It describes a progression taken from Belltown and Capitol Hill, once the meccas of alternative culture, to Georgetown and then to South Park.
They can’t go any further, so the fear and reality is they’ll move to the effortlessly affordable and funky Portland.
Portland, of course, has its own saga: The once edgy, industrial Pearl District is now home to hordes of Seattle refugees and its former residents are already getting priced out of the Alberta Arts District in Northeast Portland. Of course, “priced out” in Portland is when you can no longer buy for $300,000. Seattleites have it a little steeper.
Getting priced out is a tragedy that is almost taken for granted here, and one that sometimes distresses and other times annoys me. I’m concerned about the edgy people moving to the edges or away because I am concerned about losing Seattle’s essential weirdness. That’s a cultural concern and an economic concern. I think both are very valid and I wish more people did.
But I also see some exciting changes in the city. There’s gentrification but then there’s neighborhood building. There are invested homeowners, diverse neighborhoods and thriving small businesses selling quirky, local stuff in the corners of our city. Many people actually choose to live in the “edge neighborhoods” and don’t ever wish they could live in Belltown instead.
The Times article paints a picture of being priced out as a painful progression. But at the story’s end, it’s revealed that its protagonist is not only able to afford to live in South Park, he owns his home, AND the home next door, which he rents out to make money.
It’s a thought-provoking piece that gives nuance to the “priced-out” tale.