The Mayor traveled to the U-District today to officially announce the City’s plans for massive redevelopment of the neighborhood. He was met by a crowd of some 36 protesters wearing green scarves and holding signs demanding the preservation of affordable housing, small businesses, and open space.
The Mayor and Councilmember Rob Johnson gave boilerplate speeches praising the benefits of growth. When the Mayor said that only 40 units of affordable housing would be demolished under the City’s plan, he was interrupted by John Fox of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, who declared that the Coalition’s door-to-door survey had identified at least 500 units that would be destroyed. When the Mayor tried to ignore him, Fox shouted “Shame on you!” causing the only significant disturbance of the afternoon.
Afterwards, the media interviewed activists, prominently including Susanna Lin of Wallingford, who had come equipped with a hard-hat and a sign depicting Mayor Murray driving a bulldozer; see photos. [Editorial note: It is advantageous to have spokespeople who are photogenic, as well as really smart!]
The Planning, Land Use & Zoning committee of the City Council will be briefed again about the upzones by the Office of Planning and Community Development on Sept. 20. After that, the issue will be put on hold until after budget deliberations. There will be a public hearing in mid-November.
Update – Sep. 13: Susanna Lin and other activists were featured in a KING-5 TV story, thereby putting the cartoon image of Mayor Murray on a Vulcan-branded bulldozer in front of tens of thousands (?) of viewers.