“Self-Inflicted Wounds” Have Hollowed Out A Once Vibrant Seattle Downtown
September 25, 2020
The recent closing of Columbia Sportswear in downtown Seattle during the COVID-19 pandemic is just one of many during this tumultuous year. According to the Downtown Seattle Association, 126 street-level downtown businesses locations have closed since the pandemic began.
But in Seattle, the exodus started even before COVID-19 swept the world, and many of the chronic problems that were already chasing business out are exacerbating the crisis now.
According to Jon Talton in the Seattle Times, many “self-inflicted wounds” have cost Seattle’s economy in the last decade, even before COVID-19.
One of those was, and still is, the city’s lack of prosecution for most shoplifting. When the iconic downtown Macy’s shuttered its doors back in January, employees on the way out spoke out about the “bonkers” levels of shoplifting going on at the store.
Another store, Bartell Drugs, cited the “cost of broken and stolen items” as a reason for closing, along with the regulations imposed by the city of Seattle.
Speaking of the city, what has been the City Council’s response to this impending economic ruin and civic unrest? Under budget chair Teresa Mosqueda, it was shifting dollars away from police and to activists, with no plan to handle public safety. Following those cuts, popular police chief Carmen Best resigned. She was the first African American to hold her position.
COVID-19 was an unprecedented disaster that almost no country, state, or city in the world was adequately prepared for. But Seattle has proven that inept leadership hurts the ability of any city to weather the storms that are bound to come sooner or later.