Region Of Boom | KUOW News and Information

Region Of Boom

Region of Boom is a new series on KUOW.

Each of the stories below will begin with a place on a map, a place being reshaped by the booming forces affecting our region.

By examining those places and talking to the people we meet there, we’ll discover together what we’re giving up for growth – and what we’re getting in return.

Take a look at where development is happening now and make sure to tell us what is going on in your own neighborhood.

Follow the ongoing discussion at #regionofboom

This project is edited by Carol Smith. 

How do we all thrive in a Region of Boom?

Oct 14, 2016
Domonique Meeks cites the power of storytelling at Region of Boom Live.
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Based on KUOW's series on growth in our region, Region of Boom Live brought together a wide array of speakers to answer the question: how can we create a community where all can thrive?

Speakers were asked to present in the PechaKucha format, where each presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds each, with images advancing automatically as they speak. 

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Sound Transit's newest light rail station opened Saturday at Angle Lake, just south of Sea-Tac International Airport, to live music, dance troupes and protests.

Celestino Rocha, a.k.a. The Fish Killer, has tattoos that say Fear No Fish. He takes fishing in lakes like Angle Lake very seriously and will teach you if you ask.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

A new light rail station opens at Seatac’s Angle Lake this weekend. 

A lot of train riders are asking: What’s Angle Lake?

It’s a lake in Seatac that’s shaped like an angle. There’s a park there, and if you want, you can walk there in your swim suit from the train. The park has a checkered past and likely a brilliant future.


Riley Neiders and her horse Homer attract the attention of Rainier Beach resident Lamaya Barron.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

For the past few weeks, we’ve been following the path of gentrification from the Central District into South Seattle. As land values go up, people start to feel the pressure to leave.

That’s just starting to happen in Rainier Beach. It’s a community that’s home to a large minority population – and what you could argue is Seattle’s last big family farm.


Anna Ponder teaches a dance called stepping at the Steppers Unite Dance Studio - built in her garage. Ponder dances here with her student, Askia Heru.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Gentrification: It’s what happens when the people living in a low-income neighborhood get pushed out by new people with more money.

But some long-time residents manage to stay in gentrifying neighborhoods and thrive, like Anna Ponder, who teaches a dance style called stepping in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

Bama Chester and Patsy Tyler have long been fans of the Red Apple grocery store in the Central District, which has held up against the last decade of extreme gentrification.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Red Apple in the Central District doesn’t look like much when you drive by – maybe just another grocery store in an old strip mall.

But it’s at the heart of the Central Area, and the African-American community that once dominated this neighborhood.

Moe Toure runs Toure Apparel in a strip mall on one of Vulcan Real Estate's 23rd Avenue properties.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

For years, the Central District didn’t get much investment. But recently, the city poured money into infrastructure improvements on 23rd Avenue. Then Vulcan bought a city block of real estate along the route. 

The real estate giant is planning 40,000 square feet of retail space and 570 apartments. They’re also planning a second development across the street.


Jennifer Weitman, left, and Carrie Anderson, right, outside one of their teenage haunts at Totem Lake Mall: Denny's Pet World, now closed. The mall is being readied for redevelopment.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Malls are facing trouble everywhere. But Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland is in a category of its own.  It’s a zombie: an undead mall with just a few remaining businesses. People have been trying to revitalize it for years.

And finally, there’s action. The mall has been bought by a California developer who is reenvisioning it as a place where people can shop, work, play and live. It's a big change from the mall's former identity as a hangout for young people.


At the South Lake Union Discovery Center, a Vulcan guide apologized that the model was so out of date. It hadn't been updated in a couple years.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle took in over 50,000 new people in the last five years. Suzanne Offen is one of them.

Before moving here, she had family and a comfortable job in Brooklyn, New York.


The lobby at Exeter House, which was built as a luxury, live-in hotel in the 1920s.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Exeter House in downtown Seattle was built as an apartment hotel for elegant living in the 1920s. It was part of a construction boom downtown at the time.

Realtor Kelley Meister says about 90 percent of the homes being built today are big boxes.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

When four townhomes went up at the end of an old street in Ballard, the neighbors called the new residents “townies.” It wasn’t meant as an insult. But it wasn’t something you’d say to their faces, either.

Jan Young on the Cross Kirkland Corridor trail. Young argues that it's cheaper and more effective to put transit on I-405, leaving this trail for non-motorized use in Kirkland.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

All over the region, undeveloped open spaces face enormous pressure. In Kirkland, the pressure for more mass transit is butting up against green space that filled a spiritual need some Kirkland residents didn’t even know they had.

In this Feb. 10, 2015, photo, Seattle's Space Needle and several construction cranes are shown from the operating cab of a 238-foot high construction crane working on a new building in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

We have been collecting audience responses about changes they are seeing in the Seattle region as part of our Region of Boom project.  

You sent us hundreds of responses detailing the frustrations of a booming city and how the physical shifts in and around Seattle are affecting your life in the region.

Tiny rooms where seminarians once lived at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington. The state bought the land in 1977 but loses money every year on the old building. A developer wants to revamp it into a hotel and spa.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Saint Edward State Park is a swath of forest north of Seattle almost four times the size of Disneyland.

It was once a seminary, and now the state wants to give a building and some acreage to a developer to morph into a privately owned hotel and spa. 

Lois Harris opened the Vogue Coiffure Beauty Salon on 23rd Avenue in 1966. Road construction there has put her in the worst financial situation she's seen yet.
KUOW Photo / Joshua McNichols

Central District business owners will get a chance to tell city officials about the problems on 23rd Avenue on Tuesday. They say a big road project there has scared away their customers. They want a financial bailout, but the city says no.

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