Back in February, I wrote about the Community Involvement Commission (CIC), the city’s replacement for the old neighborhood councils. At the time, the commission was still being established, and the application deadline was still open. Now, the commission is nearly filled out with Equity Champions (as the city is terming the Commission members).
The purpose of the CIC (similar to the neighborhood councils) is to act as a liaison between citizens and city departments. To ensure that the CIC is representative of the broad spectrum of residents, CIC representatives must be approved by either the mayor or the city council. There are 16 members in all, with seven being drawn along the city council district lines. (The remainder are “at large.”) Since Wallingford is split across two districts, we share two Equity Champions: Alison Turner representing District 4 (shared with neighborhoods such as the U District and Ravenna); and Ben Mitchell representing District 6 (shared with neighborhoods such as Ballard, Greenwood, Fremont and Green Lake).
The CIC has not yet had its first meeting, and in fact, at least one member remains to be appointed, Alison tells me. Nonetheless, the city has rolled out bios for the members appointed thus far. I tried to get some additional, neighborhood-centric inputs from Alison and Ben, but we couldn’t close the loop before this article posted. And so with that … meet our Equity Champions!
Alison Turner – District 4
Alison, who grew up in Bothell, is a very recent graduate of the UW with a degree in Community, Environment and Planning. This would seem to be a perfect background for a member of the CIC. Says Alison in her bio, “I am very concerned that the current economic boom is not equitably benefiting everyone in Seattle, and I believe that we need to do much more to ensure that our city grows inclusively.” Certainly, that’s a concern shared by many in Seattle right now.
Currently a renter, Alison brings a perspective to the Commission that was, perhaps, lacking among the neighborhood councils. She says, “I hope that the Commission will provide a space for real dialogue about how our city can mitigate displacement and grow inclusively. I am very excited to get to work and see what we can accomplish together.”
You can read Alison’s complete biography here.
Ben Mitchell – District 6
Ben works for Social Venture Partners an organization dedicated to assisting nonprofits and philanthropies. Recently arrived to Seattle, Ben has traveled extensively including a stint in the Peace Corps (Albania), and he holds a master’s in International Policy Studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Sam Read, writing for the city, asked each of the Equity Champions if they had any “superpowers,” and Ben is naturally imbued with a few: “I’m a fairly good long-distance runner. I’ve run a bunch of marathons and in my faster days I had some pretty speedy times. Outside of that, I once worked night shifts at a bakery where I learned to roll out, boil, and bake some pretty mean bagels.” I’ll be over for breakfast!
With the CIC having just recently formed, it’s hard to know where things will lead. But, says Ben, “I’m really excited about the vision and goals for the Community Involvement Commission. I’ve followed the development of the commission and, while I’m sure this group will have its growing pains and challenges, I’m coming in with a great feeling of optimism and excitement around our work together … I think the disparities in community engagement with the city cut along all sorts of lines (income, home-ownership status, work status, etc.), and my hope is that the Community Involvement Commission can help to break down these disparities in engagement.”
You can read Ben’s complete biography here.
Let’s hope the CICs representing Wallingford know that what turns a neighborhood into a community is cars. We should have policies which encourage automobiles to both visit and live here.
FYI, I’m not the Ben above, but I’m sure he is great too.
It would be helpful to know what neighborhood they live in, since the council districts encompass several neighborhoods.
Mitchell’s bio says he worked with the Greenwood Community Council, so that’s a clue. No hint from Turner’s bio. You would think that info would be a basic part of the presentation.
Ben lost me when he said he was a big fan of Erica Barnett.
You have to be in order for The Machine to accept you. Dissenters will not be heard speaking against the house organ!
“Equity champions”? Sounds like something a kindergarten teacher would come up with. I hope both of these “champions” will spend time with the relevant city departments, former neighborhood council members, and inform themselves about the histories of these neighborhoods, so that we’re not going over the same problems and reinventing the wheel time and again. Ignorance of issues and false assumptions about them can cause a lot of unnecessary work.
Well, the history of Wallingford being a million dollar neighborhood is pretty new. The history of that only exist in places like Laurelhurst I guess? Vancouver and San Francisco history would be more useful in terms of dealing with growth. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Just learn from the success stories of big cities around the world, and don’t make Seattle another San Francisco!
I wasn’t talking about just the last few years. Wallingford has been around for well over 100 years. And the communities that have lived here over that time period have shared a number of common problems and challenges. Growth is just one of them. As for SF I’m afraid we’re already on that road.
That’s the problem all along, isn’t it? If we go back into history, then it’s native American land. How about asking native Americans what they want Wallingford to be like?
It’s easy for Seattle to avoid becoming San Francisco. Just allow density to build up, and encourage people to sell houses to developers.
“Just allow density to build up, and encourage people to sell houses to developers.”
And just how do you encourage them? Do you mean like what Rob Johnson said a couple of years ago, to specifically target property owners in the Urban Villages with significantly higher taxes to force them out of their homes because they’re standing in the way of “progress?” Let’s see, how did he put it? Oh yeah, he wants to “encourage more turnover” ….for the developers who funded his campaign.
Oh nevermind, you answered that question in the first part of your statement where you said “just allow density to build up.” Once people start getting crowded on either side with Apodments with people who’ll live in them for just a year or two, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We can look at how Tokyo keeps adding population without seeing real estate price growth: they just keep tearing down old houses and build new ones to meet the demand. There are more new house starts a year in Tokyo than California or UK. What they did is to make it easy to rezone land and also easy to get approval for rebuilding.
Tokyo – 4th most expensive city in the world to live in (CBS/Reuters survey – March 21, 2017). Also covers an enormous amount of territory, if you count all of greater Tokyo.
“Like many other major cities around the world, Tokyo is experiencing a population boom (even as Japan’s overall population has stagnated). Unlike other cities, Tokyo has managed to keep its housing costs under control…Tokyo does a better job of allowing housing supply to keep up with housing demand. In 2014, Tokyo issued permits for 142,417 new housing units. In contrast, the entire state of California — which has three times the population of Tokyo — issued permits for only 83,657 new housing units….”
4th most expensive city to live in if you measure 160 different products and services, not just housing. You can find Apodment-like places in Tokyo cheap.
It’s now more and more obvious housing regulations in the US have been abused by upper middle class and above to block the poor from being mixed into their neighborhoods. That means schools and all the local resources are limited to only serve people already in the upper classes, which is an effective way of blocking the competition for their kids. Even advocacy of not teaching to test and not testing in school has turned out to have the same effects: upper middle class and above would provide supplement education to kids outside school to effectively prepare kids for college application tests, while the poorer ones with education access limited to public school would be ill-prepared. To have a healthy society and stop the increasing partisan nature of the US, what we need is to ensure neighborhoods can be more mixed and people of different background can understand each other more. The poor might only be able to afford living in Wallingford with Apodment kind of setting, so let them build more Apodments. I guess that would insult the eyes of some people who think they paid big money to avoid that. I don’t think why that’s something the society should care though. If we want to talk about looks, I think many of the Wallingford single family houses look horrible. Not like I’d advocate for removing them, since quite often the most horrible looking ones are actually the few that might still be cheap enough for average people to afford renting.
Fascinating! Surely after all these years one of you YIMBY’s must have been able to infiltrate one of these secretive gatherings of people consciously conspiring “to block the poor from being mixed into their neighborhoods” and to deliberately keep their kids ill-prepared. I mean, you have video proof of these gatherings all across the country where they’re saying “Hey, let’s stick it to poor people and POC, right?” Also, do these people have some sort of secret handshake? Maybe they chant in some strange language?
Because that would be a conspiracy theory that makes Alex Jones look like a piker.
No need for secret meetings. People often behave the same way without organized coordination. This is evident in everything from fitness trends to support of political causes.
” I mean, you have video proof of these gatherings all across the country where they’re saying “Hey, let’s stick it to poor people, right?””
We can video record the next meeting where the community council opposes multi-family housing in high-opportunity areas. Same thing.
Ooh, you’re right! There is a vast right-wing conspiracy here in Wallingford whose goal is to keep out all the poor people after all! And not only that, but with the WCC they actually have an official organization to do their bidding for them. The conspiracy goes far deeper and is more insidious than I would have imagined!
The funny thing is Bryan, I seem to recall seeing you and a bunch of your YIMBY friends try to get Paul elected just a couple of months ago to the board in a free and open election. It’s too bad that despite your wild gesticulating and breathless admonishment to make room for Paul that you didn’t succeed. But, that’s what democracy looks like
#s needed are now known. That’s what running long-run campaigns in a democracy looks like.
It doesn’t need conspiracy. It’s open: existing home owners demanding power to determine the fate of the neighborhood would effectively giving you this result out in the open. White men used to rule the US not by conspiracy. Everything was also out in the open with no white men specifically stating that only white men should rule all. The out in the open criteria of “existing home owner” is sufficient to ensure the poor would not have power.
Hmmm. And I suppose there are non-white men and women living in our neighborhood simply because we powerful white men have cynically allowed them to do simply so to provide political cover?
You know, I’m so powerful I’ve decide I’m weary of humoring you urbanists with all this debate over HALA. I and a few of my all powerful white homeowners are going to send word to City Hall that it’s time to end this HALA nonsense. Afterwards, we’ll all retire to the library for cigars and brandy.
You misunderstood my comment. I am simply saying that a sub-group of people holding more power does not need conspiracy. It’s not like past dominance of kings were conspiracy-based, or past dominance of white men were conspiracy-based. The current dominance of upper middle class dictating neighborhoods is also not a result of conspiracy. It’s just a result of sufficient amount of similar people recognizing self-interest and pool their influence and power to achieve their goals.
It’s not that YOU are powerful. It’s that enough people like you together would be very powerful. The more extreme form of this would be the home owners associations in the gated communities. Those were by far the most unfriendly toward poorer folks, and surely they don’t rule by conspiracy. They rule by the money of like-minded people.
TJ, I think I can speak for most, if not all people in Wallingford when I say that we don’t care who lives next to us whether they’re rich, poor, brown, white or purple with pink polka dots. What we DO care about is that they’re simply a good neighbor, and someone we’d potentially like to get to know better.
YIMBY’s like Bryan who live in big SF homes could put their money where their mouth is and make room for a disadvantaged person to live in their house and charge them far below market rate rent, and we wouldn’t care. It’s not poor people we’re resisting. In fact, we’re protecting their ability to continue living here in “naturally affordable” housing. What we object is being excluded from a process where they city is deciding for us that we’re going to have large buildings next door with dozens of people living in them.
And you cannot deny that will permanently change, and IMO, destroy the neighborhood that we love. We bought here because we actually value having neighbors who we not only know, but are friends with. We share holidays together, drink beer together, and our kids play together. When Apodments start sprouting up everywhere, we will lose that sense of community. You’re asking, no, TELLING us to sacrifice that for your agenda, and calling us racists if we happen to object.. And I’m sorry, but I value the housing needs of my family over the housing desires of some random stranger, who hasn’t even lived in Seattle or paid taxes here, and who will likely stay in the hood for just a year or two before moving on. I say housing “desires,” because while newcomers might WANT to live in Wallingford, they don’t NEED to live in Wallingford.
And to be clear, NO ONE is saying racism and discrimination doesn’t exist, even here in progressive Seattle. But it’s ludicrous to claim that poor people have no power. Just look at how our city council not only accommodates, but seeks out input and acts on demands from social justice activists on issues like HALA, minimum wage, income tax, bike lanes, doubling money for homeless and affordable housing, etc.
Heyduke, we all care who lives next to us. We want to live somewhere where our barista and our kids school teacher could also live alongside software engineers and the doctors. There is great demand to live in Wallingford. If you keep the number of housing units fixed how do you keep rents affordable?
There is great demand to have a house on a beach somewhere. And for every child to have a pony, too.
And I guess it needs to be repeated ad nauseum, but you could pass HALA tomorrow, heck, you could outright ELIMNATE all zoning, and baristas still wouldn’t be able to afford to live in Wallingford.
I disagree, a managed increase in number of houses and apartments in Wallingford
would keep Wallingford more affordable that doing nothing.
In addition, unlike your house on the beach it does benefit everyone. It will help keep Wallingford as we love it. We will have occupied houses. We will have different types of people at different stages of life in the neighborhood. There will be enough support for the business to stay open on 45th. Young families will keep our local schools designated as elementary schools. And perhaps we can rent a pony for next year’s Kids Parade!
Nausea away, if you must.
I am curious what is a managed number of new apartments? We have had Stone Way N turn into a long apartment road and many pod apartment buildings have sprouted up. was that managed? Where next?
Along 45th between Stone Way and I-5 is a great location. That won’t change the character of the residential streets. It will make the shops, restaurants, cinemas, etc. more financially sustainable.
Our neighborhood could also take more auxiliary dwelling unit (backyard cottages or mother-in-law units, if you want). The objections to these are usually a) the loss of privacy and b) parking. The loss of privacy can be managed with good design regulations. As to the parking issue, this is not a long-term problem. Close in city dwellers are moving away from car ownership. On a decade we won’t be talking about parking issues. We should let our inflated need for parking now dictate how the neighborhood grow in the future.
I too am curious, where are all these pod apartments? I only know of 4516 Meridian Ave N and a couple along I-5 in the U District.
So you’d support the idea that more than just eliminating zoning, we should also encourage building up? If Wallingford is built up like Hong Kong, surely baristas would be able to live here. Somewhere between status quo and Hong Kong, there must be some intermediate state that’d work?
I do not agree with what you are implying. I want to be fine living with people I don’t share holidays with, because they might be from some different culture. I want to be fine living with people I can’t drink with, because they might not drink. I want to be fine living with people I can’t befriend, because there are people I know I wouldn’t have much common interest in that I would still want them to be able to live next to me.
Everything you said is implying some sort of cultural criteria that are effectively discriminating against people different from you.
“I want to be fine living with people I can’t drink with, because they might not drink….
Everything you said is implying some sort of cultural criteria that are effectively discriminating against people different from you.”
Good grief, it never ends with you guys. So now I’m discriminating against non-drinkers as well because I say I value going out for beers with my neighbors? I’ll ponder that one while I have my lemonade when we go out for drinks next Wednesday eve .
Actually there IS something you probably realize now just by the exchange we have. Your idea of “living with people who I can share time with” is a very innocent one with no ill intent. The fact is that if we all strive for that we’d be effectively segregating people by sub-culture. That is what has been happening in the US for the past decades, with cities and neighborhoods more and more segregated naturally by social status and race. In South Seattle some schools got about 45% Asian and 45% black students, despite the city itself being pretty white. That all happened “naturally” with nobody planning any kind of conspiracy to outright segregate people. However, if you want people celebrate the same holidays to be together, surely minorities would have to live together so they can celebrate their holidays with neighbors?
We don’t care who lives next to us
if people who live in apodments near us will destroy our sense of community
can’t both be true at the same time.
Of course it can be true at the same time, Bryan. I live a block away from you and I would have no problem with you making room for a poor or disadvantaged person in your house.
“I would have] no problem with having a poor or disadvantaged person for a neighbor. ”
But apparently a problem with people who live in apodments?
Nope, not the people who live in them. Just the Apodment. It seems like I have to keep repeating this point to you guys. So do you see the difference? Or is that too hard a concept for you to grasp?
So if I divide my big milion dollar house into 20+ small apartments, you’re good?
Okay, now, unlike saying that because I’m opposed to HALA that I’m automatically against poor or otherwise disadvantaged people, that is actually a fair question.
As I said in my previous post it’s not the indvidual people who would live in the Apodment I’m opposed to. It is the Apodment itself that I’m opposed to. It’s not just height that’s the issue, it’s also the setbacks and the typical appearance. I appreciate good architecture and I’ve seen some multi-family housing all over the city that I actually think looks quite tasteful and interesting and fits in with the neighborhood. And I know you like to post your photos and say “Look, this is what COULD be built here.” But unfortunately most of the time developers are just interested in slapping up some big ugly box and then moving on to the next project. I also think even with that big house of yours you would be hardpressed to house 20 people in it, even if you did away with regulations like fire code.
Furthermore, most of those 20 people would have cars. And I have yet to meet a YIMBY who doesn’t think it’s some sort of a hate crime for people to suggest that as a small compromise that newcomers would be asked to give up their right to an RPZ sticker as a condition for living there. And you guys are also opposed to impact fees, so there’s that.
On the other hand if you were to partition your house into two separate units without changing the footprint I’d probably be okay with that. I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking, Ahah! that’s what we’ve been asking for with the ADU/DADU issue!
Speaking for myself here and not for the neighborhood, I’m actually not opposed to ADU’s and DADU’s I don’t claim to have a good understanding of that part of the issue but I think their probably should be some conditions with that such as owner occupancy. I also think it’s ridiculous that the city doesn’t require underground parking of new buildings and yet if someone wanted to build an ADU or DADU they would be required to somehow create a new parking spot on their property. So yes, I am open to compromise there and I also think that one way to go about encouraging that option would be to offer some kind of a property tax break to homeowners who would want to build one. I think that’s a far more constructive and realistic way to achieve what you want. Unfortunately it seems like so many YIMBY’s simply want to punish people for the crime of wanting to own a single-family house in the city. Instead of 20 people jammed like sardines in a spot like that I’d like to see two families. You know, put the “family” into multifamily housing. And hopefully that family would stick around in the neighborhood for a while set down roots and become a part of the community rather than just moving on after a couple of years.
So you see? When you stop trying to label people on the other side of the issue or otherwise imply that they’re racist and bigoted as a way to shame and silence them into compliance, sometimes you can find some little areas of agreement.
(Grrr, for some reason when I responded earlier, my comment didn’t go through. So here it is again, as best as I can remember it.)
Okay, now unlike saying that my neighbors and I are opposed to HALA because we don’t want to live with people who are poor or are of a different race, that is actually a fair question. As I said in my earlier post, it’s not the individual people who’d live in that hypothetical Apodment next to me that I’m opposed to; it’s the Apodment I’m opposed to. And not just because of the typical height, but also because of the lack of setbacks and the typical look of the things. BTW, I appreciate tasteful and interesting architecture and designs that go well with the neighborhood. And I actually like the looks of some of the MF stuff I’ve seen around town. I know you like to post photos showing attractive and charming stuff that COULD be built here, but unfortunately most developers slap up ugly cheaply made boxes.
I also think you’d be hard pressed, even with that big house of yours, to shoehorn in 20 people in different rooms, even if they eliminated regulations like fire codes. Plus you have the issue of parking. Most of them would want cars, and every YIMBY I’ve debated with seems to think it’s a hate crime to suggest that maybe if newcomers really want to live in some big ugly building the neighbors don’t want, they could make the pill easier to swallow by asking them to give up their cars in return. And of course, the YIMBY’s are against the impact fees that would be needed to accommodate 20 additional people.
However, I’m not necessarily opposed to you sectioning off part of your house so a couple or even a family could live there. I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking that’s what we’ve been saying about ADU’s/DADU’s! So yes, it may surprise you to hear (and I’m speaking only for myself here) that I’m open to compromise on that issue. I think there should be certain caveats, like owner occupancy. I also think it’s ridiculous that the city doesn’t require on site parking for buildings in urban villages, but requires anyone who wants to build an ADU or DADU to somehow provide an extra spot on the property. But rather than jamming in 20 people who’d only live there briefly like sardines, I’d support seeing a family live there. That’s part of my problem with HALA; it doesn’t seem to focus on putting the “family” in multifamily housing. It’s all about “units,” not people who we hope will put down roots in a neighborhood and become a lasting and contributing part of the community.
So you see? When you quit labelling your opposition and implying they’re racist or bigoted as a tactic to shame and silence them into compliance with your agenda, you might find that we can find some areas of agreement.
Having requirements would add cost. Having enough requirements would effectively block the poor even if that’s not the intention. You see the difference in intention, but I don’t see the difference in end results.
Anti-density could have all kind of respectable reasoning. I know San Francisco didn’t get where it is today by conspiracy or intentional bad will. I also know that kind of extreme high price is a result of too many well-intended regulation with nobody really seriously considering the options for the poor at the system level.
Ditto here in Ballard. Amen.
Wallyhood, why do you keep deleting my response to Bryan? I finally find some common ground with him and you delete it? why?
I just checked, and I don’t see any signs that any comments were deleted — yours or anyone else’s.
Thanks for checking Jack. Earlier today at least one of those missing comments of mine was visible on the recent comments section on the right hand side of the page. Unfortunately you could only read the first line of it. So that tells me I posted it but I don’t know what happened to it after that.
TJ, There is a difference between an informed argument with evidence and an opinionated rant that you seem to prefer. Before you assume, that all or most Wallingford residents are middle class and white, you might ask for some stats from Councilmember Johnson. The Seattle Housing Authority has been sponsoring subsidized apartments in the neighborhood for decades. I don’t know where you live, but I see so-called “underrepresented” groups living in my part of Wallingford using the same parks, streets, and other public places I frequent every day. In fact, at some of these places I often seem to be part of the white minority there and am glad of it. My God, some of them even live next door! So why not do a little research before you spout off next time?
I am not assuming that Wallingford residents are all middle class and white. I am stating the fact that the arguments made against density has been the same as how the upper middle class all around the US been using to remove the poor from their neighborhoods. That is a fact, not some opinion.
And can you stop trying to say things like “for decades”? The crisis is new and nothing like what it was even just ten years ago. If we want to go back to history, I can always take you back to before white people settled here.
Is your “research” simply about your personal living experience in the past few decades? Have you looked around the world and observed the similar housing crisis all around? Have you looked at San Francisco? Vancouver? New York? Hong Kong? Beijing? Tokyo? What placed got what problems for what reason?
And if you want to do research, go live in somewhere in the south neighborhoods of Seattle, and think about why they are different. Think about why the schools in our neighborhoods always got tons of volunteers and tons of donations to do so many things, while those 20 minutes south of us got none of those. Seattle public schools are very very segregated by wealth, and you think that’s something innocent? Did you do any research on that? How can you call my ideas just rant when you don’t even seem to understand the city?
The data on economic and racial diversity and housing types are right here. (Single family zoning is associated with exactly what one might expect…).
(Everyone’s favorite bogeyman Ballard thrown in for comparison. It’s snot possible to get a clean read eastern Wallingford because the census tract extends well into the UDistrict.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/39d8442cd274cabf6cfbb7e46722ab0b9d5b81c46ce9b3badbf1e21cc5545cf1.jpg
One group after another .. regardless, the rent just keeps going up. $100.00/mo/year for the last 5 years.
This is generating a lot of heat and little light. What this comes down to is who would benefit and who would lose out if there were more people living in Wallingford. All the arguments about apods and big houses and class and race and parking spaces come down that. I think a managed increase in the number of housing units in the neighborhood would benefit everyone. I’d be happy to talk to anyone about why I believe so but I’ve no interest in an argument with people who don’t listen to what others have to say.
Limited to its literal meaning, that may be true enough, but it runs off the road if you tie on the “our barista and our kids school teacher could also live alongside software engineers and the doctors” sidecar. Which is so unrealistic even you won’t defend it, but … don’t tell our equity champions, let them keep their youthful innocence a little longer.
I stand by why I said about affordability. Thankfully Bryan has finally added some data to this debate which is enlightening.
Even if increased density won’t make the area more affordable it will make the area better by allowing more people move in, thus supporting our struggling businesses, adding more younger families to support our neighbourhood schools and adding enough people to support added quality of life services like a community center and mass transit and safe streets.
If we don’t add to the housing stock we will have lower and lower occupancy rates as the population ages leading to more boarded up business on 45th. We already lost both neighbourhood elementary schools (they are now option schools for the city as a whole).
Please don’t just be cynical and presume what I think. Please tell me what you think the future holds for the neighbourhood? How do you think it could improve? Or do you think it’s perfect the way it is?
Those schools didn’t become option schools because of a lack of students. Go do your research.
Your paragraph about the housing stock is, and there is no nice way to say this, ridiculous. People die, people move out, people (young people, with children) move in. Do you think the people who built all this housing in the early 1900’s are still living in their homes?
You comment about turnover of existing houses misses the most important point. We need more housing because adding more people to Wallingford will make it better for everyone.
If you do want to see different people moving in, especially families, my comment about the housing stock is valid. Do you think no new houses were built since the early 1900s? Many generations have settled in Wallingford, this is a good thing. It does mean that few every year move out. People don’t die at the rate they moved in in previous decades. This all means that there are very few houses for sale or rent for new families to move into.
At the fear of getting off topic; McDonald and John Stanford became option schools because of a very well-orchestrated campaign (Heyduke, there were secret meetings). A group of existing parents lobbied for the change so siblings could attend the schools regardless of whether other children lived closer. There were not enough new parents to speak against this change.
Are you saying that McDonald and JSIS became option language immersion schools because a few parents wanted their children to be together/ or did the language immersion program element come later?
It was complicated. The zone for the two schools got smaller and smaller because more and more families move into their zones for the school. That means many families saw their addresses got assigned to different schools. Students in the zone got high priority. Changing the schools to option ones means siblings then got better priority. Before that there were families renting apartments near JSIS just to be in the zone. I had friends looking at doing that and only gave up when the rules changed.
Wow! Renting to get children into a specific school? Green Lake, West Woodland are nearby and have high quality instruction. Greenwood also.
What makes you think it’s just people from nearby places? And it’s not just renting. During the years when JSIS was not an option school, many people buy houses just to be in the zone. It served as both good property investment and good education investment. If you are upper middle class and live south of I90, you are sending your kids to private school because there are too many poor people in the same school zone. The band of neighborhoods right north of downtown are the best bets for good public schools within the city, and for a couple of years especially so for JSIS.
The problem is, if you look at the current price, you know there are no ordinary young people moving in. Right now it’s poor people moving out and rich people moving in. The wealth segregation is speeding up all over Seattle, and Wallingford is one of the worst since its pricing increase is faster than places like Madison Valley.
You’re right about that, and it’s just as true in Ballard – Bryan’s maps don’t tell you that Ballard always had plenty of lower income residents, for a while was kind of a refuge for the middle class new family that wanted to buy a home. If you knew Ballard 20 years ago, spend some time there now and you’ll see where Wallingford will go per Rob Johnson’s plan. Boutiques, people walking their exotic dogs. The biggest difference between then and now isn’t the big apartment buildings, it’s the rich people. Maybe we can do something about the inequality of wealth here, but upzones aren’t going to touch it.
Boutiques are better than closed shops which is what we are seeing more of on 45th. I think its great to see people walking their dogs regardless of the bead (except dangers dogs).
Shops are closing that had been here for decades. They don’t fit in the “urbanist” dream of affluent boutique shoppers, fancy restaurants and ice cream shops but no street parking. More of the Murray plan is likely to finish off the rest.
Shops are closing because the price structure is not making sense. Wallingford area is now expensive and medium density with no offices. That means low foot traffic plus high operation cost. You need to add either offices ( for day time foot traffic) or condos ( for night time foot traffic). The real estate price is not gonna go back down.
I do know the Ballard that wasn’t much better than White Center. However, now even White Center is an up and coming neighborhood!
We all have a lot of strong feelings. I believe this comes from an honest desire among all of us to do what’s best for Wallingford. I have a question for the people who oppose increasing housing density in Wallingford. What do you think will happen if there was say a 30% increase in the number of people in Wallingford by 2035?
Need a clearer question. That much is bound to happen, just based on recent trends and existing development capacity, regardless of Murray’s plans. Where, how, who? The details are not just minor details. And I don’t know, maybe your question is really totally as open ended as “what will happen”, but something a little more focused might help.
I just want to understand what people are afraid of when they oppose increased density.
Suggest listening to them, instead of thinking up inane misdirections like the merits of dog walking.
I’m listening. What’s wrong with increased density?
What’s wrong with it starts with the question. Neighborhoods are more than density values on a GIS map. The context here is that we’re looking at dramatic upzones, to create dormitories for high tech workers coming to work in the University District SLU-2 office towers, turning 45th, Midvale etc into something like Dexter north of SLU, and rectangular max-height-with-roof-deck townhomes spread over the neighborhood for the more affluent of them. We lose trees, we lose neighbors, we lose the very quality of place that has made the developers so anxious to loot it. It isn’t simply “density”, it’s a pace of development that’s inimical to qualify. There’s more, I’m sure.
Trees are lost to low density houses more than to high density houses. I always recommended tearing down all single family houses, turn Wallingford mostly into a park, and move all the residents into high-rises. That way we as loving neighbors all live closer to each other, and we’ll have tons of green zones.
We as a community of green loving liberals can make that happen!
It’s a good thing we’re in America and not communist Russia with you in charge of things, because I have no doubt you’d kick us all out of our homes and into apartments if you had that kind of power.
Does it ever occur to you that some people might not want to live in apartments with a bunch of hipsters for neighbors? You want density? Keep building it downtown where it belongs. I have no problem with that.
Nobody likes hipsters, but that’s not a good basis for housing policy,
I think you are still not getting it. Of course we all have preference on what type of neighbor we have. That’s not something that we encourage though, because segregation by wealth, race, political alignment, and culture are all due to that sentiment. We should make it harder for people to choose their neighbors, otherwise we are going to force the “undesirables” into specific pockets and creating a low class. That’s actually already happened in the US, with the poor trapped in neighborhoods with bad schools and bad infrastructures. The social mobility in the US is already the worst among advanced countries, and we should not enforce policies that would make it worse.
Thank you for sharing. You right, density is not just a number. Details matter. I’ve been talking generally about adding more people to Wallingford and you have been considering one way to may happen. I hope that’s fair to say.
Could apartments be built for tech workers in a way that would benefit everyone? Suppose 45th and other “non house streets” are developed with apartment buildings like those along 45th and pods like the building behind CSV. Trees are maintained or replaced and open spaces added. Building on residential streets would have size and height limits to respect sunlight and privacy and a sense of space. I’m particularly interested in understanding what you see as the “the very quality of the place”. Would is that quality? Does it improve or worsen under the scenario I describe here?
So you’re talking about current zoning & standards? Or pull back to before 2010, that’s probably what I’d recommend.
I wanted to know if you wanted a freeze or if some more building was ok. I know you are only one person and not a represented for anyone. So often the debate in Wallingford feels like a binary choice, “kick the ladder away, not one more person” vs “bulldoze everyone”.
When I follow the conversation here and elsewhere I see people using groups of people in examples, e.g. “tech workers”, “baristas” (I did that), “hipsters”, “people walking their exotic dogs”. The problem for me is that often when I see these groups used in discussion I feel there is a judgement been made about who would make a good neighbor and who wouldn’t. I’m not saying you are doing that, I know you used “tech workers” to help explain the context.
I think it’s sad that we can’t exchange our hopes and desires like you just have. Instead things are said to win an argument rather than explaining anything. I’m just as guilty as anyone else with my stupid stretch about option schools.
This conversation would help with easier access to the actual zoning proposals and good data on the neighborhood and examples of outcomes in other cities. Perhaps someone with more time than me can help.
One thing that does make me feel good is that we have an election coming up therefore nothing is set in stone yet. Many of us will get a say in which people will help shape our future.
Don’t worry about the class consciousness issue you seem to see in “who would be a good neighbor.” You’re pulling that from responses to your own barista & schoolteacher notion – I’m just saying, if you care about that, what I see is conspicuously different in Ballard. Who would be a good neighbor? Our neighbors! as opposed to a new set of neighbors that moves in as our neighbors are driven off. Who would make a good neighbor? People who care about trees, and birds, and fixing up their houses and having beer making competitions. People who are here to stay, who wouldn’t live anywhere else.
Nearly 20 years ago I was a tech worker who moved into a new apartment building in Wallingford. I’m now a home owning, not-tech parent. Then and now I loved trees, birds, and beer.
“People who care about trees, and birds, and fixing up their houses and having beer making competitions. People who are here to stay, who wouldn’t lieve anywhere else” sounds like you are excluding a lot of people. Single mothers working two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet would not fit your criteria. All those people who moved to Kent from Seattle due to gentrification surely aren’t the ones “here to stay”, and surely they’d live somewhere else if that’s what they have to. You don’t want to talk about class, but you are talking about class.
Those aren’t the list of criteria for a good neighbor, they’re examples that may convey some sense of the 10 page dissertation that might start to cover the majority of it. (Don’t ask, no one is going to write that document – it’s not needed for people with any common sense, and its value to someone like you would only be as a source of things to take out of context to wave the exclusive homeowner flag.)
We had a single mother of two, renting upstairs next door, who was a valued neighbor. I’m fairly sure she would still be here, if they hadn’t torn the place down for $700K townhomes.
What could be done so she could stay in Wallingford?
Bearing in mind, not just so she could have stayed, but would wanted to stay. The only answer I have, if you’re really looking for a solution that might work and isn’t just taking advantage of the problem – stop encouraging economic growth in Seattle. For example, rescind the U district upzones, right now.
There are tons of places in the US that has very little growth, but very few places with high growth. I am not sure why it’s not people who don’t like growth that move away. Being in a place for awhile doesn’t really give the person more say, or again this place would still be a native American place.
I don’t have an agenda. I just want what’s best for Wallingford.
Do you mean we should have polices with the intent of stopping local employers from increasing the number of people they hire?
For example, start by rescinding the University District office tower upzone. Did I mention that? That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. B&O tax breaks for Russell Capital to move here from Tacoma. That kind of thing. There’s lots more, and that doesn’t count the back room stuff that we don’t know about.
You did mention the U District but I assumed that was only one of many things to stop people wanting to move here. To be clear, to you believe we should to things to stop the population growth in Seattle on order to make housing affordable?
People who are not good neighbors by whatever arbitrary standard still deserve to live in Wallingford. Even evil people have to live somewhere, and it just might be better for them to live in richer neighborhoods like ours where we have the resource to absorb the evilness, as opposed to in poorer neighborhoods. That’s not good for us, but it’s better for the whole society.
And the solution for your question is easy: if we change the code so the newly built houses are not low density townhomes but high density apartments instead, people would be able to afford. Honestly $700k townhomes are already much better ideas than most of the >$1m single family houses. Without those townhomes we’d have even fewer units and even higher median price.
First, the premise that being opposed to upzones means being opposed to density is simply not true. Wallingford did quite well incorporating substantial increases in density over the last 25 years WITHOUT the adverse impacts that the current proposals will create.
Creating more micro rental units does nothing to improve more affordable ownership units. In fact, it exacerbates prices even more as the smaller, older, more affordable existing homes are gobbled up by speculators to turn into rental apartments.
I do not understand how younger folks can knee-jerk side with what we used to call “the establishment” and buy into policy that will turn Seattle housing into primarily corporate-owned rental units. Open your mind and your eyes and follow the money!
We can easily accommodate increased density and it is possible to create new, smaller ownership units. The current City policy proposals, however, will not do this. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.