Seattle is growing and changing fast. More than 50 construction cranes are reshaping our skyline, 236 new Seattleites move here every day, and familiar businesses are closing (like the 45-year-old Old Spaghetti Factory). So we asked our readers this question:
What’s one thing you want to see preserved about Seattle? It can be anything: A place, a feeling, an aspect of Seattle’s character. Whatever you love about the city that you wouldn’t want to see go.
We borrowed this question from University of Washington professor Jeff Shulman, who’s host of the Seattle Growth Podcast and posed it to the audience at a discussion about Seattle’s growth at Impact Hub.
We got so many responses from our readers, and as we looked through them, they read like a love letter to the city. So that’s what we’re sharing today, in your own voices (we tried to fit in as many as we could!)
We love that you’re such a weird, out-there place where ambition is mashed up with love of nature and a sense that anything’s possible (Gabriel Scheer).
When we look at photos from the 60s, when the Space Needle was new and Boeing was a big employer, we see this futuristic, forward-looking, progressive city. We love living somewhere so devoted to the future of all things, including itself, us and the world (Beth Anderson). There’s a certain fire in longtimers, from Gates to Bezos to even Molly Moon to prove that You Don’t Give Us Enough Credit and You Should Never Sleep On Us. We should never lose our desire to just get better and to prove the world wrong (Dylan Wilbanks).
And though we always want to look forward and find ways to improve, we hope we never forget to look back at things like our maritime heritage (Ian S. King) and our legacy for activism and the arts (Sara Kiesler).
We love your many, many trees (Luiz Humberto Melchert Marques), your beautiful parks (Richie Allen), your playgrounds (Robin Rosenberg), your tidal flats (Philip Weiss), your expansive greenery (Miriam Kolker), and your city wildlife of squirrels, eagles, raccoons, and hawks (Sarah Schacht).
And we love your neighborhoods — each with its own unique character and community (Mary Bennett, Michael Derr). As you grow, we want your real estate to remain affordable (Korat Ozturan), and we want mixed income rental housing with views (@WillSeattle).
There are also specific places we love: The Center for Wooden Boats, Canlis and the Bungalows of Capitol Hill (Susanna Williams); the seedy breakfast places above Pike Place Market (Karen Anderson); the Burke-Gilman Trail and the Space Needle (Karen Erickson); Beach Drive on Alki (Traca Savadogo); all the independent coffee shops (Gretchen Fetscher) and thriving small businesses (Joshua Holland), and, of course, Lake Union — a working waterfront, a playground, and a setting of sails, paddles and scenic views (Stuart Weibel).
It’s another rainy fall day, but actually we love the weather here and wouldn’t want it to change (Shemaiah Gonzalez). And by the way, it’d be cool if you preserved the anti-umbrella culture (Mark Pearson).
Also, the traffic is awful, but we hope that growth doesn’t lead us to honk too much (Luna Flesher Lindsey) or give up the quaint dance at four-way stops where people defer even when it’s their turn. It drives us nuts but it seems to be a Seattle phenomenon! (Angela Finney)
We hope you never lose your diversity: of race, ethnicity, class, immigration status, gender, sexuality, disability, age, and language. We want you to be an equitable, inclusive and vibrant place (Cynthia Brothers). We want people to retain their willingness to give charitably and volunteer (Madeline Moy). And we want you to preserve your acceptance of others, and to encourage friendships between people with different politics. What makes you unique are the people who live here and how we treat each other (Curtis Walton, Eli Israel).
Finally, Seattle, we hope you never stop celebrating the unusual, unexpected and weird. (Howard Wu). Because ultimately, that’s what makes you who you are.
This post originally appeared in the Oct. 28 edition of The Evergrey newsletter.