‘Gentrification Kills’ painted on fence of modern home at 19th and Jefferson

Reader Ian A. sent us a photo of some new graffiti in the neighborhood. Someone painted “Gentrification Kills” scrawled on the fence of a recently sold modern house at 19th and Jefferson.

It’s not clear who is responsible for the message, but it comes on the heels of much neighborhood debate over some Occupy Seattle graffiti near Judkins Park. Several members of Occupy Seattle helped to clean up that graffiti, saying they do not support such actions.

Gentrification has also been a topic of much discussion in the neighborhood, reignited when Turritopsis Nutricula (moment to brag: I can now spell that without looking it up) established their collective in an unfinished duplex at 23rd and Alder and when people from Umojafest PEACE Center and Occupy Seattle attempted to occupy the Horace Mann building.

County records show that the home at 19th and Jefferson was sold in late October for $649,000.

43 thoughts on “‘Gentrification Kills’ painted on fence of modern home at 19th and Jefferson

  1. Sorry for posting this a third time, but I saw the crime scene this morning and I double posted in old stories in an attempt to be relevant. Looks like my sentiments have found their logical home. I therefore copy and paste the following:

    It’s not my house, but I’m filthy angry nonetheless.

    A new home is built in the CD, a couple of people JUST moved in (motives unclear… oh but I’m sure they were conspiring to displace poor people, all while laughing maniacally), and somebody spray paints a huge “Gentrification Kills” on their fence last night? Maybe some dude finally got the big job he worked hard for, moved his family from South Dakota or something, failed to study the bible of CD residency (Thou shalt respect the old school rep of the CD! Thou shalt have been living here x years ago else thou are not keeping it real!), and was really jazzed about having a house in a cool city like Seattle. Wait, no, you’re probably right Mr. anarchist/occupier/asshole guy: they came here to unleash the evil of their presence on our (well, not mine, obviously) ‘hood, and had the gall to build a house that looks nice in the process. The nerve!!

    No, you backward-logic dopes. YOU are killing the neighborhood. When the old is not periodically replaced by the new, EVERYTHING DIES. Discouraging new development and new faces from taking root in the neighborhood is not a service to your community. You are actively, willfully (and I sincerely hope ignorantly) ensuring that this place becomes a failure. It’s like you think failure is a badge of honor, like when a Republican candidate BOASTS that he’s not as educated as the Democrat. Well, failure is not a badge of honor. The rest of us do not want to wallow in mediocrity because we resent the success of others. We do not appreciate (literally; as in we don’t think you’re doing us a favor) when you fuel outsiders’ negative stereotypes of the CD by providing them with all these universally recognized hallmarks of urban blight.

    You aren’t curing the CD of external pathogens invading the CD. You’re starving the CD of vital nutrients necessary for survival. The problems of the CD originate from within. It’s you.

    You are a cancer. And your metastasis needs to be stopped.

  2. Well, get ready neighbors. There will be a lot more of this in the coming days because SCCC finally got smart and is booting OS from its campus. So, guess where the dregs and hardcore anarchist members are going to come? Yup, you guessed it. They don’t have the intestinal fortitude to occupy a vacant house in a place where the 1%ers live. So, instead they will pay us a visit. Hopefully the group that comes in will at least remember some of their toilet training.

  3. i think their message is lost; for the life of me i can not think of what gentrification kills?

    gentrification cannot kill anything as it is only a word we have given to a natural process in the evolution of neighborhoods in cities.

    new and remodeled homes (that were neglected by previous occupants) do not kill people – people kill people.

    ohhh and why dont these people pull this shit on capitol hill – as a gay i was priced out of my old neighborhood by assh!@#les in european cars – thus i had to move to the CD – where are your tears for me???? where???

  4. Agreed, this bull needs to stop.This makes me so sad and mad and sad all over again.
    How can we catch these idiots and stop their pathetic and petty vandalism? What can we do as neighbors to find these cowards? What a terrible welcome to the neighborhood gift. I feel compelled to meet these new people and attempt to make up for those who have defaced their new home. I was so excited when I first moved to the central district and proud of my new home. People who move to central district wouldn’t do so unless they were accepting of this wonderfully diverse community and this is how they are treated? This is how we treat our neighbors?!I would have been devastated to feel this unwelcome.

    What crap.

  5. The vandals, or us commenters?

    Assuming you think the commenters are shrill, and correct me if I am wrong about that, let me presumptively defuse the potential argument that “it’s just paint” by saying (a) you make a logical point and (b) you fail to appreciate the illogical (but powerful) reaction of the human brain to affronts against one’s own person or one’s community.

    Please clarify your remark.

  6. The art on the bus shelters outside the Douglass-Truth library visually capture the progressive waves of people who have lived in the CD:


    It’s unclear to me which of these changes should be termed gentrification.

    (BTW in my home, the UK, the gentry are the “landed gentry” – those who have inherited it all from daddy: see the Monty Python “Upper Class twit of the year contest” for a typical view of them)

  7. Agreed, Megan.

    Hi new neighbors on 19th & Jefferson. We don’t all suck. Most of us are totally cool with your new place. Looks awesome. Sorry about the douchebags and pariahs we have among us. They’re useless, shiftless, and act like its our (and your) fault. But you aren’t the problem. You are the solution. Thanks for taking one for the team. We’ll win this stupid argument eventually, but not by words, because these tools are socially tone deaf. No, we win with each new good neighbor, like you (hopefully), that moves in.

  8. Damn auto fill let the cat out of the bag on my last name. Oh well, I stand by all of my statements.

  9. Exactly. As it has been spewing this sort of hoo ha since the 60’s in the CD. They come, they rant, then they move to Ballard where they feel safe.

  10. Last time someone screamed at a new neighbor (5 years ago) about being a gentrifier he told them to tell that to the Japanese son who inherited his mother’s house behind Promenade, and sold it to a white guy from detroit and his cuban wife for 21 times what the japanese parents had paid for it. That japanese couple, who’d owned their house since before the internment, had no problem with their neighborhood becoming more diverse, and they became wealthy in the process. I notice when houses bought for 7k-30K decades ago (my folks paid 11K for theirs) come up for sale now for 5 and 600K, no one paints gentrifier crap on the house of the seller. They only do that after the house is sold. Where’s the rage at the seller?

  11. ——Sweetie, I’m shedding big crocodile tears for you while laughing my ass off. Though I could not afford a home on Capital Hill, I found a great house here in the CD in 1995, have watched while the neighborhood went from mainly African American, to a true mix of society. I still miss my old neighbors, but also know that my area was once a Jewish enclave, and that they were displaced to make room for others ( as you and I will be some day!). Until then, please don’t try to throw our Gayness into this mix, I don’t need a crutch, and I don’t think our neighbors care, or should care!

    —-Ok, I’m just smiling now, and enjoying my gentrified house, and great neighbors. Please, just smile along, and wait for the next chapter of change in our neighborhood.

  12. —–Though I may be streching the meaning of “gentrification”, I think the term may be refering more to the improved condition of the local homes, and to the preceived influx of wealthier people than those that sold them these homes. Actually, The new owners may not be weathy ( or as you note, “gentry” ), but may have saved down payment money for years, financed improvements with huge mortgages, and now may owe more than their homes are worth. Gentrification seems to refer more to the time and investment of new owners, rather than to the inheritance of these homes by landed old money families.

    —– We love our old CD home, put a lot of sweat equity into it, and take pride in the intended positive aspects of the term “gentrification”. We miss our lost neighbors, but embrace the positive changes happening all around us.

    ——As to the reference tagged fence, I see no reason why this house should have been tagged, other than that someone was just unhappy, and possibly ( mistakenly ) thinking they were supporting the Occupy Seattle cause. The Occupy Seattle people don’t seem to want to damage occupied CD homes and buildings, and I think the Occupy Seattle folks would not have supported this vandalism.

  13. You nailed it at the end. Its the folks who sell it not the buyers. Don’t like change? then don’t sell your biggest “investment” but you can’t tell others they can’t sell their house. Most of us who buy a house plan to use the equity as part of our retirement. Holding on to it or worse yet forcing others to hold on to it to meet this crazy notion of stopping gentrification is forcing those sellers to live in a building they don’t want to keep up anymore. Frankly I’m looking forward to the day that my wife and I sell this house and I don’t have to keep it up, its endless work ;) I also hope some of these new people will help me pick up all this garbage that seems to have exploded onto the scene these past few weeks! And worse yet most of it is recyclable!

  14. Thank you Cascadia Girl. That clip made my day….
    now, cue the sound of clacking coconuts…

  15. I care James and am one of your neighbors. I moved here because it was all I could afford within a reasonable drive to my workplace. WTF to the comment about neighbors not caring, isn’t that what neighbors should do?

  16. Agreed, bunch of idiots who come up with every excuse except that they are losers and should stop blaming everything but themselves/upbringing for their failures. Dear people tagging, start blaming yourself for your problems and then blame others if it is really them. Here is a list of suggested steps to take to stay in the CD; get a real job (not standing out front of Parnells) buy a house in the CD (not a suped up ghetto ride that eats expensive gas like water) like the rest of us or move to a cheaper city, problem solved.

  17. This looks like the handiwork of the folks “occupying” the house on 23rd and Alder. Leave it to anarchists to piss away public support for a good cause (that cause being OWS, not anarchy). They can’t be evicted soon enough.

  18. I walk past that house nearly every day.

    Yeah, I saw the tag. I loll’d as I got further down the block and saw a more typical tag. Wasn’t nearly as clear. In fact, the usual tags are very hard to read.

    Maybe instead of getting upset at the vandal (although I did), I would like to point out his work to other vandals – you see how easy to read his vandalism is?!?

    I also applaud the vandal – he put his message above his gang affiliation!

    His choice of location is somewhat questionable.

    On one hand, vandalism of this kind hurts the pocketbooks of the people who are your neighbors, is a crime, and took place on a property that has never been occupied as a home before now (land was not developed before this current building was constructed – kindof not consistent with your message, although not entirely off topic).

    On the other hand, gentrification is an important discussion to continue…and it raises concerns that ring with issues of political-socioeconomic values.

    On a base level, aren’t we all experiencing the freezing of resources while our costs continue to rise?

    $645k huh. Wow. …just…WOW. I thought the standard high $300k was steep…

  19. I came across this graffiti while walking my daughter around the neighborhood and wrote about it on my blog: http://www.lucilleinthesky.com/2011/12/gentrification-kills.

    The essence of a vibrant community comprised of immigrants and minorities is the diversity. To reject the “gentry” is to discriminate, disrespecting the soul of a neighborhood where everyone is welcome and income fails to define a person. It is in these neighborhoods, where people of all races, sexual orientations, and economic classes come together as equals, that change happens, fostering open minds and a new class, where everyone belongs.

    If I could talk to the person who wrote these words, I would tell him that change is inevitable, and its not always bad. I would tell him that there are other, more effective ways to be heard if he’s truly concerned about the direction this neighborhood is headed. Such as writing letters to the media or volunteering with a political campaign or promoting cultural events or spreading awareness about the needs of the community.

    And then, I would gently remind him that anger also kills.

  20. Give them one credit, at least their spelling was correct. Sooooo when iare they going or are we still the containment zone I have ranted about adnauseum .

  21. Hahahaha this is hilarious. All of you are stupid. You’re giving them everything they want by wasting your life complaining about something that you should know by now you have absolutely no control over. If you spend pretty Much three quarters of a million dollars for a trendy little faux sustainable condo you can afford to clean it. The funniest part is that if someone but banksy in the right-hand corner, you all would call it art and then sell the fence for more money than the house.

  22. Banksy works in large gritty areas dense citys. South London and Bristol is not the the sleepy Seattle CD. Moronic poorly thought out wording scrawled and spray painted on a nice fence is not art. It is infantile and your “wahh” is very approriate to the author of this post.

  23. Seems to me that the OWS movement is about the international bankers in bed with the FED; everybody knows the FED controls inflation. And people are upset that the economy is a mess-many people lost their homes because of the banking scams mainly targeted towards uneducated people of all colors. The bailouts didn’t help anybody-rewarded the people who caused the problem. Everytime you see one protestor-you can bet there are 1000 people who feel the same way. To blame the OWS movement for spraying that sign is lame. To blame one group of people, democrats, republicans, Christians, non Christians, blacks whites is totally lame. To me it seems like the person who sprayed that sign is educated and wants to stir up division and make it appear to be a race issue. Although, most minorities get hurt the most from banking scams-we really need to pin point the real blame-that is govt in bed with international bankers who fund both sides of wars and take over 3 world countries like they are doing to our county… Who kills-international bankers in bed with the fed…muli-national corporations. people need to turn off the idiot box tv and stop believing all the lies-wake up and unit before we end up like a 3rd world county..

  24. “To me it seems like the person who sprayed that sign is educated and wants to stir up division and make it appear to be a race issue.”

    These Johnny-come-latelys, in their ignorant spray-paint venting, are distracting from the real issues that concern us all, drawing our ire toward their petty antics (that we can conceivably take action on: call the cops, etc.) and away from the big issues that many of us (me included) feel helpless about.

    I don’t believe the anarchists and squatters and spray-painter(s)–probably just one or two kids, really–have anything to do with the legitimate Occupy movement. While they claim to be Occupy activists, they are really drawing juice away from the true power and meaning of the movement.

  25. AMEN! OWS has worthy goals, but these posers (aka Anarchists) are diluting and muddying the message. Can’t wait until they are evicted. If the police give us a heads up, I bet the neighborhood will come out to cheer.

  26. I and many others support OWS . These “morons” in the CD are not OWS but share a grotesque resemblance to Doris Lessings book “The Good Terrorist”. That is my take on it.

  27. Not happy with the slow pace of it. We really should have transformed this neighborhood 10 years ago. The damned containment zone policies have us running behind. A big help would be to forclose on all the underfunded properties so that nice gentry can buy them. Also need to condemn abandonned and unmaintained properties and sell them to the gentry as well. Then I will be happy. Also pave the streets and do some sidewalkk repairs. Give it a classy look. Drive out the criminals. Some day we will all be happy gentrifiers.

  28. To all the people saying this is not gentrification YOU ARE WRONG! Here is why. Gentrification is NOT when a neighborhood simply evolves and new people come in, old replacing new.

    Gentrification is more complex but at it’s heart are social and economic inequality.It typically begins with developers targeting a neighborhood or a piece a property they think they can exploit for profit. In most cases it happens in neighborhoods that have been PURPOSELY EXCLUDED from the same economic prosperity that other neighborhoods enjoy because of their social privilige.

    This can happen in an number of ways including lack of funding for schools, discriminatory practices in lending for business loans, housing loans, so people can fix up their houses etc. The idea is that the forces of gentrification want the neighborhood to deteriorate to drive the purchase prices down. Developers then move in gaining a foothold in the neighborhood.

    Unwitting and unconscious people who have more money than sense (sometimes) move in and as they are willing to pay exorbitant prices for property, over time this drives up the prices for everyone. People who don’t have the same economic mobility and privilege sometimes find they have to move out because they can no longer afford the property taxes and the tone of the neighborhood changes becoming less friendly and in many ways no longer meets their needs.

    In this mix are lower middle class people who are out there competing for their share of the”American Dream” who get pitted against others in a race to the bottom we like to call the housing collapse a.k.a “The Great Recession”. The house right next to the we are talking about sold for approx. $900,00 other houses on this same block went for $450,000 and $700,000

    I’m sure the person living in that house is an okay person and It’s not a nice welcome and I feel bad for them but on the other hand people need to be aware that they may a tool of gentrification. In short we all need to be aware of effects our actions have on our neighbors. That house is a single family residence and they can probably afford to live anywhere in this city so the question is why in the Central District? Only they know the answer to that question.

    There are some really racist comments made by people on this blog who probably think they are really nice progressive liberals. People need to check themselves and the intent behind their comments. It is what it is and we all need to find a way to live together that includes being aware of past and present transgressions. The world is changing , we can no longer afford to be oblivious and clueless to the suffering of those around us.

  29. Excerpt from: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=perspectives/gentrification-integration-or-displacement-seattle-story

    Ironically the promulgation of anti-housing discrimination legislation has encouraged this movement.  In 1977 Washington passed two anti-discrimination statutes, the “Mortgage Disclosure Act,” and the “Fairness in Lending Act.”  These measures made the trickle of blacks into the suburbs in the 1960s a flood by the early 1980s.  At the same time younger European Americans, concerned about rising gasoline prices and attracted by the urban lifestyle their parents had fled a generation earlier, began to seek out the Central District which in the 1980s was made even more attractive by depressed housing prices, a consequence of decades of redlining that was finally on the decline. 

    Young European American childless couples, or those with young children, now purchased properties in Central District neighborhoods their parents, with few exceptions, would have regarded as racially contaminated.ronically the promulgation of anti-housing discrimination legislation has encouraged this movement.  In 1977 Washington passed two anti-discrimination statutes, the “Mortgage Disclosure Act,” and the “Fairness in Lending Act.”  These measures made the trickle of blacks into the suburbs in the 1960s a flood by the early 1980s.  At the same time younger European Americans, concerned about rising gasoline prices and attracted by the urban lifestyle their parents had fled a generation earlier, began to seek out the Central District which in the 1980s was made even more attractive by depressed housing prices, a consequence of decades of redlining that was finally on the decline. 

    Young European American childless couples, or those with young children, now purchased properties in Central District neighborhoods their parents, with few exceptions, would have regarded as racially contaminated.

    African Americans have abandoned the Central District for housing bargains elsewhere, there is little doubt that continued racial discrimination has also played a role in their displacement.  In a 2003 study of discrimination in home mortgage lending, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) discovered that Seattle African American loan applicants were 2.56 times more likely to be denied a conventional mortgage loan than white applicants in 2002. And a national study by the Center for Responsible Lending indicated in a 2005 study of data released by lenders themselves showed that people of color were more likely to pay high rates for mortgage loans.  Such loans require borrowers to pay tens of thousands of dollars in additional interest while building less equity.  Borrowers who fail to repay these loans lose their homes, ruin their credit, and damage neighborhood stability. Viewed for decades as a prime example of institutional racism, redlining has unquestionably declined.  It has also morphed into more subtle and arguably even more insidious forms.  .

    [P]laces like New York and San Francisco appear to be richer and more dazzling than ever…. But middle class city dwellers are being squeezed out by the rich as much, or more so, as by the poor, [they are] a casualty of high housing costs and the thinning out of the country’s once broad economic middle.

    he loss of middle-income city residents has more impact on the poor who remain behind, making it harder for them to become homeowners, send their children to better schools, and make the kind of personal contacts that can be a route to better jobs.  

    Seattle is a prime example of this trend of middle class decline.  Recently it was reported that Seattle had but one “affordable [middle class] neighborhood left,” the remote Georgetown- South Park area.  Very few middle class European Americans or African Americans will be able to survive the upward soar of Central District housing prices.  Instead, the community will be increasingly populated by high income “techies” and professionals of every race.

    The ultimate question then is not the fact of change, but the nature of it.  Will the Central District become an urban rarity, a viable, vibrant interracial community, or will it do a reverse “flip” and become an essentially nearly all-European American area? The “flip” argument is predicated on the pattern of racially segregated neighborhoods which remain the national norm.

  30. Is “Ian A.” also known as “Ian Awesome” (of Jennifer Fox / Occupy fame)?

    If so, then he probably committed this act of vandalism himself.

  31. 1.) There’s no way European Americans can be vibrant?

    2.) How, exactly, does Gentrification kill?

  32. Talk about obtuse, your logic makes no sense. So if you buy and renovate a nice new house, you can afford to have unsightly graffiti removed anytime because you have money. Let me ask you this: how many people do you know that can afford to buy a house in one lump sum? Keep your idiotic thoughts and opinions to yourself.