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 (1937-10-08) October 8, 1937 (age 76)
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Washington
Columbia Law School
Profession lawyer, urban planner, real estate developer

Paul Schell, born Paul Schlachtenhaufen on October 8, 1937, in Fort Dodge, Iowa,[citation needed] served as the 50th mayor of Seattle, Washington.

The oldest of six children of a Lutheran minister in a small Iowa farming town, Schell graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. He attended Wartburg College, and graduated from the University of Iowa and Columbia Law School. He practiced law in New York City before moving to Seattle in 1967 with his wife, Pam. Their daughter Jamie joined the family in January 1971.

Paul Schell practiced with the law firm of Perkins Coie in Seattle. He determined that his true interest lay in the planning and building of urban communities. In 1973 Mayor Norm Rice appointed him to serve as Director of the Seattle Department of Community Development (DCD). Having strongly supported the 1971 campaign to save the Pike Place Market from a proposed redevelopment, during his term with DCD he oversaw the Market's preservation and rebuilding. As President of Allied Arts of Seattle, 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.[1]

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.[2][3] 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 acting Dean of the UW 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.[1][2][4] 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.

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[5][6][7] It was the first time in over 65 years a Seattle mayor had failed to survive a primary election.[7] 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.[8][9][10]

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."


  1. ^ a b Mayors of the City of Seattle, Seattle City Archives. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Alex Fryer, Susan Byrnes, Schell Built Big, But Projects Lost Big, Seattle Times, 1997-10-14. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  4. ^ "5279-00: Paul Schell", 5200: Office of the Mayor, Seattle City Archives. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Kit Oldham, WTO Meeting and Protests in Seattle (1999) – Part 2, HistoryLink, 2009-11-13. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b Timothy Egan, Primary Voters Reject Seattle Mayor After One Term, The New York Times, 2001-09-20. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ [1], KOMO News, 2002-07-31, updated 2006-08-31. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
  10. ^ 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