Project Team


Research Committee

Historic U District is powered by a committed volunteer group that represents diverse stakeholders in our community, who began the preparation of our application for consideration for the National Register of Historic Places in 2019, organizing our first historic walking tour of The Ave immediately before the pandemic changed all of our plans. We have now resumed the research and preparation of our application for submittal in the next few months.

In alphabetical order
Dr. Amy Colbert
Amy is the assistant director of the Unity Museum and a forty-year resident of the U District, who earned her PhD at the University of Washington. Amy is the principal researcher discovering the historical richness of the U District and also a tireless advocate for its future.
Cory Crocker
Cory is a 30-year resident, local business owner, and ambitious advocate for the U District community. Cory has served as a principal coordinator on several successful, local projects: U District Parklet, U District Mobility Plan, U District Parks Plan, U District Small Businesses, U District Community Council, and is president of the U District Advocates.
Karen Ko
Karen is the former community engagement coordinator of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods for the U District (and North Seattle), after serving for 24 years. Even after retirement, Karen continues to bring people together to improve our neighborhood.
Gayle Nowicki
Gayle is owner of Gargoyles Statuary and a long-time advocate for keeping the U District unique. Gayle co-founded the U District Small Businesses Association and serves on the Mayor's Council for Small Businesses.
Chris Peterson
Chris is co-owner of Cafe Allegro, Seattle's original espresso bar and a U District institution since 1975. He has been a part of the U District community for more than 40 years as a UW graduate, business owner and community volunteer.
Leah Preston
Leah received her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington. The University District has been her home for most of her life. She currently manages a building on The Ave, and as a fourth generation Seattlelite, she is pleased to be raising her two children in the neighborhood.
Amber Schwanke
Amber is a longtime friend of the U District, her first home upon moving to Seattle in 2000. She lived around the corner from the Seven Gables Theatre; her then-future husband lived down the street at the Davison Apartments. They held their wedding reception at the Wilsonian Ballroom (RIP), with a buffet from Jewel of India across the street, and are longtime regulars at Big Time, Gargoyles and the Sureshot (RIP).
Zabine van Ness
Zabine is the director of the Unity Museum, the U District’s hidden gem, which curates historical exhibits and dioramas at their free museum on The Ave. Zabine ambitiously incorporates innovations to share the lessons of history with our community and visitors alike.
Patty Whisler
Patty is the "godmother" of the U District, who arrived in 1963 and continues to promote the unique charms of our community. Patty has been connected to so many of the successful projects to improve the U District over the past five decades while still remaining a welcoming place for all.


Collaborating with The Unity Museum, with funding from 4Culture of King County, the U District Advocates serves as our fiscal sponsor.
U District Advocates
Unity Museum

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