Beacon Bits: Views, graffiti, and a BIA

11 thoughts on “Beacon Bits: Views, graffiti, and a BIA”

  1. re: the columbia city BIA. with so many of us clamoring for retail on the Hill, i’d be really interested in learning what columbia city to get retailers to come there. or did they do anything at all? i’ve heard they have a very strong neighborhood association but i know very little about the history of CC development efforts. they might provide a good model for us.

  2. “… Columbia City’s ongoing path to yuppiedom …” [cringe]

    I’m not at all pleased with how S.W. played their headline. BIA == gentrification? Oh? So all the other BIAs became hotbeds of gentrification after being established? Broadway, Chinatown/International District, West Seattle, University District, and the downtown Metropolitan Improvement District? It’s a nonsensical, lazy angle intended to incite.

    Don’t you think the author deployed her “What White People Like” cultural stereotypes too glibly, even if it fits some dorky-ass white people? “Young, mostly white parents clog the sidewalks with their chocolate labs and their running strollers, spilling out of the local bakery, lattes in hand.”

    @Jay – you should talk to the neighbors who brought the neighborhood up 12 or 13 years ago. I wasn’t there but I gather that getting the business district to be perceived as safe and attractive was hard, concerted work. Maybe Joanne Lauterjung or Rob Mohn could give you details.

  3. The art show sounds interesting.
    I am glad there are people out there that support the art aspect of graffiti. Count me in!

  4. I agree, Tri. There’s a lot of derision in the way the author threw around those stereotypes, like it’s a bad thing to go for a walk with your kid and/or dog. Plus, it was just lazy reporting. The sidewalks of CC are “clogged” with chocolate labs, really?

    I’d have much rather read about the specific benefits that Columbia City is looking for through the BIA, and how they chose the boundaries (which include properties that don’t even have a sidewalk to sweep — ?).

  5. Sorry about the “yuppiedom” thing. I plead late-night posting as an excuse. :) Though using it in this context there is also a touch of irony because we had the fuss a few weeks ago when a reader basically accused us of being a bunch of gentrifying yuppies (in the “how would you improve Beacon Hill” discussion). When I use a word like that I am fully aware that some would see us in the same category.

    My first thought on reading the story was “I wonder if Beacon Hill businesses would ever start something like this?” followed by “Does the Hill even have a Chamber of Commerce anymore?”

  6. My first thought was that they wouldn’t even be able to get 5% of business owners to agree to such a thing. I mean, we can’t even get BH business owners to respect the zoning laws.

  7. Does Foulee encouraging their customers to park on the sidewalk, blocking pedestrian traffic, count?

    I don’t know. To tell you the truth, few of the businesses on Beacon seem to offer anything I would want, so I wouldn’t know if were true or fake retail.

    I don’t get my nails done, I do my own taxes, I don’t need a new cell phone, I usually like to have a drink and look out the window when I get a meal out, I’m too old for urban wear, I rarely need to buy cakes or flowers, I have a secure mailbox, my VCR works fine, I do laundry at home, I’m not a golfer, I don’t do yoga (though I really should), I don’t buy cigarettes or potato chips, and I’m wary of places where patrons get shot and/or hit over the head with beer bottles. And that’s almost all there is here. (I’ll start shopping at Buggy as soon as relatives stop giving us baby clothes!)

    However, I would probably check out Spoon if I was headed to another business nearby. I might even go to La Cabana, even though I don’t like the lack of window openness in there. Maybe when the warehouse turns into a retail space I’ll have a draw there and I’ll end up doing some business in the other spaces.

    Columbia City has lots of businesses I love — sweet little gifts at Andaluz, used books, cool art at Gather, Anchor porter at Lottie’s, breakfast at Geraldine’s, goat stew with a nice rum drink at Callaloo, movies, pizza, homemade bread, cute kids clothes at a couple different shops, tacos and margaritas at the Mexican place, good barbecue, good coffee, wine, fresh meat, etc., etc., etc. I can understand why they might want to have a BIA (though I’m uncertain exactly what improvements they’re after) — because the customers of one business are likely to be customers of other businesses as well. They benefit from each others’ success.

    But seriously, there’s nothing about the Beacon Avenue “retail core” that makes me think that more than a few scattered business owners here and there would be interested in starting a BIA. The businesses aren’t clustered that close together, and many of them seem to have different customer bases.

    Sorry, I am totally rambling now…

  8. Well, yeah, a BIA at this point would probably be premature anyway.

    If you take up knitting, you can shop at Buggy. :) Actually, they have some really cute toys and other things too. I’m a non-parent, but going in there makes even me want to buy a bunch of kid stuff.

    You’ve eaten at El Quetzal, haven’t you? The food there is pretty tasty. Admittedly, I don’t even know if they have alcohol as I don’t really drink. But they have a window, at least.

    Most of those great businesses in Columbia City weren’t there a decade ago. I hope Beacon Hill can get some more interesting businesses without losing its soul or driving away longtime residents.

  9. We should totally all get chocolate labs. I’m pretty sure that would kick start the Beacon Ave commercial core!

    Kidding aside, I’d totally love to see things develop more along Beacon Ave. But, agree with JvA that right now things re pretty scattershot in comparison to Columbia City (or even Georgetown). That said, I still personally hold out hope that a stronger core will develop with the opening of the Light Rail station. I just can’t help but thing that it will help make Beacon Ave more of a destination, and businesses will spring up to support that.

    My only hope is that businesses like Buggy, El Quetzal and Galaxie can hold down the fort until then.

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