‘Gentrification stops here’ — MLK march ‘splinter’ group targets Central District pot shop

Protesters outside Uncle Ike's (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Protesters outside Uncle Ike’s (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Around 300 people splintered from the planned MLK Day march at Garfield High School and rushed to 23rd and Union to surround the retail pot shop Uncle Ike’s Monday afternoon.

As around 5,000 marchers headed downtown along the planned route, the splinter group of hundreds and a contingent of Seattle Police officers following it wound its way through the busy construction activity in the 23rd Ave corridor. Chanting “Black lives matter,” the crowd assembled itself surrounding the Uncle Ike’s buildings on the northeast corner of the 23/Union intersection.

Meanwhile, thousands of students, activists, officials, and community members proceeded downtown through First Hill for planned rallies at the Federal Building. While waiting for the march to start at Garfield, Vanita Clark told CHS she has been coming to Seattle’s MLK Day events for most of her life. As a lifelong Capitol Hill resident who raised her children in the neighborhood, Clark said she was marching for rent control and fair housing as she has watched the African American community dwindle over the years.

“Our daughter grew up on Capitol Hill, but she had to move to Tacoma,” Clark said.

In 2015, the massive march — one of the largest MLK Day marches in the nation — was marred by a violent response from SPD officers to a smaller protest that followed the main march and rally. In 2016, it appears the push for a secondary protest beyond the planned MLK activities was to be centered in the Central District.

The crowd of 300 or more filled the parking lot in front of 23rd and Union pot shop and the surrounding traffic lanes as a growing contingent of SPD officers and media observed. The shop’s owner was also seen outside the shop watching the protest play out before the store closed and rolled down protective metal doors.

One of the marchers read a list of demands for Eisenberg, including handing over half of the Uncle Ike’s property for community controlled low income housing and donating a percentage of his profits to community-based organizations.

Sitting in silence, the marchers listened to Central District musician Om Johari speak about the changes she has seen in the neighborhood over the years. Johari encouraged people to learn the history of how people of color are systematically displaced from their homes. As a former worker in the juvenile justice system, Johari also criticized Eisenberg for selling marijuana on a block where many black teenagers were arrested and still in jail for doing the same thing.

The rally also included a song performed by Naakw Dancers, a multi-tribe dance group primarily tied to southeast Alaska. “All this equality we’re fighting for doesn’t mean anything if we don’t have a healthy, sustainable land to live on,” said Nahaan,one of the group’s members.

Uncle Ike’s was opened by Central District real estate investor and entrepreneur Ian Eisenberg in September 2014 during the city’s first wave of I-502 retail pot openings. With concerns about a “Little Amsterdam” developing in the area and objections from the neighboring Mount Calvary Christian Center, the store has faced legal challenges and protest from those who see it as a symbol of gentrification and racism on a corner associated with arrests and the impact of the “war on drugs” on the black community. In August 2015, protesters also surrounded the store. In September, a second pot store opened in the area as Ponder debuted just blocks from Uncle Ike’s. Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council voted to regulate an expansion of the zones in the city where legal pot stores and facilities can operate as the state prepares to merge retailers and medical providers under the same rules.

“At first, people said a pot shop was going to take down property values,” Eisenberg told CHS during the protest. “A pot shop is a weird thing to bring up on the gentrification argument. It’s better to bring up on the social injustice argument that black kids go to jail — or went to jail — for selling pot. Now people can legally sell pot. And I agree.” Eisenberg said he wanted to talk more with the protest’s organizers to clear up some misconceptions about his business.

Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

No arrests were reported.

While the the anti-drug emphasis from SPD at 23rd and Union has been reduced from its initiatives in the late 2000s, the ATF and federal authorities continue to be active in the area as anti-crime taskforces target the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Uncle Ike’s is seen by some as a harbinger of the next wave of change to come along 23rd Ave. With one mixed-use apartment building nearly completed on one corner at 23rd and Union, another corner is about to dig in with a new construction project. Other businesses planning to open in the area include an electric bike dealership from the owner of 20/20 Cycles and a new coffee shop. On the southeast corner, the Midtown Center was put up for sale as “one of the last remaining large developable sites.” And, just down the road a bit at Jackson, real estate Vulcan has a deal in place as it eyes a plan to redevelop 6 acres at the intersection.

UPDATE 9:11 PM: Here is a copy of the statement from the Seattle Black Book Club from Monday’s protest:

We have assembled at Uncle Ike’s today to stand up and speak out against gentrification and the harm it causes our communities.

Gentrification functions as an expression of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, and exploitation. When this destructive process is aided and assisted by so-called “community leaders” of the local Black misleadership class, it is called neocolonialism.

The methods inherent in the process of gentrification are little different than the colonial practice of ‘peaceful’ subordination, encroachment, and expulsion of a people from spaces traditionally occupied by them and their ancestors. This was practiced in the Pacific Northwest during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries against the indigenous populations by European and Anglo-American settlers.
The same political and economic structures, ideologies, and dehumanization of vulnerable people is as alive in Seattle today as it was in 1855 when the Treaty of Point Elliott was signed.

Let me remind you that ALL of Seattle squats on stolen Duwamish and Salish land!

This process is ‘justified’ under the supposedly “colorblind” economic principle of supply and demand that also lacks any sense of JUSTICE.

These white newcomers, many from outside the city itself, buy homes and land for cheap in formerly red-lined areas, building or remodeling houses, which drives up the property values of the homes around them until they are no longer affordable to the people who had been living there.
Or a developer, like Ian Eisenberg, buys up vast amounts of land and builds major apartments or condos too expensive for an oppressed community to afford. Either way the net result is the same, people are displaced and are some times made homeless.

There are some people who manage to hold onto their homes or apartments only to find watch as their children suffer another harmful effect of colonialism (and neocolonialism); a white-washed, academically lacking, miseducation.

Marginalized as ‘minorities’ and ‘special education students’ in their schools, our cultural traditions are shunned, our methods of communication are stigmatized, and our history is all but ignored. Students of color are penalized for not becoming more like their oppressors, and as a result are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of their peers making them exceedingly likely to become trapped in the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP).

At the University of Washington, a public institution with over 40,000 students only approximately 3% are Black, when in Washington Black people make up 4.1%, in King County 6.7%, and in Seattle 7.9%. Black youth in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) made up 4.5% of the students, but also over 50% of the students classified as being without a home.

Urban cities are, in essence, internal colonies replete with an occupying force known as law enforcement. These newcomers complain at advisory councils, such as, the East Precinct Advisory Council (EastPAC), about Black people and other people of color, and demand that the police extricate or expel us from “their” neighborhoods and ruthlessly punish us for existing at all.

Over the past year, Black Lives Matter has brought back onto the public agenda how the police brutalize and terrorize people of color and are a slave catching force for the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).

No longer will we remain silent. No longer will we be complicit in crimes against our community. No longer will we watch as gentrification and capitalism destroy our social networks and structures by displacing our people. No longer will we permit these supposedly ‘colorblind’ economic practices to continue without an appeal to justice.

Ian Eisenberg, owner of Uncle Ike’s Recreational Marijuana Shop and owner of numerous properties in Seattle’s Central Area, YOU WILL:

1. Hand over 54% of his real estate holdings to the community for the purpose of community controlled low income housing.

2. Provide funds to be used for the legal defense of people of color with drug cases in Seattle and the cities that people have been gentrified to, and provide funds to the Black Community to lobby for retroactive marijuana laws.

3. Provide funds for community-selected organizers to fight economic instability in or impacting communities of color.

4. Build or provide funding for a community controlled center that will have programs, which include but are not limited to, addressing economic disparities, food justice, and the education gap experienced by people of color.

5. Provide funds to assist people who have already been, or who will be, displaced by gentrification.

We are willing to take all necessary measures to satisfy the demands we’ve listed here.

Sincerely,

Seattle Black Book Club

UPDATE 1/19/16 9:45 AM: Eisenberg said this “hoax” flyer has been distributed around the neighborhood. Sorry, no “free weed,” he says.

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102 thoughts on “‘Gentrification stops here’ — MLK march ‘splinter’ group targets Central District pot shop

  1. They just might get their wish, if indirectly. I can imagine the stream of hipsters down to Uncle Ike’s from the hill will slow down once the pot shop on 15th opens.

      • I hate that stupid sign and maybe I am not the biggest fan of Ike’s but I agree that trying to pin gentrification on the pot store is kinda wonky. I am pretty sure the place will do well when other stores open up. If people flock to the new one on 15th it will be to support the owner who Ike’s seemingly tried to keep from opening up.

      • it’s less about the pot store and more about the owner, who has bought up all of the surrounding property to build high-rise condos.

      • You are incredibly ill-informed.

        Your statement is akin to: “all Republicans are rednecks from the South” (ie sensationalized and completely lacking any basis in reality)

      • This is entitlement gone wild. Who do these people think they are to DEMAND that he meet this ludicrous and insane list of demands? This should piss anyone and everyone off.

    • Doubtful, Ike’s is a destination. I live half a block away and pass by all the time, between the tittering housewives and the tourists with their cameras, I don’t see it slowing down any time soon.

      • Frankly, (and yes this is off topic) I see more hipster 20 somethings and older men entering Ike’s than tittering housewives. We housewives are usually super busy and getting high would hinder our domestic duties just a ‘titch’ too much. And, in fact, the one and only person that I know who is a regular patron is a man, who’s wife is the main breadwinner. Stereotype busted. Now, back to my bonbons…

  2. I live half a block from Ike’s and the neighborhood has become enormously safer since they moved in. The increased foot traffic has driven out virtually all the gambling, prostitution, and crack dealing that used to happen with regularity on the corner. If anything, the liquor store across the street has seen and contributed to far more crime and violence, and had a much larger impact on the community in general than a bunch of pot smokers ever will. It’s pretty clear this isn’t about facts or doing what’s best for the neighborhood, it’s time for this misguided witch hunt to end.

    • I read your piece and want to share these thoughts.
      What difference is there between the youth that sells weed on the sidewalk corner and the wealthy business owner, kkkapitalist that sells weed inside a building? What difference between playing dice in in somebody’s own neighborhood, versus traveling to the casino on a First Nations reservation? What difference between the workers who commodify their own bodies, in their own areas, and the escorts who advertise in the back of newspapers?
      Is either less violent, less harmful? More positive, more healthy? You say out of sight, out of mind, you say Not In My Backyard, but you aren’t looking over your own fence to see the destruction that gentrification and displacement are causing.

      • Simple answer…..Ike’s is a legal business, those who sell on the street are not. Doesn’t the law mean anything to you?

      • Are you being serious? Illegal drug sales, gambling on the corner and prostitution is all illegal, and it brings crime to the neighborhood. Nothing groundbreaking there, it’s been proven time and again. Just look at Aurora.

      • three words,is it legal.Ikes is legal.Those who complain about Ike buying property and building on it,stop complaining,form a association,when property goes up for sale,buy it then you have nothing to complain about.

  3. Can someone explain to me what “gentrification” means in the context of this particular protest and how a legally operated pot shop is ostensibly contributing to it? Seems like if you want to protest things that impact the demographics of the neighborhood (aka gentrification), then you’d be better off railing against the new apartments going up on the SW corner of that intersection.

    • Or perhaps railing against the property owners of say, Midtown Center and that old building that collapsed in the earthquake after years of neglect. They’ve basically opened the door and the developers just walked in. If there had been a strong commercial core or hell, even an actual business district the wholesale reworking of the intersection would not be happening.

      • Don’t blame the property owners. The issue is the community isn’t opening businesses and doesn’t support the businesses when they’re there. As Mrs Thompson, who sold Thompson’s Point of View (now The Neighbor Lady) to Ike because she couldn’t pay the taxes to keep it running. Or look at the empty commercial spaces around Jackson and 23rd. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of available space for minority-owned businesses. The problem is nobody’s interested or able to open them. Leaving them empty to prevent “gentrification” wastes potential jobs and doesn’t
        benefit anybody.

      • I agree with you in principal, but when it comes to the Midtown block, the owner (Bangasser) is very much responsible for deliberately encouraging dangerous behavior. He held the neighborhood hostage, refusing to turn on lights or allow the police to disperse the gambling in the parking lot. It’s a long story that’s been covered elsewhere multiple times.

      • I was so happy to see that he was finally bought out. Now something can be made of that land. Maybe get a better grocery store in there that is not so stupidly expensive. It would be great to offer low rents to minority owned businesses. The more small businesses the better.

      • Looking forward to Vulcans development and the new development at 23rd and Union. The demand list is hilarious the same old same old. Beginning to see that the CD is becoming less of the containment zone it once was. Time will tell.

    • Face it, gentrification already destroyed that neighborhood. The pot shop and the development are just the racist zoning mandated graves marking the ground.

      Take a look at the side streets, that is where your gentrification is. White people took the homes and now white businesses will pop up to serve them.

      Where are the protests in the neighborhoods that are next up in the invading and exploitation cycle? Just need to look for minority majority neighborhoods with lots of for sale signs.

      And maybe we could consider how the culture, community and diversity of the Central District could have been maintained even with new whiter people moving to it. Perhaps if the built environment wasn’t prevented from looking different the people walking on the sidewalks would actually have remained the same. Certainly the NIMBY strategy we had didn’t prevent the woman above from loosing all her neighbors and being the last black resident on her block.

      Still, the pot shop is a great tactical target for other reasons. The juxtaposition of the white weed store next to the state repressed black drug market next door couldn’t paint starker relief of white supremacy and the drug war.

      • I’m talking about gentrification. If you want to talk about the history redlining of the neighborhood I’m very much willing to listen.

      • Oh ok so wait, White people like lobbed 81mm mortars in and in the middle of the night went door to door and told non-whites to leave by 2016 or be killed right?

        Oh, wait that didn’t happen, people engaged in a mutual transaction for their own self interest.

      • Lets just look at the results. White people got close-in single family homes in historic walkable neighborhoods. Black people got to move… somewhere, but probably not here. Most likely to a suburb with a lousy travel options and streets that will kill their children.

        Again looking at the results: how is the removal of a subjugated community not inherently racist? Oh, we payed them to leave? That makes it so much better what with the inherited wealth, social connections to capitol, and racially determined income that all allows whites to do what they have always done in capitalism: exploit the weak.

      • @Stuart. Just have to point out that choosing to list your home and then selling it for the fair market value is not the same as having your home taken from you.

      • Stuart – I grew up in the CD and I’m 51. My neighbors selling their homes like hotcakes to buy much larger, nicer houses in Kent (for example) with the profits could certainly have said “I’m only selling to people of color.” However, they didn’t. Don’t blame the buyers who came along if you’re not going to blame the sellers for selling out the diversity in their own neighborhood.

      • Where I come CEO, “taking” and “paying fair market value” are two distinctly different things. My world is very different than Stuart’s.

      • Hold on, selling a home for $500k plus is not exactly getting pushed out of your home. Fair market value in the neighborhood is more money than most people see in a lifetime. With that payout you can rent on the Hill for a long time or buy a farm on Vashon.

    • Exactly. I mean, sure the dude’s a jerk, but he lives here and turned that corner from being an abandoned cursed place to one of the safest areas in the neighborhood. No arson, no gunshots, no nothing comes from that corner anymore. It has increased foot traffic in the evenings tremendously, as well.

      Those apartments, OTOH, well…what retail do people think is going to go in there? Neighborhood mom and pop places that are affordable to everyone? That’s hilarious. It’s going to look just like a Capitol Hill mixed use apartment building, with a fancy restaurant and overpriced clothing/pet store/artisanal mayo store type things. That’s where the protest should have gone, if they want to talk about gentrification.

      • Safer?.. You are kidding, right? Gun fire and deaths due to gun violence sky rocketed in the streets surrounding Uncle Ike’s the past 18 months. It’s worse than it’s been in decades!

      • Again, that is pretty hyperbolic. There are plenty of small businesses on the Hill, even in the new developments. Just look at the end of 12th Ave. It’s like that stupid gentrification list of businesses that floats around everywhere. All of the places pushed out. Some of those businesses were ill run or the owners retired, or made out like bandits. A business that starts out as a Mom and Pop and sells out for over a million dollars is a success story.

  4. Hard not to feel some schadenfreude towards Eisenberg for this minor inconvenience for him. I don’t mind the store existing, but his advertising sign saying “Hey stoner, around the corner” is obnoxious.

    That sign tells you all you need to know about how seriously he takes his responsibilities as a marijuana seller, and how much he cares about the neighborhood. If it becomes legal to sell marijuana to kids, I suspect he would be first in line.

  5. Black families were not pushed out “by design”. They were pushed out by economics. It’s not racial. What does this crowd suggest? The next time somebody’s elderly grandmother wants to cash out her equity by selling her paid-for house, pocket the $600k, and move to Arizona, should she add a sign that says “no white buyers please”? I’m sure she’d be ok selling for $100k less as long she passes it to another black family, right? Or commercial property should say “This space for lease– business owners of color only”. Yeah, it might sit vacant for months, get vandalized, and maybe burned down (MedMix, anyone?); but hey– at least it wouldn’t be gentrified. Fewer goods and services, fewer jobs for local residents, but less gentrification. Everybody wins!

    • You mean it’s just the result of a racist economic structure? Phew, I was worried there for a sec.

      It’s pretty clear nothing is designed about Seattle’s traditional neighborhoods other than their ability to maintain segregation through exclusivity.

      • Not selling to somebody based on their race is illegal in the state of Washington. So guess what, if a white person wants to move into a house that they buy on the open market, anything you would try to do to stop them in favor of giving the house to somebody else based on their race would be outright illegal.

        I am tired of people telling me to apologize for being white and that somehow I ruin a neighborhood by merely existing in it. Everybody is welcome anywhere regardless of their race.

        Some people like to blame the system for their own failures or poor decisions. A better option would be to take responsibility for one’s own life decisions.

      • Furthermore, preventing white people from purchasing properties from black people deflates the value of those properties by artificially reducing demand, thus depriving the black property owners of the economic fruits of their investment.

      • @cupcake. The one that my neighborhood is in. Black, White, Asian, Latino and any other ethnicities are welcome here and are in fact homeowners here.

      • That law exists because of redlining that resulted in the pre-gentrification racial makeup of the Central District. Black people weren’t allowed to move into houses in white neighborhoods even if they had the money and wanted to. There has never been any constraint on where white people could choose to live.

        Nobody is asking you to apologize for being white. They are asking for the same privileges that you have. That includes living in the neighborhood of their choice. And it happens to be quite clear that when a black neighborhood is no longer black, it wasn’t by choice.

      • Just for to be clear in my previous post. I do have white privilege and the white privilege of wealth. Just not sufficient wealth.

      • @Stuart, my man, privilege isn’t the only source of wealth. Persistence, sacrifice and hard work can get you there too. Take my wife for example. Immigrated here from Vietnam at age 11, didn’t speak any English when she arrived and spent her childhood living in poverty. However, she didn’t let her lack of “privilege” hold her down and now after years of sacrifice and determination she’s a MD working in a underserved health clinic.

      • @Stuart. Totally saw that one coming – that’s why I carefully chose the word “can” not “will” lead to wealth. There’s definitely no question that the poor have many more challenges to overcome to achieve financial success here in the states. Matter of fact, one of the toughest challenges that minorities face is concentrated poverty. It drives down property values in the affected area, there’s increased crime, and it leads to weaker public institutions/services. What caused this? Segregation during the early 20th century, “red lining” during the mid 20th century, deindustrialization, white flight, family structure, spatial mismatch and several other factors. What’s the solution? That’s what you, me and everyone who wants to end racial income disparity need to develop. Things that don’t lead us to the solution? White guilt and generic idealized accusations of racism.

      • Property taxes are color blind. I’m having to look at selling just like my neighbors are, regardless of our different races, when I can no longer afford the tax. Of course, I’ll make 400K profit when I sell my house after living in it for decades…

      • Are you aware of the King County program which gives substantial property tax reductions if you qualify age (62 I think) and income-wise? Also, one can obtain a “reverse mortgage” to provide the funds to stay in your home.

  6. The protest was really about the church not liking the shop there because of residual stigma regarding weed. The race and class issues presented were valid, but their connection to Ike’s was just to get tons of people there to shut that particular business down. You can’t mix multiple social issues up and expect to arrive at a solution.

  7. It’s great that people celebrated MLK Jr. Day by harassing a Jewish business owner. A mob no less! MLK would be proud. Maybe next time they can wear white sheets and burn some crosses.

    • Yes!

      Don’t like the law? Go after the law makers! Targeting legal businesses is just harassment, and demonstrating that level of ignorance as to how things work can only hurt what is otherwise a very worthy cause.

  8. Gentrification is not an easy issue to fix and seems to be linked to other bigger issues (income inequality…) than just being priced out of a neighborhood. Instead of protesting it may be more effective to put together purchasing groups that can buy old buildings and land before getting priced out. Those same groups would need to also be on board with improving the area while keeping resell prices low. Not sure that is at all realistic. People often long for the good old days but its always just good for them as someone has always been getting unfairly banged by someone else since Day 1. The neighborhood these protestors grew up in is soon gone and they can either evolve or move to the new shiny version of their old neighborhood somewhere in Bellevue until that falls to the same fate 25 years from now.

    • I am still not understand the being priced out part of this equation. It’s mostly single family and the homes are worth so much money. How are people being priced out? I am genuinely confused on this issue.

      • Are the people in the neighborhood mostly renting the houses? I have not lived here forever so I am confused on the gentrification argument.

      • I am a homeowner (well, a mortgage owner) and with wage stagnation I havent had more than a COLA raise in 12 years. I will soon be unable to afford my ever-increasing property taxes which currently add $500 per month to my house payment.

  9. I grew up in the CD in the 80s/90s and honestly SPD stopped harassing young black men in the late 90s for suspected or seen possession of weed. At some point it was reduced to a very low priority and the cops just stopped doing it. The amount of people smoking in the streets went waaayy up and was very blatant. This is way before the rest of Seattle celebrated legalized weed. I never minded it, but drug dealing caused so much violence in the CD back then. Shootings nightly it seemed. It all was very, very tragic.

  10. A neighborhood has less crime and more job opportunities and people are flipping out? Too good. Things are constantly changing, people are so short sighted. Didn’t Obama run his whole first Presidential campaign on this very thing, Chage? Living in the same neighborhood your whole life with the same stores and the same people around sounds extremely boring to me. Embrace it!

  11. So the people who sold the property in this neighborhood that is gentrifying were what color? Curious, because I know in some cases, African Americans who are offered a chance to sell their homes want to do so. And sometimes they do it in these neighborhoods.

    I don’t know how you legally stop this, because as a human, I should have the right to sell my property to whomever I want, as long as it is legal.

  12. They want half his profits? Nice shakedown. Maybe give it to Shaun Kibg and watch it vanish.

    Just give the kiddies some free dime bags. Once they finish community college with their pastry chef and Grievance Studies diplomas, they gonna need weed to cope with their lives.

  13. “A pot shop is a weird thing to bring up on the gentrification argument.”

    My thoughts exactly. It seems like a non sequitur. To me pot shops are like liquor stores. I fail to see how that has anything to do with gentrification, if anything, the opposite.

  14. Well at least these bunch of anti-Semites didn’t accuse Eisenberg of being an Israel Defense Force soldier like last time.

  15. The complainers are the racist and exclusionary ones. Nobody owns a neighborhood. The CD used to be Jewish I have been told. So perhaps Eisenberg, if his name reflects Jewish heritage, is restoring the neighborhood to its rightful owners if one buys the logic of historic ownership, which is of course nonsense. Once I was watching a kids soccer game at the Garfield Community center. A young black woman, 20ish or so, looked at me, a white guy, and with hostility and anger told me I did not belong there and should get out of her neighborhood. I said nothing but was flummoxed. I have seen many a nostalgic person claiming that the good old days of the pre-gentrified CD was a time where and when people looked out for each other, unlike now. What does one call unkempt lawns and unrepaired homes, cars parked on median strips, drug houses and crime? Looking out for each other? How many people were murdered in the fast food spot that is now the glass goods shop owned by Ikes? Several in the past decade. Me, I will take Ike and others over the past in that block. What he is doing is legal, and more importantly, he and others are making the neighborhood a safer and secure place for all.

  16. Long before the foreclosures there were plenty of people willing to sell their houses. In 1996 I did try to buy there and couldn’t afford to, (after renting in the neighborhood for years from the black landlord that had 14 rental properties) but there were plenty available wanting to take advantage of equity they had built in homes they owned outright. I feel anyone’s pain not being able to afford to live in the neighborhood of choice anymore, but there are tons of people who are from Seattle and can’t afford it anymore. It’s not a race issue. Last summer I saw signs on Beacon Hill that said stop white gentrification keep Beacon Hill for Asians, which is pretty funny since it used to be an Italian neighborhood and there are still plenty of them living there.

    • Capitol Hill through the 80’s and 90’s was heavily gay after being hippies in the 70’s. Now it’s not-so-gay and replaced with highly paid tech yuppies who can afford to pay what I can’t. HEY! Did I miss the part where homophobia pushed me off Capitol Hill?! Shit, we should’ve had some protests. We got gentrified right out of Capitol Hill and had to move somewhere more affordable. This must be somebody’s fault.

  17. I have lived in the Union and 23rd neighborhood since 1989. It is immensely safer now– safe for the first time, really. I’ll be doubling my purchases at Uncle Ike’s as of today. Bring it on.

  18. “The myth of integration as propounded under the banner of liberal ideology must be cracked and killed because it makes people believe that something is being done when in actual fact the artificial integrated circles are a soporific on the blacks and provide a vague satisfaction for the guilty-stricken whites.

    It works on a false premise that because it is difficult to bring people from different races together in this country, therefore achievement of this is in itself a step forward towards the total liberation of the blacks. Nothing could be more irrelevant and therefore misleading. Those who believe in it are living in a fool’s paradise.”

    – Steve Biko.

    • Don’t you think it’s a bit of a stretch to try and connect a comment about white South African’s involvement in apartheid to gentrification in the Central District….

  19. Nobody has an inalienable right to live in any particular neighborhood. When I finished school I was dead broke. I wanted to live on Capitol Hills but had to move to Shoreline instead due to my meager income at the time. Did I bitch!!!??? NO!!!!! I put my head down, worked and worked and worked and voila!!! I got a better job! Now I live on Capitol Hill. Nothing is free in this life. Stop bitching and get to work improving yourself! I am not white and I did not grow up in privilege. Own it!!! Own your destiny!!!

  20. Since BLM is specifically about cops (of all colors) taking black lives, this movement should have its own moniker. How about BFS, Blacks For Segregation, seems like that sums up the sentiment.

    The afro-american roots of the CD are due to the blatant racists practices of red lining the CD and racial restrictive covenants in the remainder of the city; those are the facts. Well, apparently the side-effect of the resulting tight-knit black community is an awesome thing which should be preserved in perpetuity. How should this community be preserved? How about droning anti-white ranting and no actual plan or ideas.

    I’m sure a lot of people are compassionate to the cause but are pushed to the defensive by the aggressive, divisive rhetoric which is devoid of anything that seems to be even slightly positive to work towards.

    Good luck with that.

    • Yep, this aspect of the BLM has always perplexed me. The vast majority of people (of all races) in the CD and Seattle are probably natural allies and extremely sympathetic to their cause. So, why put so much effort into backing them into a corner with very unhelpful and accusational rhetoric? Constructing fences instead of team building, such lost opportunities!

      And the whole “get out of my neighborhood” vibe is so insanely un self aware that it’s hard to take seriously – you really want this world to devolve into some sort of “an eye for an eye” dystopia? I would think that even a whiff of a group think you-can’t-live-here mentality would send shivers down our collective spine.

      This is my neighborhood just as much as anyone else, so when you intone that I shouldn’t be here and am part of a sinister plan I will reflexively probably not like you very much.

    • Keep in mind that parts of the area were predominantly Japanese before internment when Japanese folks lost their homes and businesses like mad and black folks bought up the properties at fire sale prices. The block I lived on for 20 years had exactly that history.