Council of the Preservation and Development Authority

Council members typically have expertise in architecture, urban planning, real estate development, engineering, finance, non-profit management, or historic preservation. Four Council members are appointed by the Seattle Mayor, four members are elected by the Historic Seattle membership, and four are appointed by the Council itself.

Council Executive Committee

Kate Krafft, Chair

Kate has been actively involved with local historic preservation projects and advocacy efforts for many years. She currently works in partnership with architect Chapin Krafft providing historic preservation consulting services. Kate previously worked for local historic preservation programs and staffed the Ballard Avenue Historic District Landmarks Board, Pike Place Market Historical Commission and the King County Landmarks Commission. She has been involved with Historic Seattle since 1974 and most recently assisted with the training of volunteers at the Landmark Nomination Workshops. Kate also serves on the editorial board and is a contributing author for Shaping Seattle Architecture (UW Press 1994, 1998, 2014). She earned a B.A. in Art History (with an emphasis on Architecture History) from the University of Washington.

Japhet Koteen, Vice Chair

Japhet comes to Historic Seattle with a wealth of experience in business strategy and economic development, real estate development and finance, community and retail placemaking, energy efficiency and green building program management. Among other things, he was raised on a goat farm, worked for the Environmental Protection Agency, and started a hotel business in Mexico. He currently works with foundation and impact investment to develop a stronger regional food economy. He holds a masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington.

Rick Sever, Secretary

Rick is an expert in residential design and wood building practices, and is the principal of Sever Residential Construction, specializing in pre-1960s homes. He has been a member of Historic Seattle since 1990 and an active volunteer from the very beginning. In 1995 Rick co-founded the Historic Seattle ‘Preserving Your Old House’ program. Rick served as the Public Development Authority Treasurer and the chair of the Historic Seattle Audit Committee. He serves as a Technical Advisory Board Member for The Wood Construction Center at Seattle Central Community College. Rick holds a B.A. in Art History with an emphasis on Architectural History and Design from the University of Washington.

Connie Walker Gray, Treasurer

Connie has over 15 years of experience as a professional architectural historian and historic preservation advocate. She currently works for Confluence Environmental Company, growing a cultural resources management and historic preservation line of business. A longtime southeast Seattle resident, she contributes to her local community by sitting on the Columbia City landmarks review committee and chairing the Orca K-8 school playground renovation project. Her prior employment as a “single shingle” architectural historian and a cultural resources specialist for the Washington State Department of Transportation resulted in wide-ranging and thorough expertise in survey and inventory of historic resources throughout the northwest, business development and management, interagency consultation regarding controversial projects, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Connie has a master’s degree in urban planning and a certificate in historic preservation planning from the University of Washington, and a B.A. in history and Spanish from Indiana University.

Council Members

Alyssa Alcantara

Alyssa merges her interests in sustainable and affordable housing through architecture and development. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and has an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University (formerly Bainbridge Graduate Institute). She is a registered architect and a LEED Accredited Professional with ten years of experience in the design and project management of multi-family housing developments in Seattle. She recently crossed the bridge from architecture to development to join the development team at Bellwether Housing, the region’s largest non-profit affordable housing provider. Alyssa believes that the sustainability of stable communities inherently begins with the preservation of the existing city fabric.

Cara Bertron

Cara is the Real Estate Lab Coordinator at IDEA Space, a program of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), and the Chair of the Preservation Rightsizing Network. She has completed diverse preservation-based planning and revitalization projects in Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cincinnati, including commercial district reinvestment studies, innovative historic resource surveys, and citywide and neighborhood preservation plans with a focus on equity and data-driven decision making. Cara holds an M.S. in historic preservation and a certificate in urban redevelopment from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in urban planning from Stanford University. In 2012 she was selected as a member of the Next American Vanguard, a group of top urban innovators from across the U.S. Cara’s writing has been published in Forum Journal and The Texas Observer, among other places; she also edits Pocket Guide, a semi-regular zine.

Mary McCumber

Mary has played a leadership role in developing and implementing growth management and transportation strategies in Washington State, and was executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council for 12 years. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Washington State Growth Strategies Commission and held various planning positions in local government. Mary has received numerous state and national planning awards and was named the 1997 King County Municipal League Public Official of the Year. Mary served on Historic Seattle’s Council in the 1980s, and returned to the Council in 2004. She also served on Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board for seven years. She has an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of Washington.

Pete Mills

Pete is the founder and managing director of Pete Mills Consultants. He was formerly Congressman Jim McDermott’s liaison for business, trade and environmental issues, and he worked for Governor Inslee while he was in Congress. Previous experience includes public relations, fund development, and program administration. He organized medical missions to Latin America with his dentist and led a project to re-create the once renowned “totem fireplace” in the New Washington Hotel (now Josephinum). Pete has spent time as a tour guide in the Arctic, a backcountry ranger in the Cascades, a filmmaker, political organizer and campaign manager. Pete is in his third term on Historic Seattle Council and was chair throughout 2007 and 2008. He holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Western Washington University and a graduate degree in Public Administration from Seattle University.

Valerie Tran

Valerie is involved in neighborhood planning and community development in Seattle’s Chinatown – International District (CID). She is the Healthy Communities program manager at InterIm Community Development Association. In this role, she oversees the implementation of the CID 2020 Healthy Community Action Plan, which aims to improve the health, safety, and livability of the CID. She also serves on the board of the International Special Review District to promote, preserve and perpetuate the cultural, economic, historical, and otherwise beneficial qualities of the CID. Prior to working in Seattle, she worked in immunizations and tuberculosis control. She also previously co-founded and co-directed a housing, public health, and climate resilience initiative called Nurses for Cool and Healthy Homes. Valerie is interested in the intersection of urban planning, public health, and environmental justice. She holds masters degrees in urban planning and public health from the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts degree in public health from UC Berkeley.