The Seattle City Council did one smart thing today…they voted unanimously to petition the Washington State Liquor Control Board to extend operating hours for businesses serving liquor beyond the current closing time of 2am. The city hopes that by extending drinking hours, different businesses would close at different times and the crowds would be staggered (as well as staggering) throughout the night instead of all dispersing at 2am and causing noisy, dangerous havoc in nightlife heavy neighborhoods. It would also help with tourism…many large metropolitan areas have later closing times which is appealing to visitors and especially to groups planning major conventions. It’a all part of Mayor Mike McGinn’s Seattle Nightlife Initiative to improve the quality of neighborhoods and increase public safety.
It’s now in the WSLCB’s court to see how they respond…per the Seattle PI.com’s report, it’ll be three to six months before they deal with the request. And, the notoriously conservative government agency has never been very open to criticism or appeals for improvement or any changes in the archaic and inefficient way they conduct business. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.
Now for the worst decision by the City of Seattle (and the property owners). According to a report by Jose Amador at the Seattlest website, plans to demolish the beloved 619 Western Building in the Pioneer Square/Waterfront neighborhood have escalated and the tenants in the building have received word they have to be out by August 1. Home to many artists including theater collective, The Satori Group, the building has been an arts institution for decades. It was announced last year the building was slated for demolition but originally the tenants had been told they had until the end of 2011/early 2012 to leave. The sudden surprise eviction notice has left many of them in the lurch and without a new place to do business. Read the full story at the Seattlest. The city and the building’s owners insist the century old building is too unsafe for further occupancy or to host the monthly art walk events and moved the eviction up (with only ten days notice) for the benefit of the tenants and general public. They also insist it has nothing to do with the proposed new Alaskan Way tunnel.
For those brave souls willing to risk it, you can go on one final 619 Western Art Walk this coming
Saturday, THURSDAY, July 28 from 5pm to 11pm and pay a bittersweet farewell to the building and the tenants. We plan on checking it out…it’s a beloved Seattle treasure and a sad sign that the city is not hospitable to artists or the arts. (And, come back on Friday, July 29 for The Satori Group’s “Smash Bash” for their own specific goodbye party.)
A toast to 619 Western!