Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
Topic: Downtown Seattle
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October 10, 2013 at 10:27 AM
I keep waiting for Mike McGinn and Ed Murray to seriously engage on the most critical economic issue facing Seattle: Crime in the central business district. An economic issue, Talton? Yes. Seattle is fortunate to have an incredibly dense downtown full of retail, restaurants and offices, along with world-class assets such as Pike Place Market, Benaroya Hall, the Seattle Art Museum and Pioneer Square. Unlike most American cities, Seattle still has two major department stores downtown, including the flagship Nordstrom.
According to the Downtown Seattle Association, downtown accounts for 41 percent of the city’s jobs in just 4 percent of its total land mass, a highly efficient and transit-friendly use of space. It generates one-third of all state and local tax revenues. And population has grown by 70 percent since 1990. Nearby, Amazon.com has created an urban technology campus that is recognized globally as a better way to site a headquarters than the car-dependent office “park.”
From corporate headquarters and offices with high-paying jobs, to innovation and tourism, downtown Seattle is a backbone of the region’s economy and should be recognized as essential to the city’s health. And yet, in a relatively safe city for its size, downtown has seen crime rise, particularly violent outbursts from vagrants that are warehoused there for the entire region.