by Mark Van Streefkerk
The South Park Multicultural Latino Market, a recurring weekend pop-up hosted by the South Park Merchants Association (SPMA), will host a special celebration of Mexican Independence Day and Hispanic American Heritage Month on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the South Park Plaza. Fiestas Patrias will feature DJs spinning salsa, cumbia, merengue, banda, and quebradita sonidero music, and vendors will sell authentic Mexican and Latino foods like tacos, empanadas, elotes, specialty non-alcoholic drinks, as well as clothing, jewelry, and collectibles. The celebration starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 5 p.m. or later. RSVP and find out more at the Fiesta Patrias Facebook event page.
Mexican Independence Day took place on Sept. 16, but other Central and South American countries celebrate their independence days around the same time, kicking off Hispanic American Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Fiestas Patrias is an inclusive Independence Day celebration for South Park’s diverse Latino community and everyone is welcome.
Continue reading South Park’s Multicultural Latino Market Celebrates Mexican Independence Day Saturday
by Cedar Bushue
(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
I am a long-term resident of South Park. My family and I have had a home here for three generations. South Park is a small neighborhood in South Seattle, hemmed in by the Duwamish and a couple of highway spurs. It is a residential neighborhood but also home to many industries for Seattle and King County. Our life expectancy here is 8+ years less than Seattle as a whole, according to a 2013 study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because it is a small, minority-majority neighborhood without resources, we are home to a transfer station, many homeless encampments, and many industrial areas.
National Products Incorporated (NPI) is a local company that started in someone’s garage but has grown to overtake a great deal of land in the heart of the neighborhood, displacing many neighbors as well as several stately trees that provided wildlife habitat and shade for the human inhabitants. Incidentally, this facility is directly across from one of the main neighborhood parks.
Because South Park is small and its residents don’t make a fuss, companies like NPI can pretty much do whatever they want while the County willingly ignores or happily rubber stamps every expansion plan.
Continue reading OPINION: National Products Inc. Pumps Environmental Hazards Into South Park Daily
by M. Anthony Davis
Princess & Bear Wines is a new wine shop and tasting room that features an expansive collection of handmade wines, all imported from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Walking into their space, the soothing ambiance of natural lighting and a rustic, homey feel, accompanied by vibrant staff and a few cuddly dogs, is immediately calming.
Continue reading ‘Princess & Bear’ Brings Affordable, Organic, French Wine Offerings to South Park
by Andrew Engelson
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved legislation on Monday, July 12, pushed by Mayor Jenny Durkan to purchase two parcels of land for affordable housing to address the growing pressure of housing displacement in the South Park neighborhood .
The lots at the intersection of 14th Avenue South and South Henderson Street will be purchased for $3.65 million and eventually developed into between 70 and 120 units of housing, according to Stephanie Velasco, a spokesperson for the Seattle Office of Housing. Responding to input from the neighborhood (including a sizable Latino community), the project will include many three-bedroom units appropriate for multigenerational families.
“Now we can start building the dream of housing that will go there,” said Maria Ramirez, chair of the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition (DVAHC). “It’s a big move forward to bring in a bunch of units of new housing — quality housing that’s affordable at different levels of [area median income]. And family housing. It’s going to be community-led. We’re going to design something that the community wants and has been asking for.”
Continue reading More Affordable Housing Coming to South Park
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement).
Drive through Seattle’s industrial areas — Georgetown, South Park, parts of Ballard, and SoDo — and it’s hard to miss them: Bulky, horizontal concrete blocks lined up like giant Legos along the sides of the street, preventing large vehicles from parking by the roadside.
Continue reading ‘Eco Blocks’ Are Concrete Signs of Seattle’s Failure to Address RV Homelessness
by Mark Van Streefkerk
In an effort to increase access to journalism for BIPOC youth in the Duwamish Valley, journalists and community storytellers Bunthay Cheam and Jenna Hanchard are launching the first-ever Duwamish Valley Youth Storytelling Project. The project is in collaboration with the Port Community Action Team and sponsored by the Port of Seattle.
A series of four workshops, the project will help youth shape a story of community interest that will ultimately be featured in South Park Roots, on the Port of Seattle communications website, and on Hanchard and Cheam’s own storytelling platforms, Lola’s Ink and TnouT, respectively.
Continue reading Tell Your Story: Apply to the Duwamish Valley Youth Storytelling Project
by Guy Oron
On a small sliver of land in South Park along the Duwamish River, there once sat eight affordable houses. Now only five remain. Over the past few months, the new owners of these properties, National Products Inc. (commonly known as Ram Mounts or NPI), have begun demolishing these cottage-style houses.
Ram Mounts purchased the lots — known as the South Park triangle — through a shell company in 2019 for $2.5 million. The company is a plastics manufacturer that owns multiple warehouses and facilities on the block across the street to the south of the triangle. It hopes to replace the houses with a “park-like setting, with a noise abatement wall” to serve as a buffer between its facilities and the rest of the neighborhood. The company also plans on using the adjacent right-of-way for more parking.
However, some residents fear that Ram Mounts is simply using this new purchase to continue to expand their footprint in the area. Jennifer Scarlett, a neighbor who lives one block away from the triangle, sees the recent purchase and demolitions as part of a larger pattern of industrial expansion. “Yeah, they’ve already expanded twice … they’re an industrial company, they’re not on industrial zoning, and they keep expanding,” said Scarlett.
Continue reading South Park Residents Fear Industrial Expansion as Houses Are Demolished
by Paulina López and Troy D. Abel
Recently, legislative debates turned from carbon pricing to the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL) uplifting environmental justice (EJ). This is important legislation, but what we really need are bold solutions and different laws addressing a persistent form of unjust and ongoing pollution. Air toxic exposure disparities and their impacts on communities like the Duwamish Valley are still being ignored by politicians and industry. This inattention continues even as new research suggests that higher air pollution may increase COVID-19 vulnerability and deaths.
Many environmentalists in our region not only overlook decades of toxic air pollution injustice, some even gloss over the problem. In January, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Seattle office announced that industrial toxic releases declined in the Northwest. Pollution dropped 12% in 2019 for 752 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. They further asserted “that U.S. companies that use and manage chemicals and metals continue to make progress in preventing pollution.”
But we knew that regional averages likely obscured trends in our heavily polluted Duwamish River Valley neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park — often first documented by our community. EPA analysts lumped air, water, and land pollution together. When viewed separately, air and water pollution went up in the Northwest. Surface-water discharges increased by 1.17 million pounds and air pollution by 610 thousand pounds between 2018 and 2019.
Continue reading OPINION: Clean Air Everywhere, for Everyone in Washington
by Mark Van Streefkerk
It’s no secret that small businesses and retail shops have had a challenging year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Most local retailers have had to move their sales online, or host a hybrid of safe, socially-distant, in-person shopping along with new online sales platforms. Here at the South Seattle Emerald, we encourage you and your family to shop local this holiday season, especially seeking out local, BIPOC-owned businesses that might have been hit particularly hard in the pandemic. Here are a few businesses from the Delridge, White Center, and South Park neighborhoods to support this year. Check out the Seattle Green Book for more Black-owned businesses, and The Intentionalist for an index of woman-, LGBTQ+-, and BIPOC-owned businesses.
Continue reading Shopping the South End: Holiday Gifts From BIPOC-Owned Businesses in Delridge, White Center, and South Park
In this special Emerald series supported by NW Journalists of Color and the Facebook Journalism Project, photographer and writer Sharon H. Chang introduces the womxn and nonbinary farmers of color at the heart of Washington’s agrarian revival movement who are moving the needle towards not only a future livable planet, but a socially just one.
by Sharon H. Chang
The air is comfortably warm at South Park’s Marra-Desimone Park on a late summer morning. Tall grasses line the dirt path to a little-known piece of farmland snuggled inside the park. All is quiet except for a small group working in the northeast corner. Two children run through rows of crops and nearby, their mother and four other cheerful women, known as the promotoras (community health workers), chat as they rake rows. There has been a crop failure because of rodents, but the women are undeterred. Well into their first full season, the promotoras have already transformed their land into an impressive Latinx-women-led farm called Salsa De La Vida. Continue reading Farming For Change: Meet the Latinx Women Leading South Park’s New Community Farm