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Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Grinches Who Stole Seattle’s Civic Mojo

Banks, Baby Bells, law firms, architects, Boeing, downtown property developers, media, financial firms, Safeco -- all now controlled by national owners, who apply standard formulas and bottom-line thinking. Seattle is a "province" again.

More Broken Bridges to Come?

The saga of the West Seattle Bridge, born in the aftermath of a catastrophic marine accident, is likely far from an anomaly. Seattle's bridges (somewhere around 124) are a threatened commodity.

Durkan: We’ll Repair West Seattle Bridge Instead of Replacing It

Community feedback, including from the Community Task Force that Durkan convened, was evenly split between the two options.

‘The 15-Minute City’: Desirable, But Not So Easy To Pull Off

In fact, this kind of community was built in many places in North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were called Streetcar Suburbs.

The Unlikely, Overdue Benefits of the Pandemic

One example of a benefit: Less commuting, since downtown offices are less needed. A related gain: less deification of density. Urbanism will spread from the hub to the satellite towns, redefining and spreading the attractions of humane density.

Truth About Consequences: The Proposal to Change Prosecution of Misdemeanors is a Bad Idea

The roadblocks to successful prosecution this proposal establishes will discourage police from making arrests, amplifying a condition that already exists today, and discourage prosecutors from taking cases to court.

Lazaro – The Protests Were For Him Too

Lazaro was six miles from the unrest. I wish he had been there, for the protests were for him too. His seventy-nine-year-old black life still mattered.

Everything You Need to Know About Mayor Durkan’s Proposed City Budget

So with no drastic cuts to any departments, how did the City Budget Office balance the budget? Through a combination of actions.

Q & A with the Director of Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability

What I do hope is that people do read the findings and they read your article and they read other articles that are out there and understand how complex these situations are. That they’re human situations, that they’re often five seconds, six seconds of decisions that are being made.

Seattle’s Waterfront Is Remaking Itself, With a Dramatic Overlook Walk to the Aquarium

The Overlook Walk will meet the edge of MarketFront, where a series of bridging structures will continue the switchbacks down a gentle slope to the roof deck of the Ocean Pavilion. On the way down, the path will cross over yet-to-be-built Elliott Avenue, the branch of rebuilt Alaskan Way which will climb the face of the cliff, carrying most of the northbound traffic toward Belltown.

A Rash of Fires, Some Deemed Arson, Rages Through Rainier Valley

Since the Rainier Farmer Market was burned most recently on August 20, there have been dozens of other fires in the Rainier Valley area, but SFD fire investigators have not been able to determine a cause for some of the largest ones.

Going Postal: Civic Lessons Offered Free

The Post Office is not only a great institution of democracy, it is a great leveler, a place where human interaction is polite and measured.

How To Get Beyond The Stalemate Of Seattle Politics

My sense of younger activists is that they are impatient with incrementalism and diversity tokenism (they don't just want more seats at the table, but driving the table).

Portland’s Bold Move To Encourage More Close-In ‘Middle’ Housing

Seattle has not adjusted to the shift to urban housing, except in some token ways. The city still requires one on-site parking space per house, with the exception of accessory units in some single-family zones.

How Seattle Policing Levels Compare To Other Cities

Seattle is well below the average for officer coverage among large cities, and has a officer/resident ratio just slightly above the average for all cities with over 100,000 population.

Data: Seattle Rents are going Down

Seattle was seeing a softening in its apartment rental market before the pandemic made the prospect of living in a dense neighborhood with a mandatory elevator ride daunting. Conditions can only get worse for building owners, at least in the near and mid-term.

Crystal Ball: Eight Transformations for a Post-COVID Seattle

We should focus on being a good place to live, tapping our great ability to create urban neighborhoods. We have terribly underinvested in this as we have rapidly built apartment towers without the needed urban amenities such as schools, playgrounds, and safe open spaces.

Another Old Church Building On The Edge Of Demise

In 2005 the owners of Third Church tested the market for their building and received an offer from a man who seemed committed to converting Third Church into a performance and lecture hall. Didn't happen.

How Seattle Could Rescue Small Retail

The city government could buy up leases for empty storefronts and then market them at low rates to non-profits and small retail shops.

Seattle’s Restaurant Apocalypse: Why Isn’t The City Doing More To Help?

The main killing field will be Seattle's downtown, where restaurants were once buoyed by tourists, office workers, business visitors, arts-audiences, and shoppers -- all in steep decline.

Mayor Proposes Rethought Transportation Package

Lower ridership means heavy financial losses for Metro and Sound Transit, and some difficult choices about how to adjust transit offerings while minimizing the negative impact on low-income workers who depend upon transit.

How Camden, N.J. (Of All Places) Transformed Its Police Force

The existing police department was dis-banded. In time, 45% of the officers were re-hired, but for a new kind of job. One that Thomson said will be more like being in “the Peace Corps” than in “Special Forces.”

We’re Number One! (In Property Crime)

As local leaders consider restructuring their police departments in response to citizen concerns, they will need to consider the impact that those restructurings will have on the ability of the departments to respond to the very high levels of property crime in the region. And those leaders may want to step back and ask how Seattle ended up with such high rates of property crime in the first place.

Indexer: Empty Roads Coming To An End? Yes, But Slowly

All kinds of trips have increased since the low points of late March and early April. As people have returned to work, transit use has increased. At the same time, the residential line has fallen by more than half, as people gradually emerge from their self-isolation.

Real Police Reform? Begin With Who’s Recruited

To break through the police “blue curtain,” departments should start by raising the minimum age which, in Seattle and most departments, is just 21.

Elsewhere: Letter from the LA Protests

The worst part about all this for me is arguing with people who don't seem to want to move forward. Asking them, why is it so hard? Why does equality scare you so much? Why is the idea of improving other lives a negative experience for you? But being a part of the protests has also been inspiring and hopeful.

Demographic Trends: African American Migration to Seattle Suburbs

The locus of protest has largely been within the city of Seattle, and yet Seattle’s regional role as a home for African Americans has diminished sharply in the past 30 years.

Seattle City Council Member Tammy Morales: On Homeless, Demonstrations, and the City

We have to invest in people, we have to support economic security and housing security and food security and create places where our neighbors can thrive. And I think what we’re seeing across the country over the last few weeks is, you know, not just a reaction to the brutality that our Black neighbors experience, but a fury with the systems that we have set up that we have thus far been unwilling to acknowledge, deeply rooted in racism and we can’t keep doing that.

Seattle’s Riot Geography: 11th and Pine and a History of Protest

I thought I was done with this sort of thing after a decade as the Seattle Weekly’s riot guy, spending day and night chasing the upheavals provoked by the first Bush vs. Iraq war, in 1991, the acquittal of the Los Angeles cops who beat Rodney King in 1992, and the disastrous World Trade Organization meeting here in 1999. But the feeling of déjà vu all over again is too strong to turn away.

Celebrating Cinerama – It Made Watching Movies an Event

The Cinerama is such an important part of our city because, to take a page from the Martin Scorsese’s school of cinematic thought, there are some movies that demand to be seen on the big screen.