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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.

L-R: Dave Ross, Bill Radke, Joni Balter, Rob McKenna
KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

Bill apologizes to listeners for our interview with the man from this week's viral Seattle-Nazi-gets-punched video, and we look for the lessons. (see the video and read the transcript)

Seattle gets a new temporary mayor, and the race to replace Eastside Congressman Dave Reichert gets a well-known Republican challenger.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle has a shortage of housing. But all over town, houses stand vacant. Either they’re in foreclosure, or they’re waiting to be torn down for development. Some people think vacant homes are an underused resource.

One man steals them.


KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The rising cost of housing in America's most desirable "creative" cities troubles Richard Florida, urbanist thinker and author. In those cities, the cost of housing is affordable only to the creative class themselves. The rest of the working population — those in service industry or manufacturing — struggle to keep up with rising housing prices.

Florida says what's happening in Seattle, specifically, is surprising even to someone like him, "supposedly in the know."

The Sam Hill mansion on Capitol Hill is on the market for $15 million.
KUOW Photos/Megan Farmer

The Sam Hill mansion on Capitol Hill is the most expensive real estate listing in Seattle.

Should the owner have to pay a luxury sales tax? It's one of the big proposals in this year's Seattle mayor's race.

Justin Robinson, left, and the man who bought his apartment building, Dan Robins.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When an old apartment building goes on the market, all of a sudden, everybody starts doing the math.  


Demand is soaring for Seattle-area homes. Buyers who want to succeed are bidding up prices. This Seattle house recently sold for $100,000 over the asking price.
Courtesy of Seattle MLS

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire writer Monica Nickelsburg about a new Seattle based startup called Loftium which will help you buy a house — if you agree to rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb and split the profits with them.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke speaks with John Fox, of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, and Roger Valdez, of Smart Growth Seattle, about their (very different) ideas for how to make sure Seattle has enough affordable housing for those who need it.


KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Emily Fox speaks with KUOW's Region of Boom reporter Joshua McNichols about the team's upcoming coverage of Seattle's housing crisis.


Carl Slater at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood is known for its restored bungalows and for Gasworks Park. But some people worry it could lose its soul if the city’s affordable housing plan goes through. 


Seattle may regulate Airbnb, VRBO and other short term rentals by next year. The Seattle City Council discussed a new proposal Wednesday, after the vacation industry opposed earlier versions.

Bill Radke speaks with Rex Hohlbein, the creator of the BLOCK Project, a plan to house the homeless with a tiny home on every residential block of the city. It's a way, Hohlbein believes, to break down stereotypes and connect the homeless more with their community.

Radke also speaks with Kim Sherman, who owns the first backyard that will have a tiny home. She explains why she wanted to do it, her initial concerns and how she believes others can be convinced that this is the right thing to do.

Gentrification of neighborhoods can wreak havoc for those most vulnerable to change.

Sure, access to services and amenities rise in a gentrifying neighborhood. That is a good thing. But those amenities won't do you much good if you're forced to move because of skyrocketing housing costs.

That is why neighborhood and housing advocacy groups have spent decades searching for ways to protect longtime residents from the negative effects of gentrification.

KUOW PHOTO/Megan Farmer

The mayoral race in Seattle is heating up. King County Democrats have endorsed Cary Moon, and so has today’s panelist, former mayor Mike McGinn. Labor unions have come out in support Jenny Durkan. What’s the significance of this latest round of endorsements?

The City of Seattle is going to spend at least a quarter of million dollars defending legal attacks against the high earner income tax passed by City Council on a 9-0 vote. Is it common for a local or state government agency to pass laws they know they need to spend money to defend in court?

Is Seattle becoming Amazonia? And because we're still not sick of talking about the eclipse, we ask the panel where they watched the celestial show.

Listen to the show on Fridays at noon and join the conversation on Twitter using #KUOWwir.

A sketch of The Emerald, a 40-foot condominium tower planned at 2nd and Stewart near Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Chinese investors helped make the project possible.
Hewitt Seattle

Seattleites love to blame outsiders for skyrocketing housing prices.

Wallingford is one of several Seattle neighborhoods that will see an increase in affordable housing under the citywide rezone
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9jiSQm

Jeannie Yandel talks to Becco Zou, a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway in Bellevue, and Marc Stiles, a real estate reporter with the Puget Sound Business Journal, about how foreign buyers impact the local housing market. 

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

One thing all of the candidates running for Seattle City Council Position 8 agree on: The rent is too damn high. But they're divided on what to do about it. 

Foreclosure housing house
Flickr Photo/Taber Andrew Bain (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6WB4v4

Seattle’s real estate market is booming, but contrary to what you might think, foreclosures are still happening. Foreclosures can be disruptive in neighborhoods.

Last year, about 700 people in Seattle lost their homes to banks. The city wants to help them. 


A mural on 20th Avenue in Seattle's Central District
KUOW Photo/Paul Kiefer

A plan to bring more affordable housing to Seattle's Central District was approved by the City Council today. 

It's one part of the city's goal to add 20,000 new units for lower-income households (those making less than 60 percent of the area’s median income).

The King County Council decided to put a proposed property tax increase before voters this November. The levy renews funding for veterans and now also, seniors.

$360,000 is the asking price for this 740 square foot house in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle
KUOW Photos / Megan Farmer

Sonny Kwan, a real estate agent in Seattle, was shocked recently by a listing he saw just off Rainier Avenue South.

Top candidates for Seattle mayor debate in a forum hosted by KING 5 and KUOW.
KING 5

Are Seattle taxes too high? And where should the city look for future funding? Those were the big questions for six of the city’s candidates for mayor Monday, at a debate aired live on KUOW and KING 5.


Earl Lancaster of Earl’s Cuts & Styles, used to be surrounded by other black-owned businesses, and a working-class community. Today, most of those businesses are gone.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Earl Lancaster has been cutting hair at the corner of 23rd and Union for a quarter of a century.

"Some of the highlights have been cutting some of the Sonics, Mariners. Cutting young kids and turn into fathers and cutting their kids’ hair. It’s been amazing," Lancaster said as he glided his clippers along a man's scalp.


Wallingford is one of several Seattle neighborhoods that will see an increase in affordable housing under the citywide rezone
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9jiSQm

The City of Seattle is planning a sweeping rezone of urban villages across the city to create more affordable housing. The public can weigh in now on a draft environmental study of the zoning changes.

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