South Park and Georgetown, like many lower-income and minority communities are dying. These communities are dying in many ways. The neighborhoods are ‘sacrifice zones’ for the toxic industrials and other unsavory jobs that the richer parts of the city want nothing to do with. Our river is a Superfund Site that the EPA, along with the county, city and port refuse to do anything about, despite the river being the source of seafood for many. Residents are also being forced from their homes by developers that the above organizations and local non-profits turn blind eyes to, as they generate revenue for them. Developers in my community are also packing homes in like sardines so that there is more room for toxic industries. In addition to hiking up rents so this packed sardine housing will be in the 2k range per month, so people who need housing will be priced out.
With the development, more trees are coming down in the area. The city, county, port and other organizations keep talking 30-40% tree cover for the area. It is at most 13-14% as of now, and will probably be declining. One of the reasons that the local King County Council won’t make a move against toxic industrials that keep violating their temporary permit, and poisoning the neighborhood, because they don’t want to ‘displace them,’ yet have no issues with companies displacing residents. I myself have asthma from working at one of these toxic industrials.
South Park and Georgetown have very high asthma rates from all of the fumes as well, which makes it no surprise that our life expectancy is down about 10 years from the rest of King County. The neighborhoods also have charm and deep history to them, being around since before the toxic industrials, pre-dating even Boeing, a well-known toxic industrial for the military complex. The neighborhoods date back to the mid-1850’s, back before then, these were tribal lands. Of course, settlers wanted it, and so drove the native tribes off of it. You may be saying; “so this is when the industrials came in!” You’d be wrong, that didn’t really happen until the 20th century; before which this area was farmland. Many of our homes have still been here since before the 20th Century, which further adds to our charm.
I think that the reason that these 2 areas in my my city were designated in particular, for development and wartime production, is that these areas are too poor to drive the toxic industrials and developers out. But, like any community, we deserve the right to live, and for our children as well. This is why I’ve been fighting for the past 2 years to protect this area, because a livable planet is more important to me than making lots of money. People don’t seem to realize this. I want people to start thinking critically on helping themselves and next generation survive and think and stand up for themselves.
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