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‘People are coming back,’ but downtown Seattle needs leadership

Pike Place Market in Seattle. (MyNorthwest photo)

Over the last year-plus, downtown Seattle has grappled with numerous challenges, from shutdowns driven by the pandemic, to an ever-escalating homeless crisis.

With businesses finally beginning to reopen, Downtown Seattle Association President Jon Scholes is highlighting how the neighborhood has taken the first steps on its long road to recovery.

‘Love, Seatown’ campaign invites locals back to downtown Seattle

While the downtown area hasn’t fully returned to its pre-pandemic levels, there have still been positive signs in recent days.

“People are coming back,” Scholes told KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show. “Pike Place Market is at 81% of their normal visitor traffic for this time in 2019, hotel occupancy is now up over 65%, and total visitor foot traffic downtown is about 80% of normal.”

Moving forward, he emphasized the need for people to continue supporting downtown businesses, especially in the face of ongoing public safety challenges.

“(Businesses) struggled and scraped to get through and survive and they made it, but they’re only going to make it over the next couple of months and couple of years if we show up to support them,” he urged.

“I look at downtown and the struggles that we’ve been through over this last year, much like a family member that might be going through some struggles,” he continued. “When they’re going through struggles and they’ve got tough issues, we lean in — we want to help them out. We don’t walk away.”

Scholes also stressed the need for city leaders to do their part as well, particularly in the wake of an assault around the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle, a string of recent shootings, and growing homeless encampments.

Lawmaker calls for shutdown of King County Courthouse after assault

That makes for a situation that he calls “completely unacceptable.”

“Both the city and county need to act immediately,” he said.

For more information about the Downtown Seattle Association’s revitalization efforts this summer, you can head to this link.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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