bellevue comprehensive plan 2044

Bellevue, WA / 2023


Seva Workshop prepared a Racially Disparate Impacts report that evaluated Bellevue’s housing policies and regulations. The report identified and analyzed policies and regulations that result in disparate impacts, displacement, or exclusion of particular racial or economic groups. Seva also authored the housing chapter for the City’s environmental review.

We developed performance metrics to screen current conditions and future alternatives for their advancement of or hinderance to racial equity and displacement. This provided a cohesive evaluation framework for equity for other technical experts contributing to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that accompanies the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The EIS identifies and analyzes potential unavoidable or adverse impacts and mitigations measures that could result from the 2024 updates to the Comprehensive Plan.

The updated Comprehensive Plan will guide Bellevue’s growth and development through 2044.


Washington State recently made changes to the housing element of the Growth Management Act (GMA). The changes move from language that encouraged affordable housing to language that requires Bellevue and other jurisdictions planning under GMA to plan for and accommodate affordable housing, with specific requirements for identifying sufficient land capacity for moderate, low, very low, and extremely low income households.

The changes also require jurisdictions to identify housing policies and regulations that result in racially disparate impacts, displacement, or exclusion and start the work of undoing those impacts.

The purpose of Seva Workshop’s evaluation was to begin analyzing the impacts of Bellevue’s housing policies and regulations through an equity lens – looking for places those policies and regulations may be having disparate impacts on particular racial or economic groups.

We must know where we’ve been (historic context), and where we are (current conditions), to be able to make informed decisions and have productive community conversations that guide us toward more equitable housing policies and regulations.

Despite the lack of formal redlining practices, there were other means by which people of color could be discouraged from moving to Bellevue. Throughout the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, restrictive covenants played a major role in urban development across the country.

Neighborhoods throughout the region—including those in Bellevue—adopted deed restrictions to keep out non-White families. These deed restrictions forbid property owners from selling, leasing, or renting to specified groups because of their race, color, or religion. When such a covenant existed on a property deed or plat map, the owner was legally prohibited from selling to members of the specified minority groups.
Excerpt from Historical Context chapter
City of Bellevue Comprehensive Plan 2044

Walkable Access to Parks and Percent People of Color (POC), 2023

Sources: City of Bellevue, 2022; Seva Workshop, 2023.

Location of Higher Performing Schools Relative to Racial Composition of Neighborhood

Sources: OSPI, 2023; Seva Workshop, 2023.

Through the Comprehensive Plan, the City of Bellevue plans to create a range of housing types and densities that allow the city to maximize recent investments in transit, prioritize affordable housing for very low income families, address past inequities that have shaped the city, and to plan for residential neighborhoods that protect and promote the health and well-being of residents by supporting equitable access to parks, a clean environment, educational and economic opportunity, and transportation options.

The historical context and current conditions set the stage for the implementation of policies and programs to achieve these goals by identifying focus communities for engagement and prioritization. The analysis for the report has consistently demonstrated several themes.

The Crossroads, Eastgate, and Factoria neighborhoods, which proportionally house more Black and Hispanic residents, as well as other communities of color and those identifying as two or more races, have a history of under investment. These neighborhoods have higher levels of exposure to environmental hazards, more difficult access to parks, and schools with lower proportions of students meeting grade level standards.

Location Quotients for Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino and White Residents

Source: US Census ACS 2017-2021 5-year estimates; Seva Workshop, 2023.

The maps to the left show location quotients for Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino and White residents. It shows census tracts in white or light and dark orange where residents of each race/ethnicity are under-represented.

Asian residents are significantly overrepresented in Bellevue compared to King County as a whole. In Lake Hills, Northeast Bellevue and part of West Bellevue, the Asian population is present at proportions similar to the County overall. Black residents are underrepresented in Bellevue compared to King County as a whole, though overrepresented in Lake Hills. Hispanic residents are underrepresented in many neighborhoods in Bellevue compared to King County as a whole, though slightly overrepresented in portions of Eastgate, Lake Hills, Crossroads, West Bellevue, and Newport. White residents are underrepresented in many neighborhoods in Bellevue compared to King County as a whole.

Homeownership Rates in Bellevue, by Race and Ethnicity, 2010 & 2020

Sources: American Community Survey 2020 5-year estimates, Table B25003A-I; Seva Workshop 2023.

NOTE: Margin of errors for smaller groups becomes high – for this disaggregation, NHOPI and AIAN categories, in particular, have very high margins of error. These estimates should be considered reflective of trends rather than exact calculations.

Racial/ethnic disparities in homeownership have been persistent across the years. Comparing 2020 homeownership rates with 2010 in Bellevue, racial/ethnic disparities have persisted. While White households has experienced a decrease in homeownership, Asian households stayed the same. Black households have experienced little change in ownership rates (while the percentage increase slightly, this is from a very small base, and represents an approximate increase of less than 300 households). Historic and ongoing systemic barriers to homeownership are barriers to wealth since homeownership is one of the most common strategies for wealth building in the United States. Lack of affordable housing is one of the reasons behind disparities in homeownership rates.

Scroll to Top