Downtown Seattle | KUOW News and Information

Downtown Seattle

Lee Townsend with the Metroplitan Improvement District checks his "hotspots" in Belltown for litter...and worse.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Over the past year, street sweepers in downtown Seattle saw a dramatic increase in the number of syringes on the ground. But those numbers have declined since March. They’re a data point in the larger debate over policing and drug use downtown.

A police van at Third Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

There’s an open air drug market between Westlake Center and the Pike Place Market. People who live and work downtown are getting tired of dealing with that. So are business owners.

"You’re facing shoplifting multiple times a day, you’re seeing people overdose in your bathroom, you’re cleaning up heroin needles," the Downtown Seattle Association’s Jon Scholes said.

Now the city of Seattle is trying to do something about it.

There have been 95 arrests over the last few days – without a single incident of use of force, Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole says.

A symbolic funeral for Earth Day.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

The idea for Earth Day was first announced at a conference in Seattle 45 years ago.

It’s still going strong, with Earth Day events sometimes spanning all of April. KUOW Reporter Liz Jones stopped by two different events in Seattle on Tuesday and has this audio postcard. She started at a symbolic funeral downtown, then head over to a spiritual summit at Seattle University.

Crowds of homeless people often gather on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle near social-service providers.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Ross Reynolds speaks with Katherine Beckett, co-author with Steven Herbert of the book, "Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America," about her research into interactions between the Seattle Police Department and people experiencing homelessness in downtown Seattle.

An armpit dye model. Roxie Hunt of Vain salon in downtown Seattle started dying friend's armpits in bright Kool-Aid colors. That little experiment garnered international attention.
Courtesy Roxie Hunt, How To Hair Girl

Roxie Hunt didn't set out to be a spokesperson for armpit hair and feminism.

But one day Hunt stopped shaving under her armpits, a decision that sparked conversations about body hair and fashion choices at Vain, the downtown salon where she works.

And then she got another idea: What if they dyed their armpit hair in electric Kool-Aid colors? Hunt, who runs the popular How To Hair Girl blog, dyed her friend’s armpits a bright teal blue to match her hair. And then she blogged about it in a post that got shared 30,000 times.

Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND)

There’s more discussion this week about a potential new school in downtown Seattle. As KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, the idea is controversial.

Ross Reynolds talks with economist and real estate analyst Matthew Gardner about the commercial real estate market in Seattle.

File photo of traffic on Seattle's Ship Canal Bridge.
Flickr Photo/Lonnon Foster (CC-BY-NC-ND)

It’s been a bad summer for driving in Seattle.

Several accidents have shown us that surface streets cannot handle the traffic load when Interstate 5 or Highway 99 choke up. Traffic and design issues on major routes have been difficult even without an accident.

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