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Rico Quirindongo joins OPCD as deputy director

Noted Seattle architect and community leader Rico Quirindongo, AIA, is joining the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development as its deputy director on January 11. Rico is with the international architecture firm DLR Group where he is the Civic Design Leader for the Northwest Region. For the past 25 years, Rico has been working to revitalize and reimagine Seattle historic landmarks and neighborhoods. He believes that through proactive design, vision, and multi-agency collaboration, opportunities for social change can be realized through community-invested civic projects.

Quirindongo works with organizations to positively influence communities through design and is committed to the betterment of his hometown, Seattle, through public engagement, design, and civic service. He is a recognized expert on civic projects and city-convened taskforces to create and execute processes for inclusive and authentic engagement. Projects of note include Northwest African American Museum, Climate Pledge Arena, outreach for Cal Anderson Park, Midtown Square in the Central District, and Imani Village housing, to name a few.

Quirindongo was most recently chair of the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority Council, a Downtown Seattle Association board member, and American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle Chapter President in 2012-13. Rico was recognized by AIA National as a Citizen Architect in 2020 and is a Northwest and Pacific Regional Representative on the national AIA Strategic Council. He is an annual contributor to the Seattle Design Festival, with emphasis on providing a stage for ideas championed by Black architects and benefitting neighborhoods with high risk of residential displacement. He has a deep interest in expanding community engagement with those who have historically been shut out of the planning process.

“We are so pleased that Rico will be joining us,” said Sam Assefa, OPCD director. “His passion for promoting social equity in the built environment, as well as his extensive experience in civic design through inclusive engagement, will deepen our work with community and help advance our mission to lead collaborative planning, advance equitable development, and create great places.”

“My focus on shaping the built environment has always been through the lens of equity,” said Quirindongo. “We must approach our community planning with the mindset of meeting people where they are and learning how to support their vision for the future of the city. Access to affordable housing for families at every income continues to be a critical issue. As we emerge from this global pandemic, we must better address the needs of the underserved, champion equity, and ensure that we invest in our neighborhoods such that we are supporting ALL communities, particularly communities of color.”

As deputy director, Rico will manage OPCD’s Community Planning, Long Range Planning, and Land Use Policy Divisions, help to align City planning functions and prioritize the City’s capital investments, expand cohesive community outreach strategies to reach traditionally underrepresented populations, and develop the department’s annual work program.