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Musings on digital media, urbanization and politics from Seattle, Wash.

Seattle is not dying, and we all want the same thing


The view from my favorite place in the city – Golden Gardens Park. And Gri.

December 9, 2020

I love Seattle. I love it so much. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world. I also tend to be a bit defensive. When people criticize the things and places I like, I jump. Can’t help it.

With Sinclair Broadcasting’s KOMO 4, our ABC affiliate in Seattle, debuting the trailer to their sequel to Seattle is Dying—a news program so into shaming those most vulnerable that FOX News picked it up—I had a lot to say. Others I respect did as well.

While we don’t know for sure the thesis of this new piece, it’s easy to guess based on the footage presented that it will be more of blaming Seattle’s homeless population for ruining the city.

For, in their words, killing it.

Here’s the thing about that claim, presented in March of 2019, as told by headlines and excerpts from pieces published this year.

Report: Seattle metro area ranks as best place for new small businesses

The Seattle metro ranks as the city where entrepreneurs might have the best chance of succeeding when opening a new small business, according to the study from LendingTree. The study analyzed a number of factors including the percentage of businesses in metros across the country that are 5 years old or younger and the percentage of businesses that are profitable.

Seattle-area home prices rise faster than nearly every other U.S. city, driven in part by younger homebuyers

For the fifth month in a row, home prices around Seattle rose faster in June — 6.5%, year-over-year — than any of the nation’s other top 18 metro areas, save Phoenix, according to new data from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index. That’s more or less the same rate of growth we’ve seen since spring.

Report: Seattle is one of the fastest-growing large US cities

The study found Seattle had the third highest annualized growth rate among U.S. cities with more than 250,000 residents.The city’s population grew from 670,109 residents to 753,675 residents between 2014 and 2019. Seattle’s growth rate during that time was 2.38%.

That’s how one might defend the city on their terms—the cold, hard numbers on the things the fear-mongers tend to worry about most.

While writing this post, I saw—and loved—this.

The rebuttal to a statement like this, that we who live in it actually love our city, is usually the same.

You like it like this? You think this is okay, people camping in parks and living everywhere outside?

No. We don’t.

We all want the same thing.

When people get into these semantic-riddled debates on tactics and strategies, it’s good to take a step back. You want to set a clear goal, and then you can evaluate what you’re doing or want to do against that objective.

So how’s this?

Nobody should have to sleep outside.

You don’t want homeless people. We don’t think people should be homeless.

We have the same goal.

And then at that point, you look at what can accomplish that goal. KOMO’s Eric Johnson, the reporter behind the Seattle is Dying documentary and its forthcoming sequel, supposes we round up the homeless and send them to an island prison used to house the state’s most dangerous sex offenders.

Uh, no?

The solution at the local level, time and time again, is housing. It’s a safety net. It’s well-funded social services.

If you want to fix this, fix it. Let’s work together and fix this—because you aren’t going to arrest your way out of it. And it isn’t as if that’s cheap, either.

You can’t complain incessantly about the homeless being a blight on the city out one side of your mouth, as the Seattle Chamber of Commerce does, while filing suit against the city to cut the legs out from under funding aimed at combatting the problem.

We want the same thing. We want a thriving Seattle—one that’s good for its citizens, for businesses, for everyone.

Either trust in and work towards providing effective and empathetic solutions, or get out of the way.

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