Skip to Main Content

BDA Recognizes Bellevue's Growth and History at Downtown Forward

April 26, 2022 - by Sandy Vo

BDA Recognizes Bellevue's Growth and History at Downtown Forward

Following a one-year break, the Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA) hosted Downtown Forward, a reimagined Annual Celebration, last Thursday. Over 350 business professionals and community members came together at Meydenbauer Center to celebrate the people, projects and progress shaping Downtown Bellevue. Here are some highlights from this year's event.

Community Teamwork, Resiliency & Hope

Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson

The room was lively as local band New Age Flamenco played for hundreds of guests during social hour. Dave Miniken, BDA board chair and shareholder at Sweeney Conrad, kicked off the keynote program by introducing Patrick Bannon, BDA president, to the stage.

Bannon began with an anecdote about a memorable three-legged race during his elementary school days, which taught him lessons on teamwork and collaboration. He explained that by working together, we can solve our greatest problems and reach our highest potential.

Bellevue Mayor Lynne Robinson followed Bannon's remarks and discussed the resiliency she's witnessed in Downtown the past two years. She expressed gratitude for the BDA's storytelling and community events throughout the pandemic, and re-iterated her support for upcoming programs like the BDA Study Tour to National Landing and the 'Al Fresco' expanded outdoor dining program. Following her comments, Jared Axelrod, government affairs director at Amazon, introduced Mary's Place as this year's Placemaking Award winner.

Mary's Place Accepts Award

Mary's Place's Marty Hartman accepting 2022 Placemaking Award

For the past 20 years, the BDA Placemaking Award has recognized individuals and organizations that have helped make Downtown Bellevue a more vibrant urban environment. Axelrod discussed Amazon's longtime partnership with Mary's Place, which started with a permanent shelter inside Amazon’s Seattle-based corporate headquarters. Since then, Amazon has donated over $100 million to Mary’s Place and welcomes their Bellevue location. 

Executive Director Marty Hartman graciously accepted the 2022 Placemaking Award on behalf of Mary's Place. She dedicated the award to the hundreds of families Mary's Place serves each year, their hardworking staff and the community and partners that welcomed them to Bellevue.

Keynote Presentation by Margaret O’Mara

Keynote speaker Margaret O'Mara

After the Placemaking Award presentation, Trinity Parker, senior VP and chief marketing officer Symetra, introduced keynote speaker Margaret O’Mara, the Howard & Frances Keller endowed professor of history at the University of Washington. She discussed the evolution of Bellevue and its similarities to other high-tech economies like Silicon Valley. She explained that leaders and people of this region bet on dreams. That although we don't know what will happen next, the ingredients are in place for something wonderful.

According to O'Mara, by the time we get to 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in urban cities. She said now is the time to think about the lessons and mistakes we’ve learned from our history. One thing is clear: What we do now will affect the next generation and what Bellevue will look like in the future.

Presenting partners include Amazon, Meta, Overlake Medical Center & Clinics, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle Children’s, Symetra, Sweeney Conrad, The Spring District and Vulcan Real Estate. Thank you to those who attended this year's event, we look forward to seeing you all again in 2023. 

Downtown Forward - Heart of Bellevue Video

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.