Seattle’s week in 2 minutes: Our political energy is building. But toward what?

It’s tough to keep up with everything moving and shaking in your city. Luckily, you’ve got us. Here are a few big things to know from the week.

> The city’s political energy is building. But toward what? This week offered two big clues. First: Six weeks after a bunch of us took to the streets for the post-inauguration Womxn’s March — the largest protest the city’s ever seen — Seattle came out strong on Wednesday’s International Women’s Day, with businesses, groups, and probably a chunk of your Facebook feed taking part. Second: We got riled up — along with the rest of the world — when a Sikh man in Kent got shot by a man he said was white and told him to go back to his country. Our state politicians have been standing up to President Trump’s immigration and refugee bans, and Seattle police have been talking up a bias/hate crime database to encourage people to report ugliness when they see it. It’s like the city is charged up for a big fight for women, people of color, and immigrants. Then Wednesday, a surprise: Nikkita Oliver, a 31-year-old spoken-word poet, community organizer, and Black Lives Matter activist, joined the race for mayor. It’s going to be an interesting few months.

A tent where a Seattleite made a home overlooks the water. (Photo by Chuck Wolfe)

> From one camp to another, and another, and another. Homelessness is the second biggest issue facing Seattle today, according to 400 locals Seattle Met surveyed in its first-ever poll. And no wonder. About 4,500 people live on Seattle area streets. This week the city cleared The Field, a camp where dozens of homeless people lived, telling people to move along. But to where? Some of the people police found there had lived in another camp the city swept months ago called The Jungle. There’s no easy way through an issue like this, but Mayor Ed Murray wants to try something: a $275 million tax hike to fund more services and put 5,000 people in permanent homes over the next five years. “I don’t think any politician … would choose to put a tax hike on the ballot at the same time they’re on the ballot,” the mayor said. “I would rather lose this election and save the lives of people who are dying on the streets of this city.”

(Photo by Marit Jensen)


> The whole city is rebuilding itself. Are taller buildings going to get us places to live that more people can actually afford? That’s the idea behind a proposal to elevate the maximum building height in parts of downtown and South Lake Union. Meanwhile, Seattle is one big construction zone. Bertha, the huge drill that’s boring through Seattle’s crust, is less than two blocks away from completing the tunnel where our new waterfront freeway is going to go. We’re adding more busesmore light rail. And we have 60 of those huge, lit-up cranes working on our city. That’s five for every 7 square miles. Build on, Seattle. We’re going places.