Epicurean Edge in danger?

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chiffonodd

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Wanted to share an email I got today from our friends at Epicurean Edge. They recently moved from Kirkland to Seattle, and apparently their new location may be claimed by the city under eminent domain in order to construct light rail. The email suggests that EE would go out of business if that happens, because it would be too cost prohibitive to start over again.

The city is still taking public comments on the proposed action. EE is requesting that people submit comments to request that the building not be taken. Maybe KKF folks could write and explain how rare a business like EE is, and how important it is to keep them around!

Full text of the email with links and suggested comments below.

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We need your help!

After more than 2 years renovating our new location in Seattle, we have recently been notified Sound Transit that the building may be acquired through eminent domain for a Light Rail path. Even if this weren't during the Covid19 pandemic, this buildout has been a tremendous undertaking and the prospect of starting over is extremely daunting (and prohibitively expensive!).

There's still hope, however.

We are in the last two days of the Light Rail comment period. The last day to send your comments in is 4/28/22.

Please take a few minutes and send an email asking City of Seattle Council, King County Council, and Sound Transit to help save our building and our business. I have created some text below. You can copy and paste this email and send it to the following email addresses. If you already wrote a comment earlier this spring, thank you tremendously for your assistance. Obviously, feel free to make changes and personalize the message as much as possible. Please make your comments by email before the end of tomorrow (4/28):

[email protected] (Sound Transit comments)
[email protected] (Sound Transit Board)
[email protected] (Dow Constantine, King County Executive, Sound Transit Board Vice Chair)
[email protected] (Claudia Balducci, King County Council Chair, Sound Transit Board)
[email protected] (Debora Juarez, Seattle District 5 Councilmember, Sound Transit Board)
[email protected] (Joe McDermott, King County Council Vice Chari, Sound Transit Board)
[email protected] (Dave Upthegrove, King County Council, Sound Transit Board)
[email protected] (Pete von Reichbauer, King County Council, Sound Transit Board)
[email protected] (Tammy Morales, Seattle District 2 Councilmember)
[email protected] (Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle Citywide Councilmember)
[email protected] (Sara Nelson, Seattle Citywide Councilmember)


At the bottom of the email, please be sure to include your name, home address, email, and phone.

If you can cc: us in your response, this will be helpful so that we can keep track of how many assistance requests they have received.

We're not necessarily against Light Rail (public transportation is generally a good thing!), we would just like to keep our building and keep our business going.

Once Sound Transit has closed the commentary period, we do not expect to hear their decision until some time in late in 2023, or early to mid 2024. As you can imagine, waiting that long with this hanging over our heads will be quite difficult.

We really appreciate you taking the time to help us out and keep us running for years to come. By writing an email, you will make a huge impact. We hope that King County Council, Seattle Council, and the Light Rail Board will see that we are a unique business and arts organization that is worth saving.

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Dear Councilmembers and Sound Transit

I am a customer at BladeGallery’s Epicurean Edge in SODO (Seattle). This last fall, they moved from Kirkland, WA to Seattle. I’m excited about their new larger storefront and look forward to their classes such as knifemaking, forging, culinary knife skills, and sharpening. I’ve recently heard that they are in danger of their new location being taken through eminent domain for the DUW-1a and DUW-1b Light Rail paths. This is a unique business, serving as a hub for the international bladesmithing community, that can’t be found anywhere else. Please help support a path for Light Rail that does not force BladeGallery’s Epicurean Edge to move again or close shop.

Who is BladeGallery?

  • BladeGallery Inc's brick and mortar art gallery draws guests from all over the world to their Seattle (SODO) workshop.
    • The 2200 sqft showroom displays a wide selection of handmade and production knives, including chef’s knives, tactical and practical knives, straight razors, and manicure gear.
    • They also offer a high performance sharpening service for home and professional chefs.
    • I’m looking forward to their classes aimed at established knifemakers and beginners.
  • BladeGallery Inc is a small business that currently supports 8 employee households.
  • BladeGallery Inc supports over 600 artisans from around the world, custom building knives. In many cases, BladeGallery is the primary sales mechanism for these artists.
During this stressful and unpredicable time, please help support this unique business and ensure that they will remain open for many years to come. I greatly appreciate any efforts that you can make to select a path for Light Rail that does not force BladeGallery Inc to move or close down – resulting in tremendous hardship for their employees and the hundreds of artisans they represent. Furthermore, the closure of BladeGallery Inc would be a considerable loss to the broader artisan knifemaking community.

The BladeGallery Showroom is at:

BladeGallery's Epicurean Edge
3628 E Marginal Way S
Seattle, WA 98134
(425) 889-5980



Yours,



BladeGallery Inc Customer:

Home address:

Email:

Phone:
 

captaincaed

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I want it to survive as well. The decision to move where they did seemed strange even without the light rail complication. It's an awful location for foot traffic, of frankly even driving.

I hope they're able to resettle and do so in a sensible spot.
 

djacobson

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I might be in minority, but I am all up for the public transportation. Sometimes cities have to make tough choices.

This article is for you: Community Input Is Bad, Actually

I am not a lawyer, but seems like this kind of write in campaign has little chance or even no chance of changing the outcome. There needs to be some legal/procedural challenge to slow or change the outcome.

Rather the effort should be on monetary damages (lost revenue, business improvement expenses, etc). Maybe EE is going to get nothing as a leaseholder but not sure.

Here's what a law firm advertising it's services has to say about the matter:
 

Lucretia

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I want it to survive as well. The decision to move where they did seemed strange even without the light rail complication. It's an awful location for foot traffic, of frankly even driving.

I hope they're able to resettle and do so in a sensible spot.

When I found out where they were moving, I knew I wouldn't be going there anymore. Their location in Kirkwood was a bit of a drive, but not too bad and in not a bad area. New location is right out.
 

chiffonodd

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And would the business' put in peril on the alternative route be less important than EE?

The beauty of participatory democracy -- and the reason why the municipal government is statutorily required to engage in this Notice and Comment period in the first place -- is that everyone is entitled to make their pitch. Then the appropriate authority will make a decision, which is subject to further challenge. Eventually, avenues to appeal the decision are exhausted and final action is taken.

In the meantime, you are perfectly welcome to write to the City of Seattle and request that they keep the proposed route as-is. 🤷‍♂️
 

captaincaed

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When I found out where they were moving, I knew I wouldn't be going there anymore. Their location in Kirkwood was a bit of a drive, but not too bad and in not a bad area. New location is right out.
It made a nice daily outing, the roads there were especially nice on the motorcycle. Make a day of the shop, the water, some local ice cream, overpriced coffee, it was great.
 

ENK

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I’m planning to check out EE in Seattle when I’m in town in a few weeks. Any other knife shops there (or in Portland) people recommend visiting?
 

Corradobrit1

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Another shoutout for PKS. It was the proprietors YT vid of his Denka that convinced me I needed one in my life 7 years ago.
 

Mariner

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This article is for you: Community Input Is Bad, Actually

I am not a lawyer, but seems like this kind of write in campaign has little chance or even no chance of changing the outcome. There needs to be some legal/procedural challenge to slow or change the outcome.

Rather the effort should be on monetary damages (lost revenue, business improvement expenses, etc). Maybe EE is going to get nothing as a leaseholder but not sure.

Here's what a law firm advertising it's services has to say about the matter:

That Atlantic article is so good. I went into it in complete disagreement and it persuaded me I was wrong.
 

blokey

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That Atlantic article is so good. I went into it in complete disagreement and it persuaded me I was wrong.
I still disagree with the article, I’m not white old not even American, where I come from government has the power to override local communities, and it resulted indeed in some impressive projects but many locals has been driven out of their home with no hope to live in the new place, richer people still could move and buy nicer place but the poor farmers who lost their lands can bearly sustain themselves in urban environments who they are not familiar with, forced to do low income jobs to stay alive. Participatory democracy may not be the best for everyone but it at least have options. And from the articles the problems seem not to be the system but rather the low participation of other people in the community even provided a simpler solution.
 
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I still disagree with the article, I’m not white old not even American, where I come from government has the power to override local communities, and it resulted indeed in some impressive projects but many locals has been driven out of their home with no hope to live in the new place, richer people still could move and buy nicer place but the poor farmers who lost their lands can bearly sustain themselves in urban environments who they are not familiar with, forced to do low income jobs to stay alive. Participatory democracy may not be the best for everyone but it at least have options. And from the articles the problems seem not to be the system but rather the low participation of other people in the community even provided a simpler solution.
I think right now the opposite is more commonly happening. People blame new high rises for displacement but the reality is displacement comes from people wanting to live in these neighborhoods, which will happen whether they live in a high rise with 100 units per lot or whether they just displace the existing tenant. Supply and demand basically.

I think the unfortunate thing is to make this rail line (which presumably is a net positive), some people will lose. I don't know the exact situation here, but the way to make it win-win is to pay them far above market values for the property (which may not apply if they are just leasing unfortunately), and what they do with that is up to them. Ultimately, I wish them the best though, and don't blame people for advocating for their own best interest even if I think it may not be in the community interest.
 

blokey

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I think right now the opposite is more commonly happening. People blame new high rises for displacement but the reality is displacement comes from people wanting to live in these neighborhoods, which will happen whether they live in a high rise with 100 units per lot or whether they just displace the existing tenant. Supply and demand basically.

I think the unfortunate thing is to make this rail line (which presumably is a net positive), some people will lose. I don't know the exact situation here, but the way to make it win-win is to pay them far above market values for the property (which may not apply if they are just leasing unfortunately), and what they do with that is up to them. Ultimately, I wish them the best though, and don't blame people for advocating for their own best interest even if I think it may not be in the community interest.
It might be more common some places but less common in others. My grandma was forced out of the land along with the whole village so new urban development could be build, the compensatory residents are 7 story apartment with no elevators, for a villages full of most elders. Lucky for her her children is better off so we can afford a better apartment, not so lucky for other who soon or later have to sell their new home since they have no skills apart from farming.
The thing is find a balance between those things, honestly I will be happy to have more public transport where I live now but I can understand people who don’t want loud traffics and constructions right out their house, they can and should voice their objections and I should be able to, the thing is to maximize the participation of those discussions, not hand them to a smaller group or even just individuals.
 

Mariner

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I still disagree with the article, I’m not white old not even American, where I come from government has the power to override local communities, and it resulted indeed in some impressive projects but many locals has been driven out of their home with no hope to live in the new place, richer people still could move and buy nicer place but the poor farmers who lost their lands can bearly sustain themselves in urban environments who they are not familiar with, forced to do low income jobs to stay alive. Participatory democracy may not be the best for everyone but it at least have options. And from the articles the problems seem not to be the system but rather the low participation of other people in the community even provided a simpler solution.

There's certainly a balance point to be reached, but I fundamentally disagree that policy is untenable if bad for a few citizens. Low participation rates are perfectly understandable when you consider how much each group has to gain or lose from a given policy - homeowners who can threaten lawsuits make a few hundred thousand each whereas the average apartment renter is looking at maybe saving a few hundred dollars a year if the light rail arrived.

I lived in Europe for years before moving back to the states and frankly our public infrastructure is abysmal. It is largely a problem of powerful, private interests consolidating wealth and power in small interactions just like those highlighted in the article.
 

blokey

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There's certainly a balance point to be reached, but I fundamentally disagree that policy is untenable if bad for a few citizens. Low participation rates are perfectly understandable when you consider how much each group has to gain or lose from a given policy - homeowners who can threaten lawsuits make a few hundred thousand each whereas the average apartment renter is looking at maybe saving a few hundred dollars a year if the light rail arrived.

I lived in Europe for years before moving back to the states and frankly our public infrastructure is abysmal. It is largely a problem of powerful, private interests consolidating wealth and power in small interactions just like those highlighted in the article.
To be honest I agree with you in some points, I have lived in Asia for most of my life and lived in Canada for few years, American infrastructure is behind most developed countries and some developing countries apart from highway and airport (one thing really impressed me tho when I come here is every public restroom have toilet paper lol). But that’s more to be said about democratic process rather than democratic system, people should be more informed, and debt the benefits and losses. Even a few citizens who objects can and should be voicing their opinions, and the opposite is true too. The article did not discuss much about the solution but indicts we should abolish participatory democracy on community level because of few powerful individuals, but by doing that we simply handing the rights to another small group of powerful individuals, it might work for short time, but every small groups have their own interest.
Sorry to detract the thread, I just think it is ok for EE and their customers to voice their objection, and it is ok for people in support of light rail to voice their opinion too.
 

WildBoar

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hmmm, highways and air travel are two very significant infrastructure items. That doesn't leave many of significance. So please list some of the ones we are behind on. Dams? Electrical grids? Railroads? The condition of any/ all of these can vary significantly depending on where you are in the country, sometimes due to age and sometimes due to areas of high growth. But if what you are really referring to is public transportation options that is a different discussion than infrastructure.
 

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hmmm, highways and air travel are two very significant infrastructure items. That doesn't leave many of significance. So please list some of the ones we are behind on. Dams? Electrical grids? Railroads? The condition of any/ all of these can vary significantly depending on where you are in the country, sometimes due to age and sometimes due to areas of high growth. But if what you are really referring to is public transportation options that is a different discussion than infrastructure.

This is a favorite topic so please excuse a little verbosity here; however, infrastructure is moreso a combination of various public structures than it is any one of them in isolation. For example:
  1. The United States has excellent public highway infrastructure, but suffers enormously from basic road hierarchy, especially in mid-sized plus urban centers. The classic example is from a friend who took a taxi to his hotel, then tried to walk two blocks away to see a local interest. There was no way to get there as a pedestrian. He had to get another taxi to go two freaking blocks.
  2. Seattle has actually got a fairly good public transit system but suffers from city design decisions of the mid-2000s and beyond. That is, the vast swath of urban transit is fueled by suburban travelers who don't have key access to the transit link. Much of this is driven by economic growth and the transformation/gentrification of middle-class neighborhoods into housing deserts. Neighborhoods that once represented the pseudo-legendary "working class" (Seattle's social and economic structure makes this label almost entirely useless) are now primarily investment vehicles for upper economic strata. Want evidence? Try to purchase any home >1000sqft within four blocks of access to light rail.
  3. Finally, trains are a viable structure of transport within the United States; however, they are largely inaccessible to passenger transport. Tracing the history of how we arrived at the private ownership of rail lines and commercial agreements that derail (ha) passenger priority is enough to make your head spin. But suffice to say despite an abundant availability of the infrastructure, it remains inaccessible.
So no, public transportation is not pure infrastructure. But it is one of the best symptoms for poor, aging, or underfunded public structures and policies.
 

WildBoar

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Thanks. Just confirming you were focused on transportation when you indicated 'infrastructure'.

The highway system and mobility by car was key in the development of the US. Sure, in cities and outlying suburbs now more people want public transportation. It cannot magically appear in areas that are built out, and you cannot run subways and light rail to the entire area outside of a major city. So you wind up with a couple/ few dozen rail stops and mini cities not pop up at/ around them. Which still accounts for a very small amount of the overall land outside the city. Usually in those areas you drive in to the city or you drive to a rail station.

Head outside of a city and things are a lot different. You want/ need to travel around a bit? Go to the countryside on a Saturday? You can do it.

I live right outside of DC. On any given week I may be 30 miles to the south, 30 miles to the west, etc. for various recreational activities. I personally am not a city liver who only ever wants to exits in a 10 square mile area. But some people do like to live their life like that. And if public transportation can't get them there they will not go. Which again is fine if they are happy living like that.

In any city anywhere in the world you will have areas where you cannot get from one place to another walking. If not major roads it can be rail tracks, etc. Cities grow and the needs within them change. in 2022 you can damn a city where most construction took place in the 20th Century as not providing what people have decided they want to have today. But in general the new areas of construction are being developed the way people want to live in 2022. Not so easy to go back and change the existing part. But in places like DC it is happening every day, with road lanes being removed and replaced with bike lanes, bus lanes, etc. And there are plenty of new mini-cities getting built around the metro stops in the outlying suburbs. Fun fact though -- Metro ridership is way, way down from pre-covid -- many who used to metro in to DC for work are now choosing to drive.
 

RockyBasel

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hmmm, highways and air travel are two very significant infrastructure items. That doesn't leave many of significance. So please list some of the ones we are behind on. Dams? Electrical grids? Railroads? The condition of any/ all of these can vary significantly depending on where you are in the country, sometimes due to age and sometimes due to areas of high growth. But if what you are really referring to is public transportation options that is a different discussion than infrastructure.
I live in Switzerland bordering Germany and France, and I am American and travel to the US every month or so

what I observe is that roads are better maintained here (granted, CH and DE being two of the most developed countries) and airports are also better maintained. Not as huge as the US, but maintenance is better so things look cleaner and better and more organized. For example, in 10 years, I have not seen a single pot hole in Switzerland. When I was living in manhattan, I saw one every day

Of course, railway’s are far better here, trains that go 190 mph and the like - getting to Paris or Frankfurt is 3 hours on a high-speed train is effortless

In general, there seems to be on-going maintenance and capital investments in infrastructure that matters to me -roads, trains, and airports, tunnels, bridges, etc. Swiss are obsessed with tunnels - will bore through at every opportunity. Never seen more tunnels - but granted, I am in the alps.

when I travel and drive in the US, it does not seem that things have been well maintained - roads are bumpy and patched up, less clean, lot of grime.

but of course, weather is a big factor in the US - extreme cold followed by extreme heat. It wreaks havoc on roads
 

captaincaed

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American transit infrastructure is perhaps impossibly varied and complex due to how quickly the country grew. But neglect is apparent.
 

WildBoar

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There is definitely a lot of paving here in the US to maintain. And bridges. A lot of newer roads these days (at least around DC) are built by developers of very large subdivisions, and the upkeep is up to the communities as the Counties do not want to own. maintain them. So there are private entities, local gov'ts and State DOT agencies. And funding support from Fed Gov varies quite a bit. Add in stuff like NPS not liking having funding cut a couple years ago, so they intentionally let portions of Balt-Wash Pkwy turn into a moonscape, as it was right in Congress's backyard. So political games on top of everything else (I also remember when the Fed Gov wouldn't give States as much funding if they allowed portions of the Interstates to have speed limits higher than 55 mph). Oh, and many roads are so busy shutting portions down for repaving really screws everyone up. (in the urban/ semi-urban areas -- not so much as you get more rural)

The main model here is to top roads with asphalt and put them on repaving schedules every 'x' # of years. But jurisdictions started extending out 'x' more and more due to rising costs. And sometimes when a road really, really needs repaving weather throws a wrench into things and you cannot do it for months after initially planned.

Winter wasn't very bad around DC this past year. But I'm amazed at how badly a lot of asphalt paving deteriorated. One day last week as I drove on a major artery where the asphalt was starting to crumble in spots I was reminded of riding on a major highway in Russia a couple times -- where you were forced to slow down to 10-15 mph every mile or so to navigate around the craters that formed in the road. Thankfully it is not nearly that bad here (with the exception of the power play by NPS referenced above). Once warm temperatures are sustained (later this month) lots of repaving will kick into gear. Bridges are a whole 'nother ballgame...
 

RockyBasel

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There is definitely a lot of paving here in the US to maintain. And bridges. A lot of newer roads these days (at least around DC) are built by developers of very large subdivisions, and the upkeep is up to the communities as the Counties do not want to own. maintain them. So there are private entities, local gov'ts and State DOT agencies. And funding support from Fed Gov varies quite a bit. Add in stuff like NPS not liking having funding cut a couple years ago, so they intentionally let portions of Balt-Wash Pkwy turn into a moonscape, as it was right in Congress's backyard. So political games on top of everything else (I also remember when the Fed Gov wouldn't give States as much funding if they allowed portions of the Interstates to have speed limits higher than 55 mph). Oh, and many roads are so busy shutting portions down for repaving really screws everyone up. (in the urban/ semi-urban areas -- not so much as you get more rural)

The main model here is to top roads with asphalt and put them on repaving schedules every 'x' # of years. But jurisdictions started extending out 'x' more and more due to rising costs. And sometimes when a road really, really needs repaving weather throws a wrench into things and you cannot do it for months after initially planned.

Winter wasn't very bad around DC this past year. But I'm amazed at how badly a lot of asphalt paving deteriorated. One day last week as I drove on a major artery where the asphalt was starting to crumble in spots I was reminded of riding on a major highway in Russia a couple times -- where you were forced to slow down to 10-15 mph every mile or so to navigate around the craters that formed in the road. Thankfully it is not nearly that bad here (with the exception of the power play by NPS referenced above). Once warm temperatures are sustained (later this month) lots of repaving will kick into gear. Bridges are a whole 'nother ballgame...
I used to live outside of DC for a few years before CH. The Baltimore-Washington parkway - firstly, never heard a more louder highway from tire noise. like a drill in the car. Secondly - parts of it were so poorly maintained - moonscape is the right word
 
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