Councilmember Clark left office on April 14, 2015.
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Thank you, William Yardley

William Yardley writes for The New York Times and had a piece from Seattle in last Sunday’s edition that captured the striving ambivalence of Seattle’s growth boom. The article was about Edith Macefield, the recently deceased woman who held out against the forces of redevelopment in Ballard by refusing to sell when all around her had. Her house sits wrapped on three sides by a multi-story commercial building. You see it on your right if you look while driving north at the end of the Ballard Bridge. The article was actually about the self-published novel she left behind, but her house provides Yardley with great opportunity to describe the tension many of us feel between inevitable change and the desire for character-driven neighborhoods.

“The project, in faux industrial concrete and steel, is more evidence of change in a city whose growth and economic success over the past two decades have put its modest neighborhoods like Ballard under perpetual renovation.

“Mrs. Macefield’s refusal to sell her house made the news more than once. In a city knotted over its shifting identity, she seemed a familiar face, old Seattle, vulnerable but resistant to the march of gentrification and blandness.”

On a somewhat related note, Knute Berger has a piece on Crosscut about “slow cities,” cities taking a purposefully slow approach to growth. It’s a thought-provoking piece that again dives into the tension between economic development that feeds job creation and wealth (hopefully for all) and the idea that we should perhaps slow growth intentionally in order to somehow control its affects on Seattle. The comments from readers of Berger’s piece are interesting. Some hail the return of “Lesser Seattle” while others note that plenty of other cities would be all too happy to pick up Seattle’s growth (our high tech, bio tech, global health, research, education and other great jobs) and leave us to struggle. At least one poster noted that if by slow city we mean a city where people walk and interact more, we need to become a denser city, thereby requiring more growth and change in targeted ways.