what was that? is that all there is? who is this? this is it.

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there goes the neighborhood VII

March 14, 2016

Hitting close to what used to be home. Former pilderwasser World HQ at 1712 E Spruce is now a just hole in the ground. The house is gone and soon the lot will be excavated down six feet to street level and construction will begin on three or four or more town houses Seattle-style where especially in the CD they really pack ‘em in. Luckily we were just passing by on a Sunday and got a chance to peer down into what remains of the basement and look at what used to be the yard the awesome backyard the site of many parties and kegs on ice. Games of horseshoes and kiddy pools. Orange picnic table and plastic stacking adirondack chairs. Raised bed gardens and kick ass tomato plants. Catnip for everyone.  The yard where you could talk to your neighbors over the fence and through the hedges with Zeppelin II on cassette.


To be honest the house was beat. It was a tear-down with mold issues and the occasional leaky roof. The basement flooded after heavy rains. The appliances were from the Carter Administration. The toilet flushed over 7 gallons of water each time. There was no insulation so the already inefficient furnace worked even harder to keep warm. But we lived there for 4 years it was really cheap and the landlord was cool. We had two kids there. We buried two cats there in that kickass backyard.  


It was a tear-down and now it’s torn down and the fact that we lived there makes it more meaningful to me but it’s actually another perfect example of what’s happening in Seattle and maybe it’s all happening too fast too much too many too tall too dense too stupid. I’m all for progress but my definition differs from the developers’.  The city of Seattle seems to be rather $hort-$ighted. Urban density beats suburban sprawl and I'd love to hop on the light rail to get to the airport or to a football game but but but can there be a little bit of foresight and some planning. 


In the same book a different chapter. The Capitol Hill light rail station opens this week on the site of another former pilderwasser HQ at 923 E. John Street where the Eileen Court Apartments stood for nearly 100 years and for six of those years I burned a lot of calories working and remodeling 24 units and babysitting and handholding and coaching the tenants more like a resident advisor than an apartment manager. Eight or nine years ago I got to watch the wrecking ball do battle with that old building and the building put up a good fight. Now I get to take the light rail to Capitol Hill and walk around at feel thankful that I no longer live there.      


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