Mark Kaufman


$15/hr will also raise rents.
Not saying $15 is bad.
But that's just one of the impacts -- more buying power.
In fact that's the whole purpose.
Goodbye and good riddance Seattle. Three more weeks in this techie hell and then I'll relocate far, far away.

I won't be here when Seattle discovers Amazon is just a bloated, empty shell losing money on many of its more ill-considered Bezos vanity enterprises.

Amazon likely will be Seattle's next SeaFirst or WaMu, but Bezos and his personal billions will be long gone by then.

I'll watch unfold on the national news and just shake my head.
Goodbye and good riddance Seattle. Three more weeks and then I relocate far away.

I won't be here when Seattle discovers Amazon is just a bloated, empty shell losing money on many of its more ill-considered Bezos vanity enterprises.

Amazon likely will be Seattle's next SeaFirst or WaMu, but Bezos and his personal billions will be long gone by then.

I'll watch Amazon and Seattle implode on the national news and just shake my head.
sure does suck to live in a city that's growing and successful. why can't we be detroit? i hear rent is super cheap there.

but this is basic economics: as the demand for housing outpaces the supply, the cost of that housing increases.
and it's only going to get worse. here's more basic economics:
as the amount of money in circulation increases, say through a 60 percent uptick in the lowest wages, the value of each dollar goes down, meaning you will need more of them to buy the same things. it's called inflation and it's why it takes a bajillion pesos to buy a coke.

Seattle: home of the highest poverty line in the country, but still no program to get people off minimum wage and into actual careers. good thinking!
We just moved up from Portland. One thing we learned is that not only do property managers waive fees for Amazon tenants, they also give preference to Amazon employees. Amazons relocation people know about openings before anyone else and are effectively rented out before they even list. The only way we got our place was a sympathetic agent that gave us an inside track on a house.

I don't really believe the line about college grads moving out to the suburbs to have kids. The schools in the close suburbs are horrible and the far burbs have an unholy commute. Those people will move "out" to West Seattle and Ballard.
This is what you wanted, Seattle. You wanted to be like SF. Now you're becoming SF: Overpriced and overfunded tech workers are pricing the middle class out of a beautiful city. This is what your obsession with urbanist growth gets you.
Estimates of Amazon's Seattle headcount by year based on NYT source, Amzn annual reports and # of job listings:… est by end of 2014.
Sorry - link broke:…

That's 24,669 estimated by year's end.
Let me make sure I understand this correctly...

When Boeing tries to reduce labor costs and locates its jobs somewhere other than Seattle, that's BAD.

When Amazon pays amazing salaries and locates its jobs in Seattle, that's BAD.

Can someone please explain to me what GOOD is? Would that be people all making exactly the median income, at a perfectly flat geographic distribution? Is that what we're striving for, uniform mediocrity? Or do people just like to hear themselves complain?

So is this a story about Amazon hiring new employees, increasing rents in Seattle, or Brendan’s agenda for improved mass transit?
What you're leaving out is supply. One of the reasons Seattle remains much more affordable than San Francisco is we have upzoned the central city and have comparatively less penalties for development. As a result, we've built far more housing in recent years than SF has, despite being a smaller city.
Typically, judging by my Facebook feed, the new development gets attacked as a partner of the tech economy. Really, it's the only thing restraining increases in rents and house prices, particularly in older buildings that would be bid up if they were the only options for newcomers.
No, the reason rents are going up is do to a lack of rent control.

Get that signed into law.
Google sucks because it's located outside in a non-urban setting with little public transportation.

Microsoft sucks because it built its campus on cheap land in the suburbs decades ago.

Amazon sucks because it built its campus right in the city and helped revitalize a decaying neighborhood with new apartments, condos, shops, etc.

So what's the answer, Brendan?
@5 says "The schools in the close suburbs are horrible..."

Not sure what you mean by close suburbs, but Bellevue's schools are outstanding, as are Mercer Island's. The Lake Washington, Northshore and Shoreline districts are excellent.
I lived on Cap Hill for six years and saw a huge influx of babies and straight-looking gray-hairs in the population by the time I left. Good riddance, assholes. I don't buy the line about college grads moving out to the suburbs either. I think cultural values have shifted and rich white straight people are less afraid of the city while they've learned the value of a walkable neighborhood. They're kicking us out.
@15 Look at poorer suburbs for the shittier schools. (Admittedly Amazon employees are less likely to move there.)
holy fucking high horsey dickwad attitude, @16. seriously, shut the fuck up and stop pretending you are better than "straight-looking gray hairs." jesus, you're an embarrassment to the hill and the inclusive environment it embodies. thank god you left.
This is why I bought a houseboat when I recently found out my current old duplex was being demo'd. It was affordable, came with a lease for a liveaboard slip, and with some upgrades will be just as nice as any of those generic, prefab Lego-condos that have been springing up like weeds. Monthly moorage can be an order of magnitude cheaper than monthly rent or mortgage on land.

When Seattle was first settled, poor people who couldn't afford land in the big land-grabs going on at the time just built a shack on a raft and called it good ...
@ 9 and 14: You're projecting. I never said it was "bad" or that the company "sucked." I'm just pointing out the phenomenon—which is great if you're a contractor or property owner and not so great if you're already scraping to make rent. It just depends on where you sit in the local economy.
Uhm, hello? Amazon employees aren't the only ones the get preference in the housing market. Microsoft employees also enjoy waived deposits, etc., because they are viewed as reliable tenants.
@13: This.
The problem isn't amazon, it's that there's no rent control (which has been successfully done outside of the USA), which means any type of corporate success that pulls in high paying jobs is going to spark a bs class war between the upper middle class who can afford rent and the lower classes who can't, all the while the 1% are laughing at us.
Damn those Amazon workers and their "livable" wages!
@13, 22, 23 Rent control is outlawed in Washington state.…
San Francisco has rent control and it's still too damned expensive to live in the city. Don't be so sure rent control would solve anything even if it were legal here.
Note to 25,23,23......RCW isn't a law it actually means that there has been a change in the agreement...but not a law---we don't have laws, we got RCW for that reason. and that RCW was bought by property owners who rallied money to oppose a rent control measure way back...gave rise to the Tenant's Union etc. And note the exceptions which have given rise to a slew of progressive low-income housing non-profits, mortgage partners and some really interesting developments so....ahem...all is not lost and Rent Control-----the term itself-----those two words, are possibly the only thing that wont be used as a moniker for what kind of new RCW can be presented in the face of the new economics of the region. In fact one could argue fairly effectively that when there is preference given to a renter with predictable income due to their particular employer, that there is a certain element of what you characterized as "illegal" rent control in operation....controls on how much the rent can rise to.....which in the case of the pre approval of renter is bases squarely on a percentage of the income of this preferenced renter so...there ya go.....Rent Control. It's complicated and interesting and worth challenging. And there is no reason why we should consider the state of the rental relationship paradigm here in the Seattle or the region inalterable...............things change and they will.....RCW never did an impenetrable law make....
As predicted I said there would be no "affordable" housing in this town. Ive been here 20 years and the same crappy 600 sq. ft. apartment on first hill that gets a fresh paint "renovation" is now around 2,000 a month a my salary hasn't increased in 5 years. This isn't one companies fault but it is their delusional practice that only bachelor and master degrees are worthy of a decent salary yet the same demographic cant figure out that their computers actually work if they would just turn on their monitors. Government in their efforts to sell Seattle's soul to the highest bidding developer hasn't helped either. Consortiums of faceless investors and landlords screwing it to hard working under paid slaves must really make them feel good- especially when the 15.00 minimum wage hits. Then everyone can afford higher rent, right guys!? Now that most neighborhoods have "stepfordian" multi-use buildings springing up like weeds, the uniqueness has almost been wiped. Have fun Seattle - outside of a year or two, Im out, then you can just be one big crime ridden multi-use slum.
@20 Wait. Aren't these the high paying jobs that people desperately needed?

#24 is totally right.

Kiley, you can't have it both ways. You can't complain about terminal low wages and then complain when a company actually pays people livable wages. Paying all those twenty-somethings that go to your advertisers bars and clubs.

Inflation is ALWAYS a consequence of raising living standards. Always.

Rather than bitch about Amazon (or Boeing or Microsoft or Adobe or Google before them), do something about the rents. Make a case for rent controls. Back a plan. This harping about Amazon just makes you look like hypocritical douche bags.

You guys used to whine about how companies like Microsoft being out in the burbs was killing the city with sprawl. Well. Now you're getting the a company with high paying jobs in the city providing the impetus for the density you wanted. What the fuck did you expect?

Now that you're getting the density you wanted (let's forget that The Strangers most vocal proponents for density live in single family houses) you're getting the consequences. It's not up to Amazon to fix.
Rent control is outlawed in Washington state.

So was gay marriage and weed.

But I guess this one thing will be impossible to change, right?

Well. That's that. We might as well resort to demonizing the high paying employers. That'll help.
@30 for the Nothing is Impossible Nothing win
@30 Not saying it shouldn't be challenged, just pointing out where we are. Its enactment was in response to a failed Seattle rent control initiative in the first place.

As for political palatability, I'm hard pressed to imagine many (if any) elected officials taking the lead on this monster.
tkc @29: "Kiley, you can't have it both ways. You can't complain about terminal low wages and then complain when a company actually pays people livable wages. Paying all those twenty-somethings that go to your advertisers bars and clubs."

No SHIT! On Monday, The Stranger is all about getting more money into the Seattle economy via the $15/hr campaign; on Tuesday, suddenly more money injected into the economy is a bad thing. And I just love how more money in Seattle via $15/hr DOESN'T raise prices and cause inflation, but more money in Seattle via Amazon workers does.

Its enough to make the steel plate in my head hurt.

@16 Lucida -
I lived on Cap Hill for six years and saw a huge influx of babies and straight-looking gray-hairs in the population by the time I left. Good riddance, assholes.
Nice! Why don't you just call all the non-gay folks living on the Hill "Breeders" or some other low-brow cut? It's not OK to call gay people "fags" or black people "niggers", but apparently, stereotyping straight people as "breeders" is perfectly fine in certain parts of Seattle.
@16 Uh. Well. Good riddance.

I've lived and worked on Capitol Hill for over twenty four years.

And there have always been lots of families, and old people, and straight people up here. Always. In fact they've always out numbered the gay people exponentially.

Capitol Hill was a tolerant livable place. Welcoming to everybody.

Until intolerant strident assholes like you showed up. You are the entitled interlopers fucking it all up.
@riot gorl +1
high rents

10% US unemployment rate in construction field


please build more housing!
Maybe talk to actual Amazon employees, too? A lot of them aren't newcomers but older Seattle residents.

I had a roommate, last decade. We shared a shitty "cheap" CD triplex apartment. One day, he quit delivering pizza and started taking CS transfer classes at Seattle Central. He got accepted for transfer into UW-Tacoma, moved there, graduated, got a job at a tech firm near Microsoft. That company tanked and he scored a job at Amazon, *back* in the city, where he started.

They're just a large employer. Seattle has several of those. The reason rents are going up is because we're adding more jobs than apartments. As much as the city council likes to trumpet that they've added 20,000 units or whatever, it's not anywhere close to enough.
Say the Seattle Housing Authority were to buy land outside city limits along the new rail line and built subsidized housing outside city limits and either given to the local jurisdiction or sold to private developers. Our "poor and oppressed" could then be given a two year lease at the new projects for half of whatever they were paying in Seattle and moved by the city.

The housing projects in the Rainier Valley, West Seattle, and Yesler Terrace could be sold to real estate developers and put back on Seattle's tax rolls. Our new tax paying residents could then rent or buy them. Maybe Amazon would like to have a company owned community inside city limits.
DAMN straight Annihilate Seattle-axon aka Asshole-azon, is trying to bust Seattle until it's renamed Bezosville. Yep,to the top of the top for Jeffie. NEXT: Godbezos.

Stephanie S

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