Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks (FSOP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Seattle’s unique Olmsted landscape heritage and raising awareness of the Olmsted philosophy of providing open space for all people.
What we do
FSOP hosts programs and creates educational materials to expand public knowledge of and appreciation for the extensive Olmsted legacy in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle’s parks and boulevards system, the University of Washington campus, the Washington state capitol grounds, and many residential subdivisions and private estates.
FSOP also works closely with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation and other public agencies to provide independent review of projects in the city’s Olmsted system of parks and boulevards. FSOP helps ensure that proposed changes are consistent with the designs developed by the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects firm for the individual parks and boulevards. FSOP also reviews projects to better preserve or enhance the role and character of the park or boulevard within the overall system as planned by John Charles Olmsted for the City of Seattle between 1903 and 1912.
Who we are
The FSOP board is composed of citizens with expertise in landscape architecture, history, horticulture, arboriculture, business management, and marketing. Several past and current board members are involved in the preservation and revitalization of individual Olmsted-influenced landscapes in addition to their participation in FSOP’s work.
Our meetings are held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation headquarters in Denny Park. The public is welcome to attend.
statement on race and social justice
The Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks acknowledges that all of the Seattle’s parks and boulevards are on the traditional lands and on the adjacent waters of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Duwamish Tribe.
Our work adheres to the following principles in undertaking its mission “to preserve Seattle’s unique Olmsted landscape heritage and raise awareness of the Olmsted philosophy of providing open space for all people”:
- Commitment to the Historical and Contemporary Significance of Seattle’s Olmsted Legacy
- Commitment to the Value of Seattle’s Genius of Place
- Commitment to the Value of Natural Spaces
- Commitment to the Principle of Access for All
Seattle’s system of interconnected parks and boulevards was designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architectural firm in the first decade of the 20th century at the request of Seattle’s Board of Park Commissioners. The series of plans prepared and submitted by the Olmsted Brothers sought to take advantage of Seattle’s “genius of place,” namely its scenic beauty and unique locations throughout the area that constituted the boundaries of the city at that time. Equally as important, the Olmsteds strived to implement Frederick Olmsted Sr.’s belief that a city park should provide “the prospect of coming together, all classes largely represented,” with “each individual adding by his mere presence to the pleasure of all others.” The senior Olmsted had hoped, as did his sons, that an egalitarian society would be made more robust through common use of these public spaces.
The Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks will honor these intentions while we evaluate our principles and practices and in doing so we will include all people and foster respect, trust, and understanding in our engagements with Seattle’s diverse communities.
FSOP Board Members
Douglas Luetjen, President
Attorney; National Association of Olmsted Parks (NAOP), Trustee
Jenifer Rees, Past President Landscape Architect, Artist
Annie Vasquez, Treasurer Marketing, Seattle Public Library
Retired Parks Employee
Strategist, Seattle Public Library
Liza Ewell Communications and Content Development Specialist
Donald Harris, Vice-President Retired Seattle Parks and Recreation, Manager; National Association for Olmsted Parks Former Trustee
Sarah Whitney, Secretary Horticulturist, Environmental Analyst
Horticulturist/ Certified Arborist
Laura Marie Rivera
Actor, Artist, Educator
Shauna Wilson Consultant, Creative Programs and Community Engagement
Designer/Planner, Olmsted Researcher
Open Space Advocates, Friends of Frink Park
Designer/Planner, Olmsted Researcher
King County Landmark Coordinator
Tree Advocate; Master Gardener
UW Special Collections; Founding FSOP Board Member
Past Member Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board