This is not an Occupy Seattle endorsed action. I apologize for failing to put this tag up earlier. It is a direct action that engaged, committed participants are organizing.
On Friday December 16th, there will be a rally at 5:15pm outside of Seattle Central Community College to highlight the issue of for-profit development and gentrification in the neighborhood. It will be followed by a march at 6 pm ending at the 10th and Union Warehouse. The plans for demolition of this warehouse will be taking place within a month. The 10th and Union area will make way for a 20% affordable or 80% unaffordable 79 unit, 6 story apartment complex over ground floor retail.
According to the Multi-Family Tax Exemption Plan, developers will be exempt from paying property taxes for 12 years if 20-30% of their units are set aside as “affordable” at rents between $850-1100/month. Unfortunately, “affordable” caters to individuals who earn atleast 65% of the Seattle median income. Most tenants in Seattle earn 55% of the median income, which means the rents are priced hundreds of dollars above whatmost people, and especially low-income people can afford. In short, these are not affordable rents.
Furthermore, these tax exemptions are contributing to our state budget problems. At the rate developers are participating in the program,by 2013, the Multi-Family Tax Exemption will cost taxpayers 150 million dollars. Ultimately, our tax dollars are subsidizing apartments
that are unaffordablefor the majority of people in Seattle; allowing developers to make huge profits at the taxpayers expense, and neglecting those who are truly in need of low-income housing.
This warehouse has also recently served as a site of contest. On December 3rd, around 4 a.m., sixteen participants of Occupy Seattle were arrested in the warehouse at 10th and Union during an action to reclaim space for the community. In the face of the recent slew of closures and cuts to libraries, community centers, and other public spaces, they sought to restore the warehouse, formerly the Union Cultural Center, to its use as a “supportive educational space for teaching, sharing and creating vibrant culture.”
This protest is to further mobilize the community in a fight for educational spaces and local businesses as well as halt the development of unaffordable housing currently taking place.
This is a fight for community over capital.