The City Council Hearing to finalize the Discovery Park Deal is this Monday, September 24, at 2 pm in Council Chambers. Having heard a good deal of testimony, read the past four years of press clips, and talked it around a good deal with others, I'm still a long way from being satisfied that the City Council, with their insulting show of offering a "one-to-one replacement" amendment this week, gets why this is such an issue for people. Let me try to explain in a few different ways to see if I can be more clear.
Assume Seattle loses 4,500 low-income housing units over 2005-2007 to demolition, condo conversion, and speculative sales, but adds 1,500 newly constructed subsidized units. Assuming no more housing is lost, how many new units must be built to reach the point of one-to-one replacement? Bonus question: Explain how tearing down functional housing helps the city reach that goal.
"I'd rather drive two miles for groceries than twenty-five miles to work."
Short Story in 281 Words
It was March 3rd, 2009, and Evelyn locked the front door for the last time. The sturdy triplex that had been built in 1963 as military housing had reached the end of its useful life. She stopped for a moment and listened. Birds. Rustling branches. A scolding squirrel. The whoosh-whoosh of a lycra-clad roller-blader from Magnolia out for his exercise. Months before, Evelyn would have heard kids, and maybe a few cars as her neighbors returned from work, but not today. Hers was the last family to leave Capehart. The UHaul was packed and ready to go. It was time. She turned the key, and the stiff deadbolt worked its way into place. Suddenly, the rain gutter came loose from above and fell at an angle, narrowly missing her shoulder. "Evelyn! Get in the truck," shouted her husband Rick. They had been warned about this. There was an explosion from inside the house. She looked through the window and could see water pouring across the floor from the bathroom. "Damn," thought Evelyn. "The plumbing finally went." A great creaking groan drew her attention to the house across the street as it collapsed like a row of dominoes. The Millers had just gotten out last week. Not a moment too soon. The Capehart homes had been built on slab concrete. Everyone knew it would one day end like this. The sounds of drywall violently breaking in half echoed across the water toward the Cascades as the Capehart homes collectively reached the end of their useful lives. Rick leaned on the tinny UHaul horn. "Evelyn! Run!" That's when the slow gas leak in the kitchen ignited. Rick and Evelyn had waited too long.
Council will explore the feasibility of amending funding agreements to allow for the gradual demolition of Capehart Housing over the next 15 years as the cost of repair is no longer justified by the use value of the housing.
Dear Council members,
I have been, and continue to be an advocate of ultimately returning the Capehart Housing units in Discovery Park to a use of much needed open space.
However, given our failure in the last decade to stop the demolition and otherwise removal of work force and low income housing within the city of Seattle and it surrounding communities, I believe it is a mistake to destroy the 66 units of housing at Fort Lawton. We should wait until we have a better plan on the creation of needed housing.
We have been doing such a poor job of saving our existing affordable housing.
We have lost over a thousand units of dedicated low income housing in the Seattle Housing Authority's Hope VI projects at Holly Park, Rainier Vista, High Point and Roxbury Village.
We were promised downtown work force housing at the Alaska Building,…. but someone forgot to get it in writing?
We have lost many units of housing in South Lake Union. Yesler Terrace is being threatened.
Would it not be a fair proposition to secure an agreement for the development of affordable housing in the Magnolia neighborhood before we tear down the housing we have there and give Magnolia the benefits of the needed open space?
Again, I have been an advocate of the Discovery Park aquisition plan from the start. Please reconsider tearing down the housing that is there before a replacement plan can be developed.
Please slow down on the decisions to tear down needed housing.