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Jasmin Samy is th civil rights manager at CAIR-Washington State, a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. She says it's often difficult to get people to speak up when they think they're being discriminated against.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

When people of color try to rent housing in Seattle, they’re treated differently from white people.

KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Black Diamond is a city of 4,000 people southeast of Seattle. It's a haven for cyclists headed for Mount Rainier, and a historic coal mining town. But a huge housing development has loomed over this small town for 20 years, and the tension over it is tearing the city apart.

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

Seattle lawmakers are on the verge of rezoning each neighborhood to be denser, taller versions of what they are now. 

The Seattle City Council is scheduled to start the process Tuesday with a vote to rezone the University District. It’s part of what city leaders call HALA (Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda), the city’s response to Seattle's affordable housing crisis.


Mary Ann and Bill McDermond have lost friends over their opposition to the massive project that's being built in Black Diamond
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Mary Ann and Bill McDermand moved to Black Diamond 23 years ago for the peace, tranquility and the strong sense of community. Their kids used to play with the neighbors kids, she said, “and we just got along good with everybody.”


Ella lives at Capitol Hill Urban CoHousing, a development built by nine families so they could live together in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is growing fast, but it doesn’t have many kids.

Sure, the schools are overcrowded and there are babies in strollers everywhere. But as a percentage, the number of kids in Seattle is really low, because there’s not a lot of new housing designed for families.

Still, some parents are finding a way to stay in the city anyway.


One of President Donald Trump’s first acts as president was to undo one of President Barack Obama’s last acts as president. Obama had moved to cut rates for people who take out mortgage insurance from the Federal Housing Administration, primarily first-time home buyers and people with poor credit.

Violet and Norward Brooks in front of a house they struggled to buy due to discrimination.
KUOW Photo/Caroline Chamberlain

The results of the recent presidential election has revealed stark divisions in this country.

This is especially clear in Seattle, where we’re notorious for being one of the most progressive cities in the country.


Under a new city plan, apartment buildings could be as high as the UW Tower (tallest building pictured). They are currently capped at 65 feet.
Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8cYwTm

Seattle lawmakers are getting closer to implementing their solution to the city’s housing problems. They call the plan HALA, or the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

As part of HALA, lawmakers will rezone most of Seattle to make a more a taller, denser city. The City Council will rezone the University District first and has already drafted new zoning rules for the neighborhood.

Developments are popping up all over Marysville.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Marysville is the fastest growing big city in Western Washington.

In part that’s due to people leaving the Seattle housing market to find more affordable housing in a place a commutable distance away.


Seattle's Blue Ridge neighborhood was developed by William and Bertha Boeing through a federal loan guarantee that required homes be sold and occupied only by white people.
Courtesy of Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project

Seattle's neighborhoods and suburbs have long been segregated by race.

This month Seattle lawmakers will start taking steps to rezone the University District. In a sign that City Council members want to get it right the first time, they plan to amend their proposal even before they introduce it.

housingweb.jpg
Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Dave Tomson and his dog Dennis slept between cardboard walls under Interstate 5 in Seattle one night recently. Tomson is a block away from city hall – in fact you can see it from the corner.

He picked this spot so he could stay dry.

“It was raining and I’m not made out of sugar, but I don’t like to be cold and wet,” Tomson said. “Call me crazy.”

Tomson is homeless, like more than 4,000 other people in the city. He’s lived on the streets for five years after he went to jail and lost his job, he said.

A new report predicts that rent increases in the Seattle area should slow down next year. The report was produced by Apartment Insights, a company that surveys the rental market. It finds that vacancy rates are increasing and that rents are dropping in the fourth quarter of this year.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about current issues facing the city including being a sanctuary city for immigrants, tackling a West Coast homeless problem, ensuring affordable housing, preserving the culture in neighborhoods facing rapid gentrification  and bringing a new sports team (and arena) to the city. 

How densely packed should Seattle get?

Dec 14, 2016

Bill Radke speaks with Queen Anne Community Councilmember Martin Kaplan and housing advocate Laura Bernstein about the city's decision to put a hold on more backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments until an environmental impact study can be performed. They discuss density issues, affordable housing and the changing character of Seattle's single family neighborhoods. 

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