organization.

Bush Garden restaurant and bar will move to Uncle Bob’s Place, a forthcoming housing project from InterIm Community Development Association (CDA). Part of the reason Sakata wanted to move was she didn’t think a 17-story project is appropriate so close to the historic parts of the neighborhood. “I think it’s just too imposing, it’s just too intrusive,” she said.

The demonstration included members of the CID Coalition, an organization which formed around concerns about gentrification and displacement in the CID.

“Today is about sending a message to the board that the community is watching,” said Nina Wallace, a member of the CID Coalition. Wallace said the board does not listen to community feedback enough. People will often show up to ISRD meetings and ask, “Why is there no affordable housing in this building, or why are you not taking into account how this is going to impact the neighborhood and residents?” Wallace said. “Every time what the board tells us is that equity and affordability is not within their purview. So what we want to show is…this should be a concern for them, that the community wants to see equitable development, and affordable development.”

Despite its historic significance, the interior of Bush Garden is outside the purview of the ISRD board, said Frestedt. The board also has no jurisdiction over which tenants occupy the building.

After the site visit, Frestedt thanked members of the community for being engaged, and answered questions from the public about the board’s role and process. “I just don’t want them to tear down this building,” one woman said.

The board did not express comments of feedback during the site visit, saving these for the next public briefing. The board will discuss the site visit at a future public meeting, Frestedt said, but a date has not yet been set.


Connecting with Community


Come, join us to meet old and new friends for an evening of stories, games, food, and fun!
This is not a fundraiser but rather an opportunity to meet with old friends and hear stories of activism in ID.

Each table has 10 seats. Tickets can be purchased online. To buy your tickets, create an account or sign in here.

Event Details 

What: Connecting  with Community- Dinner
When: October 12, 2019; 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Where: Joyale Seafood Restaurant
900 S Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104
Ticket: $25 per person,
Registration: Create an account or sign in
For ticketing questions, email Pinky Gupta, or call 206 624 5132 x 332

We hope to see you at the event!


InterIm's Corner: WILD creates documentary film about the fear of displacement in CID among residents

By  Andrea Say

On June 27th, Interim CDA’s Wilderness Inner City Leadership Development (WILD) youth program hosted a mini-documentary screening called People vs. Profit: The Truth about Displacement. Around 45 people attended the screening, hosted at Gordon Hirabayshi Place in the Donnie Chin Community Room.

Attendees included various environmental and racial justice activists, residents of Gordon Hirabayashi Place and the Chinatown/International District (C/ID) concerned about development, youth and their families, and City Council District 2 candidate Tammy Morales.

The mini-documentary, an eight-minute film directed by youth, explores how displacement and gentrification are affecting C/ID residents, disproportionately impacting low-income Asian elders.

Attendees mingled together around the large food spread, which included dim sum donated by Joyale Seafood Restaurant. Sabrina Buparat, a recent graduate of Summit Sierra High School located in the C/ID, contextualized the mini-documentary. “We [youth at WILD] contribute to the development and safety of the Chinatown/International District. We have deep and informational discussions about problems in the community, including climate change, police brutality, and housing discrimination and how they are connected to racial and environmental justice.”

Kevin Choi, WILD member, introduced the film as the primary cinematographer and editor. He added, “We were inspired to make this documentary after learning about the history of displacement and how these new luxury developments will significantly change the culture and feel of the C/ID.”

Choi and other WILD youth referenced these developments in their speeches and in their film, which referenced Koda Condominiums. The specter of the Koda Condominium development loomed over the event, as Koda recently broke ground next door to Hirabayashi Place.

In the film, Henry Liu, community organizer at Interim CDA commented on luxury developers’ attitudes: “[The CID] is a landmark not based on the history and culture of the place, but its value in relation to the water and downtown.”

This attitude is reflected in Koda’s promotional material online, as they describe Koda’s location in the Chinatown/International District: “Just outside the windows of KODA rests the city’s waterfront: the point of entry for the area’s first settlers that residents now look back upon in aspiration. An astonishing view of this extraordinary expanse demonstrates that you’re truly in the center of it all.”

Throughout the event, a shared feeling hung in the air of trepidation and fear that the luxury developers will not change the C/ID in ways that help traditional C/ID residents: Asian elders, low-income people, and recent immigrants.

Zhu Huang, C/ID resident and elder, spoke about her fears about displacement in the film: “others are younger, work, and have money. They’re not scared if prices rise… but us elders don’t have any jobs. The government gives us hundreds monthly, but hundreds isn’t enough.”

Elders in this community lack the money and resources to have access to new market-rate developments in the C/ID like Koda condominiums, where $400,000-$600,000 is the range for a one-bedroom, which prices them out of new, affordable developments like Thai Binh, which cost $1,168 a month for a one-bedroom.

Reflecting on the event and the program, WILD participant Edgiemeh Dela Cruz stated, “Our research and mini-documentary focused on the C/ID, but displacement is more than just a neighborhood problem. Displacement of communities of color will continue as the city grows and gentrifies, but that doesn’t mean that we [young leaders] will back down. In fact, the future of anti-displacement activism in the C/ID will continue through the WILD program at Interim CDA.”

This content is sponsored by InterIm CDA.


InterIm’s Corner: InterIm CDA hosts 44th annual summer community pig roast in the Danny Woo Community Garden – July 12-13



The Danny Woo Community Garden was founded in 1975 by Uncle Bob Santos and is in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District at 620 South Main Street. What once was a barren hillside rife with weed and sticker bushes is now a 1.5-acre garden cultivated by elderly Asian immigrant residents of the neighborhood.

The garden is also home to a children’s garden, chicken coop, outdoor kitchen and fruit tree orchard, where children from preschool to high school learn seed-to-plate and environmental education. As the largest green space in the Chinatown/International District and Little Saigon area, the Danny Woo Community Garden is an essential place for the surrounding community to engage with nature, access safe and healthy food, and build cohesion with neighbors.

The pig roast

As the foundation of the Danny Woo Community Garden was being laid, Uncle Bob Santos concocted the brilliant idea to construct a roasting pit in the center of the garden. Prior to building the garden, Uncle Bob would host an annual pig roast for friends, family, and community members in his own backyard. With the new roasting pit now at the Danny Woo Community Garden, ICDA hosted their first Pig Roast on July 18th & 15th, 1975. 44 years later, the tradition lives on.

Hosted every second Friday of July, this event is truly community-centered. Gardeners, neighbors, staff and long-time community members of the CID gather around the pig to share stories and food. The event begins Friday evening when the pig is prepped and mounted onto the spit. For the next 12-15 hours, through the wee hours of the night and into Saturday morning, volunteers take shifts rotating the pig over the fire.

The 2019 Pig Roast begins Friday, July 12th at 6:00 PM. We will have delicious food donated by CID businesses and restaurants and drinks available for volunteers and guests. The community celebration commences the next day, Saturday, July 13th at 12:00 PM. This is a potluck lunch, so please bring a dish to share. Volunteers are needed for Friday’s event, overnight pig roasting, and Saturday’s community gathering.

Try your hand at turning a whole pig on a spit at this free annual community potluck that’s been going on since 1975—bring a tasty dish of your own to share.


Meet Our 2018-2019 WILD Fellows!

The WILD Fellowship was created in order to provide a culturally-responsive, experiential leadership development program for youth ages 16-18. The purpose of the program is for youth to learn more about Asian Pacific American (APA) history, process current events, and ultimately make a positive impact on the Chinatown-International District. In addition to learning how to facilitate and lead groups of peers (and elders), Fellows develop advocacy skills, learn about local APA activism and movements, plan outdoor trips, and work together on a community-based environmental justice project. Upon completion of the program, Fellows are then qualified to move on as WILD interns.

This year, the Fellows chose to help construct a retaining wall in InterIm CDA's Danny Woo Community Garden to benefit our elders who garden there. They will also be painting an art mural with an environmental justice focus for the Children’s Garden toolshed. Meet our 2019 Fellows:

An Vu is a recent graduate of Summit Sierra High School.

" I like to eat, play League of Legends and sleep. I will be studying at the University of Washington this fall with the focus of getting a degree in Bioengineering." 






Anqi Li is a sophomore at Franklin high school. She’s full Chinese and knows four Chinese dialects.

“I joined wild because I wanted to learn more about my community and what’s happening in the CID because I’ve always been in the CID (mostly because of food and drinks..., and I want to make some positive impact to our community.” 






Calvin is a recent graduate of Garfield High School.

"I like sad music, but WILD helped me be happier. I am a recent graduate of Garfield High School and will be going to University of Washinton- go Huskies!"  







Darius Wade is a Sophomore at Cleveland STEM High School. He is half Black, half Lao and Thai.  

"I joined the WILD fellowship to get a good experience with helping the community in Chinatown. I also wanted to get more information on the displacement not ONLY happening in Chinatown but in the Soufend as well. I loved the opportunities we had to further help Chinatown out." 






Edgiemeh Dela Cruz is a recent graduate of Summit Sierra. She is Filipino.

"I joined WILD because I wanted to feel more connected to a community that I was going to be in the majority of my time. In this years fellowship, the highlight is actually the times when we just have random out spurts of laughter which made us bond so much more."  







Haben Fasil is a junior at Franklin High School.  

"I am an Eritrean. I’ve been in the WILD program for two years now."








Justin Chau is at Cleveland High School. He is also known as JC.

"I am 16 years old and my birthday is Oct 7th. I hate coconuts." 







Kevin Choi is a recent graduate of Garfield High School and is Chinese.

“The WILD Fellowship has surprisingly been something I always look forward to every week. We explore real and relevant social issues, but we actually do something about it for our community. I’ll miss each and every person I’ve met here, like a lot.” 







Natalie is a recent graduate. She is at the University of Washington. 

"I was initially in the Cooking Club then I joined WILD’s Fellowship Program!"







Sabrina S. Buparat is a recent graduate of Summit Sierra High School and is Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Hmong. She takes part in teaching in a traditional Lao music and dance foundation. 

 “I joined the WILD Fellowship because I wanted to learn and contribute to my community in the Chinatown/ International District. While doing so, I learned so much more about the CID than I knew existed, and not only was I able to connect and understand more about the community, I also gained skills in leadership. 





 Zhuo Rong (Andy) Ruan Zhao, and was born in Colombia, Bogota. 

"I am a friendly person, positive energy, quiet, humble, hard-working person. "







44th Pig Roast - Danny Woo Community Garden

Join us at 44th Annual PIG ROAST in the Danny Woo Garden July 12-13, 2019

The 2019 Pig Roast begins Friday, July 12th at 6 PM. We will have delicious food donated by CID businesses and restaurants and drinks available for volunteers and guests. The community celebration commences the next day, Saturday, July 13th at 12 PM. This is a potluck lunch, so please bring a dish to share. Volunteers are needed for Friday's event, overnight pig roasting, and Saturday's community gathering.

Interested to volunteer, click on the link: