Paul Schell

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Paul Schell
Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, 1999.jpg
Paul Schell, 1999
50th Mayor of Seattle
In office
January 1, 1998 – January 1, 2002
Preceded by Norm Rice
Succeeded by Greg Nickels
Personal details
Born Paul Schlachtenhaufen
(1937-10-08)October 8, 1937
Pomeroy, Iowa
Died July 27, 2014(2014-07-27) (aged 76)
Seattle, Washington
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Iowa
Columbia Law School
Profession lawyer, urban planner, real estate developer

Paul Schell (born Paul Ervin Schlachtenhaufen;[1] October 8, 1937 – July 27, 2014), served as the 50th mayor of Seattle, Washington. Schell died at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington following heart surgery.[2]

The oldest of six children of Lutheran minister Ervin Schlachtenhaufen and nurse Gertrude Reiff Schlachtenhaufen, Paul Schell grew up in the small farm town of Pomeroy, Iowa and graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. He attended Wartburg College, and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in political science. He studied at Columbia Law School where he met his future wife Pamela (Hutchinson), a nurse. He practiced law with the Dewey Ballantine firm in New York City before moving to Seattle in 1967 with Pam. Their daughter Jamie joined [clarification needed]the family in January 1971.

In Seattle Schell practiced business and securities law at Perkins Coie, and helped form a new law firm: Hillis, Schell, Phillips, Cairncross, Clark and Martin. He joined urban activists in Allied Arts of Seattle in the 1971 campaign to save the Pike Place Market from a proposed redevelopment. He left legal practice for civic affairs in 1973, when Mayor Wes Uhlman appointed him director of the Seattle Department of Community Development. During his term with DCD Schell oversaw the Market's preservation and rebuilding. As President of Allied Arts he led the successful effort to establish One Percent for Art in 1973 — with Seattle thus becoming one of the first cities to adopt an approach that has since become the national standard. A member of the Democratic Party, he first ran for mayor in 1977, but lost to Charles Royer.[3]

In 1979 he founded Cornerstone Development Company, serving as president 1979-87. Among projects located in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, Cornerstone developed Waterfront Place, a 6-block mixed-use project located on Seattle’s central waterfront and incorporating six restored buildings, the 22-story Watermark Tower and the Alexis Hotel.[4][5] In 1989, Schell developed the highly successful Inn at Langley, and later the Boatyard Inn, on Whidbey Island, and played a key role in establishing the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

In 1989 Paul won election as Commissioner for the Port of Seattle, becoming commission president in 1995. He accepted appointment as Dean of the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning, serving 1993-96. During that time he established the UW's Office of Sustainability and enhanced the Rome Studies Program.

Schell succeeded in election to serve a four-year term as mayor commencing January 1, 1998.[3][4][6] During Schell's mayoral term, the City of Seattle built its new City Hall, the Seattle Justice Center, and several libraries including the downtown library; invested $200 million in new parks and added six new community centers; rebuilt the Opera House and Seattle Symphony Hall, developed QWest Field, passed 26 new neighborhood plans with resulting improvements, and initiated development of the Olympic Sculpture Park and transactions that resulted in Vulcan's development of South Lake Union. The Schells' engagement in Seattle cultural life also included major support to the rise of Intiman Theatre.

Also during his term the infamous WTO Meeting of 1999 took place, resulting in the departure of Seattle police chief Norm Stamper from his position, in what Stamper said was a previously planned retirement.[7] A particularly violent Mardi Gras celebration in 2001 left 20 year old Kris Kime fatally injured; Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske ordered officers not to intervene.[8] Arguably, the WTO meeting and the Mardi Gras violence played a role in Schell's loss to Greg Nickels, also a Democrat, in the 2001 mayoral primary election, as did Boeing's move of its headquarters to Chicago.[7][8][9] It was the first time in over 65 years a Seattle mayor had failed to survive a primary election.[9] During the campaign, Schell was assaulted by being struck with a bullhorn by fringe mayoral candidate James Garrett (a.k.a. Omari Tahir-Garrett), who had been using the bullhorn to heckle Schell. Garrett was later convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to 21 months in prison.[10][11][12]

In December 2001, Seattle Channel recorded an interview with Schell as his mayoral term concluded.

His mayoral predecessor Charles Royer assessed Schell's term in a January 2002 column in The Seattle Times: "Paul is smart. Maybe the smartest mayor we've ever had. ... [I]n his one term, Paul Schell got more done than any first-term mayor has a right to expect. The former developer not only got the new City Hall complex started, he led an impressive effort to build a new and important downtown library, rebuild the branches and renovate and build the community centers. He led the effort to fund a record $200 million in new parks, rebuilt the aging Opera House, and in a stunning victory that future generations will celebrate, preserved the 90,000 acres of the pristine Cedar River watershed."

At the time of Schell's death, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued a statement [2] with an appreciation of Schell's range of community service: "Schell will be remembered as one of the great city builders of the Pacific Northwest. As a citizen activist, lawyer, director of community development, port commissioner, dean of architecture and mayor he directly shaped the civic infrastructure of Seattle for more than 40 years.

"Schell’s greatest professional accomplishment has been the infrastructure that he built and influenced. The first Libraries for All campaign was a brainchild of Schell’s, establishing and building a new downtown library and rebuilding branches throughout the city. He led the effort to fund Seattle’s first parks levy, rebuild the opera house and was instrumental in building the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle’s City Hall and Justice Center.

"During his time as mayor, Schell helped develop Seattle’s 37 neighborhood plans, laying the foundation for the strong neighborhood system that is seen today. Schell was not only committed to the infrastructure, but also to the people of Seattle. He worked tirelessly to increase service for Seattle’s homeless and immigrant communities, bringing them much-needed services."

In June 2014, Whidbey TV recorded an interview with Paul Schell, "Life Lessons."


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ellison, Jake. "Paul Schell, Seattle mayor during 1999 WTO riots, has died - Strange Bedfellows — Politics News". Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  3. ^ a b Mayors of the City of Seattle, Seattle City Archives. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  4. ^ a b J. Martin McOmber, in the cited article "Paul Schell: Midnight At Midterm?..." counts him as the 54th mayor. Presumably the difference is in how those who served non-successive terms are counted.
  5. ^ Alex Fryer, Susan Byrnes, Schell Built Big, But Projects Lost Big, Seattle Times, 1997-10-14. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  6. ^ "5279-00: Paul Schell", 5200: Office of the Mayor, Seattle City Archives. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Kit Oldham, WTO Meeting and Protests in Seattle (1999) – Part 2, HistoryLink, 2009-11-13. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Violence at Mardi Gras, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Special Report. See especially Lewis Kamb, 'No more Fat Tuesday,' mayor declares, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2001-03-01 and Kery Murakami, Nickels on Mardi Gras: 'It's about leadership', Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2001-03-09. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Timothy Egan, Primary Voters Reject Seattle Mayor After One Term, The New York Times, 2001-09-20. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  10. ^ Nancy Bartley, Mr. Schell also used his position to secure a 99-year lease on the grain terminals in seattle for cargill corporation; this is convenient considering the price deregulation on grain driving food riots globally. Suspect in Schell attack faces bail of $250,000, Seattle Times, 2001-07-11. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  11. ^ [1], KOMO News, 2002-07-31, updated 2006-08-31. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  12. ^ Alex Fryer, Garrett gets maximum term, vows 'I'll be back', Seattle Times, 2002-04-03. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Norm Rice
Mayor of Seattle
Succeeded by
Greg Nickels