Meet the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative Leadership Committee!

In early spring, six neighborhood advocates were nominated and confirmed to join the first Leadership Committee for the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative. This vibrant group of renters come to their new roles with a diverse range of interests and lived experiences and share a united vision for creating a more sustainable and affordable Capitol Hill. Throughout the next year these leaders will provide guidance and strategic direction for CHRI advocacy, shaping our outreach efforts while affirming CHRI’s commitment to elevating the voice of renters’ in Capitol Hill.

As they grow into their role, this group of dedicated renter leaders will play a vital part in advocating for the vision, goals, and future of the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative, help us welcome them into their new roles!

Learn more about each of our new renter leaders:

Ryan (Jonesy) Jones

My name is Ryan Jones (Jonesy) and I have been living in Seattle just shy of two and a half years in the same Capitol Hill apartment.  Living in a micro-apartment has inspired me to better understand the issues surrounding this type of housing as well as other issues related to housing in Seattle.  I really believe in the work that CHRI does and I would be pleased to assist with the strategic direction of CHRI as well as work on some of its specific projects and efforts.  I have always been interested in environmental issues and I view housing, transportation, and planning as being integral to the ecological and social well-being of communities.

Austin Valeske

I’m a software engineer with Socrata, a civic tech company where we help government make data driven decisions and open data to the public. I spend the rest of my time fighting for transit justice, housing affordability, inclusive zoning, and racial justice by organizing with the Capitol Hill Renter’s Initiative, Seattle Tech Solidarity, and the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Action Coalition. Increasing density, access to opportunity, and access to transit is a fundamental piece of fighting climate change and reducing inequity in our city.

Myra Lara

I’m an architectural designer by day and cartoonist by night. I moved to Seattle in 2010 for the sole purpose of living sustainably, growing creatively, and fighting “the man” among like-minded people. My current priorities are housing affordability for all peoples (especially new multifamily affordable housing and re-legalizing the “missing middle” in single family zones), racial justice (learning about, acknowledging our complicity, and actively fixing our segregated cities – to especially have women of color as urban leaders), mass transit and neighborhood connectivity. I live on the hill because I live car-less, bike-full, and thrive on art, living near friends, and weirdness. I’ve been living in this neighborhood since 2010.

Zach Lubarsky

I’m Zach, a ~3-month Capitol Hill/First Hill resident. I lived in Belltown for 3 years, and New York State before that. I’m interested in zoning and how that interacts with community building and affordability. I’d love to give renters a bigger ear to our city wide and district politicians, city, county, and, state.

Noelle Symanski

As a Capitol Hill renter, I feel committed to the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative’s goal of addressing affordability and mobility challenges. Capitol Hill is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood, and I wish to support my community members in building a coalition that gives voice to renters from all backgrounds. I am particularly passionate about recruiting and affirming involvement of Capitol Hill residents that are not traditionally represented in neighborhood groups or state and local government processes.

 Andy Katz

After watching Capitol Hill grow and change over the eight years I’ve rented here, I now have the time to engage more actively with our community and to advocate on behalf of the renters who comprise the majority of Capitol Hill residents, including the most vulnerable and marginalized.  I’m most passionate about affordable housing and transit advocacy, and I’m excited to deepen my understanding of inclusionary land use initiatives like MHA upzones so we can build the best, most affordable, and most equitable Seattle possible.  If time and energy permit, I’d also like to explore connecting our renter livability work group with city and county efforts to address the homelessness and opioid addiction crisis, e.g. by creating supervised consumption sites.  I’m excited about the opportunity to meet and serve alongside my Capitol Hill neighbors.

Thank you to our renter leaders for your dedication and service to the community!

As we grow into 2017, it’s important for the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative to reflect the diverse interests of renters in Capitol Hill. This includes building a leadership structure that reflects the diversity of the neighborhood. We reserved at least one spot on the Leadership Committee for a renter living in subsidized affordable housing. We are also open to expanding membership to include diverse and intersectional perspectives. We encourage folks from all identities including people of color, and LGBTQ people, women, and renters from all ages and abilities to talk to us about joining the Leadership Committee. No need for previous experience, just an interest in taking on a leadership role and passion for renter advocacy. Contact for more details or if you have questions.