KING 5: City leaders optimistic for future of downtown Seattle despite safety challenges

Posted on

Jon Scholes speaking at State of Downtown 2022

This story was originally published by KING 5 on March 17, 2022.

The Downtown Seattle Association held its annual “State of Downtown” event on Thursday.

Watch the Video

SEATTLE — After a difficult two years, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) said it’s working to move past the pandemic. It held its annual “State of Downtown” Thursday to break down how the city is moving forward.

Hundreds of people, including various Seattle business owners and officials, attended the event.

The association looked at ways to reduce homelessness and crime amid the return of shops and restaurants to the city’s core after losing 500 businesses during the pandemic.

Jon Scholes, the president of the DSA, acknowledged there’s still a lot more work to be done, but believes downtown is bouncing back at the right time, as we get closer to the tourist season.

“We’re seeing more office workers downtown. As we look ahead, we’re going to see cruise ships come, we’re going to see more conventions as we come out of omicron, so we’re on a path to recovery,” said Jon Scholes, the president of DSA.

Councilmember Sara Nelson also said the council is working on legislation to make sure the Seattle Police Department is fully staffed.

According to the DSA’s annual economic report, the population downtown, which stretches from the SODO neighborhood up through Uptown and South Lake Union, has increased by 67% since 2010, and the number of jobs has increased by 47%.

However, brick-and-mortar retail jobs and entertainment jobs have seen a decline.

Retail jobs are down 15% and jobs in restaurants, hotels, the arts and entertainment are down 37%. The biggest driving factor of the decline is the COVID-19 pandemic.