Hello Again, Bellevue: 4 Ways Downtown Bellevue Celebrates Diversity
September 20, 2021 - by Sandy Vo
Category What's Happening
4 Ways Downtown Bellevue Celebrates Diversity
“Bellevue Welcomes the World. Our Diversity is Our Strength."
- City of Bellevue
Downtown Bellevue is not defined by one single trait. Over the past several decades, the city has grown from a quiet suburban community into a dynamic, international and multicultural urban center. See how Bellevue continues to present itself as the forefront of growth, change and accessibility.
1. A Diverse Community
The City of Bellevue is continuing to improve their diversity vision starting with the adoption of Bellevue’s Diversity Advantage Plan in 2014. This strategy was fueled by the determination to design a city that would grow together as culturally competent and promote inclusion, opportunity, equity and many other values.
With over 39% of the population having been born in a foreign country (as of 2017), Bellevue is culturally diverse with nearly 50% of its population being of a non-white race or ethnicity and 43% speaking a language other than English at home.
To continue advancing equity in Downtown Bellevue and build trust and awareness across the city’s diverse population, the City Council approved the Bellevue Centers Communities of Color Initiative on Jan. 19, 2021. The three-year plan includes a three-tiered approach: develop trust through dialogue, build racial literacy skills through education and training, and co-create recommendations for action.
The City of Bellevue has implemented many other programs to continue strengthening the diversity of Bellevue like Eastside Welcoming Week which includes events like Cultural Conversations: Belonging in the Garden and Bellwether Art + Experience. Other initiatives include Hate Has No Home Here, a community action to help fight racism and My Story Project which featured city staff sharing the immigrant or migrant story of their family’s journey to the Heart of Bellevue.
With these steps taken, Downtown Bellevue will continue to create a place that welcomes everyone.
2. Variety of Mobility Options
Downtown Bellevue pushes to be a place that creates local and regional access for businesses and neighborhoods by offering safe, reliable and predictable mobility options. This includes many different transportation choices like walking, biking, transit and car to take people where they need to go.
One of the many ongoing projects to help connect Bellevue to other diverse communities is the East Link Light rail. Beginning in 2023, East Link will extend 14 miles from Downtown Seattle to Redmond, South Bellevue, Downtown Bellevue and Overlake. This is one of the many options to allow nearby communities to access Bellevue.
The Eastrail is also a huge project that will connect Bellevue to the Eastside with a 42-mile multi-use trail. This will create a high-quality pedestrian and bicycle traill and will preserve its potential for additional transportation and utility use. Allowing full access into the city keeps Bellevue moving forward and creates a more diverse culture overall.
3. Diverse Beauty in the Heart of Bellevue
Downtown Bellevue features many different types of parks and open spaces available to everyone. Situate yourself at Meydenbauer Bay Park, Bellevue’s newest beach park which includes an assortment of activities including a viewing terrace, hillside woodland, outdoor classroom, play area, beach house, pedestrian pier, ravine and more.
There is no denying that the city core makes up a huge part of Downtown. It's a vibrant metropolitan center with gleaming skyscrapers, inviting shops and diverse cultural attractions. You can find a variety of retailers, restaurants and other services that aim to create a welcoming environment for anyone that walks through their door. Regardless of what you’re seeking, Downtown Bellevue is guaranteed to offer a little bit of everything.
4. Events for Everyone
Downtown Bellevue hosts a diverse lineup of events throughout the year. For those who enjoy live music, the Bellevue Jazz & Blues Music Series runs from Oct. 6-10, showcasing 20+ live shows across the city. If you love recreational adventures, REI Co-op offers kayak and paddleboard classes taught by experts for those who love the outdoors. The Bellevue Farmers Market runs from spring through fall, supporting several local farmers and businesses.
Image courtesy of: Eastrail Partners, City of Bellevue,Manfred Seidler Courtesy of Visit Bellevue
Data sources: City of Bellevue
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.