On Other Blogs
On Other Blogs Today: Protesting, Cycling, Policing, and More
Our daily roundup
1. KOMO reports that "dozens" of people protested today outside King County Sheriff John Urquhart's office over the eviction of disabled Vietnam vet Byron Barton (whose disability is not related to his war service) from his house in West Seattle, which, according to Urquhart, was "dangerously unsanitary."
Barton and his wife Jean had inherited the house and owned it outright, but took out around $650,000 in home equity loans against the property. Housing activists have taken up the Bartons' situation as a cause celebre in their battle against big banks that were bailed out by the U.S. government during the foreclosure crisis.
The Bartons are less than ideal poster children for the movement against predatory big banks that took advantage of homeowners with unfair mortgage terms during the foreclosure crisis. According to the sheriff's department, the couple stopped making any payments on their loans (loans that were, again, taken out against the value of a house they had inherited, and on which they owed no money) back in 2011
2. Wallingford's Matt Lerner, who created the WalkScore ranking that tells you how walkable your neighborhood is, will be co-chairing the Seattle Design Festival this year, the Seattle Times' Nicole Brodeur reports.
Although Brodeur gets a couple of things wrong (backyard cottages are not "illegal now"—in fact, they're legal citywide, just hard to build) and pits drivers, in typical Times fashion, against cyclists ("while we're sitting [in traffic] and steaming," they—those weirdo cyclists—are "smiling"), it's still cool to see a columnist at the conservative daily give the mike to someone who wants to make it safer and easier for people who don't choose to drive to get around town.
To me, that looks like progress.
3. The PI.com reports that former interim Seattle Police Department chief Jim Pugel, who retired from the force after Mayor Ed Murray demoted him from his position back in January (appointing Harry Bailey as interim chief until finally selecting Kathleen O'Toole as permanent chief in May), will be the new deputy to King County Sheriff John Urquhart. Pugel stepped down in March after 32 years on the Seattle force.
4. Capitol Hill Seattle reports that the owner of The Sterling, a two-story, single-family-style apartment building on Capitol Hill that CHS calls an "anti-aPodment," is seeking landmark status for the building. The structure, which was built in the 1950s, was designed to offer its tenants privacy and "secluded courts" for tenants at a time when most new apartments did not offer those amenities.
So far, CHS reports, it doesn't look like the landowner plans to tear down the building and redevelop it (often, landmark requests can be a pretense for proving a property isn't a landmark and tearing it down), and the building "could be the kind of property to make the landmarks board" agree to designate it as a landmark.
5. Finally, the NYT has a primer on what's going on in Ferguson, MO, from the autopsy report showing where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot six times, to a map of the area showing where various events took place, to racial stats about Ferguson (which—spoiler—has a police force that's almost exclusively white while its population is about two-thirds black.