District 4: Shaun Scott

Historic preservation survey responses by Seattle City Council District 4 candidate Shaun Scott.

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?

King Street Station is my favorite historic place in Seattle because it represents a cultural center where connections are made, transit and otherwise. I personally worked for the Office of Arts and Culture as an Outreach Coordinator for the renovation of King Street Station in 2016-17. During this time we, with extensive community input, transformed King Street Station into an art hub that many utilize as a bastion of public space today.

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

In the past, there have been instances in which the facade of a building was kept in place as a new building came to fruition. This, unfortunately, tends to add costs which impacts rent for renters, commercial, and office spaces, but can be done. Otherwise, we believe it is the people who make up a neighborhood that give a place its character more so than building aesthetics. Seattle also has copious amounts of design review that have the ability to weigh aesthetics matching current neighborhoods as they stand now.

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?

As Julio Sánchez put it at a late-April Seattle Planning Commission meeting, we must ask who we routinely decide gets to implement historic preservation, and at the expense of whose future. If a cultural space is one that belongs to the Duwamish, it is certainly important that it doesn’t get redeveloped. Typically when Black and Indigenous residents opposed housing, their protests, or desire for historic preservation, didn’t surmount to “enough.” In fact, the US Housing Authority, and Seattle’s housing offices, for a long time made decisions to “respect existing neighborhood characteristics,” even when doing something like demolishing Emancipation Park in Texas or creating house deeds that limit what type of person can own specific properties. We cannot continue to allow historic preservation to act as a loophole with other and exclusionary intentions in Seattle.

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

Apply RSJI/RET (the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative’s Racial Equity Toolkit) during the consideration process.

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

Currently, historic preservation plays the role of preserving land value and typically prioritizing the markings of colonization, white supremacy, and privilege when it comes to planning and land use. It can, however, protect true historic markers like the first Black-owned bank. It can also play the role of preserving green space and reducing human impact on surroundings, or reducing the chance of luxury real estate–while also limiting chances of anything else like non-decrepit affordable housing as well.