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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Artists Evicted from Magnuson Park

posted by on October 2 at 14:00 PM

Twenty-four artists who rent studios from the city at Magnuson Park in Sand Point will have to move, after the City Council this week adopted an ordinance to allow a developer to take over the building where they work in a long-term (30-year-plus) lease.

The artists want to stay at Magnuson Park, the old Naval station where the city says the buildings are crumbling and uninhabitable without major upgrades—upgrades this developer is willing to do.

But the artists say they’re trying to work out a development plan of their own for another building in the park, and the city sounds closed to that idea. City spokeswoman Dewey Potter said she’d provide more details in a forthcoming email, but today she said the artists will definitely not be able to stay in Magnuson Park. That’s news to the artists.

Artists renting at Building 11, a humble and creaky building but one that’s drenched with perfect studio light from the large windows overlooking the waterfront, include Claudia Fitch, Francisco Guerrero, Eugene Parnell, Juliana Heyne, Carolyn Law, Carolle Rose, Liz Bruno, Nancy Loughlin, Tom Collicott, and Anne Hayden Stevens. They opened their studios for the building’s first open house this past Saturday, but got the bad news Tuesday. They say the developer plans to put in an Ivar’s and a Kidd Valley, and to turn the converted studios into expensive offices.

More as I hear from various sources.

RSS icon Comments


Artists are not good enough to have nice vews but ah, Kid Valley is?!?

Posted by Andrew | October 2, 2008 2:06 PM

Ms. Graves,
Thank you for electing to accept this mission.

Posted by daniel | October 2, 2008 2:15 PM




Posted by tr00fteller | October 2, 2008 2:17 PM

this type of trade off is inevitable at all of sand point.

the city can't afford to upgrade the building. without an upgrade it won't be habitable (per city standards) much longer. mold, rain, etc.

so, do you want the historic buildings preserved long-term, or short-term artist studios?

in the next couple years, you'll see the lighted sports fields come on-line & common ground building transitional housing.

it's going to get (relatively) crowded in view ridge, but we don't need a kidd valley. we need a red mill!

Posted by max solomon | October 2, 2008 2:29 PM

There's a much larger story than just the artists at Magnuson Park. The Parks Dept / City has sold out the citizens. They've let for-profit business into the park, from the little java hut near the dog park to the various hangers & buildings for private business. They're spending millions on fields that will not be available for public use, instead handing control off to another group that requires membership fees to be a part of. They're giving away buildings to quasi-private groups like the Mountaineers that kick people out of their organization over petty political differences. I believe they've even sold some part to Ivar's at bargain-basement prices. For a park given to the city by the military to be used by the public, the city is doing good work squeezing the public out of the equation.

Posted by Magnuson Park | October 2, 2008 2:36 PM

I would like to know why the Artists who live here should be given special treatment because they are artists? Do they or at least did they have reduced rents compared to other areas of Seattle? I work two jobs and can barely afford my rent so why should artists get special treatment compared to everyone else?
I am sad that they living arrangements are changing but how is this any different than all of the other condo conversions?

Posted by Not an artist | October 2, 2008 2:38 PM

@6 The problem is that this is NOT different from all of the condo conversions. Big developers continue to force artist's out of their work spaces to make "improvements" which raise the rents so high that none can afford to stay. This is detrimental to the city as a whole because it continually pushes out the people who make this an interesting place to live. Otherwise all we have is one giant generic strip mall.

Posted by woodsea | October 2, 2008 2:46 PM

@7, That is why I am hoping that this will be a long deep recession. I would love to see some of these developers go under for good. Maybe then the City will learn a lesson and have some balance in development.

Posted by Andrew | October 2, 2008 3:01 PM

@7 But again why should they as artist receive special treatment? That is my main question. If it were other business and residences not specifically artists this article would never have been written and no one would have ever known or really cared.
Being an artist should not be a valid reason for receiving special benefits that are not made available to everyone especially when the benefits are provided by the city and our taxes.
Art is not a disability or disease it is poverty by choice. If they want to struggle for their art then they should do so without the support or assistance of the city.

Posted by Not an artists | October 2, 2008 3:25 PM


I'm not certain, but I don't believe these are live-work spaces for the artists, but simply work studios, which means they're paying extra for a space they don't actually live in, which, if this is the case, would make your whining not just inane and uninformed, but pointless to boot.

As @5 points out, the trend toward privatizing park facilities is rather disturbing, given these were originally intended to become public amenities. But the sad reality is, the City doesn't currently have the financial resources to properly develop these buildings, and aside from generating revenue from long-term sweetheart leases to private developers, the only alternative is to continue to allow the buildings to deteriorate into a further state of ill-repair and uselessness.

Posted by COMTE | October 2, 2008 3:25 PM

@10 So because they aren't living spaces it's okay? So if a developer were to buy the building your theatre is in and force you out it would suit you just fine since you don't live there? Lame.

Posted by woodsea | October 2, 2008 3:57 PM

No, moron. It means they were paying FUCKING RENT on WORK SPACE, NOT living on-the-cheap in City-subsidized low-rent housing, as you implied.

And for the record, the developer currently in the process of purchasing the building that houses my theatre WANTS us to stay - because - guess what? - She's not a greedy, money-grubbing swine, and actually CARES about the quality-of-life in the neighborhood where her properties reside.

So, Lame right back at you.

Posted by COMTE | October 2, 2008 4:31 PM

@12 I never implied anything about housing whatsoever. If you will go back and sound out the words veeeerrrry slowly you will see that I specifically was talking about WORK spaces. My point was exactly the same as the one you are making about the developer of your building. These other developers don't care if artist's can afford to remain working there. Twat.

Posted by woodsea | October 2, 2008 4:40 PM

My most profound apologies @13, I was actually referring to @6's moronic post, and referenced your comment by mistake.

I blame the new eyeglass prescription. It's a lame excuse, I know, but I'm sticking to it. :)

Posted by COMTE | October 2, 2008 4:53 PM

Sad. This city needs more crappy old buildings - how else will artists afford studio space?

Fortunately, it looks like a long, hard recession is going to give us plenty of vacant buildings going to seed. Yay for artists and squatters!

Posted by Greg | October 2, 2008 4:55 PM

I believe the developer is involved with the shitty Arena Sports company (see for a note about the "win"). They've been mass e-mailing their members (I'm one by default, there are no other indoor soccer facilities nearby...) asking them to contact the city council and tell them to support the Arena in redeveloping Hangar 27. I'm all for better facilities (because they suck and overcharge for crappily managed and maintained arena's), but I doubt they'll improve management.

As for the artists: overcharge for your crappy art and then mass e-mail everyone who buys it and get them to harass the City Council into letting you use another crappy building.

Posted by ManInFall | October 2, 2008 5:07 PM

@14 and @ 13, My post may be moronic and I did assume they were live work spaces however I was questioning why as artists they should receive special privileges in regards to rent and prime development space?
Improvements be it by the city or a private developer require money. Money that they receive from the tenants. If they cannot afford to pay why should they be entitled to stay.
Why should they assume because of their craft they are entitled to discounts?
Re-development of the park needs to happen and the city alone cannot afford to do so. By allowing private development buildings are restored, play areas are improved no they are not free but if the city took on all the cost we still pay taxes so they are not free either way.

Posted by still not an artist | October 2, 2008 5:22 PM

Lots of people are being thrown out of Magnusson - Circus Contraption has moved out and The Rat City Roller Girls have been bumped down to a much smaller hangar because the large hangar (which used to host all kinds of great events) is now going to be some kind of pay-to-play sports field. It really sucks that what used to be a fun place to go and see cool stuff is turning into a corporate enclave.

Posted by Robot | October 2, 2008 8:05 PM

I am one of the artists in Bldg 11. Just so you know, we have been paying rent on work space for 4 years in a building with no central heat and a leaky roof, but we are thrilled to be there. We, and all the tenants there, are a major reason the building is a candidate for renovation and not demolition. Other unoccupied buildings on the campus have been derteriorating and are now slated for demolition and/or vandalized. We are not whining. We understand the economic forces that drove this decision by the city. The artists in the building are an intelligent and flexible group. But people should understand that having creative people in a community is part of what makes a city a desirable place to live and work. Cities that nurture the arts, be it visual, theater, dance, music, etc. attract forward-thinking businesses and residents to the area. Cities that allow the arts to flounder don't thrive. It is hard for artists to find affordable workspace in the city and always sad when it disappears.

Posted by magnusonartist | October 3, 2008 7:40 AM

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