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. 

Amanda Batterson of Skip's Everett Towing has her doubts about shoulder driving, which would provide congestion relief to commuters living north of Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Washington state plans to open up parts of Interstate 5 to shoulder driving. It begins early summer, when the state will let buses drive part of the shoulder south of Everett.


This heat map produced by real estate company Trulia shows the commute times for Seattle residents. The warmer the color, the longer the commute away from Seattle's core.
Screenshot with permission from Trulia

About 236 people move to the Seattle area every day, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council.

This means more people driving to their jobs, some more than an hour. About 100,000 people commute to the region from Whidbey Island, Aberdeen, Mount Vernon and beyond, according to the regional council.

Housing construction in Marysville.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

In Cora Milholland's lifetime, Marysville has grown from under 2,000 residents to over 60,000.

Since the time he arrived in the 1990s, Loren Cook says the population has tripled.

Six new developments have sprung up on all sides of  Nichole Cleland since 2004, when she moved to a new development in Marysville. 

Ken Cage, president of the Marysville Historical Society, says important parts of Marysville history were bulldozed to make room for this mall.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Marysville is the fastest growing big city in western Washington because there’s space to build housing. But there aren’t many jobs in Marysville. So one in six people end up commuting more than an hour to work.

It's a bedroom community that failed to make itself over in the 1980s. Now it's trying again.


Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson stands in front of the property he wanted opened up to development.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

As you head east to Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90, lush green forests line the freeway. 

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.

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