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Fifth grader Nina Perry at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Eleven-year-old Nina Parry noticed a man sitting outside her neighborhood QFC. She and her mom brought him food. But there were others.

“Ever since I can remember, I've been seeing homeless people asking for money or just sitting in the streets being cold,” she said.


Ethan Kent, 26, uses a cart to transport his belongings as well as the belongings of friends away from a Ravenna encampment where he had been living for roughly a month and a half, on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, on the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Charlie Blackwood was running off three hours of sleep and seven cups of coffee when he packed up his belongings. He had been living with seven other people in a plot of woods in Ravenna, in northeast Seattle, when city crews arrived with trucks and shovels to clear it out.

In 1965, Ralph and Elaine Hayes tried to put a down payment on a friend's home in Ravenna.

"And in April of '66 the United Federal Savings Bank, I think it was called, sent our check back," Elaine Hayes said. She and her husband didn't find out why for 15 years.


A turreted brick home known as The Castle. A tan bungalow. An 111-year-old corner house with a covered porch.

Just south of the state Capitol building you’ll find a neighborhood dotted with quaint, historic houses. But you won’t find families with children in many of them.

A woman walks past a large mural of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the side of a diner, painted by artist James Crespinel in the 1990's and later restored, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Fifty years ago today, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered on a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Decades later, a motion passed in the King County Council to rename the county for King, rather than a slave owner from Alabama. 

A worker in Boise puts together an apartment bound for Seattle.
Guerdon Modular Design

The apartment complex at Aurora and North 109th Street in Seattle was built on the cheap.

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

This week, Seattle lost its Russian consulate, lost its “first in time” rental law, lost the Battery Street Park, lost everything... except the season opener. The Seattle Mariners won that, 2-1.

Handing over the keys to a new rental property.
Flickr Photo/harry b (CC BY 2.0)/flic.kr/p/xSNB92

If you’ve rented a new apartment in Seattle in the last year, chances are that you ran into the first-in-time law. It required landlords to rent to the first qualified applicant. When enacted, the law was touted as a first in the nation attempt to protect tenants’ rights. Landlords argued that it overrode their property rights – and yesterday, a judge agreed. 

A view from unit 204, Spyglass Hill apartments
Sound West Group

There’s a new way to get rental housing – by bidding against other people on an app. The person who offers to pay the most gets the spot.

Seattle City Council wants none of this. In a setback for tech entrepreneurs trying to disrupt the rental housing market, the Council issued a one-year moratorium on these kinds of rent auction apps.

Online auction apps like Rentberry and Biddwell serve as a sort eBay for rental housing — how much the rent will ultimately cost isn’t known until the deal closes.

FLICKR PHOTO/Nathan Winder/https://flic.kr/p/bqTzXf

New protections may be on the way for Seattleites who can no longer afford rent.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant says she'll introduce a bill in the next few months that would require landlords to pay for relocation expenses if rent goes up by more than 10 percent.


Seattle native Merlin Rainwater holds a map outlining the red line zone on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Longtime Central District resident Merlin Rainwater advocates for alternative forms of transportation, like walking and biking. She leads neighborhood “slow rides” to get older women more comfortable with urban cycling and shows them around parts of the Central District they might not know about: public art, small parks, black-owned cafes and restaurants.

A community meeting on Mandatory Housing Affordability at Northgate on March 12, 2018
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Residents of north Seattle want affordable housing, but are skeptical of the city’s plan to get that housing built by encouraging more development. That was the dominant message heard at Monday night’s public hearing in Northgate.

Apartment buildings in the University District, Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

You've heard of the bidding wars for houses in the Seattle area, and now people are competitively bidding for rental apartments. Seattle lawmakers are trying to cut off the practice, known as rent bidding, before it takes off in the city.

On websites like Rentberry and Biddwell, landlords post an apartment and suggested rent, and prospective tenants can bid higher (or lower) to try to win the lease.

Downtown Seattle accounts for more than half the city's construction investments, according to DSA.
KUOW/Megan Farmer

This year Seattle was named the top investment and development market in the country by the Urban Land Institute. And investors have taken note.

In the next two years, according to the Downtown Seattle Association, the area will see 2,400 new hotel rooms, 8,000 new residential units and millions of square feet of new office space.  And even more is to come in 2020. 

Homes in Queen Anne are shown from the Space Needle in November in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Happy Valentine’s Day? Your property tax — or your rent, probably — is going up to help pay for better schools.

Audrey Behrenhoff walks her dog Emma in front of her home in Redmond last week, at Friendly Village-55 Plus Park, recently purchased by King County Housing Authority. Behrenhoff, 80, has lived in three different mobile homes at Friendly Village.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Underneath the Sea-Tac airport flight path, where planes rip through the sky, there’s a giant field of dirt, and it has a lot to say.

“Please be advised that your tenancy of the above premises will terminate…” reads a large sign posted at the corner of the field. 

Flickr Photo/Tom Davidson (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/dQVW4x

Our region’s population hit 4 million people just over a year ago. Now, there’s a prediction that it will reach nearly 6 million by 2050. It’s the latest growth projection from The Puget Sound Regional Council.

Housing costs contribute dramatically to the high basic cost of living in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Rents have been declining in the Seattle area. Compared with the previous quarter, rents in December dropped an average of $50.

Fort Lawton at night
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2CS0Zut

A plan to bring affordable housing to a swath of land near Discovery Park received overwhelming support from the residents who attended a public hearing Tuesday night.

Terry Cook lives near the proposed development in Magnolia. She said the addition of affordable housing and services for homeless seniors would benefit the neighborhood.

Housing Markets In Northwest Cities Still Topping The Charts

Dec 26, 2017

Home prices continued to climb in Seattle and Portland at some of the fastest rates in the country this year. The latest data show Seattle is still the nation’s hottest market.

Pioneer Square apartment listed at $130/night on Airbnb.
Courtesy of Airbnb

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved regulations Monday to limit short term rentals like Airbnb, after more than a year working out concerns from that and similar companies.

Under the new ordinance, most people will be allowed to operate two rental units max.

Housing costs contribute dramatically to the high basic cost of living in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Washington cities are prohibited from regulating rent prices, but one lawmaker wants to change that. Democratic state Representative Nicole Macri says she'll propose a bill in 2018 to end the rent control ban.

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan takes the oath of office, administered by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones, right, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at the Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Jenny Durkan was sworn in as Seattle's 56th mayor Tuesday in a ceremony at the Ethiopian Community Center, directing pointed remarks to President Trump in her opening remarks.

The Record: Monday, November 20, 2017

Nov 20, 2017
KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

Land of the free, home of the easily swayed? Studio 360 host and author Kurt Andersen will tell you how this country has always swallowed fake news, all the way back to its colonist beginnings. He's written a new book called "Fantasyland."

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/s/aHsju5PWuH

Seattle officials are conducting an environmental review of the entire city to look at the possible impacts of building more backyard cottages. Some lawmakers want to make it easier for homeowners to build them.

Residents can weigh in now on the scope of that environmental review.

The White House is blocking money to build new tribal housing along the Columbia River. That’s according to five members of the Washington and Oregon congressional delegations.

The current Convention Place bus station is being considered as an expansion site for the Washington State Convention Center.
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

Seattle will get an additional $60 million in public benefits, including affordable housing and bike lanes, as part of the proposed expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

That’s more than the project’s developers had originally offered. The new money is the result of long negotiations.

An unreinforced masonry wall fails a shake test at the University of British Columbia
Courtesy of UBC

Seattle has 1,100 old brick buildings that are especially vulnerable to collapsing in a big earthquake. Few have been retrofitted to withstand a major seismic event.

Now researchers at the University of British Columbia say they’ve come up with a cheap, fast way to reinforce such buildings: spray them with bendable concrete.

Queen Anne Avenue is now zoned to allow 85ft buildings between Denny Way and Roy Street
Flickr Photo/Matthew Rutledge (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/5BRcDM

Taller developments will now be allowed in Seattle's lower Queen Anne neighborhood. The City Council unanimously passed a rezone measure on Monday.

It’s the last of five neighborhood rezones expected this year, after legislation was already approved for the University District, Chinatown-International District, parts of the Central Area, and downtown/South Lake Union.

Some insurance companies are choosing not to renew policies in wildfire-prone areas of the inland Northwest. That’s sending home owners scrambling to find new coverage for their properties.

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