By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The executive director of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) is joining the Bruce Harrell administration.
Maiko Winkler-Chin, who has served as executive director for more than 12 years, has been appointed as Director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Housing, contingent on City Council confirmation.
“As the City considers major infrastructure projects, of which several are in [the Seattle Chinatown-International District] neighborhood, what is the role of housing and community development for this neighborhood? I approach the work from a neighborhood-level perspective, which may be unique,” Winkler-Chin told the Northwest Asian Weekly.
A news release from the mayor’s office stated that Winkler-Chin will be charged with leading the office at a time of rapid change, as it receives significant resources for building and maintaining housing and provides rental assistance and support for tenants and small landlords.
Harrell said, “Maiko wouldn’t be willing to leave her job of nearly two decades if we didn’t have a real opportunity to make positive change for our City at this unprecedented moment. I’m so excited to see her proven leadership in action—advancing major investments, improving office processes, and bringing an innovative approach and a culturally-adept lens to make Seattle’s Office of Housing a national leader.”
Winkler-Chin will be a cabinet member involved with capital projects and planning.
“I’ve spent 17 years working in this neighborhood on community development, which means I understand the importance of housing on small business, public spaces, community spaces, and having a healthy community,” she said.
“Maiko’s extensive background in affordable housing and community development has been integral to the strength of the SCIDpda and its work in the Chinatown-International District (CID),” said Mindy Au, president of the SCIDpda Board. “While her presence at SCIDpda will be missed, we are excited to see her strong leadership experience and knowledge of our communities applied to affordable housing across the city.”
Winkler-Chin will start her new job in early March.
“I have a unique perspective and lived experience as the child of a first generation, non-English speaking immigrant, who married into a family that has been involved in [the CID] for three generations.”
She set the course for SCIDpda to create 426 units of affordable housing across two real estate development projects in the area. Winkler-Chin has served as SCIDpda’s executive director since 2009, and prior to that role, she served as SCIDpda’s Director of Housing and Facilities. She has worked at the SCIDpda for over 17 years.
“It has been an honor to work with the dedicated staff at the SCIDpda,” said Winkler-Chin. “I thank the board of directors for giving me the opportunity to serve our beloved neighborhood.”
Winkler-Chin was also a recipient of the 2020 Women of Valor Award from Sen. Maria Cantwell, and was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Seattle” by Seattle Met in 2021.
Additionally, she was a founding member of Puget Sound Regional Council’s HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Equity Network, and currently serves on the board of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle King County.
Ruth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.