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The danger of Rent-to-Own: “If you’re doubling your money off of people who are scraping by and you’re taking advantage of their vulnerability to enrich yourself, that is being predatory,” said Beryl Satter, the author of the 2009 book “Family Properties,” which chronicled the exploitation of black homeowners in Chicago. Nearly half of Vision’s homes were bought from Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage firm, according to RealtyTrac. A number of tenants and former tenants interviewed said they had hoped to buy homes from Vision either by ultimately getting a mortgage or saving cash to buy a home outright.

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Daniel Beekman on Seattle’s new rental housing law: And Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said the policy means Seattle is taking a leadership role. “We’ve been asking people to address this issue for years,” but landlords always push back, said Smith. She added, “We know landlords skip people all the time, and often the people they skip are people of color, people with vouchers and families with children.” Not everyone is happy about the policy, however.

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David Glasner reposts an old op-ed he wrote about the trade deficit from 1984 and why this issue should be more carefully considered: Just what is so dangerous about receiving more goods from foreigners than we give them back is never actually explained, but it is often suggested that that it causes a loss of American jobs…. … It almost seems tedious to do so, but it apparently still needs to be pointed out that buying less from foreigners means that they will buy less from us for the simple reason that they will have fewer dollars with which to purchase our products.

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Seattle demolitions bring displacement, not enough density– Ethan Phelps-Goodman on Crosscut about redevelopment and what kind of redevelopment: These decisions point to the most fundamental challenges facing Seattle’s future: how do we add enough new homes to address our housing shortage, while preserving existing communities, especially in low-income areas most vulnerable to displacement? … One way to analyze this tradeoff is through a simple metric: the number of new homes built for every existing home that is demolished.

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The Urbanist on draft rezone recommendations coming for the University District:

OPCD is recommending a suite of rezones throughout the University District. In the core area of the district (blocks closest to the future light rail station and near primary streets like Roosevelt Way NE and NE 45 St), could see increased maximum height limits between 280 and 320 feet. Beyond these core blocks, allowed heights would drop considerably in a wedding cake fashion, transitioning to a general maximum height limit of up to 75 to 85 feet.

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