Seattle used to be a smallish city lost in the far off Northwest, with a reputation as having far too much rain. This all changed very quickly in the past few years. It started with Paul Allen’s buying up of a large amount of property in what is now known as South Lake Union, which about 100 years ago was the scene of another great change when Denny Hill was leveled hydraulically to form what used to be called The Denny Regrade. The Regrade was filled with small businesses, low rent housing, commercial laundries, and light manufacturing, most being one and two stories high. A proposal was made to create a huge park (60 acres) to be known as the Seattle Commons, along the idea of Central Park in New York, and to be paid for by a tax levy of about $432.00 per household across the city. The levy failed by a narrow margin. Mr Allen then started developing the land for commercial use. Many high tech companies built new facilities there. Eventually a new Amazon Headquarters would be built there. For the first time a large number of apartments and condos were built there as well.
These pictures deal with a relatively small part of the city: the downtown, South Lake Union, and adjacent neighborhoods. Much of the city has changed at more or less a normal rate (whatever that is). Naturally the character of the city has changed more than the longtime residents liked. Seattle fortunately has not been flooded or been flattened by 180 mph winds, but many of the people who used to call it home have had to leave because they could no longer afford to stay here. Many more just couldn’t stomach the changes. They left their homes and all that that entails. It wasn’t that there was change, but that it happened so fast. What used to take 50 years to do, now took 5 years. Rents and property values skyrocketed. How could normal people on normal incomes pay for it? Of course the changes are not limited solely to Seattle. The changes are happening everywhere. It’s just that Seattle and a few other places are getting it far worse than most places. It’s the sign of the times.