"Gentrification stops here." Four activists blocking Microsoft Connector bus at the north end of the Central District pic.twitter.com/xfHwOKyV50
— Ansel (@Ansel) April 23, 2014
As early returns show King County voters rejecting a sales tax and car tab increase to fund Metro buses, the group targeting one of the area’s largest employers’ fleet of private shuttles struck again Wednesday morning blocking a Microsoft bus on E Madison just past 23rd.
The Stranger’s Ansel Herz has details:
At 8:15 this morning, four masked activists blocked a Microsoft Connector shuttle bus at the intersection of 23rd and Madison for forty minutes, stretching “Gentrification Stops Here” banners across the front and back of the vehicle. The driver nudged forward, bumping one of them once, then killed the engine and got on the phone. After a few minutes, several passengers—apparently tired of waiting—got off the bus and hurried off. I caught up with one, a Microsoft employee who didn’t want to give his name, and asked him what he thought. “I see both sides of the issue,” he said, still walking away. “I don’t hate them.” When a police car approached, the activists walked off and the shuttle vehicle pulled away.
According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the protesters blocking the corporate shuttle fled as soon as police arrived just after 8:30 AM.
In February, protesters blocked a Microsoft bus on Bellevue near Pine with the “Gentrification Stops Here” banner. Another incident targeted Amazon workers the next day.
While the activists might have a difficult time making the case for true displacement and gentrification in neighborhoods like Pike/Pine and South Lake Union, the changes in the Central District might make for a better case — especially as new development in the area begins moving forward. Madison Valley? Not so much.