Updated: Apr 3, 2019
We made progress in our movement for an affordable Belltown and for local culture on Monday, when the Belltown Oversight and Advisory Team met to talk updates and action, and to hear stories from local-legend Brant Waldron as he leaves for a journey. Thank you local BOAT member Cursed Oak for hosting us, and for the incredible food!
We were asked just ahead of the meeting (by BOAT members who were work elsewhere on the block that night) to see if we could live stream the meeting so that people could watch it later, after work.
"We did our best, on the fly with just a cellphone and the faceland live stream, but you can also just check the short recap below."
*download the meeting presentation if you'd like to follow along.
PART 1: Intro, and Belltown Block Updates
(35min) (click here to watch vertical vid on FB)
PART 2: Belltown Stories by Brant, and Big-Picture Political Updates
(42min) (click here to watch vertical vid on FB)
the RECAP: March B.O.A.T. Meeting
Because we often have newcomers at each meeting, we started with an introduction to Rise Up Belltown. As a community movement for affordability, Rise Up does three key things:
We SHOW what's worth loving about Belltown through #HumansOfBelltown, through community events, and through local business and arts promotion.
We GROW as a community by joining forces as the Belltown Oversight and Advisory Team, to build our power to affect change.
We PROPOSE solutions to our community's challenges and advocate for those solutions with our City's leadership and decision-makers.
Part 1: Belltown Block Updates
In short: The Central Block of 2nd is under threat, but we think there’s a way to make it work. We’ve also discussed open letters to the mayor and council on affordability and safety, and we DEFINITELY need your help as a volunteer.
Item #1: A Better Development
The developer who is looking to re-develop 2nd Ave has recently published an initial proposal for the site, which would see every building demolished, and new structures built. They'd like to bring back as many existing businesses as possible, and perhaps open up the alley spaces to retail.
Rise Up Belltown is proposing an alternative:
Keep the existing Landmarked building (the Wayne/Funky) and fix it up as affordable housing. We've talked to affordable housing developers who believe it's possible, if the initial purchase price isn't too high. (see below).
Ensure that the building is genuinely representative of Belltown's existing artistic and local communities. One option would be to extend the Belltown Corridor concept by painting murals up the entire height of the building, on all four sides.
As a community, we ask the City Council to help us fast-track a zoning change that would lower the zoning above the Landmark (as way to preserve it) and to increase the zoning above the buildings next door (as way to get the same total amount of new space as the existing proposal, if not more). In other words, instead of a 7 story building on the whole block, we're saying build twice that high, but on only part of the block. Watch a cute nine-year old explain how this works with a Lego model of Belltown and Star Wars action figures.
We support bringing back the businesses and opening up the alley, though we'd like to see that in a building that respects the existing landmark building.
One of our BOAT members described this opportunity as being like "the Eiffel Tower but of Belltown" -- we have the chance to preserve our Landmarked building, while also building a mural-covered tower next door that would draw visitors to Belltown like a beacon on the Seattle skyline. Our own community version of space needle.
Item #2: Open Letters.
Rise Up Belltown recently wrote an open letter to the City Council and Mayor about affordability. You can read about it here. At the meeting, we talked about the power we have as a group to be heard, when we grow the BOAT and act together.
Item #3: Join the CREW!
You can't run a BOAT without a CREW, and we talked about what that means. In short, we're asking people to download a messaging app called SLACK, and to specifically request to join the Rise Up Belltown group. What does this mean?
Everyone is communicating in one place.
It's better than email reply-all chains. which are the worst.
Download (or web app) SLACK messaging
Send RISE UP a specific request to join.
Volunteer your attention.
Engage in the conversation.
Part 2: Big-Picture Political Updates
In short: Belltown needs a special district for community and affordability, but the City’s current tools (existing laws) for new districts are basically broken. We can make new ones with a big public movement, but that’s too big for any ONE community on its own. Luckily, Belltown is not alone.
Item #1: #SeattleCAN
This is our "bid idea" for bringing Seattle together to help preserve community and affordability. You can read about it here. At the meeting we discussed a few key points:
New York is a model for how this can work.
Pike Place is a model for how this can work.
Belltown can be a model for how all Seattle can do this.
Working together with others works.
Great minds think alike. Our proposals pull together existing ideas, instead of reinventing the wheel.
Item #2: Building a movement
We talked about the things we're doing to build the kind of citywide movement that would make creating a special district in Belltown a real possibility:
We're telling our stories with video.
We're leading the way, by example.
Consensus vs. Combat -- we talked about it being more effective to be the coolest person in the room, instead of trying to find and slay an enemy.
We talked about timelines and deadlines.
We talked about funding in a campaign setting.
Item #3: All the Allies
We talked about the types of allies that we're trying to build. We have a large circulation list to these groups already, but if you have friends in these groups, you can definitely help us by making a connection! :)
Areas Impacted by Displacement
Iconic Seattle Neighborhoods
Music, Nightlife & Arts
Do a #HumansOfBelltown interview
Tell your friends. in real life and on social media.
You can follow @RiseUpBelltown on Instagram for daily updates, or sign-up for our weekly email updates, and/or you can follow our updates here on this blog. If you would like to help shape these blog posts, we would welcome your support! Get on the BOAT, and join the CREW Special Teams. We'd love to have you. :)