Meh. Times change, cities change. I'm here until I can collect my pension, then I think I'll head down the coast someplace. Lake Havasu, for instance. Or maybe Sunnyside. Lots of retired people in Sunnyside.
While much of what Charles is saying here resonates with me, the comparison of Amazon to WalMart is just a bit off "Target" - Amazon is very big in cloud computing and technology and does a whole lot more than sell "stuff" online.
Wherever I've been in the world, there have been cries of the place dying. What is universally meant is change, new generations supplanting old. Changes in tastes. Thankfully I've never lived in a real dying city, one with no jobs, no prospects, everyone who can leaving.

For me, the worst death we have to deal with is that of stagnation. If anything is killing Seattle, its the NIMBYs who don't want their neighbourhoods to change. Attempting to prevent change is causing the very changes the same people decry - increasing rents, increasing homelessness, real estate speculators buying up all the land they can.
So what exactly is keeping you in Seattle if it is this awful?
@2 If he said that Amazon is very big in cloud computing people would still be equally unimpressed by that bloated value add rentier parasite.
Microsoft could have hit $1K a share in years past, but they had the courtesy to split multiple times.
You should come to Detroit for a vacation, you could undoubtedly find some new pieces for your collection.
I would suggest staying at the Leland Hotel. It was once a hangout of the Purple Gang.
The old Masonic Temple is an amazing building both inside and out. It's a wonderful place to see a show, if you aren't put off by the lack of air conditioning.
If Seattle is as boring as Charles makes it out to be, you may want to stay.

By the way, I hear you are a fan of Martin Denny.
You have impeccable taste.
Mudede noticed his throwaway line trolling his readers got a big reaction, so he doubles down on it.

Why does The Stranger have a full time staffer whose job is to troll Stranger readers? In his shockingly long tenure, he's occasionally done some good journalism. He can actually write when he wants to. (Police Beat was great!) But, from this kind of horseshit to back when he "reviewed" movies by rambling on about Hegel and barely mentioning the movie under review, he mostly just trolls.

Why he does it doesn't really interest me. Some people just like to troll. Why The Stranger thinks that service is worthy of its scarce resources is utterly beyond me. Many, many people offer trolling services for free in this very comment section.
Adam dear, Detroit has been on my bucket list since I discovered the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit website. When I was a teenager I used to love to take the bus to downtown Omaha (which was like a mini version of Detroit) and wander around looking in all the windows of the shuttered stores, theaters and hotels. Seattle had some ruins, back in the day, but never as many as Omaha (let alone Detroit) What we did have was some great space-age architecture, but our Good Taste Police seem intent on destroying that legacy.

And yes, Martin Denny, Esquivel, The Brass Ring, Les Baxter, Sergio Mendes and The Brazil '66, Hugo Montenegro, Frank Chacksfield..... I could go on, but you get the picture.

"Seattle is not a tourist machine. There is really nothing to see here." Tell that to our 38 million visitors and the $6.8B they spend here every year.
"Old Seattle" died when we neglected to kick out-of-state whackjobs like Chuckles Mudede out.

But you just gotta love the nuts who moved here, trashed everything that was worth having in Seattle, and who are now frosty that some more recent out-of-staters have moved in after them.
It amazes me how everyone thinks what is happening in Seattle (and Portland and San Francisco and New York and New Orleans and Detroit and and and) is just fine and NBD and just the way capitalism works and anyone who complains about the system well they just need to suck it up and accept the fact that they're part of the poors who don't get to live or work where they want to anymore they just have to move and go to some shit hole in the middle of nowhere that they can afford. Of course this will all end when it reaches a point where all the people telling other people "too bad, move somewhere else!" find out that they can no longer afford where they want to live or work and they are told "too bad, move somewhere else!" because then it will be considered a PROBLEM. FFS hundreds of thousands of people, mostly non-white people, and all poor people, regardless of race, are being forcibly displaced further and further and further out. Instead of ridiculing Charles and behaving like a$$holes why don't you educate yourselves? Read _Evicted_ and read _How to Kill a City_ and learn about how strategic, purposeful, and racist all of this is. Once upon a time the powers that be determined the place to grow capital was the suburbs. So the powers that be encourage white flight, the building of roads, the purchasing of cars, the creation of the suburbs, the myth that every American had to buy a home, and an incredible amount of wealth was created, while cities were shit holes and purposely ghettoized to house the non-white and the poor. Then things changed. It became clear that the suburbs and the cost of infrastructure to maintain the urban flight was no longer profitable. So the powers that be turned to the cities and found that the opportunity for creation of wealth and capital was immense. All they had to do was sell to the highest bidder (world wide and international buyers) and force everyone out > force out the non-white, the poor, the working class, and hell even the middle class if they weren't garnering enough wealth. Cities exist now for the wealthy and for wealth, period. They do not exist for people, culture, community, or services as they once did. And all of the people forced out of the cities who had lived in and created communities of culture and relied on services (public transportation, social services, community services, etc.) find themselves in situations of abject poverty and neglect (especially infrastructure-wise) with no services they need available to them. Why is this so acceptable? Why are so many people in this country content to shrug their shoulders and not give a shit about anyone but themselves and people like them? Why are so many people in this country content to allow so many people in this country, the wealthiest country in the world, to be homeless, jobless, go without food, go without health care, and to simply, literally rot and die "because oh well they're too poor and that's their own damn fault" when that is THE BIGGEST LIE EVER TOLD AND CONTINUOUSLY PERPETUATED IN THIS COUNTRY. I truly fail to understand humanity. Humanity's extinction event can't come soon enough. We have had literally thousands of years to evolve and we haven't. Humans are cruel, violent, greedy, nasty pieces of flesh full of feces that destroy everything they come in contact with and for some reason take great pleasure in the pain, suffering, and degradation of their fellow humans.
@14..yeah...I stopped reading about two sentences into your rant.
ROTFL! What Seattle really needs right now is a protest march of solidarity! LOL. I have to admit, its fun to read about how great Seattle has become, rife with daily violence, growing housing issues and political incompetence and scandals that leave even the The National Enquirer speechless. Next up! A heafty, liberal-sponsored state income tax that will fix everything and make everyone's dreams come true - especially if you are in the "arts"!

That Almost Live vid is 25 years old, making it older than some of the commenters. People will always complain about the loss of "old Seattle". I'm sure someone complained when they paved Skid Road.
With "..Seattle Dead.." The Stranger needs to start a Go Fund Me page to help Nicole and Charley move. I'll help them pack.
My great grandmother helped "ruin" Seattle for the natives, my grandfather and a bunch of Boeing boomers ruined it for the original imports to the area, the Microsofties ruined it for the Boeing boomers, and the dot-commers ruined it for the Microsofties. Now the the Amazonians are ruining it for the dot-commers, and everyone wants to lecture everyone else about how it "used to be."

Somewhere in all that, the city had a World's Fair, sports championships, Grunge, a respectable local hip-hop scene, musicians, artists, hippies, non-conformists, and others came and went, and the city had change.

If there's one thing I hear in everyone's rant about how this city is changing, it's that Seattle was perfect WHEN THEY ARRIVED. It's everyone who came after that are the problem.

Interesting, that.
It is striking (and I think revealing) that we get the same kind of "Seattle's soul is DYING" narcissistic whine from a soi disant "Marxist" columnist and a complacent, empty-headed voice of the suburban upper middle class on the same day.
Seattle did not used to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. It is now, but without the trappings of a great city. One thing that has always been true and is still true is that Seattle is a provincial city. The transportation system is 40 years behind schedule. Developers are allowed to barf up lackluster architecture. The museums are modest. Seattle just doesn't give a lot of bang for the buck. Things that would be forgivable if you were paying half your current rent, are not forgivable at these heavenly rates.
@8 it is clear Charles has no other options other than languishing at the Stranger year after year...for what, 20 years now? Most writers move up and on after a handful of years but Charles is left writing troll pieces after all this time. It's rather sad when you stop to think about it
#19 is the only comment worth reading here... people need to get some fucking perspective. i'll add that, yes, shit's changing at warp speed right now but most cities and towns in this country would KILL to have the success seattle is having. are there drawbacks? sure, and they deserve to be dissected and discussed. but constantly reading about the doom and gloom and how great things used to be is getting tiring.
I've been here over 35 years and live on the Burke Gilman Trail between Fremont and Ballard. Every day I see hundreds of young, smart, science and tech people biking to and from work, from early morning until late at night. They're all fit, intense, seem generally well intentioned, and make enough money to live very well in this city. It's a playground for young, smart techies and scientists and they love this city. It's the kind of place to move when you've got both brains and money. And they have a very different view of it than Charles and many of the commenters here.
Youarenotonlyallowed,butencouraged,toindentorotherwiseseparateyourparagraphsforeasierparsing.Just saying.

You are not only allowed, but encouraged, to indent or otherwise separate your paragraphs for easier parsing.
Just saying.
So yeah, change is inevitable, okay, but have you been to Dallas? It's not a pretty city. It's got people, it's got money, you can live on a reasonable amount of money, but it's not like, "Let's see the sights in Dallas!" because there aren't many. Who says, "Let's go to Phoenix"? If you like the desert, sure, but Tucson is more interesting from that perspective, and if you want desert, why go anywhere in particular? If you have family there, or a job there, fine, you'll go there, but that's not vacation or taking a tour, that's living or familial duty. A tourist spot is a place you go to that you don't have to go to.

That leads to the question, what makes a city worthy noteworthy?

Environment? To an extent. Oahu gets more tourist dollars than any one of the other islands in Hawaii, even though they're all environmentally similar:…

It's just as easy to get to Honolulu as Kahului on Maui, but Oahu gets just under twice as many tourism dollars. Obviously there's something else at play.

If you were to go to any city in the world, which would it be? If you google "top tourist cities in the world", you get Bangkok, London, Paris, etc. What makes these cities popular/visitable? You could say they're popular because they're popular. Maybe, but if you could visit any city in the world, without having to worry about the cost, and time off from work, honestly, which would you choose? (If you say you'd rather camp in the woods, close your browser tab. This isn't a conversation for you)

These cities are OLD. They have history and culture, and they've gone through a buttload of changes. They're also huge, and for the most part, easy to get around in. (Light rail! Light rail!)

Seattle is not old, it's not huge, and we have a history of half-assing things, having them fail because they're half-assed, then giving up and tearing them down. (The Alki Log House Museum is like a shrine to this. We half assed Luna Park, we half-assed the public baths, etc. etc.) Some of this, like tearing down old brick buildings is difficult, because reinforcing them to bring them up to code is expensive, and in a lot of cases, it's easier to tear them down and replace them with something safer, but there's a lot of things, like the transit plan from the seventies, that got voted down, or severely weakened by voters who just aren't confident in the road forward. They're in the comfort zone of a small, unremarkable city with lots of parking and a hostile view towards outsider Californians.

So basically, the summary is this: Getting defensive about someone calling Seattle not a tourist machine is a recipe for remaining not a tourist machine. Seattle is not the most noteworthy city on the planet. It's a nice place to live for the moment, sure, (I've lived here for over 20 years, I have a home that's rising in value and a career. I will most likely die here) but there are lots of things that need to be done to improve it. Those things do not include complaining about car tabs, or ignoring the problems of gentrification and diversity.
A Seattle dot-com has a huge stock market valuation!

Seattle as we know it is dead!

Charles sure does like to party like it's 1999.
The problem we have is, unfortunately, not one that we have a monopoly on in our fair city. People who have lived here all their lives, people who would like to live here, are being priced out of the city. We need more money in affordable housing. We need rent control. More money poured into social services. The same can be said for many places around the country.

Overall, I agree with Charles in this piece. What he has wrong, though, is that "there is nothing to see here." Seattle's beauty does not lay in it's buildings, nor does it have a leading edge in the music scene (although, it's arguably still pretty good), but where Seattle shines--metaphorically of course, through it's gloom and gray-- is in it's natural environment. We are literally in a bowl of fresh and salt water, mountains, and rainforest. And the fact that only the wealthy elite have access to it is a problem.

@19 makes some very valid points, but the comment that, "Somewhere in all that, the city had a World's Fair, sports championships, Grunge, a respectable local hip-hop scene, musicians, artists, hippies, non-conformists, and others came and went" is moot. There needs to be room for all these types of people to exist in this city; I'd like to know what artists, musicians, hip hop performers, hippies, and non-conformists are going to be able to live where the median home value is $653k and the median rent is $2,550 (…

Old Seattle is dead. No matter how much ya'll wanna kick up a fuss and protest it-- the things that brought culture and vibrancy to this city are gone. It's not impossible that they will be replaced by something else metropolitan. But it sure won't be lower income folk, or a proportional amount of people of color. So, if that's the city you're vibing on-- have fun with that! Otherwise, do something about it. #vote
Catchy headline, but please, get a grip!

Who exactly declared it dead? Wall Street? Doesn't anything old eventually die?

You can roll with the changes and remember your time here fondly, or be sad and curmudgeonly. Seattle will still be here.
#27: Yeah, I have been to Dallas. And you could build a Macdonald's on every corner in Seattle and it would still be situated in one of the most beautiful urban locations in the country, and arguably, the world. Dallas is located in the kind countryside that even hillbillies have nightmares about. It's dreadful and Seattle will never be like that. So relax. Basically, your digital overlords are moving in, making it better, enjoying it more, and for reasons you'll never understand, or accept even if you did. Natural selection happens. You'll like Marysville. It's a great place to get in touch with lots of things.
My "old Seattle" was one that was a little seedy and a little sinister. It was still recovering from The Boeing Bust, so rent was cheap and there were lots of slacker jobs. It was great, but that ship has sailed, and that's undoubtedly a good thing. I'm glad I was here to see it, and there are parts of it that I dearly wish had hung on (F&N, I. Magnin, the old Westlake, Trader Vic's, the Ballard Denny's, the Lake Union St. Vincent de Paul, Vena Beaver's Designer Coiffures, the City Light building) but you can't live in the past. And one person's paradise is another person's misery.
It's like Andy Rooney, but without the yuks.
Judging by all the angry comments I would say all the recent transplants to Seattle are quite insulted. Believe it or not, Seattle was a MUCH better city to live in 10-15 years ago.
I'm surprised the "wealthy powers that be" who are making the urban sphere a desirable place to live with super high rents (per @14's point) haven't dumped a metric shit-ton of money into light rail and transit generally, because with 1000 ppl/WEEK arriving (and cordially lining developers pockets) our terrible traffic is only going to get so much worse.
It's noticeably worse than it was even 5 years ago, let alone 20.

We do live on a couple of peninsulas you know...

Throw down, Moneybags' !
I think Xina is right on. It was much simpler when I moved here in 1992. It felt like a town. I lived in cheap apartments, there were sketchy areas downtown. I moved away for 5 years and was amazed at the changes.

Now it's almost 20 years later and Seattle is becoming a city, and we're have to work to make it the city we want. It's not going to just happen on it's own, and it's going to be hard work. If we want all of our artists and neighbors to move away we can do nothing. That's always easy.

Changing it is going to be hard and depressing, but if you're going to bitch and moan about the good ol' days but STILL LIVE HERE, you better be doing something to give back to your city.
Charles, can you explain why Omaha hasn't self-destructed yet?

Berkshire Hathaway Class A is trading at $248,000 per share, there's not much of a draw for tourists. Under your theory, it should be dead as a doornail, right?


By taking the time to comment, you've basically answered your own question.


I can easily imagine Bezos sitting behind his solid platinum, diamond-encrusted door/desk rubbing his hands in glee at the current state of things. After all, he's built his business culture around a dog-eat-dog economic Darwinism Capitalist paradigm, so the thought of his own employees battling it out for scarce housing resources seems like something in he'd take particular pleasure.

...back when he "reviewed" movies by rambling on about Hegel and barely mentioning the movie under review,

Oh, come on. You recall the early days of The Stranger, when a "review" of a movie, art exhibit, or unveiling of a new park bench was primarily a pocket autobiography, wherein the twenty-five-year-old reviewer told you all about The Events In His Life Which Taught Him How Much The Subject Means. While a reader who took excruciating care might actually glean an actual insight into the putative subject of the review, the rest of us knew it was just filler en route to Savage Love.

As you can tell by his post, Charles clearly loves the olden days of Seattle and The Stranger alike.


Calling out the troll is not the same thing as getting provoked by the trolling.

hbb dear, having grown up in the Omaha metro, I can assure you that the wealth of BH is not concentrated in the city. In fact, one of its big tourist weekends is the Berkshire Hathaway meeting, when people fly in from all over the world to eat at a "real" steakhouse and gawk at the locals.
This is a glorious display of self-indulgent whining. Seattle isn't dead, Seattle's architecture doesn't suck, Amazon isn't destroying Seattle's historic charm, and what sort of sad, miserly elitist can turn the harmless fun of the gum wall into an argument for how bland we are as a city?

Dude, if you don't like it, get out and make room for someone who will appreciate Seattle.

Charles hath declared Seattle is not a tourist city, and cited as proof the gum wall, and therefore your statistics mean nothing.

Seattle is Dead. I moved her 20 years ago and fell in love with Seattle. No it seems as though the city leaders have forgotten about the working people. If you are homeless, an illegal immigrant or Amazon you are welcomed with open arms and given the key to the city. If you are working, paying taxes and trying to get by you are forgotten, you opinions are unwelcome and if you ask a question they shout you down or worse. My son doesn't get free education but illegals do, we don't get free healthcare but homeless and illegals do, we just watch our incomes shrink as taxes on everything increase. And this income tax is a scam. Lost of poorer folks rallying with signs say "Tax the Rich" but how will that help us? It doesn't reduce our taxes or put money back in our pockets. My wife hours were cut because of the minimum wage and tuition goes up and the sales tax is stifling. Meanwhile outside our expensive apartment there are hoardes of aggressive homeless people, tents, needles in the park and excrement in front of our doorways. What do they propose, more money for homeless and safe spaces for them to shoot up. They are outside because they don't want to go to a shelter because they cannot do drugs or be intoxicated. And we coddle them. Th minute my son graduates we are moving. The city is sliding downhill, all the old seatlites and business are leaving or closing. We will be left with high-rises with the wealthy in them and galleries and hair salons or chain restaurants at the bottom and streets filled with homeless for the great giveaway. The rest of us will be gone. We just can't afford to live here anymore and the reasons we lived the city are rapidly disappearing. Tax the rich, what a scam by politicians Thanks for nothing Mayor Murray.

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