Monday, July 17, 2006

Happy to be out of the top 10

Forbes Magazine annually rates the top most overpriced cities in the nation. Last year, Seattle placed at the pinnacle of that list, which wasn't a huge shock to anyone looking for housing closer in than, say, 85th Street (Beachhead's personal cutoff). Turns out we aren't all that, apparently. This year's findings use a different methodology, and lo and behold, not only is Seattle not in the number one spot this year, but we're out of the top ten altogether.

The new number one? Essex County, Mass. New York, San Francisco and San Jose are all predictably up on the list, as is the dark horse of the bunch, Tucson, AZ. I guess that's what being a celeb vacation town will do to you.

Komedy Night: Funny. Insertion of "K": Not funny

Those crazy kids over at the People's Republic of Komedy have another great show coming up on Wednesday at the Mirabeau Room. If you haven't seen a PROKomedy event before, it's worth throwing down a few bucks for.
This week is especially worthy, as the headliner is Cathy Sorbo, she of P-I column and MTV pilot fame.

Maybe even a better reason to go is to catch the last ever Seattle performance of local comedy phenom Fahim Anwar. He's shipping out to Los Angeles at the end of the month, and the next he'll be playing a Seattle venue, it'll be supporting someone you've actually heard of. Seriously.

Car free shout out

If you don't know Alan Durning, well, it's not too surprising. He's the Executive Director of the Sightline Institute (ne, Northwest Environment Watch), a Seattle-based thinktank that tackles the big issues surrounding land use, sprawl, and transportation throughout the Cascadia region.

Alan's blog, Daily Score, is a Beachhead favorite. Apparently we're not alone. Planetizen, another great urbanist blog, recently highlighted Alan's well-blogged experiences living without a car in Seattle.

Some folks may remember this story line from outgoing Weekly editor Knute Berger's Mossback column where he criticized Durning and other non-drivers for the "mooching" engendered by their carless conditions. There were quite a few heavily-rolled eyes there, but luckily the folks at Planetizen see Alan's story for what it is: a plaudit-worthy attempt to put one's money where one's mouth is.

Hear hear.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Acronym battle: DADU vs NIMBY

The Seattle Times has an article about backyard apartments. Just do it already/

Monday, June 19, 2006

Another one bites the dust

First there was the Eastside Journal and the South King County Journal. Then they combined into the King County Journal. Next? Horvitz News of Kent just placed the Journal and nine of its other papers on the auction block. And though the fat lady hasn't sung yet, the chances are slim that people are going to be jumping at the chance to buy a 41,000 circulation daily paper in this, the era of the declining readership.

Beachhead loves nothing more than the feeling of newsprint in the morning (and hates few things more than staring at a screen while our eyes are still waking up), but this one seems to be inevitable.

Alive (for now):
Seattle Times
Tacoma News-Tribune
Everett Herald

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
King County Journal

Eastside Journal
North Seattle Sun/South Seattle Star

Lawrimore Project

Utterly hyped, endlessly speculated upon, exceedingly successful? Only time will tell. But what a time it will be, this Thursday, the Lawrimore Project celebrates its grand opening with a performance by experiential/absurdist trip SuttonBeresCuller. Check out the website

And a big up for expanding the scope of where it is acceptable to place galleries. Occidental is for the weak.

The Lawrimore Project - 831 Airport Way South

NW Fresh

Got love for graf? Check out for some of the northwest's finest.

Silicon Valley north?

According to this article found at this link:,1895,1977761,00.asp (sorry for the non-link; technical difficulties), Seattle is anticipated to be the next major tech hot spot, on the scale of that horrible sprawl to the south, Silicon Valley.

Why would the tech industry ever leave the comfort of Northern California weather? The article says that the Bay Area has been a victim of its own success. Being THE place for tech has pushed the cost of living into the stratosphere, making a $70,000 salary not enough to get by on in San Jose. And let's not even get into San Francisco, which is still battling New York for the title of Most Expensive Rent. The bottom line: the tech industry has made the quality of life in the Bay go down considerably.

Remind me again why we would want to be the next Silicon Valley?

Not that I don't like Microsoft, Amazon, etc, but seeing as how even these locals have changed the face of Seattle (Central District, anyone?), the effects of a second, third and fourth wave of money, on a scale beyond what we've already been experiencing would push the cost of a home, either rented or owned, through the roof.

Aging developments

James Kunstler writes that because of mass suburbanization since World War II, cities have missed out on an entire generation of development and are only now catching up (and even this is in specific cases; Seattle is lucky to see investment in the city proper). His argument is that though new buildings may originally displace lower and moderate income living quarters and retail spaces, as they age their relative cost declines, and over time they will become more affordable to a wider array of users. Therefore, the costly new buildings of today are primed to be the barista apartments and mom and pop stores of tomorrow.

On the one hand, this is true, as evidenced by the shabby 1950s and 1960s buildings that dot the city. These are often filled with immigrants and families, and are in some ways beacons of urban life. On the other hand, one need only look at New York, and the tenements that fetch seven figures, to see that this is not a predictable pattern.

STable neighborhoods

The P-I has an article about the effects of light rail construction on Rainier Valley on the front page today. Like most people, Beachhead cannot wait for the day that rapid transit is a reality. The city needs it, and so does the region, but there's got to be a way to minimize the damage to the community infrastructure around each line. Obviously this is exacerbated by the fact that Rainier Valley is one of the most economically vulnerable parts of town, and with relatively little political clout, to boot. One can only assume that when construction starts in Roosevelt, the community will use its (significant) influence to make sure the district stays vibrant during the messy times.

Rapid transit is a requirement for an equitable and sustainable city, but the process of getting there can't eliminate the very communities and neighborhoods we are setting out to enhance. A parallel can be drawn with the development boom occuring throughout Seattle today. Density is an immensely important aspect of a livable city, but if it comes at the expense of middle and lower cost housing, then we have done more harm than good.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Growing up and around

A couple morning news clips. The Times reports on the City's skatepark plan, as does the P-I. Jump on it and make your voice heard, skaters are people too. Also, the development boom in downtown/Belltown/Denny Triangle gets a look in the P-I. Check out the graphic for what's going up.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Seattle Design Week

Who knew we had one? July 9-15, the Icograda Design Week comes to Seattle. Speakers are winging in from all over the globe, including the required Starbucks feller. Probably mostly corporate, definitely expensise ($215 was your cheapest option a month ago), but keep your eyes and ears open for some added international flavor to descend into the mix in the next month or so.


Live and direct from Montreal, QC. I can't get enough of this, or this, or this. We haven't had anything on this scale or with this style here in the NW since Beware the Walls went dormant. Who's stepping it up next?

Mudede's global city

Will I ever be able to agree with Charles Mudede 100% on anything? Probably not. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy digressions such as these.

No capes, any heroes?

New legislation on how to combat crime in the CD, Miller Park, and Rainier Beach. The Stranger blog has some good quotes from Councilmember Licata on why this might not end up being the most succesful of programs.

As goes Mr. Lucky, so goes Lower Queen Anne?

Say what you will about the merits of Mr. Lucky, but it's inarguably gone, and with it goes yet another hip hop club in a town with a long proud tradition of knocking off hip hop clubs.

Robert Jamieson has an article in today's P-I about the demise of Mr. Lucky, with some interesting perspective on the changing of the guard over in Lower Queen Anne (Uptown is for yuppies and folks who just moved here).

What does it mean when small independent businesses are closing up in one of the most pedestrian friendly and vibrant neighborhoods in Seattle? Is it a fluke, or a more telling sign?

Kicking it off

Welcome to Beachhead.

This is our first ever blog attempt, and up until very recently we were somewhat skeptical of the entire operation.

The plan was originally to create a magazine, of the holding, opening, and reading variety. But then, as is so often the case in this new world we live in, it became eminently clear that to create anything in the physical world would be prohibitively expensive. And so it goes.

Hence, the idea was born to utilize this fine, free service, wherein we have the ability to range throughout the wide world of internets, picking and choosing other people's hard work with abandon, beholden to none.

But what about? What about indeed.

Let's just say that the exact focus of this "web log" will be somewhat fluid, at least at first. In the meantime, Beachhead aims to be a nexus for information regarding that most human of inventions: the city.

We'll be posting news about those subjects we believe affect, influence, and inform the city in general, and our home metropolis Seattle in specific. This includes, but is not limited to, new developments, the ongoing transportation saga, art openings, art closings, business news, immigration rights, professional sports, music news, rivalries, and anything in between.

The one common thread that all our posts will have is that they will all deal with the issues that, collectivley, make up the built and mental environment of Seattle and cities around the globe.

We hope you enjoy.