District 2: Mark Solomon

Historic preservation survey responses by Seattle City Council District 2 candidate Mark Soloman.

Responses may be lightly edited for clarity and formatting. Please note that Historic Seattle does not endorse candidates for public office.

1. What’s your favorite historic place in Seattle and why do you think it’s important?

Born and raised here in Seattle, I still can’t help but love our favorite tourist trap, Pike Place Market! I’m not sure what I love more about it – the energy or the choices for food. I think the careful preservation, restoration, and additions to the Market represent what Seattle has to offer and I want to see the same level of care given to landmarks throughout our city.

2. How can Seattle accommodate its increase in density while preserving the unique character of its neighborhoods?

Seattle has a well-documented shortage of affordable housing that is contributing to the displacement of our neighbors. We need to increase density, but I think we should proceed cautiously with upzoning and instead promote growth and development that compliments neighborhoods and does not displace current residents. I support efforts by the city to encourage homeowners to build and rent ADUs as well as measures to renovate rather than replace existing buildings.

3. The cultural spaces which many people feel define Seattle are increasingly at risk of redevelopment. Do you feel that it is important to preserve these places, and how can we accomplish this?

I do believe it is important to preserve cultural spaces. A crucial part of doing so is listening to the community and knowing what residents, rather than developers, value. Prioritizing those identified sites for historical and cultural preservation honors the communities who have called this city home and is a critical step preserving the unique qualities of our city for its residents.

4. How would you strengthen the City’s historic preservation program to ensure continued protection of designated Seattle Landmarks and historic districts?

I think the City’s historic preservation program should be included early in the planning process and be part of any legislation related to zoning. Additionally, I want to see the program develop relationships across the city so that community involvement is prioritized and we ensure that communities that have been historically marginalized are heard as we preserve the legacy of our neighborhoods together.

5. What role does historic preservation play in planning and land use beyond designating landmarks and historic districts?

Preservation and renovation rather than replacement is critical in preserving the cultural vitality of our neighborhoods. We have seen the consequences of prioritizing development over community with losses of cultural establishments and affordable housing units in the Central District and Jackson Street. Planning that prioritizes the needs of our residents and the culture of our city is a critical step not only in improving quality of life but also in preventing gentrification and displacement in Seattle.