Let’s think this one through

By Jeanne Amundsen | Jul 31, 2012


My California sister came to visit me recently and I wanted to impress her with this lovely, quaint, waterfront town of Edmonds we all call home.

So I took her to the one place in Edmonds that made a huge impression on me 15 years ago when I first decided that Edmonds would be my hometown; Edmonds public, accessible shoreline that one can walk along for over 1-1/2 miles without having to leave the beachfront.

Pretty amazing….something very few towns in the US have! My  sister was impressed  with the ambience and small town culture of this waterfront enclave!

Then we walked past the old Harbor Square strip mall (which now houses the old antique mall by the ferry holding lanes) and I told her about the Port of Edmond’s plan to get the city of Edmonds to rezone the area for five and six story building heights in order to put in retail and high-rise condos. She looked around at the quaint, one-of-a-kind town and asked me….incredulously….”WHY?

Why would the Edmonds townsfolk be willing to erect five and six story condo buildings that block the sun, block the views, and block the waterfront from the quaint downtown?

Why ruin the ONE draw that brings visitors to your town; the ambience and small-town culture of your waterfront town?”

I looked at my sis rather dumbfoundedly, and gave her the only answer we Edmonds folks have been fed; ”Uh… because we need it to replenish our city coffers?”

At which point, she looked at me dubiously and responded with “You can’t really think that developing two blocks with five story condominiums is really going to make a big difference in your city’s revenue?

If it’s revenue your town needs, then build the five story high-rises on Edmonds Way… where they already are. But NOT HERE where your main draw is the ambience of the Edmonds waterfront!

To put up sun-blocking high-rises HERE is to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs!”

Sometimes it takes an outsider to snap you out of your stupor. Of course my California sister is right; we have an amazing resource here that we seemed poised to trash.

Developing (and ruining) the Edmonds waterfront with high-rises will NOT solve our financial problems… it will only make a very few, very vocal folks very wealthy with sound view condos for sale.

And yes, the townsfolk of Edmonds who oppose the Port of Edmonds high-rise condo project will still be vilified by those who stand to benefit from this hyped-up development.

And the pro-high-rise folks will continue to proclaim that there is a small, obnoxious, vocal population of Edmonds getting in the way of ‘The Progress’ that we ALL must surely want!

But I would say to these pro-high-rise folks who are so sure that they know the hearts & minds of the people of Edmonds; “TAKE A VOTE”… see if the numbers are really in your camp.

Because personally, I’m thinking that the folks of Edmonds KNOW when they are being hoodwinked by a small, vocal minority of folks who stand to benefit greatly from this scam!

And yes, sometimes it takes an outsider to remind us of what we’ve got; AND what we will lose (as Eric Livingston so aptly addressed in his Beacon editorial: “Public Apathy May Raise Building Heights” 6/28/2012) if we let apathy set in.


Jeanne Amundsen

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