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Portland Is Getting Expensive, Too

Aug 11, 2015

Todd Mundt speaks with Sarah Mirk, online editor of Bitch Media, about the recent upward creep in Portland Oregon's housing prices.

Tiny House Living Is More Than A Novelty

Aug 3, 2015
At Quixote Village in Olympia, previously homeless adults live in tiny (144 sq. foot interior) cottages.
KUOW Photo

With a growing population and the cost of living on the rise, RadioActive reporters Julia Furukawa and Jack  Paradise take a look into the world of tiny houses as a possible solution in today's podcast. Interviews with builders, owners and those that have benefited from the construction of tiny homes may have you thinking small.

Thanks to Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Quixote Village.

RadioActive is KUOW's program for youth age 16-20ish. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Eli Sanders, Rob McKenna and Mayor Ed Murray participate in KUOW's 'Week in Review' in front of a live audience at the Vera Project on Fri. July 31, 2015.
KUOW File Photo/Gil Aegerter

For the last stop on our summer tour, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray stopped by to say why he relented on a controversial affordable housing proposal. Plus, a new Tim Eyman initiative qualifies for the ballot, Russell Wilson stays a Seahawk and Bill Radke answers the question: "Should I be using less water?"

Featuring Radke,  The Stranger's Eli Sanders, former state attorney general Rob McKenna, Northwest News Network's Phyllis Fletcher, Seattle Times sportswriter Percy Allen and a happy crowd at The Vera Project at Seattle Center.

Single-family homes such as this one in Greenwood could be rezoned to become a multi-family dwelling should draft proposals by Seattle's affordable housing task force come to fruition.
Courtesy of Hana Sevcikova

Mayor Ed Murray’s decision to step back from proposal to increase density in Seattle’s single-family neighborhoods is a disappointment, says a woman who played a big role in developing the plan.

Faith Pettis, co-chair of Murray's Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee, told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds that some people misunderstood that part of a much larger plan.

Car camper Jennifer Smith prepares for her move to a woman's shelter. She's one of several homeless men and women who were asked to leave the area near Gasworks Park.  Her RV will be parked safely in a church parking lot in Lake City.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Danny Fletcher lives in a motor home on North Northlake Way near Gas Works Park. He says he feels safer in that than he does sleeping in a shelter.

“It’s more comfy, I have a bedroom, I’ve got a kitchen, I have a living room, and it’s all separate rooms," Fletcher said. "It’s an actual house for me, you know?”

But neighbors have been complaining about campers like this.

Bill Radke, Deb Wang, Chris Vance and Luke Burbank  at the Leif Erikson Lodge as part of the 'Week in Review' summer tour.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

KUOW's Week in Review was at Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard in front of a live audience as part of the show's summer tour. On the docket: what's the solution for affordable housing? Also, should we save a little viaduct to preserve that view? Is there a fairer way to enforce the outdoor pot smoking ban? And a week after the New Yorker earthquake piece, are you still shaking?

Bill Radke convenes a panel of Live Wire radio's Luke Burbank, KUOW's Deborah Wang, former state GOP head Chris Vance and special guests.

The crowd warms up before a live broadcast Friday of KUOW's Week in Review at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Ballard residents and locals from surrounding areas (and two from Clinton, Whidbey Island) crowded into the Leif Erikson Lodge in the heart of the neighborhood for KUOW's Week in Review summer tour stop. 

Based on their reaction to the panel's discussion, most share concerns of the new normal in Ballard: development, and the aches that come with it, like transportation, parking and housing affordability. 

We grabbed three from the audience to help us understand a little more about the flavor and trials of the historically "Norswegian" part of Seattle. 

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

Bill Radke talks with Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata and Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle about whether or not it is time for the city to intervene in rent prices, which have climbed faster here than anywhere in the country.

This small house with a family with five kids was saved by defensible space at the Chelan Butte Fire in 2011. The property had green grass all the way around. The owner is a former Forest Service employee who knows what it means to live in fire country.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY NC ND)

Ross Reynolds interviews Roger Faris about how to protect your home from wildfire, whether you live near a forest, in the suburbs or in the city. Faris has worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in disaster areas from Alaska to Florida, including Eastern Washington during last year’s severe wildfire season,  to figure out what can be done to reduce damage from disaster.

KUOW's Bill Radke discusses the week's news with Bill Finkbeiner, Erica C. Barnett and Knute Berger in front of a live audience at University Heights as part of the of the 'Week in Review' summer tour.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

After reading this week's New Yorker article about The Really Big One, what scares you most about Seattle? Should your city snoop into your trash bin? And why should Seattle accept so much growth? Also: Bertha has a new restart date.

Bill Radke ponders the week’s news with journalists Erica C. Barnett and Knute Berger and former Republican State Senate Majority Leader Bill Finkbeiner.

Housing: Condos along Seattle's downtown waterfront.
Flickr Photo/Ryan Lackey (CC BY 2.0)

Adding or preserving 20,000 affordable housing units in Seattle sounds great for renters on paper.

But Sharon Lee, executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute, told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds there are some holes in Mayor Ed Murray's plan for housing over the next 10 years.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds speaks with Richard Hagar, a local real estate investor and pundit, to get one view of what Mayor Ed Murray's new affordable housing proposals would mean for Seattle renters. 

Mayor Ed Murray speaks at an announcement of the city's proposals to build more affordable housing.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled a package of proposals Monday aimed at dramatically increasing the supply of affordable housing in a city that would be taller and denser.

The goal is to build 20,000 more affordable housing units over the next decade. 

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

Ross Reynolds talks with Faith Li Pettis, co-chair of Seattle's Housing Affordability and Livability Committee, about new recommendations for solving the city's affordable housing crisis.

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

Bill Radke talks with KUOW reporter Deborah Wang about a plan to solve Seattle's housing problems. A task force appointed by Seattle mayor Ed Murray releases its recommendations on Monday.

home, house, housing: An aerial shot of the Greenwood neighborhood in Seattle, 1969.
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A draft city report pokes at Seattle’s single-family character. Also: Why don’t we rope off the dangerous Big Four Ice Caves in the Cascades? Would a Seattle gun tax infringe on your right to bear arms? And in a super-dry Seattle summer, should you be conserving water, or not?

Bill Radke debates the week’s news with Crosscut's Knute Berger, journalist Tonya Mosley and former state GOP chair Chris Vance.

Dear Seattle: It's Time To Desegregate

Jul 9, 2015

Ross Reynolds talks with Ron Sims, former King County executive and former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, about new rules aimed to address persistent housing segregation in cities. Explore an interactive map of race based on the 2010 census. 

Apartments in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Dan Reed (CC BY NC 2.0)

David Hyde talks to University of Washington philosopher Michael Blake, who says Seattle's rent control debate is about more than economics. 

Robert Street with John L. Scott Foreclosures shows an auctioneer his money at the foreclosure auction that takes place outside the King County courthouse in downtown Seattle every Friday.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The Seattle-area housing market could use an injection of inventory. It’s on a tear right now, fueled by high demand and low supply, and hooked on low-interest rates.

And there is a potential supply of lower-priced homes in the region. Those are the 4,300 foreclosed homes from Everett to Tacoma that are now owned by banks, according to RealtyTrac.

Single-family homes such as this one in Greenwood could be rezoned to become a multi-family dwelling should draft proposals by Seattle's affordable housing task force come to fruition.
Courtesy of Hana Sevcikova

Ross Reynolds speaks with Erica C. Barnett about leaked draft recommendations from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's Housing Affordability and Livability Committee. Some of the recommendations would require a dramatic rethinking of the way Seattleites see home.

Allison Dunmire, a stay-at-home mom in Kirkland, is having a tough time finding a house to buy -- even one they don't like all that much.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It’s tough to buy a house in Seattle at the moment.

The shortage of houses on the market has widened the gap between those who can plunk down far more than the asking price – often in cash – and those without such means.

Jennifer Nugent and her three kids are throwing a big, blue ball around in the small living room of their rental home.

The kids are happy, but Nugent isn't. She planned to raise them in a place with much more room to play.

And she was. That is, until she learned that home was uninhabitable.

Two years ago, she and her husband bought a country home in the small central Indiana town of Mooresville.

"It was blue and it had a lot of potential for us to add on," she says. "We really, really wanted that house."

Edith Macefield's Ballard home was surrounded by development .
flickr photo/Payton Chung (CC BY 2.0)

The story of Edith Macefield’s famous “UP!” House has taken another turn.

Paul Thomas, with Realty Brokers of Seattle, says the winners of an auction for the house this spring have backed out after it became apparent the building's age and condition would make it too expensive to fix. And that means the house will be donated and moved or demolished, and the land under it sold, Thomas said.

Bill Radke and Joni Balter prep for a live broadcast of Week In Review at the Northgate Community Center on Friday, June 26, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

The city plans to make its neighborhoods denser AND keep them lovable. How? And: Is it wrong to expose a Seattle police ticket trap? How can our state government come unstuck? 

Bill Radke debates the week's news with former mayor Mike McGinn, former state GOP chair Chris Vance and Seattle Channel's Joni Balter.

Kathy Nyland, director of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods.
Courtesy of Seattle.gov

Marcie Sillman talks to Kathy Nyland, the new director of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, about how she went from advocating for the Georgetown neighborhood to a job with the city. 

Ross Reynolds speaks with Tim Burgess, president of the Seattle City Council, about one piece of legislation which could help preserve existing affordable housing in the city.

Stackhouse Apartments, South Lake Union
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Rents across Seattle have risen dramatically in the past 16 years, according to a KUOW analysis of housing data.

Since 1998, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment has risen 38 percent, measured in 2014 dollars. That’s pushed the average cost to $1,412 per month. 

A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds that rent is not affordable for a growing number of Americans.

Linda Couch, senior vice president for policy at the coalition, joined Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to explain what people in a variety of places across the U.S. have to earn in order to pay for an affordable apartment.

Hawaii, not surprisingly, is the most expensive place to rent. In Atlanta, renters need to make almost $16 per hour to afford a two-bedroom.

Mack has lived on a houseboat in Seattle's Portage Bay since 1968.
KUOW Photo / Aubrey Gelpieryn

Around Mack's home, tulips are blooming and seagulls are flying. People kayak past his window.

Mack lives on a houseboat. Now 83, he has been floating on Seattle's Portage Bay since the Beatles released "Yellow Submarine."

The revamped entrance to The Parker Apartments on Queen Anne Hill.
Bellwether Housing

Money is a big problem for nonprofits trying to build affordable housing. It’s expensive to redevelop old buildings or build new ones.

There are tax credits and grants, and in Seattle there’s money from the city housing levy.

But one group is tapping a new source: private investors, who get a return on the money they put into affordable housing.

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