Delridge DESC project: Tentative date set for first Design Review

The city has set a tentative date for the first Southwest Design Review Board meeting on the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s 75-unit Delridge Supportive Housing project: Thursday, December 8th. That’s according to the list of upcoming meetings on the city’s website. If that date holds, it’ll be at 6:30 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Design Review meetings are held before a city-appointed all-volunteer regional board that evaluates projects strictly in terms of design and whether those elements of a project conform to zoning (if not, “departures” have to be requested). Projects for which design review is required, like this one, will go before the board at least twice, once for “early design guidance” (the purpose of this meeting), then, for a formal recommendation to the city.

In the meantime, the project proposed for the 5400 block of Delridge (official address on city records, 5444 Delridge) has been recommended for two public-funding grants, $500,000 state and “up to $4.45 million” city, while the county-convened Joint Recommendations Committee meets November 17th to consider a request for $538,000. Other funding for the $14 million project is proposed to be raised through a tax-credits program.

Local residents researching the project continue to post information and documents obtained through public-records requests at these two sites: Delridge Community Forum and A Concerned Delridge Neighbor. The volunteers working on the DCF site say that the county staffers working on the Nov. 17th presentation suggest public comments be sent by this Wednesday; the contacts are listed in this post on their website

19 Replies to "Delridge DESC project: Tentative date set for first Design Review"

  • Delridge Neighbor November 7, 2011 (10:07 am)

    I would like to thank the many people working hard to gather and distribute information about this proposed site. In the absence of DESC or other public funders engaging the community in a thoughtful process, many citizen leaders have taken it upon themselves to do the due diligence that should be done for any outlay of $14.5 million for a public project.
    New posts at the “Concerned Delridge Neighbor” site present information about how Delridge really isn’t “just like” other supportive housing sites. It has more extreme poverty, fewer amenities and transit connections, and is even classified as a “food desert” by the USDA.
    Read and decide for yourself if this particular site in Delridge seems like a great site for this type and scale of project. In my opinion, it doesn’t seem like a well thought out project for either the DESC residents or the surrounding neighborhood. We also have yet to get responses to very simple questions.
    Any public project should be able to stand up to public scrutiny. Indeed it is our duty as citizens to help our leaders make informed decisions.

  • Perry November 7, 2011 (4:08 pm)

    Every neighborhood has the same objections to affordable housing for people who have mental illnesses. They all boil down to the same thing: “we don’t want those types of people living here”. The fact is that the city, state, and non-profits that develop this sort of housing go through an exhaustive process of reviewing these projects, and would long ago have vetoed it unless it was a reasonable choice. I suspect the reason that this site was chosen was that it is one of the few sites that DESC could afford and make big enough to be viable given our dwindling government and non-profit resources.

    Is Delridge courageous enough to take on its prejudice? Do you really think you’re better qualified than the people who specialize in developing these types of projects to make decisions about where to site them when the neighborhoods all react exactly the same way?

  • mcbride November 7, 2011 (6:12 pm)

    On the one hand we are presented with a request to become informed. On the other hand, a challenge to question our collective prejudices and take the word of the experts.
    I grew up knowing that Communists were bad, but then I found out they weren’t. And that some of the adults I knew were (Communists), except they weren’t (Socialists, they preferred). It was very conflicting, the advice of the experts.
    Some subjects are naturally complicated. By all means, challenge your prejudice, in whatever form it takes. An informed opinion never hurts, too.

  • RL November 7, 2011 (8:00 pm)

    Seriously Perry? I supose that you would want 75 mentally ill and/or drug addicts next door to your house, wife, kids, kids’ school, kids’ daycare, library, etc. Wealthy people aren’t the only segment of the population that are concerned about their belongings and their family’s well being. I’m sure that you’ve got a few heroin addicts residing in your guest bedroom, but you’ll forgive us all for not being as understanding. Do I know my neighborhood better than a panel of “specialists”? Yes. Does cheap land make it a good idea? No.

  • RubyTuesday November 7, 2011 (8:49 pm)

    Perry, you make some very interesting points, though they seem to belong to someone who doesn’t live in the Delridge neighborhood. Which brings yet another interesting point; you’ve yet to respond to previous inquiries about whether or not you actually live here in Delridge. Should your lack of response be interpreted as agreement that you don’t actually live here? Perhaps the better question is, what’s your motivation? Do you work for DESC or an affiliate? Valid questions given your condescending tone.

    You state that “the site was chosen…” because “DESC could afford [it]… given our dwindling government and non-profit resources.” I implore you, where exactly do you think those “government and non-profit resources” originate?! The original source of that money is the tax dollars! I personally feel we the neighbors should be heard, rather than having this project thrust upon us, given we’re essentially funding this thing. It’s not like this is a privately funded development. If it were, this would be a completely different conversation. A large part of the problem is no one is listening to the community. In lieu of real answers to valid questions rather, we’re fed rehearsed propaganda. There’s little comfort in knowing we’re not the first to experience this kind of treatment. The same thing happened in North Aurora just last December (as reported in the North Seattle Herald, It also happened to the neighbors of the Hillman City project back in 2006 (as reported by the Seattle PI,

    Regardless, your comments do nothing more than attempt to browbeat a neighborhood struggling to stay on its feet during this extended recession. As a community, we’re continually confronted with extreme poverty, drug abuse, and crime of all sorts (just take a look at the blotter here on the blog or, heck, the SPD site, Both the neighborhood and the residents of the proposed project will be setup for failure, given the current conditions.

  • MP November 7, 2011 (9:01 pm)

    RL… Right on! I think Perry must work for DESC. It is ridiculous to put this project in this location. The so called specialist are just a bunch of stupid idiots who think buying land cheap and going into a poor neighborhood would be the easiest way to get this project done. No big money to fight it. Well neighbors stand up and fight. Never forget the power in numbers. Look how Bank of America backed down on their fees…… This all happened because a big group of people stood up for what they believed. maybe getting one of the TV news stations on this would not be such a bad idea.

  • RubyTuesday November 7, 2011 (9:24 pm)

    RL, MP, I completely agree! It’s time to unify and bring this issue out into the light. Perhaps it would be beneficial to find out how North Aurora and the Hillman City neighbors are now that the projects are been in for awhile?

  • Delridge Res November 7, 2011 (9:24 pm)

    This conversation/topic is like a multiple repeat of a Seinfeld episode except it isn’t funny given the misinformation and misplaced fear that arise.

    RL, if you don’t think drug addicts (from pot to heroin) don’t live in Magnolia, Madison Park and EVERY other rich and poor neighborhood in the city, then there just isn’t any reasoning with you.

    For those interested, this topic has been beaten to a bloody pulp and instead of rehashing it and having the same arguments, points, counterpoints, and closing arguments like a 20 year couple about to divorce, please take the time to read the following recent West Seattle Blog links





    yet again here:

    On a new tack, mcbride, communists (people) may not be bad, but communism (government) is. History has proven that to be true. Socialist (people) may not be bad, but socialism (government) kills individualism and stifles exceptionalism which in my opinion is never good as either.

  • I guess I\'m heartless November 7, 2011 (10:27 pm)

    Release the trolls!!! Isn’t government funding DESC a form of socialism? How can one tout individualism and private property rights when the government is funding the purchase of private property for a socialist program, then call socialism bad? Excuse me while I pop a Xanax so I can follow this. BTW I don’t want additional drug addicts to add to the existing drug addicts in my already impoverished neighborhood, unless you’re personally willing to subsidize my mortgage I don’t want my tax paying neighbors to shoulder that burden.(FYI it’s not with Freddie nor Fannie I’ll provide a routing number to send payments to upon request), I don’t know why I bother here, I am none the less amused with “delridge res” and John.

  • John November 7, 2011 (11:24 pm)

    I am one that has responded to the each and every one of the ridiculous claims and statements of DESC opponents.
    Delridge Res is right about the bloody pulp, but the same tired NIMBY paranoia keeps popping up no matter how many times we present rational responses.
    It is a tenet of NIMBYISM to repeat the same mantras-safety for the kids, property values, a neighborhood too fragile, ad infinitim.
    Whenever challenged to back up their scare tactics, these people respond in this forum with false ‘facts’ and when those are proven wrong, they attack and smear the writer (although this is not allowed on this blog).
    For Dada entertainment, click on the links provided by their newest punching bag, Delridge Res.
    MP should not be allowed to smear Delridge Res or post such insulting drivel.
    Each new piece on this is like Groundhog Day (the movie) with the same trumped up false concerns newly arising.
    This happens even after these NIMBY arguments are confronted point-by-point with facts and examples.
    WSB should just make this one continuously updated article to illustrate the mental bankruptcy of these factless posts.

    I am getting bored with knocking down these false statements and innuendos.
    But for our daily dose, I shall respond to just two fresh pop-ups of the baroque and copious BS that “Delridge Neighbor” has linked from the neutral sounding “Concerned Delridge Neighbor.”
    This is after just yesterday I decimated point-by- point Kaarie Koohlhas’ manipulative flights of fantasy and manipulation claimed as factual, concerning her claim that Delridge is the ONLY food desert on the West Seattle Peninsula. Check out her response or glaring lack of it.

    A casual incomplete skimming of the “New posts at the “Concerned Delridge Neighbor” site present(s) information about how Delridge really isn’t “just like” other supportive housing sites.”
    1)”Concerned” is right at least when stating that Delridge does not have Strip Clubs or Pawn Shops like the other site.
    2)”Concerned” is WRONG in stating, “Note that to either side of Delridge Way SW there are two or three blocks of single-family residential land that is bounded on the east and west edge by slopes too steep for development.” That is a LIE.
    A new multi-unit building is going forward developing one of those hillsides as reported in WSB.
    All of the privately owned hillside property referred to is indeed buildable, just ask the property owners and the King County Assessor.

    Ruby Tuesday links old news from 2005 about NIMBY concerns like Delridge, but fails to update us with the predicted dire results. We can only assume that there are none, are there Ruby?

    Why don’t the rest of you opponents of DESC all just come clean and admit like a few of your good neighbors already have, that you just don’t like people with disabilities.
    Fess up to your blatant self-centerd bias and continue to fight the DESC project on that basis.

  • Delridge Res November 7, 2011 (11:41 pm)


    Yes, I do believe the government funding of DESC is a form of socialism and as such…winner, winner chicken dinner! FINALLY, someone has come up with a valid reason (in my opinion) for the project to not built (with government funds that is). However, our illustrious constitutional republic has long been dead and as such DESC and millions of others line up to milk the government dole in the form of our tax dollars and there isn’t anything that will ever change that.

    I would be curious though to see a life cycle cost analysis of the $14.5 million dollar “investment” and the subsequent return on said investment to see if it is ever returned in the form of productive citizens versus the economic drain that unfortunately many now are.

    FYI, I only brought up the communist/socialism note because mcbride used it as an example and I ran with the ball in another direction because this topic has been beat to death already and I found his comment amusing as I love to debate socialist/communists in much the same way as this gentleman: I still cherish the day I debated George Soros the last time he spoke here in Seattle.

  • RL November 8, 2011 (7:34 am)

    John – Your accusation that we all “just don’t like people with disabilities” is pretty over the top. Nobody here is arguing against support services for the disabled, but these aren’t just physically handicapped people or people with learning disabilities that we’re talking about, these are people with mental illness and/or drug addication. Gathering 75 of this particular disabled group and locating them all together in a residential neighborhood near a school and easy access to street drugs is not a good plan.

  • Perry November 8, 2011 (8:07 am)

    Attempts to discredit the character of people who know that people who have mental illnesses make as good a neighbor as anybody else are another of the ordinary tactics people opposing these projects use.I live within easy walking distance of this project, and know of multiple similar projects just like this scattered throughout West Seattle within walking distance of my home. I’ve never been affiliated with DESC. I am one of many who believe we should be helping people who have disabling mental illnesses have homes in good neighborhoods.

    It would be a more sincere discussion to talk about the real issues: prejudice and discrimination in housing against people who have mental illnesses. People who have mental illnesses are as resourceful as the rest of us and find ways to get to grocery stores and needed services from wherever they live, so food deserts and lack of proximate services aren’t really the issue.

  • RubyTuesday November 8, 2011 (10:15 am)

    John, you seem to have some how missed where I sited the North Aurora project that faced much the same dilemma in December 2010.

  • Delridge Res November 8, 2011 (8:48 pm)

    After a long day (and still at my office), I took a break and logged onto the WSB to what happened in West Seattle today. I read the following post: Opinion: ‘… Most of the people in the room were afraid of ME’ (

    I saw there were 50 comments and I scrolled through them anxiously awaiting to read how the usual WSB suspects (mcbride, MP, Kohlhaas, RubyTuesday, M. Dady, RL, Heartless, Delridge Neighbor and those of similar beliefs) would respond to Ms. White, and I was stunned to see that not a single one of them had posted anything. I know we are all busy with our day, or maybe you posted under a different name, maybe it was just a hard, long day (it was for me), but as passionate as these community activists are, I was honestly stunned to see there was not a single response from them. For now, I am taking their deafening silence that hopefully these individuals are reflecting on what Ms. White expressed. Have a good night everyone.

    “Keep your mind open to change at all times. Welcome it. Court it. It is only by examining and reexamining your opinions and ideas that you can progress.” – Dale Carnegie

  • Tanya Baer November 9, 2011 (1:55 pm)

    I have done a fairly exhaustive review of any document I can get my hands on – trying to understand what criteria is used to determine the appropriateness of a site for this type of project. I keep thinking I will find a neat little list somewhere and that will help me to understand that, as stated in a comment above, “that the city, state, and non-profits that develop this sort of housing go through an exhaustive process of reviewing these projects, and would have long ago have vetoed it unless it was a reasonable choice.”

    I have read the Consolidated Plan for the City of Seattle. I have read the Consolidated Plan for King County. I have read just about any other City or County documents I can get my hands on related to Housing. And through all of this endless reading, I can only find three indications of how a site location is evaluated:

    1) A site is primarily measured by the “Siting Policy” which determines if an area can absorb more poverty (or extremely low-income housing) based on certain criteria

    2) It is “encouraged” that a site is located near transit

    3) It is “encouraged” that a site be in an area slated for higher density development

    ** Note: I heard verbally at the last JRC (King County Funding Meeting) that projects located “near transit with access to amenities” was encouraged – but I have not found that statement writen in any official document.

    I even tried called “Common Ground,” the consulting company that put this project together for DESC. The purpose of my call was this issue specifically, to understand the criteria used. I was promptly told that I need to speak with DESC directly, that Common Ground doesn’t do any community outreach and that communication would be clearest if I speak with DESC. I haven’t made that call, but I know that DESC spoke briefly about the site location at the Oct. 11 forum and offered little information regarding how a site is determined. I am aware that the questions from the community forum have been submitted to DESC, and at least one of the questions is about site selection. I look forward to receiving the answer in writing.

    I have not been able to find any other criteria documented (I welcome any pointers as to where to look.) This leads me to believe that either a) experts have determined that additional criteria has no value (meaning, I suppose, that projects of this type thrive in most every location) or b) experts and decision makers are not doing due diligence to thoroughly review a site before funding upwards of $14 million dollars.

    If the answer is “a,” that no additional criteria is needed because these projects thrive in any location, then I would sincerely appreciate understanding that and request that an expert provide this explanation.

    Else, I cannot help but feel a great concern that the oversight on these projects is to be questioned.

    • WSB November 9, 2011 (2:01 pm)

      Tanya – Rick Hooper from Office of Housing just replied to “Concerned Delridge Neighbor’s” inquiry from a while back with some info I hope to put up here shortly (not knowing what kind of a timeline “Concerned Delridge Neighbor” works on, whether s/he is in a position to post it to their site quickly) for those who are following this. It’ll be a separate story. – TR

  • I\'m just sayin\' November 9, 2011 (8:43 pm)

    not to be boring and repetitious, I just want it known for the record that while Karrie is the president of the NDNC and has the energy to get a lot done, she does not speak for the entire community. There are many vocal opponents, and there are quite a number of proponents who feel that their voices have been silenced by the vituperative and overwhelming quantity of text posted on the various discussion boards. folks are afraid to speak up because they’re getting slammed online. There are two sides to this story. In the interest of working for the community, don’t silence the voices you don’t like.
    There ARE DESC facilities in wealthy neighborhoods. The folks proposed to be housed in Delridge are elderly, indigent, and helpless. The folks at the Rainier House residence don’t even go outside, let alone cause trouble (at least not according to the folks who work there, or the neighbors, or the other tenants of the building).
    We need to move the dialogue forward and give all sides the chance to have their say.

  • Delridgian For Reasonable Development November 12, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    For any Delridge neighbors who are concerned about the DESC project and want to ensure your voice is heard, join:

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