Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

It's Happening So Fast

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Al Doggett

In the mornings, I'd come into this room, I'd exercise.  And, across the street, about ten people would be waiting for the bus.  All black, you know.  I'd take pictures, you know. And we're talking about in the 70s. And just to see that group across the street in the mornings now, I look over, and there's no blacks at all, at that bus station, when that's all that was there. To see the changes. 

All through the 2000s is when it really began to see a shift. Black families were being offered money to leave and move way out to Renton, wherever. Especially in the last ten years. It's just happening so fast now. If somebody comes in, and offers somebody who paid, you know, 15, 10 thousand dollars for their home, and somebody offers them 200,000 dollars, which isn't much, they take it.  And then, of course, they go and try to find a place, and they wind up having to rent, and that's just the bad part of the whole thing. 

And, the sick thing right now is that thing across the street. Everybody in the neighborhood hates what happened with that.  There was a nice little house there. We knew the family.  And uh, the story is just so sad, because the family owned the house. The mother still owned it, and apparently the mother's husband got sick, you know.  And he was going through some real severe medical problems that they needed funds. And so the developers got to her. I think it was like, 300,000 dollars. It just opened for showing about a week or so ago.  We went over to see it.  1.7 mil.  Real estate taxes now, we're getting killed.  And I couldn't believe that I'd ever be in a situation where you can't pay your real estate taxes. You're gonna have to move.  That's just...

You know, people who are moving in here can pay two thousand, three thousand a month for rent. But I think it would be important for them to know the history of what this community was about. The vital energy that was here. You know it's not there now, in that same way. And again, if we talk about the Central's gone.