Across our city, working families, low-income people, and the poor are facing the brunt of skyhigh rents and an unabated housing affordability crisis. Alongside working people, many small businesses also face displacement due to soaring commercial rents and profit-hungry corporate developers. Immigrant and people-of-color owned businesses, especially, are threatened with gentrification.
But small businesses are fighting back! Next Monday, July 29, I am convening a meeting of the City Council’s Equitable Development Committee, which I chair, to hear from small business owners, community members, workers, and others who are fighting gentrification and displacement in the Central District:
At the meeting, we’ll hear from small business owners including Workie Wubushet, owner of Saba Ethiopian Cuisine, and her daughter, Saba Tekle. Saba Ethiopian Cuisine is a beloved community treasure, having served tens of thousands of people over nearly 20 years of operation at the same 12th Avenue location near Yesler Terrace and Seattle University.
Earlier this month the building’s new corporate owners, Centric Partners LLC, unilaterally evicted the Ethiopian restaurant to make way for demolishing the building and redeveloping the property.
My Council Office is working actively with Mrs. Wubushet, her family, and the broader community in the Central District to fight the displacement of their business.
At the Equitable Development Committee meeting, we’ll also hear from Lawrence Pitre, president of the Central Area Chamber of Commerce, community organizer KL Shannon, and others talk about steps we can take as a community to fight back against these gross injustices that are destroying small businesses and making our community unaffordable for the vast majority of residents.
I hope you can join me Monday night!