Large donations to ‘Compassion Seattle’ homelessness initiative dwarf all other races in 2021

Aug 12, 2021, 9:32 AM | Updated: 11:15 am
homeless, sales tax, Compassion Seattle...
The Exhibition Hall at the Seattle Center housed a temporary men's shelter in May of 2020. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

While donations have flooded in to Seattle mayoral, city council, and city attorney races, no single candidate or campaign has raised as much as Compassion Seattle so far this election cycle.

Alliance hopes to force Seattle to take action on homelessness

Compassion Seattle’s proposed city charter amendment would mandate an additional 2,000 shelter beds or permanent housing units within a one-year period by waiving building permit fees, treating housing permit applications as “first-in-line” for expedited treatment, and refunding to the payee the city’s portion of the sales tax paid for these facilities. It also places a requirement on the city “to ensure that parks, playgrounds, sports fields, public spaces and sidewalks and streets remain open and clear of encampments.”

With voters set to decide on the initiative in November, the group behind it has already raised over $1 million as of early this week across 311 donors, largely on the strength of five separate $50,000 contributions, one $40,000 contribution, nine donations of $25,000, and several others ranging between $1,000 and $20,000. Which is all to say: There’s a lot of big money behind Compassion Seattle.

Real estate, investment, and property management companies represent many of the largest contributions, including prominent Donald Trump donor and Goodman Real Estate CEO George Petrie, as well as sizable donations from Hudson Pacific Properties, Vulcan Inc., Silver Creek Capital Management, and the Weyerhaeuser Company.

ACLU files lawsuit against Compassion Seattle initiative

Demographically, a majority of money given to the campaign (55%) has come from Seattle Council District 7, comprising Uptown and the north end of downtown, as well as affluent neighborhoods like Magnolia and Queen Anne. The next highest percentage is 15% from outside city limits, and then 7.2% from District 3 (Capitol Hill and the Central District).

Raising money to oppose Compassion Seattle is a group registered as House Our Neighbors, having brought in a comparatively smaller $45,500 across 88 contributors. Over half of that total came from the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project ($25,154). Similar to Compassion Seattle, a majority of its money (59%) has come out of District 7, followed by District 3 at 22%.

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Large donations to ‘Compassion Seattle’ homelessness initiative dwarf all other races in 2021