A Business Improvement Area (BIA) provides a mechanism for property owners and business to collectively obtain the improvements they want to see in their district.  The SODO BIA was created under the auspices of the City of Seattle in 2014. The mission of the SODO BIA is to Advocate for a Safe, Clean and Moving SODO, for the benefit of property owners, businesses, tenants, employees and patrons of the SODO district.

The SODO BIA is guided by the Ratepayer’s Advisory Board which is comprised of members representative of the varying sizes, types and locations of business and property owners in the district and includes business tenants, MIC members and a Port of Seattle representative.


A Seattle native, Erin came to the SODO BIA from the U District Partnership where she administered the U District BIA and produced the annual U District StreetFair. With a Master’s in Public Administration, Erin is committed to being an ardent advocate for SODO businesses and assisting them in developing a vibrant business district in SODO that is Safe, Clean and Moving. Erin can be reached at 206-981-9877 or and is eager to set up a time to meet and learn about your business.

Lauren Lundberg, DEPUTY DIRECTOR

An East Coast Transplant, Lauren serves as the Deputy Director of the SODO BIA. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. Before joining the SODO BIA, she’s worked with several Seattle based non-profits in program and campaign fundraising, advocacy, and outreach. She is eager to work with the diverse community and support businesses in creating a Clean and Safe SODO.


Moving throughout the country during childhood, Janelle has always called Seattle her hometown. She holds a Bachelors degree in Communications from The University of Tampa with a heavy focus on Graphic Design. Prior to working with the SODO BIA, she gained valuable marketing experience in the Manufacturing industry, Healthcare industry, and Real Estate industry. Janelle loves to help optimize the BIA’s marketing efforts to benefit the SODO community through improving online resources, hosting events, producing videos, managing social media, and advocacy programs to name a few.





A native to the greater Seattle area, Tyler joined the SODO BIA team in October of 2020. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University. Between graduating and joining SODO BIA, he  worked in sales, customer service, and then office management with a local construction company. Tyler is excited to be joining SODO BIA as the Office Manager to support in the process of a positive change in the SODO community.

Becky Gilley, REACH SODO Outreach Care Coordinator

Becky works for REACH and is contracted specifically to perform outreach in the SODO district with folks who are sleeping in tents, cars, and RVs. A local Seattleite, Becky stayed here during college, receiving her BA and Master’s in Social Work from University of Washington and has been working and volunteering in the Seattle social service world since 2010  (with a 2 year stint in Ukraine with the Peace Corps). Becky is a firm believer and practitioner of Harm Reduction and Motivational Interviewing and enjoys building trusting relationships with clients to help them reach their self-identified goals and improve quality of life for everyone.

KIWI, Boss

Todd Biesold

Todd Biesold


Chief Financial Officer, Merlino Foods

Todd is the CFO of Merlino Foods, a specialty broad-line foodservice distributor based in Seattle, Washington. Born and raised in Seattle, Biesold grew up working in Merlino Foods. After earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in public accounting from Gonzaga University and passing the CPA examination, Todd  attended the University of Washington School of Law, earned his J.D. and passed the Washington State Bar exam. Upon graduation from Law School Biesold worked as a tax professional at KPMG Peat Marwick. In 1991 Biesold rejoined Merlino Foods on a full time basis and helped to grow the company into a major foodservice distributor in Western Washington.

William Lavaris

Vice President

Chief Financial Officer, Buffalo Industries LLC

Wil is the Chief Financial Officer for Buffalo Industries LLC, a wholesale distributor of cleaning and maintenance products based in Seattle, as well as Buffalo Investment Co, which oversees five commercial warehouses in SODO.  Wil earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Washington and his MBA from Seattle University.  Besides safety and security in SODO, Wil is very concerned with mobility, both professionally as a heavy importer, and personally as a West Seattle resident

Chad Zinda


Founder & Broker, Metropolist

Chad is a founder and self-appointed Master of Ceremonies at Metropolist. He has 20 years in real estate – as both a broker and as a corporate trainer for new and seasoned agents. Chad was born and raised in the Seattle area and is a graduate of Western Washington University. Chad is passionate about the essence of Metropolist and SODO – bringing together people and events, and having amazing things materialize out of it. Where art and science intersect with life.

Robin Howard


Manager, Alcohol Compliance, Starbucks Coffee Company

Robin joined Starbucks in 2016 as the company’s manager of Alcohol Compliance. She has over 19 years of experience in operational compliance and regulatory affairs in the retail sector, and currently serves as President-Elect of the National Association of Licensing and Compliance Professionals. Robin holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan, and is excited to help make SODO a clean, safe and accessible district for all.

Alex Cooley

Co-Founder, Solstice

Alex is the co-founder of Solstice- the first cannabis brand in Washington State, that built the first permitted cultivation facility, operating still to this day in the SODO. Having lived two thirds of his life in King County and a decade in Seattle, his love for our home shows in his personal and professional actions. He has helped to create the state’s largest cannabis trade association and sitting on multiple boards while working on environmental and homelessness issues. Alex has used his CWU education degree to teach legislators & regulators from the city to the international level how to create and implement productive policy.

Sally Del Fierro


Director, Community Engagement,
Port of Seattle

Sally has worked in Port of Seattle Public Affairs since 1999 and currently serves as the senior manager of community engagement, overseeing outreach, events, education, and community relations. She has been actively involved in SODO area activities since 2000. She has served on the board of Urban ArtWorks, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Propeller Club and has been actively engaged in south harbor community relations and projects including the NW Ports Clean Air Strategy, the Truck Parking work group, the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group, and the EPA’s Duwamish Community Involvement.


Land Practice Lead, Schlemlein,
Fick & Scruggs, PLLC.

Darby’s practice focuses on land use, real property, mediation and general counsel services. Darby is an accomplished litigator, mediator, and transactional lawyer, with over 17 years of experience at the City of Seattle, including 13 years in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and Department of Construction and Inspections. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law.

Effie Gleason

Vice President Marketing, Gull Industries, Inc.

Effie is the Vice President of Marketing at Gull Industries. She is the third generation to work at Gull and is currently overseeing marketing and operations for Canvas Event Space. Gull Industries has been based out of SODO for over 35 years and value their deep roots in the community. Originally a petroleum marketing company with wholesale and retail fuel operations, Gull’s business operations now consist of a commercial real estate portfolio with several properties in the SODO neighborhood as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest. Effie also serves on the Kindering Board, Vital Voices NW and at her children’s school.

Megan LaRiviere

Founder & Co-owner, ThirdLeaf NW

Megan is a co-owner of ThirdLeaf NW, a local fresh fruit and healthy snack delivery service for offices. For the past 10 years, she has been focused on growing this start-up into a thriving business.  ThirdLeaf now provides wellness solutions to more than 400 offices in Washington and Oregon. As a SODO based business owner, Megan is dedicated to improving the daily lives of everyone who spends time in our area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Spanish from Washington State University.

Regina Menssen

Property Manager, Prologis, Inc.

Regina has been in the commercial real estate industry for 14 years. Regina has been with Prologis, a world-wide leader in industrial real estate, since 2004. As Prologis’ portfolio in SODO has expanded, so has her desire to get involved and be a part of this fast-paced, eclectic community. She is very excited to bring her real estate knowledge and passion for service to the SODO board.

Lisa Nitze

Director of Marketing, Community & Investor Relations, Nitze-Stagen

As the Director of Marketing, Community & Investor Relations at Nitze-Stagen, Lisa is responsible for branding, community engagement and partnership development. She has 30 years of experience leading organizations and initiatives seeking to develop and implement strategies for positive social change. Having started and led four nonprofits, Lisa was most recently CEO of Seattle Social Venture Partners working with nearly 600 philanthropists to invest in social change in the Puget Sound region. Lisa holds a BA degree from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.

Tavia Rhodes

Director of Development, Evergreen Treatment Services

Tavia is the Director of Development at Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS), a non-profit that is working to address opioid epidemic and homelessness crisis in Western Washington. With headquarters on Airport Way in SODO, ETS combines medication-assisted treatment with street-based outreach to provide a continuum of care to over 6,000 individuals. A native Seattleite, Tavia got her bachelors in psychology and anthropology at the University of Washington and has since spent her career supporting local non-profits with operations, finance, fundraising, and development. A little-known fact is that throughout her 20’s, Tavia traveled to SODO twice a week for band practice at Sodo Pop on Occidental.

Darrell Sanders


Property Manager, American Life, Inc.

Darrell has over twenty years of commercial real estate and business brokerage experience. He currently serves as a property manager for American Life, overseeing nearly forty commercial and industrial buildings in the SODO neighborhood. He also owns Blackbird Cityscapes, a commercial services contractor company that maintains many SODO area properties and businesses.  A lifelong Seattle resident, Darrell has witnessed first-hand the challenges and changes that face SODO business and land owners and hopes to bring his experience and skills to the BIA.


Safe SODO: Security, Safety and Prevention

  • Create a visible police presence in SODO to address chronic issues and develop relationships with SODO business community
  • Classes, speakers & events to address safety issues in SODO
  • Provide high quality staff support to this program
  • Provide branded visual presence and response in SODO

Clean SODO: Clean, Beautify and Activate

  • Maintain clean streets- remove debris, leaves and garbage on a regular basis
  • Continue scheduled clean ups for addressing litter and garbage in SODO
  • Proactively address the effects of tailgating by providing trash dumpsters and porta potties
  • Proactively address graffiti through beautification of surfaces
  • Community development and cleaning in SODO
  • Classes, speakers & events to address cleanliness issues in SODO

Move SODO: Transportation, Mobility and Safety

  • Provide a forum for diverse SODO stakeholders to address relevant transportation issues
  • Advocate for the items identified in the Consensus Agenda document
  • Continue to advocate for the City to maintain and repair streets in SODO
  • Advocate for restoring 1st Ave Bus service and other Transit Improvements in SODO
  • Continue to advocate for improvements to last mile connections in SODO
  • Represent SODO’s freight businesses in city wide transportation discussion
  • Engage City in commonsense overhaul of parking in SODO
  • Engage Sound Transit to ensure that SODO has a voice in the routing through SODO
  • Provide placemaking and wayfinding through art
  • Improve SODO navigation with new wayfinding signage
  • Improve road and transportation conditions in SODO

Advocate SODO: Communication, Outreach and Advocacy

  • Increase ratepayer awareness of BIA and services provided. Develop relationships between ratepayers and BIA
  • Maintain current database of contacts for all businesses and property owners in SODO
  • Inform and engage ratepayers in the activities of the SODO BIA through the monthly newsletter
  • Update website regularly to reflect current SODO Business Directory, SODO related news, SODO BIA meetings & events and other SODO happenings
  • Engage new followers with relevant social media posts and drive traffic to the website
  • Ensure our organization’s communications plan also supports our organization’s advocacy work
  • Develop community and greater sense of being connected for SODO businesses


  • Facilitate the financial and operational priorities of the Board of Directors and support the success of the Executive Director
  • Ensure BIA resources are deployed effectively and transparently, and ratepayers benefit from the investment of their assets
  • Ensure legal, financial and personnel policy documents are up to date and in compliance with applicable laws

2021 Work Plan: Advocate SODO

2021 Work Plan: General Administration

2021 Work Plan: Move SODO

2021 Work Plan: Safe and Clean SODO

Budget Analysis

2021 Budget


 – updated 9/2021 –


The SODO Business Improvement Area is more than just one person or organization, it is a collaboration of businesses, property owners and the City of Seattle working together to create lasting change in the our shared district, SODO.  Effectively addressing the issues of the district requires the participation of ratepayers to create a shared vision of the district.  Interested in getting involved? Consider  participating in one of our program area Committees.

1.  Communications & Outreach

Responsible for developing the communications and marketing plan for the SODO BIA, to include, website, newsletter, social media, events and other avenues of outreach.

2. Transportation

This committee works to develop the SODO BIA’s transportation initiatives and works closely with the Duwamish TMA to develop understanding of transportation issues in the District.

3. Clean & Safe

Responsible for identifying crime and disorder hotspots, chronic cleanliness issues and overseeing the contractors who address these issues.

For more information on these committees and other ways to get involved: Erin Goodman, Executive Director, 206-294-3285,

Map of BIA Boundaries