Seattle is a mecca for technology and liberal and progressive politics, but the former may come at the cost of the latter. According to reports, some businesses may be leaving the Emerald City in search of stability as the chaos of CHOP and political indecisiveness continues to reign in Seattle.
The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful part of the country, where tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon started. But some businesses are looking elsewhere as the city’s inept handing of the protests and rioting surrounding the death of George Floyd and others has upended the city’s ability to govern.
Two weeks after an autonomous zone was established in the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill, known as CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest area), Mayor Jenny Durkan has finally authorized the removal of people from the area, but not by police officers. Instead, according to The Seattle Times, “they’d ask people to leave the area voluntarily at night, offering resources for homeless people and working with community groups to try to cajole people to leave the area, where dozens of tents have sprouted up in recent weeks, along with couches, guerrilla gardens and graffiti.”
“It’s time for people to go home, it is time for us to restore Cal Anderson (Park) and Capitol Hill so it can be a vibrant part of the community,” Durkan said. “The impacts on the businesses and residents and the community are now too much.”
The approach is somewhat laughable.
CHOP, or CHAZ as it was originally known, is a six-block area taken over by rioters and anarchists claiming that they’re against police brutality. The entire area became a police free zone, but, ironically, with barricades and a makeshift border guarded by men with guns. Unsurprisingly, the situation in the zone quickly devolved.
A woman with speech issues was lured into a tent with a man who attempted to sexually assault her. A medic intervened and the man was later arrested without incident. Another member of the CHOP community was arrested as part of an arson and reckless burning investigation. A third was charged with burglary and assault after he broke into a Car Tender shop just outside the zone.
The violence has now escalated with three shootings happening over the weekend. One man died from his injuries.
Of course, Politico, a Left-leaning publication, had an entirely different assessment of CHOP. “Meanwhile, progressives have highlighted elements of the area that much more accurately reflect the on-the-ground activities, discussing the hippie block party vibe and talking about how local activists are offering everything from free snacks and clothing to teach-ins on Marxism and harm reduction clinics.”
As this chaos in the city continues, some businesses are seeking new locations. In a report by The Daily Wire, the CEO of Smead Capital Management, which is a billion-dollar investment advisory group, announced plans to move the company to Phoenix, Arizona due to the unrest that has plagued the city recently. In addition to enjoying perpetual sunshine, instead of perpetual rain, the company is also citing the declining downtown business community as part of the motivation for leaving.
Cole Smead, the CEO of Smead Capital Management, said, “We’re hearing rumors of 40-story buildings that will be only 20% occupied by October … My biggest concern for Seattle was what the business community is going to come back to, and what kind of businesses are going to come back for customers.”
Having personally lived in the Seattle area for about 12 years, including a couple years in the downtown area, it’s disappointing to see the city decline in such a rapid fashion. Before liberal and progressive policies drove Seattle into the ground, I always felt safe living and walking around downtown. Based on some of the reports I’ve heard, including the closing of an iconic Macy’s department store due to increasing crime, that’s no longer the case.
Hopefully, many of the CHOP residents will choose to peacefully leave this quagmire of this failed autonomous zone. If not, Seattle may see more and more companies jumping ship for safer waters, leaving the Emerald City in even more dire straits.
Photo from VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com