This is the first sensible post on Seattle in the Stranger in 13 years.
How about Columbia City? It's still affordable, it's near the light rail, they're building like crazy, and it's been up-and-coming for almost 30 years. Let's make it come up already.
Truth is that C.Hill in the early 00's had become a sad dope den full of not-so-petty crime and wastrels. Imperfect as it is, the latest developments are an improvement.
Here I was expecting a nicely satirical April Fool's post, and instead I got a serious commentary. And a terrific one at that. When Mr. Savage writes something like the following, I'm like "couldn't have said it better myself":
And the best use of our time? Agitating for the fast-tracked construction a city-wide mass transit system—fixed rail, grade-separated, runs all night, trains run every ten minutes or less all night long...

Re.: "We are powerless to "save" Capitol Hill. But we have the power—or you do—to create a new Capitol Hill in Pioneer Square or on Beacon Hill or in South Park." This reminds me how Greenwood is becoming the new Fremont. And this I consider a good thing.
Now if you'd have reported that STP dropped Bertha's cutter head back in its hole, I'd have believed it.
as someone who also (partially) grew up in rogers park, bravo for this post. i can't say i agree 100% with each and every sentiment in the piece, (ie, i think fighting to stop gentrification is not inherently a bad fight, as long as its also coupled with advocacy for building more & affordable housing, mass transit, making places like Tukwila also compelling places to live, etc.) but as echoed by the other comments in the thread thus far, the thinking in this piece is right on. apostasy be damned. postering against the bros & audi drivers is great, but don't let your work stop there.
We are not building a Chicago style transit system. It's essentially too late to start. What we are building is a BART style transit system, with stops quite a ways apart from each other (ONE on Capitol Hill) where housing prices will skyrocket, and everything In beteeen will likely stay the same with no change In zoning. And even that won't be entirely built out for another decade.
@8. Great. Then fight like hell for more light rail lines and a street car system and funding for buses and dedicated BRT (blech) lanes. But don't say "it's too late to start!" London was two millennia old when they "started" the Tube.
Thank you for this, Dan. You have a bully pulpit from which you can effect real change. It's wonderful to see you use it to help out your city (and your neighborhood, and your region) this way.

Please keep it up! Maybe instead of just linking to Ansel's piece about ST3 published today, you could actually link the email addresses of the senators he calls out here:

Mind-blowingly, even the Republican senators who represent areas that would benefit from regional light rail voted against it. Those senators are Joe Fain (Auburn and Kent), Mark Miloscia (Federal Way), and Andy Hill (Redmond). Fain is one of two lead negotiators on the Republican side on transit...

If you haven't written to Fain, Miloscia, and Hill yet, do it right now:,,

When you speak, people will listen.
I just gave a standing ovation at my desk. My office mates are freaked out. Thank you for this.
Cities and civilizations begin...rise....and fall.

Seattle rose from the dust of the Boeing crash of 1980....peaked around 2002...leveled off until 2007...and now begins the slow steady decay of disinterest and emigration.

So too, the parks. These tend to begin as sparsely used natural wonderlands. Then, do-gooders add more and more "infrastructure". Eventually whatever charms were formerly had turn into a kind of public bathhouse cum bus station.

Then the papers pile up and the bums roost like pigeons. Soon, you'll be that Real City you've always wanted to be Seattle...and this will be your Bryant Park.
Cities with great public transportation are always more vibrant than cities that offer less. But there is a West Coast mentality that everyone needs a car because everything is spread out so far and wide. A grocery store can be 5-10 miles away. Therefore, most(?) people own cars here, and it is extremely difficult to get support for mass transit in the form of taxes from people who are spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month on car notes and insurance. Those people only cave in when driving gets so nightmarish that a train sounds like a swell idea - or if parking becomes impossible or prohibitively expensive. It takes a lot to get people out of their cars when they are used to the convenience of them. I don't own a car. I don't want to own a car, but when you can get errands done in 30 minutes that take 4-6 hours on a bus - well. Could Seattle ever build (or afford) a mass transit system that efficient?

And Dan, I know you aren't worried about what you're missing in Tukwila.
Just as long as Kingston doesn't become the next Bainbridge Island, I'm good. You simply couldn't pay me enough to live anywhere in the Big Shitty. I'll take my empty logging roads and huge garden and dark night sky, thankyouverymuch...
Strewth, mate.
"Bravo for this post!"

@12 next time try literally saying nothing, instead of figuratively saying nothing.
Dan, thank you for reviving your role as a rational voice for smart urban development. During the monorail campaign you wrote the absute best commentary advocating for the public transit we've needed for the last 25 years.
In typical "real local" fashion, I have to admit that my problems with how our city is changing often involve WHO is moving here: obedient careerist consumers with pedestrian tastes and values that I often find to be suburban. People now move here for jobs (often at Amazon, a company I completely despise), I came here for a certain freedom, others moved here for the arts. Our rising rents, IMO, offer a serious compromise of this.

I don't accept you speaking for me, and an entire group of folks who can't afford an imported boy, or have their own TV show. You are insulting artists by reducing their work to complaints. We can't all afford the soapbox you have, but I sure would do more with it than tell people to move to Columbia City or say their problems are solved with a train. When was the last time you worried about a rent increase? Thanks, but no thanks.
This is all very pragmatic, but I honor most those who fight to preserve their environment, from hyper-local to worldwide. And I say cultural and aesthetic environment is as important as any.
Wow.... This is pretty striking. The article, but even more so the commentary.

So, let's have a thought experiment. Let's pretend that Capitol Hill isn't a gay/queer neighborhood, but is instead a historically black neighborhood. A place in the city where African Americans moved to get away from discrimination and harassment from the majority white folk that composed the city.

Dan Savage, you just told this minority community to stop whining, move to 'new inner city' (overgrown and now rundown suburban enclaves that were developed and destroyed by privileged white people living beyond their means in 2008) and wait for the new light rail lines to allow us to work for you (and other wealthy white privileged people) and take us home at night because we can't afford to live in your beautiful city.
How about this for a sensible solution... Integrity. Not selling out the city and communities to anybody who has money (i.e. Amazon). How about a city that plans for growth, respects community and culture, and actually follows through on rules/laws about affordable housing. Yes, it's a free market.... But zoning laws and development can be planned and have a purpose. Both urban development (even rapid development) can coexist with respect for the neighborhoods and cultures of this city.

Wealthy white people who feel entitled don't ever let anything get in the way of taking/stealing resources that enable them to make more money (see the Wikipedia entries for the Trail of Tears and Slavery in the United States).

You people cheering this article on... You're the slave owners... You're the people that gave measle-leaden blankets to Native Americans. You're assholes, with zero insight, or an ounce of integrity.

Thank you Dan Savage... Thanks for speaking for privileged unaware unapologetic amoral wealthy white men everywhere. You are now the Seattle gay community's Uncle Tom.
Wow @21 & 22: We did read the same article at all. Capitol Hill is not the Cherokee Nation nor has been time out of mind the Sacred and Imutable Gay Neighborhood. When I first moved to the Hill, as I always tell the tale during these discussions, it was an upper middle class Catholic family neighborhood in decline. There were fancy furniture stores and restaurants you couldn't get into without a tie on Broadway. Then they were gone, and and there were a lot of junkies living in the beautiful old houses that had been carved up into apartments.
It is a cycle and nobody likes change. Hell, I am very, very sad that I can't live on the Hill anymore too; I get the anger and frustration, and I agree with many of the solutions being put forward here, but I also agree with Dan.
There is no need to scold people for grieving the loss of their homes. I believe that if we did make zoning changes to increase density in more areas of the city than just Capitol Hill (and Ballard, Fremont, etc.) and if we did massively expand mass transit, the city would indeed be a more inclusive, vibrant place. In 40 years. But that's what we're going to have to do. And in the meantime, fight tooth and nail to help the non-rich to have some place here, to keep something of this neighborhood that's been my home for 25 years.
If the author has been to Alaska more often than Tukwila (which has light rail), why does the author think building more light rail to the suburbs will help? Why not focus on building more housing and jobs here in Seattle (or getting better transit service and bikeways in the city) rather than spending billions to get people in & out of the city to/from low-density suburbs that don't have transit-supportive land use patterns? I mean, I still support ST3, but I'm not sure it's our housing affordability salvation.
All of you bitching and moaning about transit in the Seattle area? Take a trip to Atlanta, Georgia. You will realize that you have some really good public transportation! I do not lie when I say that Atlanta and the metro area have crap transit--I can't tell you the number of jobs I've lost because the trains and buses are always late and/or breaking down. They also don't really go to places where people need them to go. In twenty-three days I am returning to the Seattle area from living in the Atlanta suburbs and I can't wait to ride Metro again. If you dare, come on over to Hotlanta and see a fucked up transit system. I almost guarantee that you will kiss a Metro bus driver on your return or buy one of them some flowers.
Love the photo.
Why would/does anyone promote apodments? They suck. You can't even have a tiny little pet in one of them. We still have plenty of space without that crap.
Thank you Dan. Great post.

When I moved here 14 years ago I moved to Cap hill (yes, Cap Hill motherfuckers) cause it was cheap and fun. Now, not so much. I would expect If I moved here now I would wind up in Hillman City, Georgetown, White Center or South Park.

The people who complain about the transformation of the Hill are the real Poseurs, they are just following the trendsetters who made the scene on the hill, and they are terrified of striking out on their own to create something new. I'm looking at you @19.
this one's for you smoke! sounds like you're a little bit of a racist but I don't know if you remember a little bar called chocolate city? the place where african Americans hung out in the neighborhood right on Madison across from Safeway every morning when I pass the place to go to work at five in the morning there were fights and drug dealings going on between all of the African American men. and coming from Detroit I know how racist people can be on both sides of the spectrum so as far as being privileged just because I'm white Wow that's a racist statement its just like me saying you're a lazy because you're black. I work hard for everything I have and I don't mind, get over your racism! people like you still see black and white when are you going to realize that money talks in this world doesn't matter what color you are the past is the past we need to learn from it not hate each other for it you have a chip on your shoulder my friend.. I really don't like the way Seattle is changing but its nothing I can stop or you look at the elected officials that we put in office blame them. lol I believe you voted for change, changes what we're getting. you probably believe Michael Brown was a good guy and that he was shot because he was black! in reality he was a thug he was a criminal I would have got shot if I tried stealing the cops gun. in reality I think you're privileged black man. I blame your mama because she raised you to think this way. as far as white people, privileged white people ruining the area I think its the other way around they're the ones who are bringing the area back I see who ruined that area. the world will change when people realize that it's not about race its about money so get that through your thick head! you think that if someone's a white person they were slave owners is that what they teach you in college? here's a racist statement for you maybe your race would have been better off if we never got rid of slavery lot more of you guys would still be working. make no mistake I think slavery was wrong very wrong about I hate when I hear the privileged white male statement because I know its not true there's a lot of white people out there are struggling. grow up smoke!!!
Awww privilegedwhitemale doesn't understand privilege.
Thank you for that rousing rendition of Racist Bingo, now maybe go read a book.
What Our Dear Lissa said, both times.

These people who make Capitol Hill out to be some sort of Special Gay/Artistic place are like the people who peaked in high school, and just want to talk about those years.

The "new" Capitol Hill is here to stay. Time to make a new path.
You're the people that gave measle-leaden blankets to Native Americans.

Hey. Smoke.

It was SMALLPOX. Not measles.

@19: Never claimed to speak for you. And it's because I'm concerned for people who can't afford all the nice things I can—at least for now—that I want to see folks pushing for expanded transit, more affordable housing, rezoning the city for more multi-family dwellings. Yes to art (I was the one who suggested to the art director that we give a cover to the woo girl artist), yes to venting and communicating and expressing ourselves. Yes ALSO to making realistic, concrete, achievable demands. Demanding a halt to macro economic forces—tectonic plates—isn't realistic. Pointing to the real harm being done by those forces and demanding policies that can mitigate those harms. Policies like expanded/subsidized transit, more affordable housing (I'd even support some forms of rent control), rezoning to address the scarcity of housing in our city (which would bring down prices), etc.

Yes, I don't have to worry about a rent increase. You got me there. But I'm concerned about people who do and that's why I'd like to see some of the energy being plowed into complaining about what's happening (not ALL of it—yay, art!—just some of it)—plowed into pressing for policies that will help people who do have to worry. Because I'm a monster like that.
And @30? Go fuck yourself.
To PrivilegedWhiteMale. Wow. You're making a few assumptions. So, I am a 36 year old white gay male. I don't know if that will make you more or less likely to listen to what I had to say. But I bet it does. As a white male, I can attest there is privilege. I have never been denied a job due to my gender or color. I grew up middle class.... Not wealthy or poor. I have had to work for what I have today. While I'm grateful that I haven't personally had to face overt racism and sexism in school and career, I'm also deeply saddened and troubled that people still do. Just like women and people of color, those in the LGBT community are still face a tremendous amount of bias, discrimination, and harassment.

The thought experiment I invoked (pretending that Capitol Hill is a traditionally black neighborhood, instead of a gay/queer neighborhood) was meant to illustrate how socially unacceptable Mr Savages argument is. There would be incredible public backlash if he took the same perspective on pushing out black people from a neighborhood, telling them to stop whining, and to wait for light rail to appear so they can commute in to their jobs after moving to the new suburban ghettoes.

There is a lot of wealth in this country in the hands of very few. Most of these few are white families that have had money for generations. Sometimes this money is not only made from hard work, sometime it is inherited, sometimes wealth is gained by steamrolling over others. Slavery and the genocide of Native Americans are two big examples of this legacy. Literally, money was made on the backs of slaves, or from land that was forcefully taken from another people. Although less violent and more socially acceptable, this sense of entitlement still persists in those few with money and power. These people are largel white males (take a look at the composition of the U.S. house and Senate). Look at Indiana right now... All of these people who feel entitled to use their religion to justify bigotry and discrimination of gays. They have zero insight into their bias and their discrimination. They feel entitled.
@Dan Savage - I appreciate your response (both #34 and #35).... And I think you're right to push for affordable housing and improved public transportation. Both of those things will be good for all neighborhoods in Seattle for many different reasons.

I think the art you reference serves a purpose... It starts a dialogue (including this article) about the changes occurring in Capitol Hill. I'm disappointed in the article, and the argument you make, because it seems like you're waving a white flag and surrendering the neighborhood instead of fighting for it. You have a strong voice in this community and city, and I'm disappointed that you're not using this voice to help further the cause.

All neighborhoods are dynamic, and go through changes, but I'm not that convinced that if the culture of this neighborhood dies out that it will be able to resurrect itself somewhere else. I think it's worth fighting to preserve. This is not a unique phenomena in Seattle.... The castro has been fighting to preserve its identity for decades, in spite of similar development and economic changes. It has taken an organized group of people to preserve it. Here is a really good article about the castro from 2006:…

I sincerely hope that you use your influence and efforts to try to preserve and fight for your neighborhood's identity... And not to convince people that they should just let it go and stop whining.
Hey. TKC.

You say tomato, I say GENOCIDE. My bad. Does it really matter which infectious agent was used?
Dan isn't worried: he's not worried about losing his house. The rest of you: go fuck yourselves and get over it.

Now let's review another high priced restaurant that only the upper middle class can afford!!
@39: Yes, yes. My point exactly.
Well said!! And rent control, we should be pushing for rent control, so that wherever the next gay/art neighbourhood ends up, they dont continue the cycle of pushing out those who have less and are currently living there.
@smoke-you never heard of the CD, south seattle, beacon hill, etc? These are all places in seattle where the black communtys been pushed out since the 90s. Dan's point is bitching about capitol hill and then moving to another hood where you push out the locals HELPS NO ONE!!!

What Seattle needs is real action, not bitching, so that the poor communties are protected and not pushed out.

Fuck, the irony of the mostly white gay/artistic communty of Capitol hill bragging about how the hill is dead and the cd/beacon/south seattle is the new hip communtity....
@21 So was redlining and ghetto-ization good or bad? Because that's what created African-American neighborhoods, and that kind of heavyhanded, racist government intervention is the only thing that can preserve them forever.
Sorry, Dan, I would like to think that you wrote this with the best intentions, but it just sounds to me like you're saying "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!".

Where was this piece when the developers were bulldozing Kincora, the B&O, Bauhaus, and every square foot of 12th ave between Howell and Cherry st to put up $1900/month studios and 1 bedrooms? Where was the cry for affordable housing then?

Fuck it, I'm moving to Oly in 5 months anyways. I'll see you all in 15 years when you can't afford anything between here and Tacoma.
Listen people ,Dan is telling us the way it is, and I don't agree with every article he writes, but this one is right on the money! But what I see and here is that everybody in seattle expect low rent, mass transit, parks,more parks, parks on the streets of downtown that take up parking spaces that generate money, tunnels ,bus routes, $15 an hour, child care, bike lanes everywhere,and the list goes on, how do you think we are going to pay for it??? Taxes taxes taxes!!! Affordable how can it be?? If someone raises property taxes who do you think is going to pay for it in the end? so we make affordable housing apartments and then five years later they turn them into condos. you think because a Democrat is elected in the office that they're automatically going to be for the less fortunate and the Republican word is taboo what you people don't realize is money talks and if you don't have it they're not going to listen to you!! and just for you people that are wondering I am not a privileged white male and I struggle just like everyone else and taxes are killing me but you people are very superficial instead of practical. Most of you voted for a tunnel when we could have just rebuilt the viaduct, so be prepared to pay more and more when that's the way people think. I guess if you want to live here 40 a week is not going to cut it and Just think when the big quake comes your not going to want to be here anyways!
And to Dan savage thanks for your response! I expected better from someone with a degree than go fuck yourself! Does that mean go and jack off? And its just my point of view!
@44 LOL @ Olympia. Enjoy it, nobody will miss you here. :)
Does it really matter which infectious agent was used?

Yes. Actually it does.

Measles wouldn't survive outside the human body on blankets for more than a couple hours. And the lethality of Measles is substantially less than that of Small Pox.

If they'd used measles chances are there would be a whole lot more NA around.

PS. There is also a great deal of debate among historians whether on not the blankets were indeed the cause of smallpox outbreaks. Not to mention that virology wasn't really very well understood until after Louis Pasteur in the 1860's so it's doubtful anybody knew how those diseases were spread at the time the blankets were distributed.
I can count the number of people in my neighborhood that grew up here on one hand. ONE. HAND. 90% of the people bitching about "these new people" were themselves new people in the not-so-distant past. There was a gateway-to-Alaska boom, a lumber boom, a fishing boom, MANY Boeing booms, a tech boom, and internet boom, etc. On top of being a city, as Dan says, Seattle is a boomtown - even by "normal city" standards.

I grew up here. My GREAT GRANDMOTHER came here so she could work the lunch counter downtown. I'm as mossy-backed as they come, and I think the current boom is TOTALLY NORMAL for Seattle, entirely consistent with its history, and frankly, kinda mostly awesome (provided we add transit, housing, etc as suggested here). I'm sick of listening to lectures from hand-wringers, about what the "Seattle used to be like..." and "losing our character," and how "you don't understand..." Mostly from a bunch of people who showed up in the 90s or the 80s, or whose parents moved here during a Boeing boom. It's a crock.

Change is the only constant in cities and chaotic, out-of-control, scary BOOMS as the driver of change have been a constant for Seattle. Deal, advocate for the change you want, but spare us the lecture about the essential character of the city being ruined. Bullshit. If it is being ruined, people like you or your parents or grandparents were the ruiners once too.
@45- i could give a flying fuck if you "missed me", but I do care about punctuation and grammar. Spell check much?
Dan, thank you for being open to discourse, here. None of those layers are immediately known to many of us, when an article like this is written. I appreciate that you could take the time to address those points, and apologize for seeming to villainize you.
So, I am honestly curious, where to next? It seems like over the years Capitol Hill has indeed changed a lot, and many of the current residents may be feeling uncomfortable regardless of whether they can afford the rent. The adaptive people will do what they always do, adapt, and the whiners will do what they do as well.

Where you can go next really depends on what kind of environment you like. Many of our communities around the region are highly suburban, which does not appeal to me at all as a person who loved Capitol Hill.

The article bings up transit connections and I was already thinking of places with a more urban feel, so two logical places include Bremerton and Tacoma. Both of these places have public transportation straight into downtown via ferry or rail, & are also very inexpensive.

In the case of Bremerton the ferries run quite often, but the "downtown" area is much smaller and has a more military vibe thanks to the adjacent Navy base.

In the case of Tacoma the rail does not to run all the time, but it is much better than a lot of options around Puget Sound. Tacoma also has a beautiful park that feels like a mix between Cal Anderson and Volunteer. Houses are cheap and rent is cheaper.

Thanks to a lack of well paying local jobs and prospective commutes to Seattle that are too inconvenient for your average office worker, neither place will probably be gentrified anytime soon. This is hard to say with a straight face about Beacon Hill or Rainier Valley.

Tacoma here we come?

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