JOHN CURLEY AND JAKE SKORHEIM

Piroshky, Piroshky owner: Seattle is ‘an abandoned city,’ seeks city council spot

May 18, 2023, 1:07 PM

piroshky seattle city council...

Olga Sagan in front of a Piroshky Piroshky location during a campaign press conference (Photo courtesy of Olga Sagan for Seattle City Council)

(Photo courtesy of Olga Sagan for Seattle City Council)

Olga Sagan, the owner of the traditional old-world Russian-style bakery Piroshsky, Piroshsky, is running for a seat on the Seattle City Council on a platform that focuses on improving conditions for small businesses within the city and creating a stronger anti-crime stance.

Sagan has been with the bakery since 2001, became a half partner five years later, and eventually the sole owner in 2017.

The City of Seattle is facing an $82.3 million revenue shortfall in its 2023-2024 budget, according to the city’s Revenue and Forecast Council’s November Report, in addition to its original $141 million general-fund deficit the city is already dealing with.

Piroshky Piroshky, closed in 2022 due to crime, set to reopen after Christmas

“People are moving out, businesses are closing, you continue to lose more and more money in the city of Seattle, what do you do?” John Curley, host of The John and Shari Show on KIRO Newsradio, asked Sagan.

“What I don’t do is, I do not make a quick decision to turn downtown into apartments,” Sagan responded. “I wouldn’t create toxic environments for businesses.”

Sagan will be running for City Council position 7 against incumbent Councilmember Andrew Lewis, who announced he was running for re-election on a platform of addressing affordable housing, homelessness, and climate change in January. Lewis is one of the few Seattle councilmembers running for re-election, with three sitting councilmembers having already announced they will not run again.

“I think my opponent is a good politician for a very flourishing city that can experiment and have unlimited money,” Sagan said. “My opponent is not qualified to go back to basics and to understand what it is to go back to the kitchen and start doing the dishes when things are going down, and since it’s going down, we have to stop it. This city got abandoned. It’s an abandoned city.”

Sagan even referenced her “roll up your sleeves” campaign slogan: Let’s get back to basics.

In Feb. 2022, Sagan decided to close one of the Piroshky, Piroshky locations — the one on 3rd Avenue near Pike and Pine Street — in response to the aggressive growth in crime in the region, but gave the troubled neighborhood another chance by reopening the store Dec. 26.

More from John and Shari: Why are people turning away from organized religion?

Seattle police, under Mayor Bruce Harrell and Police Chief Adrian Diaz, have made the downtown area a priority. After record-breaking crime numbers occurred during the pandemic, 2023 has reported just 8.3% of violent crime has occurred in the downtown area — including just 7.4% of aggravated assaults reported in the city — both drops in occurrence compared to previous years.

“If my district is downtown, and downtown is the economic engine, why am I not focusing on economics? Why am I not even sitting on the Economic Committee when I’m in charge of the district that is responsible for 60% of taxes?” Sagan asked, referencing Lewis’ absence from the city’s Committee for Economic Development, Technology & City Light. “What people need to realize is when we kill businesses, our personal taxes go up.”

Listen to John Curley and Shari Elliker weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Piroshky, Piroshky owner: Seattle is ‘an abandoned city,’ seeks city council spot