Dec 2, 2007

Goodwill development: your vote, please

I asked recently for your vote on whether our neighborhood should join a neighborhood coalition, the "Dearborn Street Coalition for livable communities" , which is seeking to greatly modify a very large redevelopment of the area encompassing the Goodwill property near the International District.

A wise neighbor cautioned:

Re Goodwill site. This is complex issue. There are things going on that people in other areas won't have time or interest to get to know well enough and any poll sampling would be highly self-selecting and not necessarily representative. Do you relish the precedent of log-rolling, with one neighborhood activist weighing in on behalf of a large community in the matter of another neighborhood's issues? Sounds tricky...
Since then I have learnt of a neighborhood group in support of the project: "Go Dearborn Street". My first impression, on seeing that site, was that it was so smooth that it might well be a shill for the developers of the project. On closer examination, I now believe that it may well be genuine (belief confirmed: see below). You can join their listserv (34 members as of 12/2/07) and see if you recognize any names.

I therefore encourage you to visit the websites of the proponents and of the opponents to the Dearborn Street project (and see a few links in my previous post) and then go and vote on whether we should join the opponents' coalition. Please vote by 12/08/07.

If you want to hear from both sides in person:
On Monday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. the project development manger, Darrell Vange, will be speaking to the Mount Baker Community Association. An opponent of the project also will be speaking. The group meets at the Mount Baker Community Club, 2811 Mount Rainier Drive S. This will be a good opportunity for people to meet with fellow citizens and talk about why they support Dearborn Street and to ask questions on both sides.
BTW, after my original post I was contacted by Mark Stiles of Nyhus Communications (who has represented the developers at several public meetings I've been at). He provided the link to the proponents' website, as well as a couple of newspaper articles in support of the project (which are on the proponents' website), and this letter from the Cascade Bike Club, and this brochure from the developer.

I think all that information, and the meeting on Monday, should help us make informed decisions about whether to oppose the development.

Update (12/3/07). Just heard from Mark Stiles. Here's his response (edited by me):

Your comments were on my mind this weekend. I wanted to tell the story of how the website came together. *********, a ********* resident, contacted us this spring. She is an ardent supporter of the project because she thinks it will make her neighborhood a better place. So she put together the website on her own with only input (fact-checking) from the development team.

****** is working with others in the neighborhood who support the project. They are organized as Go Dearborn Street. I don’t think they actually want their names out there anymore than they are because the opposition to the project is so strident that they don’t want to deal with personal attacks.

I do appreciate your suggestions. The lack of links drives me crazy, too.

I know that you said there probably would not be time, but I would urge Miller Park to hear from both sides before deciding whether to take a stand on the Dearborn Street project
Vote as you please, but please vote. Thank you.

1 comment:

Andrew Taylor said...

Some comments from survey responses:

There are many reasons why we should support the Dearborn group. One they are a very active group that like us face many issues around developement, crime, street activity and general self improvement. They live there and know what they want and need, not what the city wants. The city is about to give away large portions of land that is currently city streets, your property! So that a private developer can use that land to make a Northgate like mall. He is offering too little in return for very valuable city property. I know this because I have attended some of the Dearborn and Jackson Place meetings. I have friends who live there and I am currently working on remodeling a house that looks right at the Goodwill site. I can tell you now if you think it is hard to get down Rainier and through the ID, just wait. Unless the city really uses its leverage, for puplic good, in vacating the streets for the project we are all going to suffer.

Out of area. Out of expertise. This poll will not be representative anyway. Not a good precedent. Keep focused on neighborhood issues.