Uncle Bob outside InterIm 2

Remembering Uncle Bob

Statement: Remembering Uncle Bob

Uncle Bob outside InterIm 2

Our beloved Uncle Bob passed away on Saturday, August 27, 2016, a very sad day for all.  Uncle Bob’s passing is a profound tragedy and loss for the Chinatown-International District and the community that he loved. Our hearts go out to Uncle Bob’s wife, Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, and his loving family.

For us, the InterIm CDA family, this loss leaves a void that can never be filled. Our hearts will ache for Uncle Bob every day and every minute. We will miss him dropping by the office, sitting at his desk, giving us his warm, reassuring hug, and making us laugh with his corny jokes. Whether things were good or bad, Uncle Bob had our backs, no matter the situation.

It’s hard to believe we will never see Uncle Bob again.  He loved InterIm CDA. It was his life, and he loved us all dearly.

We will now need to proceed on our journey for civil rights and social justice without his physical presence, but we know he will always be walking side by side with us.  We will feel his presence as family, every step of the way. Uncle Bob was our beacon of hope, our mentor, and our guide.

Nearly 50 years ago, InterIm CDA was founded to preserve the Chinatown International District, especially on behalf of its low income, elderly, Asian and Pacific Islander pioneers who built the neighborhood.  That the Chinatown International District remains intact as an ethnic neighborhood, and a home for low income elderly and families, immigrants and refugees, is a testament to Uncle Bob’s vision and effectiveness as an activist, organizer, and mentor.  He was a fierce and tireless advocate for the Chinatown International District until the end, and he inspired countless others to join in the struggle.

Uncle Bob, along with lifelong friends and comrades, Roberto Maestas, Larry Gossett, and Bernie Whitebear, known as the Gang of Four, forged a path toward justice for people of color in Seattle.  We will now need to carry his legacy forward and continue to carry his beloved InterIm CDA on our shoulders.

 The days ahead for all of us at InterIm CDA will be very emotionally difficult. Each of us has lost a part of ourselves that can never be replaced.  As the InterIm CDA family, we come together to honor and remember Uncle Bob, and commit ourselves with strengthened resolve, to uphold his legacy and everything he stood  for. Social justice. Racial justice.  Fairness. Economic justice.  Activism.  API organizing. Immigrant and refugee empowerment. Community.

In the spirit and forever memory of Uncle Bob, InterIm CDA remains strong.  We seek strength in his loss as we know he would want us to do.  Long live the Chinatown International District.  Long live social justice.  Long live the legacy of Uncle Bob.  Uncle Bob Santos is forever in our hearts.



InterIm CDA Launches "Voices of the CID"

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2016
Contact: Jill Wasberg, jwasberg@interimicda.org, 206-624-1802, x31

InterIm CDA Launches Voices of the CID Today

Seattle – InterIm Community Development Association kicks off a social media series today that highlights with pictures and short narratives life in Chinatown-International District (CID) in Seattle, WA.

The series is called “Voices of the CID”. It can be followed on InterIm CDAs Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages:

Each week moving forward through May, InterIm CDA will feature photos and corresponding interview excerpts from community members who live and/or work in the CID. The series brings attention to one of Seattle’s most historically ethnically diverse and low-income neighborhoods in order to demonstrate the daily experience of being a member of this community.
The communications campaign seeks to capture through individual interviews an overall narrative that shows the compassion of those who care deeply about preserving quality of life here. It will emphasize the value of maintaining affordable housing, public safety, a strong business district and a healthy environment in which to live, work and socialize.
Coordinating Voices of the CID on behalf of InterIm CDA are Derek Ishihara and Valerie Tran, both InterIm CDA staff members. For more information, contact Jill Wasberg, Resource Development and Marketing Manager, at InterIm CDA.
More about InterIm CDA:

InterIm CDA is a community-based nonprofit, with a 45-year history providing planning, advocacy, social services, affordable housing, a community garden, and environmental justice programs. InterIm CDA promotes policies and facilitates projects that bring together business leaders, property owners, residents and nonprofits to improve livability, health and sustainability of the CID.


Voices of CID Press Release 2.16.16


Danny Woo Community Garden Exhibit: Seeds of Change, Roots of Power

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2016
Jill Wasberg, InterIm CDA: jwasberg@interimicda.org; 206.624.1802 ext. 31
Tiffanie Lam, Wing Luke Museum: pr@wingluke.org; 206.623.5124 ext. 119

Wing Luke Museum Celebrates 40 Years of the Danny Woo Community Garden with Exhibit: Seeds of Change, Roots of Power

Seattle – InterIm Community Development Association (CDA) and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience will present a new exhibit in The Wing that showcases four decades of the positive impact of the Danny Woo Community Garden in Chinatown-International District in Seattle. The exhibit opens on Thursday, March 3, 2016, with a free reception open to the public as part of First Thursday.

The Danny Woo Community Garden created in 1975 by community activists and volunteers in an effort led by InterIm CDA is 1.5 acres of green space that sits between Interstate 5 and South Main Street in Chinatown-ID. For 41 years, it has provided 88 garden plots for low income, elderly Asian and Pacific Islander (API) and other immigrants and refugees. The garden is a source of food security, socialization, exercise and vegetables that reflect cultural and traditional API foods of choice: bok choy, bittermelon, daikon, watercress, perilla leaves, mugwort, Asian eggplants, Chinese bellflower, Chinese pears and more. The garden also contains 61 fruit trees and 15 chickens who eggs benefit the gardeners.

The Wing exhibit, Seeds of Change, Roots of Power, will tell the strong social justice and activist story behind those who helped make the garden possible at a crucial time in preserving the character and livability of Chinatown-ID in the 1970s. The construction of Interstate 5 had cut the neighborhood in half, threatened air quality, and created noise pollution. The construction of the Kingdome was also going to negatively impact the neighborhood’s residents by driving up cost of living and creating a more industrial setting.

At this time, health, housing, and other social service resources specifically targeted for Asian and Pacific Islanders were scarce. Local business and community leaders formed InterIm CDA to address this need. Let by Uncle Bob Santos in the late sixties and seventies, InterIm CDA created and preserved affordable housing, health clinics and other resources to help this predominantly low-income immigrant and refugee neighborhood, including the Danny Woo Community Garden.
The garden provided a much needed place for elders work in, to plant the foods they missed from their native countries, and to provide social connections, recreation and exercise for the aging immigrant residents.

InterIm CDA led activists and organizations in negotiating with local landowner and community leader Danny Woo to acquire his property on sloping open space in the north side of Chinatown-ID and convert it into a useful, functional space for the residents in the neighborhood. The original idea for the garden as well as the design came from, Diana Bower, a local architect and urban planner who served as a liaison between city departments and the ID, and Darlyn DelBoca, who helped start Seattle’s P-Patch program and who become the Danny Woo Garden’s first manager. Santos recruited staff and volunteers to plan and build the garden, terrace the slope, haul the lumber, till the soil, and plant the first seeds. As they did this, the community came together and broke down racial, ethnic, and generational barriers.
Santos recalls the day he negotiated the deal to acquire the land: “Danny and Wilma Woo owned the Quong Tuck Restaurant and Lounge, which was becoming the hangout for the InterIm staff and local community activists. One day I asked Danny Woo for permission to build a garden for the Asian elders on his property above Main Street. But as a nonprofit agency, I told him InterIm could only afford $1 a year for rent. I also asked him, ‘Oh, and by the way, could we have a long-term lease?’ Well, Danny said yes to the dollar, but no to the long-term lease. That was in 1975, and InterIm is still operating the garden.”

The Danny Woo Community Garden celebrates its 41st anniversary this year at the annual two-day community pig roast on July 15-16.
Seeds of Change, Roots of Power officially opens at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience on March 3, 2016, and it will run through January of 2017. The exhibit will feature video interviews with gardeners, photography, a plant identification guide, and a walking tour map so that visitors can walk to the garden, located four blocks from the museum. The reception opens at 6:00 PM. The speaking program begins at 6:30 PM. There will be light refreshments. Entry is free.
For more information on the garden and to learn how to support its operations by becoming a Friend of the Danny Woo Community Garden, contact Jill Wasberg at InterIm CDA. For more information on the exhibit and the Wing Luke Museum, contact Tiffanie Lam.

Garden and neighborhood statistics:

  • Number of plots and gardeners: 100 plots and 70 gardeners (approximately)
  • Ethnicities represented in the garden: Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Mexican, European-American (Caucasian)
  • Number of volunteers: 180-300 volunteers a year
  • Number of youth/children pernyear who participate in educational programming: 125
  • Number of visitors per year: 5,000 (approximately)
  • Number of people who live in Chinatown-ID: 3,500
  • Percentage of residents over 55 years of age: 42%
  • Percentage of elders who live on incomes below $6,000/year: 75%
  • Percentage of residents in Chinatown-ID who speak little to no English: Over 50%

More about InterIm CDA: InterIm CDA is a community-based nonprofit, with a 45-year history providing planning, advocacy, social services, affordable housing, a community garden, and environmental justice programs. InterIm CDA promotes policies and facilitates projects that bring together business leaders, property owners, residents and nonprofits to improve livability, health and sustainability of the CID.

Press Release - Seeds of Change Roots of Power 2.16.16

sylvias spinach

Katherine Pryor | Sylvia's Spinach Book Reading

Katherine Pryor will be joining us in the Danny Woo Community Garden during our children's summer camp on Tuesday, July 28 to read Sylvia's Spinach.

Katherine is a Seattle-based good food advocate and author extraordinaire. Her first children’s book, Sylvia’s Spinach, illustrates the “joy of growing food from the ground up and the pleasure of trying something new.” Her second book, Zora’s Zucchini, will be released August 11!

For more contact info@interimicda.orgsylvias spinach


Press Release - Chinatown International District Receives National Funds


June 11, 2015

Partners in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District receive national grant award for health and housing innovation

A community-based effort led by InterIm Community Development Association (InterIm CDA), Public Health - Seattle & King County, and Swedish was awarded a national grant designed to support community collaborations to give everyone a fair chance to be healthy. The national BUILD Health Challenge grant will fund efforts to develop and deepen bonds and working relationships among neighborhood-based partners, the health care sector and local public health. The $75,000 grant will bring partners together to focus on the underlying conditions that impact health in the Seattle neighborhood of Chinatown/International District.

The Chinatown-International District project is one of 18 awardees from across the nation announced June 9, 2015. BUILD Health is funded by The Advisory Board Company, the de Beaumont Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Awarded projects were recognized on the strengths of their “Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven” approaches to address the social and environmental factors that have the greatest impact on health.

“This is the first time our partners have come together with a common goal of specifically focusing on improving health in Chinatown-International District based on the BUILD Health pillars,” said Andrea Akita, Executive Director of InterIm CDA.  “We want Chinatown/International District to remain the heart of the regional Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.  Our local and national partners all share the same goals.  We know that health is improved when community members come together and create solutions in their neighborhoods for safer streets, active parks and open space, access to fresh food, and affordable housing. The effects of creating a healthier community here will ripple outward to support a culture of health in other areas.”

“I’m proud of this national recognition for King County’s commitment to promoting health in the International District,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Successful partnerships tackle underlying causes, and that’s precisely why the Interim CDA’s efforts were singled out.”

The Chinatown-International District is currently home to about 3,500 people and is celebrated as the historic and cultural hub for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the first American home for successive waves of immigrants since Seattle’s founding. There are more than 500 businesses employing over 8,000 people. At the same time, more of its residents are living in poverty and have poor health conditions than in other neighborhoods in Seattle. Thirty-four percent of residents live at or below the poverty level; many are low-income seniors (25% are over 65 and 42% are over 55).  More young families have recently moved into the neighborhood; the number of children under age five has increased 64% since 2010.

The BUILD Health funding identifies local solutions that focus on housing, transportation, public safety and healthy food to address high rates of respiratory illnesses, heart disease, diabetes, and smoking seen in neighborhoods like Chinatown-International District.

“We are excited for this opportunity to work with our partners in moving community development forward in the Chinatown-International District.  This collaboration will bring residents, businesses, and stakeholders together to foster a shared responsibility for a healthier quality of life for our community,” said Maiko Winkler-Chin; Executive Director of Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda).

“Since our founding, Swedish has been resolved to improve the health of the region beyond traditional patient care. This translates into our commitment to charity care, research, community health and education,” said Tom Gibbon, Manager of Community Health Programs at Swedish. “Through this collaboration, we hope to apply strategies that have proven effective with other Swedish community programs and will work with our local partners to bring together clinical care, public health and community services in a coherent strategy to help meet community needs.”

“The opportunity to plan effectively for improving the community conditions that affect health answers a growing need. We will continue to support these efforts as they get underway,” said Doris Koo, lead consultant for Yesler Community Collaborative.

The full list of collaborative partners includes: InterIm CDA; Swedish; Public Health – Seattle & King County; Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda); Friends of Little Saigon; Vietnamese Friendship Association; International Community Health Services (ICHS); and Yesler Community Collaborative (YCC).

Together, partner organizations will convene agencies across service systems; engage residents, property owners and businesses; improve health and wellbeing by addressing the barriers faced by immigrants from many places living in the same area; collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data; and measure and evaluate progress.

The BUILD Health Challenge was founded to encourage community partnerships among local non-profit organizations, hospitals and health systems, and health departments to improve the health and well-being of their residents.

Jill Wasberg, InterIm CDA, 206-624-1802 ext. 31
Sharon Bogan, Public Health - Seattle & King County 206-263-8770


Download: Press Release - Chinatown International District Receives National Funds

FLYER529 tea1 UP (1)

Join Us: A Conversation with Gang of Four Member Bob Santos and others

FLYER529 tea1 UP (1)

Join us on Friday, May 29 at the Nagomi Tea House (519 Sixth Ave South Seattle,WA 98104) for an intimate conversation with "Uncle" Bob Santos and others about the "Gang of Four"!  It's free admission, some parking is available, and autographed book will be for sale at the event.

If you are interested in purchasing the book prior to the event please click here  or go in person to Chin Music Press' store in Pike Market during store hours.

Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle in the Uwajimaya Village and the Wing Luke Asian Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Gift Shop will have books in stock available soon.

Garden Club Bilingual Flyer

After School Garden Club

Have children ages 5-10 years old and want to introduce them to planting, chicken care, cooking healthy foods?

Join the After School Garden Club!

These free classes are from April 24- May 9 every Friday 4-5 p.m in the Danny Woo Community Garden.

Contact Katie at kamrhein@interimicda.org or call 206-624-1802 x 29

Garden Club Bilingual Flyer


2015 Growing Communities Awardee Announcement

Honoring the Ing Family: 2015 Bob Santos Leadership in Sustainability Award Recipient

The Bob Santos Leadership in Sustainability Award is presented to an organization or individual whose "leadership in sustainability has had a positive impact on communities of color by promoting affordable housing, equity, environmental justice and cultural continuity."

InterIm Community Development Association is proud to present the 2015 Bob Santos Leadership in Sustainability Award to Joey Ing, in honor of the Ing Family – Joey, Joel and posthumously, Vera. The Ing family has contributed to lasting change through their gifts of time and talents, through their leadership, mentoring and support of community leaders across many generations.

 The award has been given in the past to Doris Koo, Martha Choe, Norman Rice, and Sue Taoka. This 2015 award will be presented to Joey Ing at InterIm CDA’s Gala on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront, 2100 Alaska Way, Seattle. Reception starts at 5:30 PM with dinner at 7:00 PM.


It was the summer of 1959 when Vera Chan attended a friend’s wedding and was introduced to Joey Ing, a young architecture student from Hawaii.  Joey asked Vera out.  She said yes.  One year later, they were married, a fifty-three year love affair that lasted until Vera passed away last year.  In the 1960s, while Joey began to establish his career as one of the city’s creative architects, Vera’s world centered around raising a family.  In a relatively short period of time, Vera gave birth to three children--JaDeane, Joel, and Jeffrey.

In the 1970s, when the Ing children were old enough to go to school, Vera decided to go to school as well.  She was about a generation older than most of her fellow students but this didn’t stop her from earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in urban planning.  In fact, she was inspired by the student activists who attended school during the day and brought back their expertise to preserve and revitalize the International District--to fight for better housing, social services, arts and culture, street improvements, and restoration of historic buildings.  With her background in urban planning and her affinity for the neighborhood of her childhood, Vera wanted to use her skills in the overall effort to preserve the International District.

During what she described as the “golden era of Asian activism” from the 1970s through the mid 1980s, Vera became engaged in the preservation on the International District.  She joined the board of Inter-Im where she served alongside such community leaders as Tomio Moriguchi, Ben Woo, Shigeko Uno, and Dolores Sibonga to support the leadership of “Uncle Bob” Santos and his young dedicated staff.  Eventually Vera would serve as Board President during a highly productive time for Inter-Im when demonstration projects such as a mental counseling project, a community clinic, a day-care project, a tenant services project, and a community pea patch program would lead to establishment of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, International Community Health Services, the Denise Louie Education Center, the International District Housing Alliance, and the Danny Woo Community Garden.

During these formative years, Joey’s career flourished.  He became the “go-to-guy” for restaurant design and layout, earning praise and popularity for such eating establishments as the iconic Thirteen Coins, Louie’s Cuisine of China, and Anthony’s Restaurants.  But Joey was a community activist in his own right.  He was a charter member of the International District/Chinatown Special District Review Board.  He designed the International District’s Children’s Park.  And according to Uncle Bob (in his book Hum Bows Not Hot Dogs), it was Joey who developed the layout for the original International District Community Health Clinic on Maynard Avenue.

Vera and Joey were quite a pair.  They were involved in a myriad of community causes and efforts that went beyond the API Community.  Vera served as President of the Mount Baker Community Club, President of the Seattle International District Rotary Club, chaired the Bumbershoot Festival Advisory Committee, and served on the boards of the North Seattle Community College Foundation, United Way, and the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority.  Joey served as President of the South Seattle Community College Foundation and President of the Architects, Engineers Legislative Council.  Joey also served on the Governor’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Advisory Committee, the Architectural Review Board for the City of Redmond, and various historic building review boards.

Together, they created scholarships for students at North (Vera) and South (Joey) Seattle Community Colleges.  Together, they were generous supporters of the arts, longtime contributors to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.  They donated rehearsal space for APA-themed Repertory Actors Theater.  Joey and Vera were honored in 2011 as Joint Distinguished Alumni, Multicultural Alumni Program, University of Washington “honored for their work on committees, boards, and offices of virtually every non-profit agency in the International District.  As an architect, Joey mentors UW architecture students and in recent years, the couple has been active in multicultural theater groups that stem from the UW School of Drama.”  In 2011, Joey and Vera were also honored jointly with the Leadership Award by the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation.

The Ing house was a hangout for fundraisers, get-togethers, and political dinners where Vera and her fellow political conspirators such as Ruth Woo and Dolores Sibonga would plot, strategize, and devise ways to get favorite candidates elected.  Joey played host.  Seafair parties were legendary for networking and schmoozing.  It was in this environment that exposed the Ing children to the social and political activism of their parents.

And now continuing this legacy of community activism is Joey and Vera’s son, Joel.  Joel is a Managing Director of Shelter Resources, Inc., a real estate development company that constructs and redevelops multi-family affordable housing throughout the northwest. Like his mother, Joel also served as Board President for Interim CDA during a crucial time in its development.  As Board President, Joel shepherded the successful merger of InterIm CDA and the International District Housing Alliance.  His background in real estate, finance, and asset management provided much needed expertise in overseeing such Interim CDA projects as Samaki Commons and Nihonmachi Terrace.

Like his parents, Joel’s civic activism goes far beyond the International District.  Joel is a past Board President, board member, and Executive Committee Member of the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF.)   Like his parents, Joel was honored in 2013 with the (now called) Kip Tokuda Leadership Award by ACLF for “outstanding contributions to ACLF and to the community.”  He currently serves on the boards of the Washington State Public Stadium Authority and King County Housing Development Consortium.

And beyond Joel, Joey has four grandchildren who are the hope of tomorrow’s generation--Trevor, Justine, Connor, and Carlyn.

Help us receive a grant through Seeds of Change!

With Spring having just arrived, garden activity has been increasing. The apple and pear trees have bloomed and gardeners already have lovely plants growing. Children’s garden classes have begun!

As you may know, the garden is in need of funding. You can help! We are applying for a grant through Seeds of Change, a leading producer of certified organic seeds. In order to move forward in the selection process, we need to have popular votes. By voting every day during the voting period, you increase our likelihood of being selected to receive up to $20,000 in funding. Please visit the Seeds of Change Facebook page at www.facebook.com/seedsofchange or www.seedsofchangegrant.com and vote once per day from April 2 to April 20. Once voting closes, the 50 organizations with the most votes will move on to the final judging phase. Please spread the word and have friends, family, and anyone who cares about the garden vote!

If you feel like getting your hands dirty or working with children in the garden, we would love your help through volunteer work. We are always on the lookout for Children’s Garden Volunteers. Our classes are scheduled as follows.

  • Mondays March 30-April 27 from 12:45-3:45PM- Denise Louie Education Center class 1
  • Tuesdays April 21-May 12 from 8:15-11AM- Denise Louie Education Center class 2
  • Wednesdays April 8-May 27 from 2:30-5:30PM- Bailey Gatzert Elementary After School Program
  • Thursdays April 23-May 28 from 4-6PM- Chinese Information Service Center
  • Fridays April 24-May 29 from 3:30-5:30PM- Nihonmachi Terrace Apts

We also have a need for volunteers to help with pruning, mulching, trash pick up, chicken coop cleaning, and general garden maintenance. Any certified arborists out there who are willing to donate their time? We would love to connect! We have regularly scheduled volunteer days on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

  • Tuesdays- April 14-June 2 from 9:30-12:30, 1:30-4:30
  • Thursdays- April 9-June 4 from 1-4PM
  • Saturdays- every 3rd Saturday of the month from 10AM-2PM

To get involved by volunteering, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Lauren Wong, at lwong@interimicda.org.

Also in exciting news, check out the Sierra Club Magazine March/ April issue which features an article about sustainable food growing and includes photos of the garden and our beloved friend and previous garden manager, Jonathan Chen.



Chinatown-International District 2015 Kick Off!

 Please join us for the 2015 Chinatown-ID Kick Off at Nagomi Tea House!

Come celebrate our neighborhood's accomplishments, identify needs and opportunities while enjoying some complimentary refreshments and appetizers!

Thursday, January 22

4:30 - 8 p.m.

Nagomi Tea House (519 6th Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98104)