Mayor Bruce Harrell has named Anthony-Paul Diaz as his nominee for the next superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation.

“AP” Diaz was previously the executive officer and assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. Diaz will replace current interim superintendent Christopher Williams on Oct. 12.

Seattle doubles parks levy to add rangers, services

Seattle City Council members must confirm Diaz but the timing on when that will happen is currently unclear, said Harrell spokesperson Jamie Housen.

Speaking at a news conference at Yesler Terrace Park on Thursday, Harrell said he believes Diaz will fulfill his goal of “clean and accessible” parks as well as “safe havens” and “equity drivers.”

Diaz said in his former position, he helped revitalize the Los Angeles River and prepare the city to host the 2028 Summer Olympics. Diaz pledged to listen to the community and address issues that arise in the parks even if they are outside of the department’s jurisdiction.

“If something is not within our immediate span of control, we will make sure to connect you to the people in the city that can find those resources,” he said.

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Diaz, an L.A. native, graduated from Georgetown University and Loyola Law School. He served as a city attorney in L.A.’s civil attorney’s office and as general counsel for the L.A. Department of Parks and Recreation.

King County homelessness agency may see modest budget boost

Asked about what solutions exist for those currently living in parks, Harrell said he is working with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority and grassroots organizations to house them.

“We do not want our park system to be de facto housing,” he said. “As I said during our budget speech, we want them to have clean water. We want them to live in habitable conditions.”

Harrell and King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed budgets this week that could result in the new homelessness agency receiving a modest increase in funding in its second full year. Most of the $10.3 million Harrell is proposing to add for the authority is earmarked for expanding or maintaining shelters with an emphasis on tiny homes and safe parking. 

On Tuesday, the Seattle Parks District, a body made up of members of the City Council, approved its second six-year budget that will nearly double the parks levy to fund new rangers, increase access to hygiene and cooling facilities and other projects.

Seattle Parks and Recreation manages nearly 490 parks and natural areas spanning over 6,440 acres.