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Old 06-15-2013, 11:49 AM
 
895 posts, read 917,812 times
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Hey all,

So, I'm sure long term Seattle-ites may already be laughing at the thread title, but I paid a visit to WC yesterday, and my experience with it paints a different portrait than the one many seem to give the area.

Sure, it's got a rough past, and is still gritty in several parts - But to me, the downtown area seems to have a lot of great things going on, and dare I say, charm? I got a chance to stop at the local brewery - while there, I caught a few whiffs of some AMAZING smelling food from the nearby restaurants - Many of which I'm now being told are some of the "best kept secrets" in the Seattle area (Wish I had time to try something, but may have to come back to do so). I've also been told of a great ice cream parlor/bar there, and it even seems like there's some new housing development popping up in some of the outskirts of the area.

To me, WC seemed a lot more like a real community, but with grit, than what I'd call a dangerous/ghetto area, that many people I know seem to think it is (To be fair, it's my understanding it used to be pretty bad years back). Is it in the early stages of gentrification? Based on it's location, and what I see going on with it, it seems like a real possibility to me. Or is it just a part of Seattle that gets overlooked in favor of the inner-city hoods?

Discuss
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:23 PM
 
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White Center is lovely in the daytime (and I am a fan of Zippy's, which moved into that area not long ago).

I think the only real downside to White Center is that it is unincorporated King County, and police presence is notoriously slow and lax largely due to that fact. I'd venture to say that White Center's issues have largely been born of the lack of police infrastructure.

Beyond that, it's a lovely place and definitely is at a crossroads.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
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The good thing about White Center is that its population is only 14,000. It would only take a few new developments (and demolition of some old strip malls) and possible a police station and it would be as good as new.

As the city of Seattle continues to increase in population (and as prices continue to skyrocket for housing), White Center will be gentrified in the next 20 years.

All of the new developments in this area are exciting.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:04 PM
 
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White Center is clearly a vibrant, fun little neighborhood, at least as hip as many neighborhoods within Seattle. It's definitely on the up and up, with Meander's Kitchen moved in from closer to Alaska Junction. Proletariat Pizza is excellent. Zippy's has awesome burgers. The original Full Tilt Ice Cream. Big Al's Brewery. Peruvian roast chicken. Soul Food. A pie bakery. Insanely good Mexican food.
White Center does need to annex to a city, and probably will within the next couple of years. The voters turned down annexing to Burien, and it seems like a natural to become part of Seattle.
But in answer to your questions: It'll take a while to gentrify, but it clearly has this artsy hipster vibe mixed in with the diverse population. But yes, there are parts of Seattle that get overlooked in favor of closer in areas. White Center used to be far worse. I've never been there at 2 AM, but I've been to Big Al's and Proletariat in the dark, and it seemed perfectly safe. People are slow to change their perceptions of neighborhoods, even if they haven't stepped foot in the neighborhood for 15 years. And neighborhoods do change.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ira500 View Post
White Center is clearly a vibrant, fun little neighborhood, at least as hip as many neighborhoods within Seattle. It's definitely on the up and up, with Meander's Kitchen moved in from closer to Alaska Junction. Proletariat Pizza is excellent. Zippy's has awesome burgers. The original Full Tilt Ice Cream. Big Al's Brewery. Peruvian roast chicken. Soul Food. A pie bakery. Insanely good Mexican food.
White Center does need to annex to a city, and probably will within the next couple of years. The voters turned down annexing to Burien, and it seems like a natural to become part of Seattle.
But in answer to your questions: It'll take a while to gentrify, but it clearly has this artsy hipster vibe mixed in with the diverse population. But yes, there are parts of Seattle that get overlooked in favor of closer in areas. White Center used to be far worse. I've never been there at 2 AM, but I've been to Big Al's and Proletariat in the dark, and it seemed perfectly safe. People are slow to change their perceptions of neighborhoods, even if they haven't stepped foot in the neighborhood for 15 years. And neighborhoods do change.
Kind of like the whole "Seattle is the whitest city in America" thing. Ignorance lasts forever.

Hell, people still think that Tacoma is the most dangerous city in America.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ira500 View Post
People are slow to change their perceptions of neighborhoods, even if they haven't stepped foot in the neighborhood for 15 years. And neighborhoods do change.
That's about the last time I was down there. Main thing I remember was a lot of really young pregnant women with multiple kids walking around.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mkarch View Post
That's about the last time I was down there. Main thing I remember was a lot of really young pregnant women with multiple kids walking around.
Well, you won't be mistaking White Center for Madison Park. It's still kinda run down. But it has changed, and now there are actually reasons to go to White Center, where 15 years ago it was less interesting, scarier, and higher crime.
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Nashville
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I wouldn't exactly call the place Seattl'e well kept secret.. It is one of the slummier neighborhoods in Seattle. Everyone knows Seattle doesn't have horrible slums like Los Angeles or Detroit, but it is still run-down and crime-ridden with respect to most other neighborhoods in the Northwest. Also, looks can be deceiving as there may be more crime going on in the neighborhood than you are aware at first glance. I met a guy last week who was working at the valet service at restaurant I went to in downtown Seattle. He said he lived in the White Center and his car got stolen right out in front of his house. He said he had no insurance and now is forced to take the bus. He told me he did not like living in the neighborhood at all.

I use to live in a similar area called Felony Flats in SE 82 and Flavel of Portland. At first glance, you don't realize all the criminal activity going on, despite the fact it is dirty and has garbage everywhere. Hang around a while and you will see why the prices are so low.

That's not to say some of these areas are not improving, as even SE 82nd in Portland has improved a bit with the transformation into an Asian neighborhood and the construction of all the new condos and mini malls. The slum is now pushed out to the SE122 + areas. I'm not sure if White Center is in such an upward swing of improvement though.
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RotseCherut View Post
I'm not sure if White Center is in such an upward swing of improvement though.
If you have no frame of reference, then its easy to think that.

But compared to how it was before, then yes there is definitely an upward swing of improvement. Its still rough, but it's getting there. I would say it is "better kept secret" because its horrid/outdated reputation keeps a lot of people out and most haven't ventured in. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

The community's come together and are working on it: White Center Now: The blog about White Center There's an energy there that wasn't years ago. Rat City is rather nifty.
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles County, CA
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Us cross-country runners in the mid 90's had a joke about White Center(guess the high school - it is a color).

When we ran their we said "duck" when the gun went off", not because it meant "start and run", but that one should "duck" - for their lives!

Perhaps White Center has changed.
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