Dying, thriving – we’re rooting for Seattle

Dying, thriving – we’re rooting for Seattle

Like much of Seattle, we’ve been consumed by KOMO News’ recent “Seattle is Dying” story. From water cooler conversations to policy panels, it seems that everyone is talking about the controversial report. Individual opinions at Nyhus on the subject vary, but we can all agree on two things: We love this city, and we love to tackle difficult problems. In this month’s Lede, we examine signs some see as evidence that Seattle is “dying,” offer reasons as to why, and look to solutions to address one of our hometown’s greatest challenges.

All around us are signs that our community has a crisis on its hands. In late March, Bartell Drugs announced that it would no longer open new stores in downtown Seattle due to violent assaults on its employees, shoplifting and other criminal incidents. And Amazon recently announced moving its operations division to nearby Bellevue, which many speculate is due, in some part, to the 2018 head-tax fight. Will these trends continue?


Some positive industry news offers hope for our community. Seattle was named as the top emerging life sciences hub in the United States by commercial real estate firm CBRE. This was based on factors such as job growth, graduates from the University of Washington in bio fields, grant funding for Seattle institutions from the National Institutes of Health and new commercial real estate projects for life-science buildings.


Seattle earned the distinction as the nation’s fastest growing city throughout the last decade. But our economic prosperity has come with significant disparities, particularly around race. Nationally, greater Seattle ranks 82nd out of 100 metro areas in terms of change in the white/non-white income gap, and 57th for economic inclusion by race. It’s apparent that this focus is missing from business-growth plans.


Seattle may be growing by leaps and bounds economically, but smaller cities in the Northwest haven’t fared as well. How can we include these communities in our regional prosperity? One thought is for the federal government to invest directly in these cities, rather than boosting economies by simply incentivizing companies to set up shop. Our economy prospers when communities of all sizes have the opportunity to contribute. Federal support is one potential way to jumpstart growth.


Civil societies only function when we cooperate. While human contact may be considered a luxury in our increasingly tech-driven world, cooperation calls on us to connect with and understand one another. It turns out that empathy can serve as powerful social glue. Compassion and perspective-taking are essential to solving Seattle’s biggest problems.