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housing

One of the final items Oregon lawmakers approved before closing out their 2016 legislative session Thursday was a measure that would allow cities and counties to require developers to include low-income housing options in new developments.

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

Jeannie Yandel talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about the affordable housing levy and why he believes it is an important for voters to pass. For the last five years, Seattle voters have taxed homeowners to pay for affordable housing. Murray wants to effectively double the amount of money homeowners pay. 

Barbara Dobkin, council of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, stands with her dog Mattie on a hill in front of the Seattle city-owned land she'd like to see turned into a park.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s nearly impossible to find empty land in Seattle. But down at the far south end, there’s 40 acres with nothing on it. And it’s owned by the city of Seattle.

Locals would like to keep it wild. They think of it as “Discovery Park South.” But the city has other plans.

Oregon lawmakers are moving ahead with a measure that would lift the state's nearly two-decade-old ban on inclusionary zoning laws. The Oregon Senate voted Friday to allow cities and counties to require builders to set aside a portion of large developments for affordable units.

Steve Graham was No. 136 among people waiting Monday, February 22, 2016, for a chance to apply 110 low-income apartments.  'I'm keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed,' he said.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Steve Graham got in line late. His number was 136.

But he was optimistic about the chance of a lifetime: a shot at brand new, low-income housing in an increasingly unaffordable city.

“Number 8! Numero ocho!” came the call Monday night at El Centro de la Raza, a nonprofit in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Only 110 units are available.

'Week in Review' panel Jess Spear, Erica C. Barnett, Roger Valdez and KUOW's Bill Radke.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

How do you help someone in a way that’s actually helpful: Zero tolerance? Public housing? Tiny housing? A new smart phone app? Also, millennial voters: idealistic, deluded or both? Bill Radke debates the week’s news with Erica C. Barnett from The C Is For Crank, Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle and Jess Spear with the Socialist Alternative Party.  

Paramjit Kaur, owner of Fashion India Botique, is one of many entrepreneurs courted by Sam Virk to set up shop in his International Plaza development in Kent. Click on this image for more photos.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

At a new strip mall in downtown Kent, a truck backs up to a butcher shop. The driver opens the back and pulls out a goat carcass. This butcher shop doesn’t sell beef or pork, out of deference to its Hindu and Muslim customers.

Miranda Redinger, Shoreline city planner, at the Shoreline Center, a former high school that she says is likely to be redeveloped once the transit station gets running.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Shoreline, just north of Seattle, is a classic suburb facing a very urban challenge.

It is gaining a light rail station at 185th Street and I-5. And that new station is kicking off a vast redevelopment that will change the shape of the city. In all, 1,400 homes have been rezoned for a densified redevelopment that will change this part of the city into something that looks as though it were born in Seattle.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess about plans to regulate online short-term rentals in the city of Seattle.

Jeannie Yandel talks to Dona Ponepinto, president and CEO of United Way of Pierce County about a new study commissioned by United Way that found one in three Northwest households are living just above or below the poverty line. 

Where Brunch And Housing Segregation Collide

Jan 14, 2016

There's been a lot of conversation lately about people of color dealing with "only one in the room" syndrome in the workplace. But in 2016, it's still remarkably easy to be the only person of color in any given social situation. My Code Switch teammate Gene Demby and I were talking about this yesterday.

A Powerball sign can't accommodate a figure larger than $999 million.
Flickr photo/Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr

Everybody’s dreaming about how they could spend all that money when they win that $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot – the biggest lottery prize ever in the U.S.

You might be thinking car, house, travel. But what if the city of Seattle won?

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

Bill Radke speaks with Columbia Legal Services attorney Merf Ehman and Evan Loeffler, a lawyer who focuses on landlord tenant relations, about a proposal before the Seattle City Council that would change how landlords are allowed to screen tenants. 

Lisa Herbold at the former Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle’s Gatewood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Bill Radke talks to new Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who represents West Seattle and South Park, about her top three priorities for Seattle. 

A view of one of Cast Architecture's backyard cottages. The firm has been a leader promoting backyard cottages in Seattle
Courtesy of Cast Architecture

Bill Radke talks to KUOW's Joshua McNichols about the case the city of Seattle is making for more backyard cottages.  

Mario, an 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea, outside his host home in Burien. Mario and his siblings each picked out a bike of their own, thanks to a donation to World Relief.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

A pot of lentils simmers in the kitchen of an upscale home in Burien. Two teen brothers and their two younger sisters keep watch.

They’re Eritrean refugees, part of a family of nine staying with Carleen Kennedy. Kennedy has opened her home to refugees since 1975.

If you pull into Hertford County High School in northeastern North Carolina, pass the bus circle and the soccer fields, and continue to a patch of woods, you find three, cheerful, two-story apartment buildings. Knock on any door here and you'll find the home of a teacher or employee of the local school district.

Wouldn't it be nice to get a check from your electric utility instead of a bill? That's exactly what happens for a select few homeowners in the Pacific Northwest whose solar-powered houses generate more electricity than they use over the course of the year.

Nearly 1.2 million public housing units would need to become "entirely smoke-free" under a new rule put forth Thursday by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

The proposed rule would give more than 3,100 public housing agencies 18 months to ban cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all living units, indoor common areas and within 25 feet of buildings. The ban would also apply to administrative offices.

A homeless camp beneath an Interstate 5 off-ramp in Seattle's SODO district.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Kim Malcom talks to Daniel Malone, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, about why Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's emergency plan on homelessness doesn't go far enough.

KUOW and KPLU are likely to become one. Pacific Lutheran University has announced the intent to sell.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Being asked to pay extra for transit or schools is a regular event for Seattle voters. In Tuesday's election, they backed the $930 million Move Seattle levy.

So it’s a logical question: Are Seattle taxpayers carrying a heavier tax burden than people in other major U.S. cities?

Ross Reynolds speaks with Dave Meinert, owner of the Comet and several other businesses. He is a supporter of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's push for commercial rent stabilization. We also hear from Evan Loeffler, landlord attorney with Loeffler Law Group. 

A blighted house on Northeast 65th in Seattle in the Roosevelt neighborhood.
Flicrk Photo/Steve Mohundro (CC BY NC SA)/http://bit.ly/1ZRXDyb

Kim Malcolm speaks with Seattle City Council member Nick Licata about why he co-sponsored a measure to protect renters from slumlords. 

Seattle's District 4 Candidates Are Becoming BFFs

Oct 14, 2015
Seattle City Council District 4 candidates Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Outside the radio booth, Seattle City Council candidates Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson look like they could be brothers.

Easy smiles. Blue tops. Johnson rides the bus; Maddux rides his bike. They joke that that their main difference is crew necks versus V-necks.

A massive multi-family apartment building with commercial retail spaces underneath. A train enters the photo in the foreground at the left of the frame.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Ross Reynolds talks to King County Executive Dow Constantine about his new initiative to develop 700 units of affordable housing around transit centers. 

Thornton Place Apartments in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood has 56 apartments (out of 278) set aside for low wage earners. In exchange for keeping rents for those units low for 12 years, the developer got a tax break.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When it comes to creating affordable housing, Seattle voters can thank themselves.

Most rent-controlled units built in the last 30 years have relied on a property tax, Seattle's affordable housing levy, first approved by Seattleites in the early 1980s. That's when federal money for affordable housing was cut dramatically under President Ronald Reagan.

Cousins Tiara Jinka and Tiana Jordan can't afford to live in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s a tall order: Get skeptical private developers to help build 20,000 units of affordable housing in Seattle in the next 10 years.

Some of them say Mayor Ed Murray’s “grand bargain” doesn’t pencil out, at least as currently envisioned in the city’s new housing plan.

Veteran Housing Vouchers Scorned by Landlords

Sep 4, 2015

The building manager's office was closed, but Veronica Schenkelberg and Adrian Carrillo decided to wait.

All day, they'd been hitting buzzers and knocking on doors, looking for an apartment for Carrillo, and this building showed promise--it had an apartment available, and from what Carrillo could gather online, it took Section 8 housing vouchers.

After 35 minutes, Cindy Morrison arrived to unlock the door and deliver the same statement the two had been hearing all day:  The building doesn't take federal rent assistance vouchers.

The Undre Arms apartments: great or terrible name?
Flickr Photo/Paul Sableman (CC BY 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Cal McAllister, founder of Wexley School for Girls advertising agency, about what makes a great, or terrible, apartment name. 

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

David Hyde talks to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about the mandatory inclusionary housing recommendation in the proposal from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee.  

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