Gentrification "Counterforce" Blocks Central District Microsoft Shuttle Bus

Comments

2
Thanks, masked white kids! You've won hearts and minds and stuff today.
3
I'm not defending Microsoft, but to call this bus "wasteful" because you sometimes see "just three people on board" is fairly dumb. I'm assuming this bus makes more than one stop, judging by the "LESCHI MADRONA" sign on the window.
4
So we should reinstate the red line to keep the black people from moving out of the neighborhood?
6
@3 This is just after the first stop, there are 2 more on Madison.
7
I get the negative impact the gentrification has on a community, as well as how disgusting it is that properties and tenants are getting pushed out for cookie cutter condo's/apts that have no soul other than to sell us Subways or Starbucks, not to mention that it is next to impossible to raise a family in the city anymore. That being said at what point do the people living in the CD owe it to their community to take the initiative to support and grow local businesses? Drive down Rainer and/or MLK how many business/properties do you see that are in a state of disrepair and neglect? Columbia City is great but I think most would agree that gentrification played a great part in that area's resurgence. Is Columbia City bad because the businesses cater more towards a white clientele then they did 15 years ago? Is that a bad thing if those businesses that were there before were not profitable and not fully supported by the community like they are now? I dont think you can curse gentrification if your neighborhood has run down buildings/businesses/streets and no one is doing anything with them. Its one thing if a developer comes in and raises the rent on a perfectly good apt and kicks everyone out to get a higher paying clientele. But what I think we will see going forward is that developers and business owners are going to move into the areas that were not supported by the current local community and build it up to appeal to the new $$. Right wrong or indifferent this is the new and growing Seattle and people that are in the CD now that wont be able to afford the changes will be in South Park/Tukwilla/Renton/Skyway in 10 years and 10 years from now were going to be talking about the same thing happening to those areas.
8
White people move out? Racism!

White people move in? Racism!

pick a lane and stick to it ladies.
9
The gentrification ship has already sailed. All the working-class were forced out of the CD years ago. Now the only ones who can afford to live there are yuppies, criminals, and people who bought their homes cheap in the 70's/80's.

We're running at a 2% vacancy rate citywide on rental apartments. Rent increases are 10%/year. The whole city's gentrified now, because no one wants new apartments in THEIR neighborhood.
10
So would Microsoft employees driving their beamers, Priuses, or Hummers to work be less of a gentrification "eyesore" than riding the Microsoft buses?
11
I like how they use "gentrification" as a sympathetic word replacement for "capitalism". It sounds like what they really want the sign to say is "capitalism stops here", but they realize how stupid that would sound.

Speaking of which, are they saying that they want to stop gentrification, or that the Connector (as a symbol of gentrification) makes stops here in the morning?
12
Ahhh, the politics of envy.
13
Because making me late for work is going to win me over to your cause....It's not only Amazon employees that use the SLUT to get to work, assholes.
14
Must be nice to not have to work, so you can go block people from going to work. That be sweet if the drivers foot "slipped" and he made some flesh pancakes.
15
I'm curious as to the black population of the CD prior to, oh I don't know, 1750??
16
Sounds like the next idea for a reality TV show. They've milked housewives, Appalachia, tourists, and mom and pop stuff, why not edgy activists?

Coming soon: The Counterforce.
17
Police need to do there jobs, and stop people from blocking buses.
18
I for one would like to join them in their proud and excellent crusade against carpooling.
19
When the rent goes up it's a burden. When the property value goes up it's a windfall for the homeowner.
In Ballard a lot of the old Scandinavian fishermen sold off their little cottages and bungalows for 10x what they bought them for creating a nice retirement fund, though they had to move away to find somewhere more affordable to enjoy that retirement. The remaining residents then cursed the new people for changing Ballard without ever considering blaming their neighbors who cashed in.
I don't know the CD well enough to know if that's the same situation there or if they're predominantly renters, but it's usually a little more complex than what fits on a banner or bumper sticker.
20
"they should take public buses instead of relying on their own private system"

Microsoft provides free bus passes to every employee, including temps and non-tech workers, everyone gets one and MS doesn't flinch in giving you one. They are helping subsidize Metro, in addition to providing their own private service.

What few buses that go from Seattle to Redmond (545, 540?) are already crowded. I don't see how taking a public bus would change anything, but the protesters probably know this. If all the middle and upper class people left the Central District, then the quality of that area would degrade and then they would have something new to complain about.
22
We should use all that social justice office money that the mayor budgets for to get the displaced Jews back into the central district.

If the reparations pays for a new deli, I think the votes are there.
23
After yesterday's vote these MS Connectors might be some of the only transit left for a lot of these people.
24
23rd and Madison is clearly not the CD…I live a block from that intersection and all my neighbors and anyone who references that particular coordinate refers to it as Capitol HIll (or maybe they'll say between Capitol HIll and Madison Valley). Gentrification has already completely enveloped this corner of Seattle, and if someone wants to be on the frontline of the gentrifying wave, they need to head south to at least Union.
25
Let me guess. The people blockading the Connector bus also voted against Prop 1 because they felt the taxes were too regressive.
26
Nothing more than the same asshole NIMBYs that prevent any reasonable growth from happening in Seattle.
27
As someone mentioned before in reference to Ballard and old norsemen, there are a lot of non-white homeowners who have been able to create a nice retirement due to the "gentrified" housing costs in this neighborhood. Even if you are against gentrification, per se, the fact that some of the residents have made a killing off of their skyrocketing home values complicates the dynamic a bit.
28
I think the real history of the CD is that of a more or less successful mixed neighborhood. In the late 50's - early 60's, a mixture of government housing programs and unscrupulous real estate agents tipped the balance on that, but who would expect that a neighborhood with close proximity to downtown Seattle and easy access to both the floating bridges would remain low-income forever?

This being Seattle, the very poor are looked after, and it's the lower middle-class who are really getting the shaft. Not only in the CD, but throughout the City of Seattle.
29

I've been making the argument over at STB that in fact, the Gentrifiers are the ones who should be staging protest marches.

You have all these entrenched Insiders and Native Washingtonians, living off the land (that is, my tax monies) while grandfathered in to low cost housing, and low property taxes.

Far from protesting, these people should be hiding their heads in the sand because apparently, as smart as they are, high tech people are too stupid to not figure out that the 1200 sq. ft. condo they just bought costs 7 times more per month than the 4500 sq. ft. SFH home that the guy who retired from the library a decade ago lives in.
30
@28 - that's a great way of stating it, Catalina. It's the kind of nuance that gets lost in the activist false dichotomy that there is only the struggling poor vs. the comfortably wealthy, with nothing in between.

Again, we circle back to the need for affordable housing (not market rate, actually affordable) as a necessary part of ongoing development density. The issue is that people shouldn't be forced into the suburbs because they're not comfortably wealthy. There should be a place in the city for the working lower middle class, who populate office, service, and retail positions throughout Seattle. Maybe not detached single family homes, but at least apartments and townhomes sized appropriately for adults with children.

Saying that people are entitled to a neighborhood because of the color of their skin misses the point. It's all about money, honeys.
31
@15; try 1850
32
These guys's hearts are in the right place but their strategy sucks.

The problem with these buses isn't gentrification, it's privatization of the public good. If you run buses to and fro on public streets, the same route every day, they should be available to anyone to ride. They should, in fact, be public buses. Taking bus service for the wealthy away from the public takes the perspectives of the wealthy too, and now Microsofties have no stake in the public good. They probably voted against Metro; why not, they don't need it, they've got their own.

The problem isn't that Microsofties are taking over the neighborhood; it's that they've superimposed their own neighborhood over the one that is already there.
33
here is the explanation for the action. like to see you trolls even try to pick holes in it

http://tidesofflame.wordpress.com/2014/0…
34
@32: So they should increase their carbon footprint and drive to Redmond in their own cars instead as to not superimpose their own neighborhood with buses that not everybody can ride in?

35
@32. Excellent point. I'm mostly with you, but I'm having a hard time trying to hate on a carpool.
36
@29 - no one in Seattle is "grandfathered into" low property taxes. The King Country assessors office can and will raise your their assessment of your home's value.

@33 - Where to start? That link was basically a personal anecdote that took a whole five paragraphs to blame The Gays.

You're not resigning yourself or your principals to understand that neighborhoods change, it's not always progress—meaning different things to different people, but change is inevitable and in its wake pockets of culture can be both lost and created. Read up on the history of the CD, of all Seattle neighborhoods. There's a lot to be frustrated about, but you're going to give yourself a fucking aneurism trying to hold back the tide.
38
@31 - Or 1942. I'm not trying to start a contest, but it very much shaped the area we're talking about, as with San Francisco's famous Filmore district.
39
I imagine folks would like Google buses, Boeing buses, and Amazon buses to get to work without fighting traffic as well.
40
What a waste of carbon these Counterforce dipshits are. They're doing the same nonsensical bullshit in Oakland right now. Last week their Bay Area crusty equivalents presented a demand for $3 billion in funding to fund an anarchist utopia. Sure thing, kids!

There's a different group protesting shuttles in SF, but at least that group was smart enough to focus on a valid point - the use of public bus stops by the shuttles. These kids, OTOH, are just in it to thump their chests and feel important.
41
The gentrification ship has sailed, yes. Nevertheless, I applaud the protesters for doing what it takes to get some attention-- hell, any attention at all -- paid to issues of housing affordability. Boeing, MS, and Amazon certainly never gave one shit about whether the people that cleaned their offices and made their lattes could afford to live anywhere convenient or pleasant.
42
Good points @41
43
"Today there are gentrifiers in the Central District who can claim to have been in the neighborhood for almost twenty years. These people can reassure other gentrifiers that it is okay to move into the Central District. They say we are all uprooted anyway and that community can be whatever you want to be. But the community of gentrifiers that exists today in the Central District has almost no conception of the brutality that allowed them to move into houses that once belonged to multi-generational black families."

http://tidesofflame.wordpress.com/2014/0…
44
Seattle (well, its mayors and developer-owned lily white council) has been on a "kick the darkies out" campaign ever since the trust funders and hipsters started showing interest in poor neighborhoods near downtown.

Its long over do that the community fought back. North Portland had some success with this as well.
45
@41: And what about the janitors and baristas that got jobs at MS as testers after working through college - do those people automatically become MS snobs?
46
They should protest carpooling too. Same thing.
47
such a tired arguement and 'protest'.

@32 all of those MS busriders already pay a lot of taxes for all sorts of public goods. from my experience, MS employees in my circle of friends range from mid road liberal to very progressive. they just were all 'lucky' enough and worked hard to get a decnt job at MS.

sure there's a valid arguement for higher corporate taxes and a state income tax, but protesting against a nice, progressive policy of a company's encouragement of ride-sharing?? wtf?

when the connection between the protest target (gentrification) and the means (carpooling/bus shuttles are bad!) is so poorly drawn, the protest is a failure and turns away most people who could be swayed.
48
Being priced out of your neighborhood is not "brutality". Such melodramatic speech cheapens the word and is an insult to the real victims of brutality, who are all too common.

And all this talk of "multi-generational families" being "forced out of their homes" is cartoonish. A multi-generational family with a paid-off home can pay their property taxes, even working low-wage jobs. The real story there are situations where the kids drained their elders of all their money and let the house go, or where the family was taken advantage of during the housing boom by unscrupulous mortgage lenders who talked the property owner into a terrible refinance, HELOC, or a reverse mortgage. But that doesn't fit on a banner.

49
#48 has given us what the kids today call "real talk."
50
Oh holy crap. This is just dumb. I have lived in the Central District for 15 years. One black family I know sold their house for a small fortune and moved to Lake Hills in Bellevue. Hell if I had kids I would too. Another woman got sick of the crime, sold her house for a lot more than she paid then moved to Gig Harbor. Another woman is a real estate agent who sells homes in the neighborhood and rents her place to a bunch of kids. She lives very well in Madrona off the income she generates from her former neighborhood. Would these darling children blocking traffic like these "non-white" people to move back? The Central District is no longer as black. Yes well nicer areas are now less white. This is not a bad thing.
51
And what #48 said.
52
As someone who takes a Microsoft bus to work, I want to share my own tradeoff between public buses and the private one. I take the 545/43 combo about once a week because the connector is full. It takes about 20-30 minutes longer to get me to Capitol Hill. That extra time is the transfer at Montlake and the greater number of stops that the public busses make. If there wasn't a Connector, I would not commit an extra hour of my day to public transit, I'd go back to driving.

I've lived on Capitol Hill for nearly a decade, and I've been watching the neighborhood change. I wish it wasn't changing so much, but I don't see getting rid of the Microsoft, Amazon or other busses as likely to prevent the change.

And I voted for additional funding for metro. I'd love it if we had better public transit options for everyone.

Lastly, I'm not speaking for the company, just trying to add a perspective on the "people would take the public bus."
53
Gotta love people who lie about living in CD or pretend they know people in the area or have some connection with the community to excuse gentrification. Its not simply a matter of "white people moving in from the suburbs", its a matter of people moving to a community where a culture has grown and seeking to attack the locals that live there.

And the fact that the city leaders are hostile to Black neighborhoods and always have been, so the few blocks where a black man or woman can walk around without feeling public derision and exaggerated fear from scary racist white faces is a precious thing in Seattle. There are not many 'safe places' (to use the emotional and psychological terms) in greater Seattle for African Americans. CD is one of them. And now its being taken like so many other places.

Dont like the crime (even though there is just as much in the 'white' northend (been rapey up there for years), DONT MOVE THERE.

Dont like 'black people music'? DONT MOVE THERE

Afraid of seeing black people minding their own business while you wait for the MS connector? DONT MOVE THERE.

No one is stopping you from moving to First Hill or Fremont or Cap Hill? Lord knows you throw a fit when a black person so much as walks down broadway (the race based assaults every other weekend on black gay men are evidence enough of that).

54
My family was living in the Central District in the '40's-'80's.
It used to be more Jewish & white, then it became more diverse, now it sounds like less diverse?
All neighborhoods change.
55
They should start protesting carpools. Same thing.
56
Soooo, now the narrative is this: large, successful (dare I say.... Capitalist) companies that pay their employess less than $15/hr are evil and selfish and destroying Seattle. BUT, if large, succesful companies pay their employees too much and treat them too well (e.g. perks such as a free ride to work - gasp!) they are also evil and selfish and destroying Seattle. I think I see where this is going - we should all be stuck at an income level that is just above completely miserable and just below marginally comfortable.

I think that's been tried before, with disasterous consequences.
57
@54 CD hasnt been jewish and white since before ww2. Until the late 40s it was mostly asian. But way to make up a story to defend gentrification! Lets all pretend no one here knows anything about Seattle neighborhoods and spout nonsense we make up! Sounds fun!
58
what 24 said. Madison and 23rd gentrified decades ago. These chickenshit fake protesters are afraid to go where the real problem is (as is the Connector bus).
59
"There are not many 'safe places' in greater Seattle for African Americans."

Well, maybe they should stop shooting each other so often then. Being black in a black neighborhood seems the most dangerous place for them to be judging by Seattle and national murder rates.