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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cascade People’s Center to Close

posted by on September 27 at 10:51 AM


Thomas St & Pontius Ave N

South Lake Union

The Cascade People’s Center (CPC), at 309 Pontius Ave N, will close in December unless they are able to appeal a recent decision by the city to cut their funding.

According to CPC’s Director, Myla Becker, about 65%—or $211,000—of the CPC’s annual budget comes from the city’s human services dept. This year, their funding proposal was denied and Becker says she’s not sure why. “Our use is so high,” she says. “Fiscally we are sound. [The city said] that it wasn’t because of performance.” The CPC has requested an explanation from the city—which they’ll receive in a month—but the center on has 10 days to appeal the city’s decision.

The center—which runs a free after school program, support groups and language classes—rents their site from the Seattle Parks Department. “This was a vacant building…10 years ago,” Becker says. “There are 6500 people that come through the center every year [and] we’re the only community gathering place in this neighborhood.”

On Friday, the CPC will hold an open-mic night and asking families to sign petitions in support of the center.

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This totally sucks. THis is in our neighborhood and we use and enjoy their presence hear and all the good they do. I have taken my kids over their crafts, to play and generally enjoy the neighborhood which is rpaidly being taken over by yuppie fucks.

Fuck you Seattle!!!

Posted by Cascade liver | September 27, 2007 11:31 AM


Can you get an answer from the city? Is this a Vulcan thing? Is this the only center they stripped money from? Fishy.


Posted by doug | September 27, 2007 12:35 PM

Cascade People's Center is one of Seattle's most under-valued resource. I spent a year at CPC as an AmeriCorps VISTA - where I was welcomed into a vibrant community of people and friends who relied on each other.

The CPC has been under-attack since Cascade became "South Lake Union" and it has only gotten worse now that SLU is "Allentown." People living in half a million dollar condos and studios, "don't want to see those types of people in their community" -- what they don't realize is "those type of people" are the community. A strong community, of committed folks.

Now if only it was a community of strong folks with hefty wallets... then this wouldn't even be up for discussion.

Makes me sick to my stomach.

Posted by Abbey | September 27, 2007 1:04 PM


I'm working on getting a response from the city. I'll update as soon as I have something.

Posted by Jonah S | September 27, 2007 1:04 PM

If they are able to come up with the $$, are they able to stay? Or is the Parks dept working with the City to just get them out of there? $211K is a lot of money, but surely there must be some philanthropists in the area who could shore up funding to allow CPC to appeal and/or find other long-term funding sources. Unless the lease is being revoked as well.

I checked out the CPC website and there's no mention of this - I know they're mostly volunteer-run and I'm sure they don't want to detract from their programming, but I hope they let people know what's going on - could be a way to drive donations.

Posted by genevieve | September 27, 2007 1:20 PM

Is The Stranger still looking for a Strangercrombie beneficiary? If so -- if it's not too late for them -- the CPC seems like an urgent candidate.

Posted by pbaitch | September 27, 2007 1:44 PM

@5 this JUST happened.

And now they have 10 day to appeal. They will find out WHY in 30 days.

Posted by doug | September 27, 2007 1:49 PM

@7 - thanks

@6 - awesome idea!

Posted by genevieve | September 27, 2007 2:05 PM

@6 -- great idea. Revote!

Posted by gnossos | September 27, 2007 2:15 PM

I am a devoted volunteer at CPC and I cannot imagine what Seattle will be like without this place. CPC is an amazing, inspiring, committed, funky, compassionate, grassroots, eco-friendly, social justice, community led place that is truly unique to Seattle.
There will be a community organizing meeting on Monday October 1st from 6-9 PM @ Cascade to brainstorm on how to keep CPC open. Also, the Open Mic Night Friday night at 6:00 always proves to be amazing.
From what I know, the Center will be able to stay open if they find alternative funding sources...and their website hasn't been changed since March! So, if you want to know how to help, give 'em a call 206.587.0320 or show up to the community meeting.
We need to show the City that they are making a huge mistake...the power of community is far greater than they could possibly understand.

Posted by cascade warrior! | September 27, 2007 2:49 PM


save-the-center folks shouldn't be shy about taking their case to the Irish bar one corner adjoint, and the s.l.u.g. to the other corner adjoint, and on throughout the neighborhood.

The Cascade Ctr is one of those improbable, irreproducibly funky urban amenities that true urban settlers urb in for. If somebody has the idea that ALL the infilling yups would rather see it starbucked out of existence, the are probably mistaken and misinformed.

Outreach, outreach, outreach.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | September 27, 2007 4:00 PM

From Councilmember Rasmussen's office:

"The Center applied for a Request for Investments for its Family Center
RFI and 9 organizations applied. They were reviewed by a committee and
rated based on a variety of criteria to determine how to allocate their
limited resources.

Two organizations scored lowest in this process and will not be
receiving City money. These are always very hard decisions for review
committees to make, but they have a set of standards to guide them and
they have to give honest assessments of the applications for funding and
the performance of the agency."

Now. Who are the 7 winners, and what is the criteria?

Sounds like a freedom of information request is needed....????

Posted by Mark | September 27, 2007 4:21 PM

The City’s recent decision to cut their portion of the funding for the (South Lake Union) Cascade People’s Center is a perfect example of Seattle at a crossroads. I hear that the funding was cut because the demographics of the neighborhood have changed: there are no longer enough low income units to justify funding a center that primarily serves the working poor and their children. Of course there is a certain dark logic to the decision, the same logic that will soon see huge savings in the city’s social services budget. When there is no longer any affordable housing in the city we will save even more. The real question is can Cascade be a neighborhood (as opposed to simply an area of high-density upscale housing) without a real mix of people at all incomes and will Seattle be a city worth living in when it’s segregated by economic status?

I wish I could say that I’ve been a regular visitor to the CPC for years, but the truth is I first went there early one Wednesday morning a few weeks back to help cook a free community breakfast, open to all, organized and funded by Neighbors of the center. I don’t honestly know if the 25 or so people who showed up for eggs, grits and potatoes were from the neighborhood or whether their needs could be met somewhere else in the city, I didn’t think to ask. Instead we watched a bit of the Today show and discussed the making of the perfect pot of southern style grits (constant vigilance is the key). Later I browsed the walls of the Center, which advertised a community open mike night, a free produce market, the community fruit tree harvest program and a yoga class or two. I looked out the window at one of the city’s more impressive community gardens, watered with a sustainable rainwater harvesting system. And I was, at that moment, living in the city I love and not the city I fear it is becoming. Which, all demographics aside, is something truly precious.

Posted by Andy | September 27, 2007 7:38 PM
Posted by Jonah | September 27, 2007 10:45 PM

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