University District

City of Seattle

The University District is gonna be HUGE. We’re talking towers – up to 32 stories tall in some places – where right now there are just one and two story buildings.

Officials say the neighborhood has more room to grow than Capitol Hill, because of all the parking lots in the U-District.

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)/

More high-rises could sprout up in the University District under new zoning recommendations from the city.

It's one piece of the city's plan for more housing to keep up with the booming population. The city held a public meeting about it Tuesday night at the Neptune Theater and will accept public comments until June 30.

Can the funky spirit of the University District survive development?
Flickr Photo/Java Colleen (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/

Bill Radke speaks with Margaret O'Mara and Taso Lagos about what development in the University District, and Seattle as a whole, should look like. O'Mara was part of the group that created the University District Strategic Plan. Lagos' family ran the Continental restaurant on University Way for 40 years. 

Andrew Layton is a barista at Java Hound, on Portland's stylish NW 23rd Ave. He knows how much taxes he pays.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

In Oregon, the state tax system puts the burden more on the rich than the poor.

Washington state is the opposite: Part-time workers pay up to 24 percent of their earnings in taxes, and people at the high end of the wage scale pay around 5 percent.

U District Station, 90 percent designed, shows conservative art referencing the neighborhood's architectural heritage.
Sound Transit

The public will have its last chance to weigh in on the design for the University District light rail station this Thursday. The project is 90 percent designed and shows a conservative approach to its public art.

At least, it's conservative compared to Capitol Hill Station. That station features two fighter jets, which appear to explode like brittle origami cranes in a jet kiss over the station platform. 

A scene from a simulation by the Washington State Department of Transportation of what could happen if a massive earthquake hits the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

You know a major earthquake in Seattle is possible – there was that scary New Yorker article this year with the headline: "The Really Big One."

Now you’ve got a new online tool to help you prepare.

Shilo Murphy at the People's Harm Reduction Alliance in Seattle's University District.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The day Shilo Murphy found his friend dead from an overdose, he resolved to change his life.

He wouldn’t quit drugs. He liked how heroin made him feel. But he wanted to improve the lives of drug users.

"My experience of having a close friend die was that I wasn't going to take it anymore,” Murphy told KUOW’s Ross Reynolds. “It being the conditions we lived under, the discrimination we felt, the constant violence towards us.”

City Councilmember Jean Godden at Bulldog News in the University District.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

New results in the primary election hold more bad news for incumbent Seattle City Councilmember Jean Godden.

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.

Shoppers peruse produce at the University District farmers market.
KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds interviews Chef Edouardo Jordan of Salere about picking tomatoes at the University District Farmers Market and making a warm tomato salad.

Jordan says  he likes them "just ready to explode in your hand." Farmers come to his restaurant to sell him produce, but Jordan explains why it's important to come to the market to meet them instead.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

You’d think the University District would be thriving.

It’s right next to the University of Washington, an institution that takes in around $250 million in state taxes each year and turns that into $12.5 billion in economic impact.

Yet businesses in the U-District have struggled for decades.

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. 

Flickr Photo/torbakhopper (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Shilo Murphy, executive director of the People's Harm Reduction Alliance, about their new initiative to hand out free meth pipes.

The U-District's Bulldog News on University Avenue.
Flickr Photo/Bulldognews.Seattle (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Doug Campbell, owner of Bulldog News on University Avenue, and Kate Barr, business manager for Scarecrow Video in the University District. They fall on different sides of the debate around a plan to expand the U-District's business improvement area.

Google Street View

I have never actually seen a ghost. I tend to believe in the whole science track.

The other thing you should know about me is that I’m actually fairly even-keeled. I can count the number of times I’ve been really angry on one hand.