You Have to Read This Story About the Fate of the Old Seattle Times Building. It Is Everything That's Happening in This City Right Now, Set in One Sad Old Newspaper Box: "It took three hours for Seattle police on Wednesday to go through the former Seattle Times building on John Street and clear it of squatters who had set up home there," Christine Clarridge writes. "Police Sgt. Paul Gracy said police started on the roof and worked their way down through the building... The old newspaper site, built in 1930-31 at Fairview Avenue North and John Street, was deemed a city historic landmark in the mid-1990s." Across from it, the story notes, is "Amazon's gleaming new headquarters."
Who Were the Squatters? "There are actually two separate groups of people who were in the building: the homeless and professional thieves," Clarridge continues. "The thieves have a welding torch and have been able to defeat efforts to keep them out, [Eric Guisasola, who was hired by the property owners to try to secure the building,] said. They 'literally have a van painted "A Team" that they park right in front of the building, and they had a lock on the (building’s) door. They have a whole scrapping operation and would come in here 24 hours a day stealing metal and scrapping it out.'"
Authorities Believe They Evicted Everyone from the Old Newsroom and Elsewhere: "By nighttime, though, [Guisasola] predicted, 'They’ll be back.'" (The photos are really worth a look. A lot of people in this city moved through that old newsroom over the decades: writers, sources, politicians, publishers. My first journalism job was at a tiny desk in what is now photo number four. The graffiti on the old conference room—where editors made Page 1 decisions and more—appears to say "SHENANAGINS.")
If It Wants to, Shell Oil Can Dock Its Arctic Drilling Rig in Seattle Again: "The mayor, the city council, and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) have lost a battle over whether hosting Arctic drilling equipment is kosher at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5," Sydney Brownstone reports. "The argument started earlier this year, after the port quietly signed a lease with local shipping company Foss Maritime in order to host Shell's Arctic drilling fleet at the space." (But: "In practical terms, all of this may be a bit moot. Shell is now pulling out of the Arctic, and its local host—Foss Maritime—is possibly considering new clients to occupy the two-year space for which Shell has paid at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5.")
Memorial for Aurora Bridge Crash Victims: "Seattle leaders mixed with grieving relatives and friends of victims in last week’s Aurora Bridge crash for an emotional ceremony Wednesday to remember the five students who died and to offer support for those still healing," the Seattle Times reports.
Seattle Needs Transportation Improvements, But There's Concern About How We're Paying for Them: "The cure for some of Seattle’s transportation pains may be tough to swallow: a nearly $800 increase in annual taxes, fees and user charges for the city’s typical household," KUOW reports. "That number comes from former state transportation chief Doug MacDonald, who calculated the cost of changes in state tax structure, car-tab charges and proposed levies." Some perspective, for those specifically worried about proposed property tax increases to fund transportation improvements: A 2013 study found Seattle ranking very low among other major cities when it came to our property tax burden.
Democracy for America Endorses Lisa Herbold in Distrct 1: "Despite relentless attacks by well-funded corporate interest groups, Lisa has stood strong in her commitment to combating income inequality and fighting to continue Seattle’s leadership on populist progressive priorities," the group says. For some reason, they had skipped endorsing in this particular city council race during the primary.
Visa Reversal Affecting Tech Workers in Seattle and Elsewhere: "A sudden about-face by the State Department has left tens of thousands of highly skilled immigrants unable to apply to become legal permanent residents as they had expected to on Thursday, even though many have already paid expensive legal and medical fees to get their applications ready, according to a new lawsuit," the AP reports. "The affected immigrants are mostly from India and China, and many have advanced degrees and work at top tech companies or in medical firms."
And Russia Is Bombing in Syria: "In a second day of raids in Syria, Russian warplanes carried out a new round of airstrikes on Thursday that — contrary to Moscow’s assertions — appeared to be targeting not the Islamic State but a rival insurgent coalition," the New York Times reports. "Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict, which started on Wednesday with a bombing attack on Syrian opposition fighters, has been angrily condemned by United States officials."