In brief: Councilmember Mike O'Brien's legislation to make it easier to build backyard cottages would also outlaw huge houses on small lots; All Home released the final version of its report on the results of the annual "point in time" homelessness count from January; the state's wildfire season is off to a historically bad start; and the median home price in Seattle proper was up 4.1% last month from the month before, but still down 5.4% from its record high in May of 2018.
Sunday, June 2nd - Saturday, June 8th, 2019
Image from The Seattle Times / Emily M. Eng
Last Week in Seattle
The homelessness and housing affordability crisis:
  • All Home, the organization that coordinates the homeless response for Seattle and King County, released a full report on the results of its one-night count of people experiencing homelessness from January of this year. The report found that while homelessness overall is down 8% from last year, the number of people sleeping in tents and tent encampments is up 32%. 
  • The report also showed a 38% decrease in the number of chronically homeless people in King County, something that service providers who work with that population found difficult to believe (All Home's data, while necessarily imperfect, is the best data set that exists of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle and King County). If you want to go deeper on the numbers, Kevin Schofield at Seattle City Council Insight dug into the report in much greater detail.
  • Sydney Brownstone at The Seattle Times looked at two young adult homeless shelters--ROOTS in the U District and Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets on Capitol Hill--that are being forced to move because the church spaces in which they're located have been sold to developers. 
  • Senator Maria Cantwell introduced a federal bill that would increase federal funding for affordable housing across the state.
  • And Daniel Beekman and David Gutman at the Times looked at how the rise in visible homelessness is set to figure prominently in this year's City Council elections. 
Election Watch 2019:
Real Estate Corner
The median home price for houses and townhomes in the city of Seattle proper was $784,925 last month, up 4.1% from $754k in April but down 5.4% from its all-time high of $830k last May.

Councilmember Mike O'Brien's popular backyard cottage legislation (which looks set to pass, in what would be a victory for the embattled O'Brien in his final term on the City Council), which would make it easier to build both backyard cottages and mother-in-law apartments, would also outlaw so-called "McMansions," large new construction houses with no yards for which older homes in single-family neighborhoods are sometimes torn down.

The City's Landmarks Preservation Board voted unanimously on Wednesday to nominate the Showbox for landmark status...but Erica C. Barnett reported that in April the Showbox's landlord notified multinational entertainment conglomerate AEG, which owns the venue, that its current lease won't be renewed when it ends in 2024. 

UW scientists are looking for volunteers with garages and basements who are willing to let them install seismic sensors in them for about a month in an effort to better understand how various types of buildings and soils will react in the event of a major earthquake.

Joshua McNichols at KUOW looked at the Rainier Beach Action Coalition's hopes for a parcel by the Rainier Beach light rail station that's been purchased by a mystery developer who so far has refused to engage with them.

The City is looking into possible alternative uses for some of the 528 acres of green space currently occupied by Seattle's four municipal golf courses. 

And Amy Radil at KUOW looked at the budding campaign to get the City to preserve the roughly 6,000 trees in Seattle that are more than 30 inches in diameter. 
Thank you to everyone who's sent me a real estate referral or used me as an agent yourself! The city of Seattle is my geographic area of expertise, and while I'm also very good at helping sellers get top dollar for their homes, my true passion is helping first-time homebuyers get homes that they love quickly and easily.

f you need a residential real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home of any kind--or you know someone who does--I'd love to be of service. My website is here, or see here for client reviews. 
Quick Takes
Gene Balk looked at the demographics of bicyclists in Seattle, and found that we have disproportionately more male cyclists than female cyclists. [Seattle Times]

Comcast was fined $9.1 million by a King County judge for signing up tens of thousands of its customers for a monthly maintenance plan without their consent. [GeekWire]

In a move that the company says is unrelated to recent activism on the subject, Amazon changed its U.S. security contract to a union employer. [Seattle Times]

Lester Black looked at the push for a light rail tunnel in West Seattle instead of an elevated line. [The Stranger]

Two more Washington charter schools, in Kent and Tacoma, announced that they're closing at the end of the school year due to low enrollment. [Seattle Times]

Jen Swanson looked at the growing trend of Seattleites using personal concierge services to organize their lives. [Seattle Magazine]

The City Council passed "Bea's Law," which will allow City employees to use their paid family leave time to grieve following the death of a child. [Seattle Times]

The City Council held a hearing on the need to overhaul the way data about murdered and missing indigenous women is collected and acted on. [KUOW]

Daniel Beekman looked at the salmon-friendly features of the City's new seawall, which runs from the Seattle Aquarium to the Colman Dock. [Seattle Times]

Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur lost her weekly column and was re-assigned as a reporter instead over an incident in which she touched the hair of a young black artist during an interview. [The C is for Crank]

Gregory Scuggs profiled Seattle's nightlife business services advocate, aka "night mayor." [The Stranger]

Kevin Schofield did a deep dive on "the state of recycling in Seattle." [Seattle City Council Insight]

UW became one of the first 50 schools in the country to pilot a tool from the College Board that's designed to measure how many obstacles a college applicant faced in high school. [Seattle Times]

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch and Deborah Wang looked into why Seattle has the third-largest Sephardic Jewish population in the country. [KUOW]

And Washington state's wildfire season is off to a historically busy start, with 239 wildfires across the state already so far this year (as a point of comparison, this time last year there had been 131). [Seattle Times]
Upcoming events this week
6/11 - 6/13: The Price is Right Live!

6/12, 5:30 - 8:30 pm: Transit Trivia Night

6/12, 6:30 pm: Pundamonium: The Seattle Pun Slam

6/12, 7 - 9 pm: Ballard District Council - District 6 Candidate Forum

6/15 - 6/16: Seattle Retro Gaming Expo 2019

6/16: Restaurants with Father's Day brunch [Open Table]

6/16, 10 am - 2 pm: KEXP Father's Day Kids Dance Party

6/16, 4 - 6 pm: An Insect Feast with The Bug Chef

Sol Villarreal
Broker, Windermere Real Estate
Sol's Civic Minute: What's happening in Seattle, in 60 seconds per week.
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Mailing address:
Windermere Real Estate Co.
1177 Fairview Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
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