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caption: Kate Huntington stands for a portrait on Monday, July 20, 2020, along Beacon Avenue South in Seattle. Huntington moved from Portland to Seattle on May 29th.
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Kate Huntington stands for a portrait on Monday, July 20, 2020, along Beacon Avenue South in Seattle. Huntington moved from Portland to Seattle on May 29th.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

New woman on the block: An Amazon worker falls in love with Beacon Hill

Everyone has a story. That was the mantra as KUOW reporters set out to chronicle the lives of people who live and work on a small block in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood in the time of Covid-19. Read the stories at covidontheblock.com.

One afternoon in May, two months into the coronavirus pandemic in Seattle, Kate Huntington carried boxes of books and clothing into a shiny new apartment building. One box has business-oriented books like Getting To Yes.

Huntington has worked for Amazon since she graduated from college four years ago. She’s steadily climbed the ladder there. A promotion brought her to Seattle.

“You’ve got to take the promotion; you’ve got to move,” Huntington said. “I’m super excited to be up here.”

The pandemic complicated her move, though. She couldn’t see the apartment before she signed the lease. She worried: Would it be run down and dirty?

She didn’t know until she unlocked the door to move in.

“Honestly, like, it was a relief that it was clean and well maintained,” she said. “It didn’t have any funky odors or smells or like, you know how sometimes you walk into an apartment and it’s like, ooh, somebody’s lived here for a really long time?”

This apartment was built two years ago at the heart of Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. It’s two to three stories taller than the other buildings on this block, with modern metal siding and a wine bar named Petite Soif on the ground floor.

It exudes a more upscale vibe than the hundred-year-old buildings on either side.

caption: Kate Huntington, left, on moving day. Huntington had lived in Portland, Oregon, but was promoted. She moved to Seattle during the pandemic.
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Kate Huntington, left, on moving day. Huntington had lived in Portland, Oregon, but was promoted. She moved to Seattle during the pandemic.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

A couple months later, Huntington was the pandemic changed how she thinks about where she lives.

For example, when she lived in Portland, she would shop on her commute home from Amazon, at places like Target, or Fred Meyer. And where she lived... it could be anywhere, as long as it was convenient.

“I’ve lived in neighborhoods where I’m… I’m just here for the four walls, that’s really all I want,” she said.

But now, like most of Amazon’s tech work force, she’s working from home. She walks her dog, which has her noticing the local businesses and trying to support them.

“If there’s like a chain wine bar next to a local one, I’m probably gonna pick the local one,” she said.

She’s been buying wine at Petite Soif. It’s convenient, but she says it’s more than that.

“I’ve never been in a neighborhood where I’m going to live here for an extended period of time, or at least for a year and then we’ll reevaluate,” she said. “It’s always been, you know, place to place to place.”

“Whereas I think this time I want to -- I have the intention to -- set down roots and be a part of where I am,” she said.

That’s a new feeling for Huntington, one borne of a pandemic that has forced people to stay home and look around.