Around The Sound: King County Slightly Less Bleak For Buyers Than Surrounding Region

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Let’s have a look at our housing stats for the broader Puget Sound area. Here’s your June update to our “Around the Sound” statistics for Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

Recently we’re beginning to see some interesting differences between King County and the other counties in the region…

First up, a summary table:

June 2016 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price $573,522 $395,000 $284,200 $299,975 $268,000 $329,000 $302,000 $316,000
Price YOY 14.7% 9.7% 10.6% 11.1% 7.2% 10.3% 22.5% 7.1%
Active Listings 3,177 1,529 2,322 758 989 492 508 860
Listings YOY -7.1% -22.6% -20.6% -17.6% -10.3% -17.4% -15.9% -19.5%
Closed Sales 2,894 1,223 1,487 470 480 227 215 335
Sales YOY -0.3% 6.0% 10.6% 14.4% 5.5% 33.5% 10.8% 5.7%
Months of Supply 1.1 1.3 1.6 1.6 2.1 2.2 2.4 2.6

With far and away the highest median price, King County is the only county where sales are not increasing year-over-year. King County is also an outlier with the smallest year-over-year decline in listings. Every other county saw a double-digit drop in listings, while King County is aproaching a flatline on inventory.

Prices are up across the board from a year ago. Skagit turned in the largest increase on a percentage basis.

Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

Listings are down from a year ago across the board, but the drop in King County is actually the smallest that it’s been in a while, down “just” seven percent. The biggest dips were in Snohomish and Pierce Counties, which were both down by over 20 percent from a year earlier.

Active Listings of Single-Family Homes

Closed sales were up in every county except King in June. The biggest gains were in Island County, which saw closed sales increase 34 percent from a year ago. Kitsap, Pierce, and Skagit also had double-digit gains.

Closed Sales of Single-Family Homes

Months of supply is downright bleak for buyers across the board. Every single county had fewer months of supply this June than it did a year ago. It’s still a very strong seller’s market everywhere.

Months of Supply Single Family Homes

Finally, here’s a chart comparing the median price in March to the 2007 peak price in each county. King, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties have all posted prices above the previous peak, while the rest of the counties are still just barely shy of hitting that mark.

Peak Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

In summary: The market is still demoralizing for buyers. Oddly, it’s slightly less terrible in King County than it is everywhere else, but that’s not saying much.

If there is certain data you would like to see or ways you would like to see the data presented differently, drop a comment below and let me know.


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

226 comments:

  1. 1
    Kris S. says:

    Just buying a “median” house two years ago in King County and selling it today would have made me about as much money as going to my job and working every day has done.

    Prospective middle-class first time home buyers just looking for a stable place to live are the ones in the worst position right now, competing with investment money while watching everyone else earn value.

  2. 2

    I don’t get the headline. King County seems the most “bleak” for buyers to me, based primarily on 1.1 month of supply.

  3. 3
    David B. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – I agree, King County is obviously the worst place to be a buyer of all the counties summarized: highest prices and least inventory. What Tim’s trying to say is that the rate at which things are getting worse for buyers is less in King than in the other counties.

    But as it stands, his headline is like claiming the leading person in a race as being behind because the guys in third, fourth, and fifth place are accelerating faster than he is. Not so: the leader is still the leader.

  4. 4
    ess says:

    Can and should any differentiation be made between housing in South Snohomish County cities that are adjacent to north King County, and housing in other parts of the county? I would assume that South Snohomish County is so close to Seattle and the east side that those prices would be significantly higher than housing in Snohomish County locations further north and east. Some of those towns are actually closer to Seattle than many King County residential areas. If there is a significant difference – it would be useful to separate those close in South Snohomish towns from the rest of the county, although it may not be possible. The daily activities of many South Snohomish county residents gravitate towards King country although they technically reside in another county, and they are more impacted by what transpires in King County and Seattle than Everett.

  5. 5
    GoHawks says:

    1.1 months worth of supply is less bleak?

  6. 6
    Matt Damon says:

    I would buy regardless of the bubble. If there’s anything that Seattle will NEVER run out of, its a continuous stream of people moving here who are astoundingly stupid with their money. So unless another great recession happens, you’ll be able to sell your house for double whatever the economic situation. You don’t need to convince everyone your 1 bedroom is 1 million, just one a$$hole from Palo Alto.

  7. 7
    Not my name says:

    Can’t wait for King County median prices to touch 1 million. That will be awesome!

  8. 8
    Matt Damon says:

    DEAR TECH TRANSPLANTS:

    I would like to offer this brief guide for all new citizens moving to our wonderful city to help them assimilate:
    1. Soccer sucks. If I need to explain why soccer sucks, you probably suck.
    2. Driving in the rain isn’t hard.
    3. A message to the 90% of home-buyers breaking international monetary laws to hide income from their government…. wǒ hěn gāoxìng gēn nǐ jiànmiàn! (Hi!)
    4. Just because you’re used to higher real estate prices in SF doesn’t mean you need to overpay here.
    5. Lacrosse is for a$$holes. Mercer Island gets a pass, they can’t help themselves.
    6. To women from LA. Ballard isn’t “like” so hot right now. It IS hot right now. Check yo grammar losers.
    7. The average millennial here is as intellectually one dimensional as Taylor Swift’s chest. If you don’t want your ears to bleed, don’t listen to conversations at trendy south Lake Union food trucks.
    8. Our mayor is only concerned with social injustices and painting rainbows on sidewalks, so if you’re a well-adjusted middle class male looking to be represented, may I suggest __(Insert place that doesn’t exist anymore)___

  9. 9
    GoHawks says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 7 – Wow, bitter much.

  10. 10
    Matt Damon says:

    RE: GoHawks @ 8 – Not bitter, just bummed. This was by far the best city in the world to grow up in. It’s the last major city to not be overrun by the obnoxious money-grubbers that are all too common in other, lesser cities. That time is gone, and with it, the middle class.

  11. 11
    greg says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 9

    Sorry matt, you sound super bitter.

    I grew up in a town that went from middle class to super wealthy in just 30 years. It was and is a great place, but now just like Disney the demographic has shifted away from “working” people to the people they work for.

    It is just a fact of life, you should be glad that you or your parents did so well with their home, they can pass that on to you or you can pass it on yourself…

    Don’t be bitter, be smart, find a mispriced property and make yourself some equity.

  12. 12
    Matt Damon says:

    OK I’M BITTER!

    I don’t have the “economic rapist” gene and if we continue to propel a divided, exponential economy where my kids start out with 0 dollars and have to find 400k to buy a two bedroom rambler then we all deserve to rot in hell.

  13. 13
    Doug says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 11 – No, it just means they might have to live in Kent, Auburn, or Federal Way. All fine places to be.

  14. 14
    Matt Damon says:

    RE: Doug @ 12RE: Doug @ 12 – No, that argument is as stale as the beard fad. Then their kids can live in Fife, then their kids can pitch a tent at the base of Mt. Rainier. The high paying jobs will always be in the city. How screwed you are just depends on what year it is when you’re born and Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way still suck a fat one. Maybe not forever, but for now you have to bay 450k to live next to a 50k neighbor. Have fun at school kids and duck if you hear gunfire!

  15. 15
    Doug says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 13 – Just get one of the high paying jobs then? I don’t know that there’s a great answer here other than to adapt.

  16. 16
    ess says:

    More populated areas, such as Los Angeles and area have commutes that can be up to two hours in each direction by car. Many people in the NYC area commute up to two hours each way by train(s) from the suburbs to Manhattan. Taking an hour or so to commute from the less expensive areas of Puget Sound to one’s job isn’t the end of the world. Millions do it around the country, and millions will continue to do so in the future. There are still very attractive moderately priced areas in the Puget Sound where housing is still fairly reasonable. We actually decided on less expensive housing (and real estate taxes) outside of Seattle and both of us made that commute for years.

  17. 17
    Matt Damon says:

    RE: Doug @ 14 – I have a very well-paying job but because of this new tech-based, ADD-ridden economy, nobody, especially those in tech, have any reason to believe they will be able to pay a 30 year loan to completion, if that’s their goal. In this economy, whatever you trained 10,000 hours to master will be gone in 9,000. If our goal is to participate in an economy that forces us to behave like animals, work on the weekend, and ignore our kids so they turn out $h!ttier than us, then we’re all screwed. Saying suck it up and adapt (give in) just makes us cowards and part of the problem.

  18. 18
    It transplant says:

    Matt- if housing market is out of your reach, no one is stopping you from moving out of WA. Please feel free to do so. Soccer rocks!

    Regards,
    IT transplant with bad grammar

  19. 19
    Warren Hutch says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 16
    I absolutely(!) agree with everything you’ve said; it does suck. Having grown up here myself it’s sad to see the beauty of this place taken over by greed. Seattle and Portland seemed so much better in earlier decades than the greed that was engulfing SF, NY and other “high maintenance” cities. Of course Seattle has just been overtaken by the cancer of inequality that is metastasizing almost everywhere now.

  20. 20
    Erik says:

    RE: Doug @ 12
    Yeah, matts kids can live on the streets of auburn or north Everett. Fine places to live if you are homeless or a child predator.

  21. 21

    RE: It transplant @ 17
    Oh IT transplant, I’m a fan of tie games, only using your feet, fake falls, volvos, third-world countries, and tacky scarves, just like everyone else, but I just can’t jump on the Bernie Sanders-loving, soccer commie bandwagon. Americans don’t tie in stoppage time, we swing for the fences, with a wooden bat, made in Loisville. You’re suppose to grow out of soccer by middle school, but it’s hard to grow up when you’re sucking on the tech tit.

  22. 22
    greg says:

    RE: Matt Fu$&ing Damon @ 20
    Well Matt sounds like you are just angry person looking to blame others for issues in your life.

    I welcome the tech kids, they have pumped many billions of dollars into WA, they have improved the schools, roads, services and those tech kids in Redmond floated this city through hard times.

    You should be glad Bill G and his mates helped grow this town and provided a path forward Seattle. these days nobody jokes about “turning out the lights” on the way out of town.

  23. 23

    RE: greg @ 21 – It’s ok for me to be pissed. Ya know who else was probably pissed? Anyone the Germans invaded. A large group of over-funded arrogant a$$holes going from city to city taking over, telling them how to live and who was no longer welcome. Sound familiar techies? This country cannot function as a free society without a large and moderate middle class. We’re a quiet and thoughtful group but if you try and run us out we’ll step on your neck.

  24. 24
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 16 – So why haven’t you left for the Midwest yet?

  25. 25
    Blurtman says:

    Long time residents always lament change.

    Shudda been here in:
    The ’70’s.
    The ’80’s.
    The ’90’s,
    The ’00’s.
    The ’10’s.
    The ’20’s.
    etc.

    Nothing endures but change.

  26. 26

    By Matt Damon @ 16:

    In this economy, whatever you trained 10,000 hours to master will be gone in 9,000.

    Judging tech by current website design standards (e.g. any of the Seattle TV news stations’ websites), it’s more like they spent 900 hours training for something that takes 10,000 hours to master, and that’s being generous.

    I agree with Blurtman that it’s change that bothers a lot of people, and it’s not the same changes that bother everyone. For me it’s the consumerism, both on the high end and the low end. Our economy seems to be based a lot on people buying crap they don’t really need, and won’t even want for long.

  27. 27

    On the tech topic, check out this Geekwire article, and note the Dow Jones chart on investment by region. The flow of money into the SF area is huge in comparison to Seattle, and anywhere else for that matter.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2016/cash-shortage-venture-capital-investing-plummets-61-percent-washington-state/

  28. 28
    Blurtman says:

    Look at this area from the perspective of a family from China who just moved into their new home in King County. Are they impressed by the relatively clean air and water, and proximity to nature? It is a new adventure for them, and their frame of reference is likely different than the average IT relo. In my neighborhood, the late evening neighborhood strollers are typically Chinese families.

    This is a vibrant area with inflows ad outflows. Nothing stays the same. Civilization will continue to expand. One day North Bend will be Bellevue. Buy now!

  29. 29
    Doug says:

    RE: Matt Fu$&ing Damon @ 20 – We may disagree over the perceived injustices of a growing Seattle, but we will always have a common bond making fun of that commie sport.

  30. 30
    Weasel says:

    RE: Warren Hutch @ 18 – Dont like it? Move, its a mostly free country :-)

    I cant say I remotely like the town I grew up in much either, Working in Seattle and living the Puget Sound area ain’t bad, is affordable and commutable with out driving in the horrendous traffic (hint: rails, but not slowpoke Link) if you do your homework, and forget about whats trendy.

  31. 31

    RE: Blurtman @ 27 – Quite frankly, with the way the Chinese run their own country and behave in ours, they can go f$%k themselves. That being said, every culture that works their way into this country sucks at the beginning. In a generation or two, children of Chinese immigrants will know about food sanitation, driving, humor, and work-life balance. It will eventually not feel like the rest of the world vs those with their head on the outside of their ass (middle class) , but I won’t live to see it. And yes I understand the principle of change, I have to dig for it every time a homeless person asks for it because their job was cut when tech could do it cheaper. If you think the direction our economy is headed favors the bulk of those participating in it, you’re probably part of the problem and don’t see the big picture. This is the first time in history that “progress” has become the enemy of the many. Even the industrial age added an astounding number of livable wage jobs. Tech only serves to consolidate power and money.

  32. 32
    greg says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 26:

    On the tech topic, check out this Geekwire article, and note the Dow Jones chart on investment by region. The flow of money into the SF area is huge in comparison to Seattle, and anywhere else for that matter.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2016/cash-shortage-venture-capital-investing-plummets-61-percent-washington-state/

    VC is getting dangerous.
    One thing to note is just how narrow the funding has become, funding is avoiding risk and piling on to what are seen as “safe bets”. The profile of investor has undergone change to, with funds seeking smaller and smaller investors and even opening up some to the public at large.

    Now I am no VC expert but I am fully aware that when the deals are really good they don’t come knocking at my door to see if I want to play too. But lately we have been approached by a number of VCF suggesting we might like to take part in xyz… To me that is a HUGE alarm bell. When the deals are likely to make someone rich small fry don’t get a look in the door, we are not even allowed to know what is planned nevermind partake..

    So why include us now , unless VC is having trouble finding backers for its lower tier investments?

    We are far out on the risk curve in a whole bunch of sectors/ asset classes…

  33. 33
    It transplant says:

    Re: Matt Fu$&ing Damon @20-
    Dear Matt, feel free to swing your way out to whatever F***ing country your forefathers came from. You don’t like tech implants, too bad, when your forefather moved here the Indians didn’t like them either…

    If you like swinging a bat might I suggest Cricket.

    Your friendly IT Transplant with bad grammar!

  34. 34

    RE: Doug @ 28 – The youth have no unique creative vision for the world. They remake the movies we created (Ghostbusters with women, what could go wrong!) They cant hold a candle to the 60’s boomer’s music and my generation’s 90’s grunge explosion. (Apple ran the music train into the ground long ago so it’s not their fault I guess.) I’m young enough to know for a fact that things were absolutely better from the 50’s through the 90’s. I’m in the big picture perspective sweet spot and the millennials are the biggest bunch of entitled, communist whiners the country has ever seen. It’s fascinating that young tech entrepreneur’s only goal is to eventually sell and get out. Not to build an iconic brand for decades that employ humans. Greedy cowards, all of them. People in their thirties are sandwiched between the slow, outrageously greedy boomers looking to plunder what’s left of our economy before they retire and the tech a$$holes looking to systematically dismantle the middle class so tech behemoths can turn us all into Mexicans.

    RANT OVER, PEACE OUT!

  35. 35
    Dave says:

    RE: Matt Damon @ 8

    Matt please ignore the criticism, your list made my day! As a tall, pale, male, single income, parent, tech transplant (2010), I can confirm being the bottom of the social, racial, and economic, barrel around here. Also, having learned how to drive on the 405 freeway in LA in the 1980’s, I can also confirm that Seattleites are terrible drivers. So aside from the weird transplants, intolerance, and poor driving skills, they are mostly great neighbors, comparatively speaking.

    This thread makes one wonder what’s happened in the last 12 months to these odd markets, (aside from crazy low interest rates and low inventory). Pardon if this has been covered already but on curbed we find the local migration numbers interesting.

    http://seattle.curbed.com/2016/3/25/11301860/seattle-grows-enough-to-add-another-seattle

    And hints of the inflow really increasing as we get closer to the right now.

    http://seattle.curbed.com/2016/7/14/12179970/seattle-king-county-puget-sound-growth-population

    At a coffee shop near the Kingston ferry yesterday I was in line with a lovely group of Japanese people touring the area. Since they assumed no-one could understand them they were openly discussing picking up several outlying properties around the area, mainly for family, focusing on distance to Seattle, size, and price, and noting how everything east of Seattle in King county was the least interesting. Hmm.

    “Watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimasu”
    “I understand enough Japanese to get you bro..”
    (he says showing off his UCLA foreign language requirement).

  36. 36
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  37. 37
    redmondjp says:

    This is by far the best comment thread in the past five years on this site! It perfectly illustrates the attitudes of many young newcomers to our area, and how tolerant they are of differing opinions, not to mention their complete ignorance of history or understanding of the big picture.

    Here’s a clue for you who think that the information revolution (requiring an endless supply of programmers) will never end.

    First, agriculture required intensive human capital. Now, we have GPS-controlled tractors and drones surveying where to spray the fields, not to mention machines that shake the nuts off of the trees. Sure, there is some manual labor still for harvesting certain crops, but that is seasonal, migratory work (so no, California strawberry pickers can’t afford a $700K house, a la Housing Bubble 1.0).

    Then, with the industrial revolution, we also initially needed massive human capital, so the workers left the fields and moved to the manufacturing plants in the cities. Now, we have robotized factories in which one worker keeps a dozen manufacturing centers working, doing the work of 100 assembly line workers. The remaining manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to low-wage, third-world countries where there are no environmental or worker-safety laws, and they have to have suicide prevention nets on the outsides of the factory dormitories.

    Now, we are living in the beginning part of the information revolution. Just as in the initial stages of the two eras mentioned above, agriculture and industry, we currently need massive numbers of tech workers. But as Matt so eloquently said above, you are working yourselves out of jobs in the long term as technology matures and programming (like anything else) becomes more and more automated. Once Amazon becomes mature, it will only need a small fraction of the workers, to keep the electricity and A/C on in the server farms, and to keep the robots oiled in the fulfillment centers. Same deal with lots of other tech firms that currently have six-figure employment numbers.

    So once tech becomes mature and requires a small fraction of today’s workers (as we have already seen happen in other eras and industries as outlined above), where does everybody work? Our fast-food restaurants and coffeehouses are currently being automated right now, and we will see widespread adoption of this technology in the next decade or so (with this trend being accelerated by the unintended consequences of well-meaning minimum-wage laws). Same with driving jobs (although I have my doubts as to whether this will actually happen in any widespread fashion for a number of reasons).

    One final point: As investor pressure increases on maturing tech companies that can or in the future will no longer be considered growth companies, they will have to cut costs and/or increase dividends. What is the single largest cost to any tech company? What is the easiest way to reduce that cost? How quickly can this happen?

    History has proven that people never learn. No members of any civilized society ever thought that their society or civilization or government or company or pink pony ranch was ever going to end. But they did. And sometimes in sudden and violent ways, while other times, slowly ebbing away over decades or centuries.

    Thanks for stirring the pot, Matt! We need more honest commentary like yours.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Blake says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 26:

    For me it’s the consumerism, both on the high end and the low end. Our economy seems to be based a lot on people buying crap they don’t really need, and won’t even want for long.

    Agreed… houses are twice as big as they used to be, yet families are smaller and f*cking people need to rent storage lockers to store all their sh*t! It’s a disease and it seems to be mainly American:
    http://realestate.ipe.com/pictures/580xAny/P/web/v/z/w/global-self-storage-facilitie_660.png

  40. 40
    It transplant says:

    RE: Matthew F. Damon @31
    You should be glad that the Chinese don’t read this blog. If they did, they would have bought your entire neighborhood and kicked you out of WA state! Instead of bitching about what’s wrong, do something that makes the change. But with the way you have been whining here, I doubt that your lazy ass is capable of doing anything other than whining. Instead of being jealous of the Tech employees go back to school, get a degree other than History, Sociology, Theology, music, … you know the kind that will actually get you a job that pays.

  41. 41
    GoHawks says:

    RE: Matthew F. Damon @ 34 – Now he is mad at the youth! Hey whipper snappers, get off my lawn!

    Haters gonna hate hate hate hate

  42. 42
    It transplant says:

    Re: redmondjp @37

    Change will happen every so many years and one has the option to adapt to the change or become extinct. The same goes for all the tech workers, these jobs will not be here forever, but its not the tech workers who are at fault, that the way things are. Tech workers work hard, spend years doing undergrad and grad studies to make decent money. But Matt Fu**ing Damon thinks that they are just handed out bags of cash while he is the only one who has to work to make money. If its so easy to work in the Tech industry that any stupid, dumb, a**hole can do it, Mr. Matt Fu**ing Damon would already be working in tech industry.

  43. 43
    Doug says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 37 – These were probably the same types of conversations the populists in Britain were having before electing to leave the EU.

    Matt, you’re not voting for Trump are you?

  44. 44
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Matthew F. Damon @ 31 – I had some friends over for a BBQ that are immigrants to the USA. One person grew up in Communist East Europe. Her partner in Belgium. Both came here as adults and worked hard, developed careers, and bought homes. One owns an $800k home in Sammamish. They like the USA, and are grateful for the opportunity to better their lives. They both are very open about their concern for the future of the USA. Too many people who won’t work hard, and who want something for nothing, is their concern. Unlike me, a second generation American, they both have American flags flying from their homes.

  45. 45
    ronp says:

    Seattle has only improved since I arrived in 1991 (yes I take all credit). I think it is an awesome place — mountains, sound, parks, Sounders soccer team, new light rail. Etc.

    I just wish I could pay off our mortgage faster and start financial independence and early retirement sooner ( http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ ).

  46. 46
    Justanotherguy says:

    RE: Matthew F. Damon @31
    So what’s your great plan here? Ban immigrants, Tech transplants and while we are at it ban the Muslims too while you stay at home and keep on collecting handouts from the government cause after all you diserve all that. Or should we raise the minimum wage to $50 an hour because anything less than that would not suffice

  47. 47
    Marty Luz says:

    Interesting thread. Hmmmm. I have solid connections to the tech industry and we do bring in numerous coders, etc from other countries and cities in mass. There’s no question we are selling out our own here and if you look at Turkey, the way Brazil is handling the Olympics, the Muslim community’s issue with extremists, Chinese human rights, on, and on, you realize the rest of the world has no business benefiting from this amazing country until they get their act together first. This country used to be open to immigration but we just cant justify it anymore at this level. People come here now with the sole desire to benefit FROM this country rather than pay their dues, and the government is allowing tech giants to replace the population of entire cities with workers who benefit them immediately. It’s the first time us middle aged white guys have witnessed a more subtle form of ethnic (class) cleansing .

    Someone once said the nuclear weapon is something we will wish we could un-invent. Yet it’s going to be ones and zeros that do us all in. A majority of international terrorism is only possible because of the internet and social media, it’s made us all zombies, the smartphone has increased bullying and car accidents, ITunes has obliterated the music industry, Amazon has destroyed the livelihood of millions of store owners around the country with families to feed, Facebook has made us envious of other peoples lives, UBER has forced those pushed out on the streets by tech to become friggin taxi drivers, but you can still afford to live in a home, as long as you let strangers live there while you’re gone. Thanks AIR B & B! At least we have Pokemon Go!

    Let’s be clear, you can blame people for blindly chasing money but I think they need to understand that they are unknowingly waging economic terrorism on their own country. It’s not always obvious, but it’s there, and they will unfortunately be on the wrong side of history when the bubble crashes.

  48. 48
    leydan says:

    I think there’s a kernel of valid criticism in what Matt Damon is saying. Seattle as a city can’t function with tech workers alone; it requires a large number of people working a variety of jobs with a variety of pay scales to function. All those restaurants, breweries, and coffeeshops in the hip areas of town require service staff, the city requires people to collect the trash and drive the busses, the office buildings housing the big tech companies require maintenance, property management, and janitorial staff, etc… Even if every single one of those people “learned tech” (which seems implausible) and changed careers, those are still jobs that need to be performed by someone. Some of those jobs could be considered “entry-level” stepping-stones to bigger and better things, but others are careers of their own that just happen to not pay as well as tech.

    A city inhabited by high-income tech workers and people who bought houses when the city was a bit more affordable, where the lower-income people who maintain the city’s infrastructure bus in from out of town, doesn’t sound very “progressive”.

  49. 49

    RE: redmondjp @ 37 – If you want to go even further of into the future of human labor being replaced, read Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek. ;-)

    https://www.amazon.com/Trekonomics-Economics-Star-Manu-Saadia-ebook/dp/B01E6USVP0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1468677546&sr=1-1&keywords=trekonomics#nav-subnav

  50. 50
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Marty Luz @ 47 – “This country used to be open to immigration but we just cant justify it anymore at this level.” Actually, in spite of the gibberish emitting from elected officials and candidates for office, the USA has a history of passing immigration laws that restricted immigration from areas around the world. Back in the day, cheap immigrant labor was the motive for these laws, as well as a “not us” viewpoint. The Immigration Act of 1925 banned certain Europeans from the USA, in particular, from eastern and southern Europe. Trump’s current wife’s ancestors, John Kasich’s ancestors, as well as Rudy Giuliani’s ancestors would have been banned from the USA by the 1925 act, which expired in 1965. Many past laws were designed to limit Chinese immigration.

    Imagine a time when immigration laws were passed to limit cheap immigrant labor. BTW, laws were never passed to limit immigration from south of the border due to the influence of the powerful agricultural interests.

  51. 51
    Bob says:

    With globalization and removal of borders, the talent search is worldwide, and the highest paid will seek to live in the best cities. If there were a global list of the top 5% of cities to live in, it seems the top 5% of income earners worldwide would largely take over those cities. So if you are not a top 5% wage earner, the forces of globalization are working against you in Seattle. Although globalization will be a steady trend, it will have its ups and downs, boom and busts. Seattle real estate will always be a good long-term purchase during a bust. Buy during an extended boom and you will lose unless you can hold onto the property for a long time. People buying houses priced at 5-6x their are begging for a spanking as they may be forced to sell at the bottom if they lose a job, have to move, etc .

  52. 52
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Bob @ 51 – And what do you think the global cutoff for the top 5% is? (hint: at 40 hours/week it’s less than minimum wage…)

  53. 53
    greg says:

    RE: Bob @ 51

    Well just a heads up for ya Bob, Seattle is NOT a world city. It is a smallish city in a powerful country. Take the whole of king county and you still don’t make it very far….

    Seattle, does not even come vaguely close to the top hundred cities by size in the World, maybe it makes the top 250 or 500, but it is not even big enough to have a real subway… not even close..

    what we do have is a few businesses that are world class, we are super lucky to have them and we should not expect to become New York in the next 50 to 100 years..

    Of course Seattle is a very wealthy city by some metric but most of the that money never touches the ground here and never gets taxed here.

  54. 54
    leydan says:

    RE: greg @53

    This is something I was thinking about the other day. Many big, expensive cities (eg. LA, NYC) have unique industries (or fantastic marketing) that keep a steady stream of people moving there and wanting to move there. LA has TV/film and all the people who move there trying to “make it” in those industries. NYC has theater, publishing, people who want to live there “because it’s NYC” (see: “fantastic marketing”), etc… Seattle has tech, but a lot of those folks are already on the higher end of the income scale and are therefore more able to afford the inflated costs of living. It has Boeing, but it seems more jobs are going than coming there. It’s also a nice city in a gorgeous part of the country (which is why I moved here). But is that enough to offset the cost of living increases from the past few years? And if so how far does that appeal stretch before people decide they’re better off elsewhere?

    Seattle is a relatively recent entrant into the “in” crowd, and a lot of recent transplants have yet to put down many roots keeping them here. If it gets too expensive, some of those folks may decide it’s not worth staying if their incomes can’t support them. And I don’t think a perception as an expensive city with few opportunities outside tech would be a positive thing for the region.

  55. 55
    wreckingbull says:

    Matt Damon, you may have brought some douchebaggery, but your comments have been sorely needed. I have never seen this comment section stuck in a bigger rut than it has been this year. One can only take so much mindless cheerleading, Everett-bashing, Vancouver-comparing drivel. Keep it coming, son!

  56. 56
    ess says:

    By greg @ 53:

    RE: Bob @ 51

    Well just a heads up for ya Bob, Seattle is NOT a world city. It is a smallish city in a powerful country. Take the whole of king county and you still don’t make it very far….

    Seattle, does not even come vaguely close to the top hundred cities by size in the World, maybe it makes the top 250 or 500, but it is not even big enough to have a real subway… not even close..

    what we do have is a few businesses that are world class, we are super lucky to have them and we should not expect to become New York in the next 50 to 100 years..

    Of course Seattle is a very wealthy city by some metric but most of the that money never touches the ground here and never gets taxed here.

    Actually, the population of Seattle and area is number 134 in list of most populated cities of the world according to one source. And many of those cities with greater population than Seattle are long in quantity of population, and short in quality of life. Thus Seattle is not the tiny weenie backwater as some may believe, and would rank much higher of many of those cities as a desirable place to reside.

    http://www.worldatlas.com/citypops.htm

  57. 57
    greg says:

    RE: ess @ 56

    Oh please ess, can you stop your cheerleading for just ONE minute.

    Seattle does not make the list. You want to use metros because it pushes Seattle ahead of much bigger cities.
    Conurbation ensures that many dozens of truly larger cities get pushed down further than Seattle. That is why in the case of King county it does not work. Seattle is the only big city in the metro area, thus gets its number inflated, meanwhile cities of 1million beside a couple of cities of 1 or 3 million end up sharing their surrounding pops .

    You know this is true, but just like using what ever weak little story you can to promote you dreams of never ending inflation.

    You also I know I was talking about CITIES not greater metro areas, but of course staying on topic is hard for you when it does not suit your narrative of never ending inflation in just one asset class….

  58. 58
    bob says:

    RE: leydan @ 54

    LeyDan,

    I’ve often wondered myself whether people will view Seattle so favorably in the future. I am one of the transplants you refer to. I work at one of the large companies in down – let’s say one of the big three. I can tell you my salary has gone up 2-3% each year but housing prices have gone up 20-30%. Three years ago it may have been an OK deal – but now?

    Today’s prices wouldn’t be bad if you could lock in the benefit of low interest rates and stay put for 30 years, but who can realistically do that? Who can say they’ll be in the same job in 30 years? Who can say they’ll be in the same job in 5 years? Any job change out of necessity or preference could make you want to sell your house, even if you just want to move across town to avoid a horrific commute.

    Locking in a location for 15 or 30 years isn’t a realistic option in today’s job market, so the benefits of low interest rates are deceptive at best. So who would move into this high cost area unless you are coming from an even higher cost area like San Fran.

    On the attraction front, you have to agree that traffic is nearly unbearable here and getting worse. The natural “attractions” are getting less natural. Last time I went to Paradise at Mount Ranier it was more like Grand Central Station. Could barely even find a parking spot.

  59. 59
    leydan says:

    RE: ess @56

    According to this source, Seattle is 129th in population. However it is not present on the global financial centers index, and it is considered a “Beta- city” (“These are important world cities that are instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy”) by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Other US cities with this ranking include Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, San Jose, and San Diego. So not a “tiny weenie backwater” but certainly not an economic and financial powerhouse. Maybe someday, but not today.

    On quality of life, when I lived in San Diego I worked with someone who moved there from Seattle. When I asked him why he moved, he said “because I was tired of it being rainy and overcast all the time”. A lot of people who lived down there would say “everyone wants to move here” due to the weather. But whenever I visit that region I think “this place is hot, dry, dead, and expensive. Why did I ever want to live here?” Point being, there’s a bit of selection bias at play in claims about quality of life coming from someone who lives here. Also cost of living in relation to income is a big contributor to quality of life, and the recent increases in cost of living in this area (without corresponding increases in income) negatively affect quality of life for a lot of people.

    Lest anyone think I’m picking on Seattle, I think Denver and Austin have similar issues regarding affordability and opportunities/quality of life which may have negative effects if trends continue.

  60. 60

    I’m not sure why people are using population as a guide for which cities are the top 5% of cities to live in. El Paso Texas is probably larger than a lot of other cities, but it’s possibly one of the worst places to live in the United States, and probably the worst of cities that approximate size.

    Conversely, I really don’t like most very large cities, but I would make an exception for a place like Paris France.

    So population size and a city being a desirable place to live don’t really correlate that well.

  61. 61
    StupidLifeDecisions says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 59:

    I’m not sure why people are using population as a guide for which cities are the top 5% of cities to live in. El Paso Texas is probably larger than a lot of other cities, but it’s possibly one of the worst places to live in the United States, and probably the worst of cities that approximate size.

    ….

    So population size and a city being a desirable place to live don’t really correlate that well.

    This is so true about El Paso, so the final statement is also true!

  62. 62
    leydan says:

    RE: bob @ 58

    I’m also a tech transplant who moved here from out of state a few years ago. When I moved here I thought rents were reasonable, at least in line with what I was paying before I moved. After a 20% increase and a 15% increase on top of that (while getting similar 2%-3% raises as you), I don’t think they are. I telecommute to work (I don’t work at one of the big 3) and therefore can live anywhere with an internet connection and near an airport, so I bailed a couple months after that first 20% hike and found a bigger, cheaper place outside the city. I don’t know what the telecommuting policies are at the big 3, but for the landlords’ sake let us hope they never become liberalized.

    I also question some of the economic diversity of the area outside the big 3. For a time I worked in aerospace (not Boeing), and of the 3 engineers I know in that field who left their jobs and stayed in that field, two had to move out of state and one is currently looking out of state because they couldn’t/can’t find anything here. Similarly I know of friends of friends who “made the rounds” at the big 3 and left the area to further their career. But having never worked at any of those places I don’t know how common that is; those companies are big enough that even a small percentage of people results in large numbers of people. Regardless, what happens in a recession when the big 3 have layoffs? How many of these folks will the local economy be able to support, and how many will have to look elsewhere?

  63. 63
    Seth B says:

    Seattle is an interesting case. When I grew up here in the 80’s there was a massive middle class employed with slightly above middle class wages at Microsoft, Boeing, etc. Seattle during the 80’s and 90’s was the pinnacle of human existence as we were intelligent but not obnoxious, decently paid but not overworked, politically moderate but involved, rural but cultured, it was the best place and time to come of age in human history and I can only say that for sure because it wasn’t even close. So of course those that grew up here are now saying “Whaaaaatttt the fuuuu@@@@kkkk!!!”

    Now we are the most polarized, cluelessly liberal, obnoxious, self-centered, group as we have been taken over by outsiders who didn’t have the luxury of the perfect human incubator that was Seattle in the 80’s-90’s. Unfortunately the Achilles heel of our typically well-functioning economy is that the money will always eventually pool around the wrong types of people. The most social skills you need in this town now is the ability to spend hours in a dark cold room in front of a screen.

    We can’t only blame tech though. Our government for one reason or another has allowed the Chinese to buy their way to citizenship through land purchases rather than earn it and has refused to confront the illegal immigration issue from the south. If either of these issues happened overnight it would be considered an act of war but because it’s happening over time, we somehow make them the victims of our “un-american attitudes”.

    The American dream is that you can build an amazing life for yourself if you work hard but some people think it means that the more money you have, the easier it should be to acquire more money. That’s how civil wars are started.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    leydan says:

    RE: ess @ 56, Kary L Krismer @ 59

    Seattle doesn’t make the Global Financial Centers Index and is ranked as a “Beta -” city (“These are important world cities that are instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy”) by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Among other US cities with this ranking are Cleveland, Detroit, Denver, Minneapolis, San Jose, and San Diego.

    Obviously you can question the methodology and/or credentials of that organization (I don’t have enough knowledge on the subject to do so intelligently). But subjectively I recognized the names of all the cities on that list up until the “Beta” ranking, where I didn’t recognize one of 18. At “Beta -” I didn’t recognize nine of 36.

    So while Seattle’s not a “tiny weenie backwater”, it’s also not a global financial powerhouse. Maybe someday it will be, but not today.

  66. 66
    Seth B says:

    RE: leydan @ 63 – You’re just looking at Seattle today. If you bring not big picture but HUGE picture to this, Seattle will be as large as New York in 50 years. Seattle is the only major city positioned close to the expanding Asian markets that won’t be looking at serious financial and livability issues due to climate change. Every time I visit the east coast, but especially New York, I realize how heavy the burden is on a city designed for the industrial age. New York doesn’t have the flexibility or the desirability to be relevant long term in the US. Their time has passed. If you look at where the climate and the new economy are taking people you have your choice between Seattle, and slightly east of Seattle. That means that anyone looking to better their lives will eventually need to move here. Seattle will be ground zero for the first real world hunger games, yay!

    So anyone who thinks Seattle isn’t going to see the largest growth of any location on planet earth isn’t thinking big enough.

  67. 67
    KidPsych says:

    First we had a tech bubble. Then we had a housing bubble. Now we have a tech-driven housing bubble. I can’t imagine anything going wrong. Nope. Smooth sailing from here on out.

  68. 68
    Dave says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 49
    Trek fiction is fun but un-necessary as our non-fiction world makes sense if you look at the numbers. The difference in perspective here in the forum is mainly between generations, (Boomer 1944-1964, X 1964-1984, and Millennial 1984-2004), and is more economic than social or demographic.

    The economic card must go to Millennial since the business environment is certainly worse. For example, “American entrepreneurship is actually on the decline, and has been for decades. As the economists Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan documented in a 2014 Brookings Institution paper, the percentage of U.S. firms that were less than a year old fell by almost half between 1978 and 2011, declining precipitously during the recession of 2007-’09 with only a slow recovery after.”
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601497/why-startups-are-struggling/

    The demographic card also goes to Millennial since their student loan debt can no longer be discharged. On a macro scale this is disasterous.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankruptcy_Abuse_Prevention_and_Consumer_Protection_Act

    The social card must also go to Millennial since the race card was put away in the 70’s and they managed to bring it back.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-16/black-lives-matter-organizer-triggered-white-people-demands-money-being-fat-black-bi

    And for those insulted by joking reference to the race card I’ll remind them that, “Yes, technically more white people are victims of police violence. According to the Washington Post’s data on police killings, there have been 1,502 shot and killed by on-duty police since January 1, 2015. Nearly half of them (732 people) were white. Black people accounted for 381 of the victims.”

    Oh well, I personally give the whiny, challenged kids a pass, (which reinforces entitlement), and will get back to trying to fix the legislative nightmare those Boomers left behind. Hooah!

  69. 69
    Seth B says:

    Last time I checked 2 plus 4 equals four. So either this real estate market is like an untoasted croissant or I’m going to need to find some unsalted butter. It’s like a deck of cards with no threes!

  70. 70
    GoHawks says:

    RE: KidPsych @ 67 – why would you call this a bubble? 1.1 month’s worth of supply, don’t prices have to rise?

  71. 71
    greg says:

    RE: leydan @ 65

    Think you nailed there leydan, much better way to look at than viewing it by pop and money.

    I think seattle has a bright future, just not the next New York…

  72. 72
    greg says:

    By KidPsych @ 67:

    First we had a tech bubble. Then we had a housing bubble. Now we have a tech-driven housing bubble. I can’t imagine anything going wrong. Nope. Smooth sailing from here on out.

    It is not tech “driven”, but tech money is part of the picture.

    RE across the Nation has been supported by the excess monies seeking investment/return and or shelter.

    Literally trillions of dollars have flowed into RE. For a while there it was a good deal, but many markets are way over inflated. How this plays out is hard to tell, but we know for certain that wages will not take many more rent increases, so either people will need to get paid a lot more or prices will have to stop..

  73. 73
    leydan says:

    RE: Seth B @ 66

    None of us have the magic crystal ball that allows us to see the future, so your guess is as good as mine. And if Seattle replaced NYC as the US global financial center I’d be thrilled; it’d probably be as close a thing to winning the lottery as I’ll ever experience. But assuming that will happen places you in the realm of high risk, high return speculative investing, and personally I lack the HUGE picture, knowledge, and understanding to base any major financial decisions on that possibility. If today I had the money to spend on such a risky venture, I’d probably go to Vegas and put it all on Red. The odds are better, I’d enjoy myself more, and I’d get free drinks out of the deal.

  74. 74

    By leydan @ 65:

    RE: ess @ 56, Kary L Krismer @ 59
    So while Seattle’s not a “tiny weenie backwater”, it’s also not a global financial powerhouse. Maybe someday it will be, but not today.

    I’m not sure being a global financial powerhouse is all that important either. Maybe if you work in the financial industry . . ..

  75. 75

    RE: Dave @ 68 – Discharge of student loan debt was always difficult, but for some reason they wanted to make it even more difficult/impossible.

    There was a reported case from before the change where the government and debtor were stipulating that the debt should be discharged, and the court wrote a written opinion on why it shouldn’t be! As I remember, part of the reasoning was there was no reason the debtor couldn’t continue to live with his/her parents.

    There’s a saying that bankruptcy court is the one place you can go to unopposed and lose, but in that case they went to court with an agreement and lost!

  76. 76
    Som says:

    Everything is about land shortage. If techies ran the government with a data driven approach, lot of this garbage would be taken care of. Why are there 2.5 acre plots being sold with only 1 SFH residence permit?

    You want to see land shortage? Go to London. King County cities have plenty of land but very little planning. Oh and don’t get me started on the nature lover old far*s. They’d rather live in the middle of the jungle with bears and cougars than have some of the jungle utilized to build shelter for the new generation.

  77. 77

    RE: Som @ 76 – Are you advocating that people/governments shouldn’t be allowed to have areas with large lots?

  78. 78
    redmondjp says:

    By Som @ 76:

    Why are there 2.5 acre plots being sold with only 1 SFH residence permit?

    Because we don’t want endless suburbs all the way up to Snoqualmie Pass, a la California. It’s called the Growth Management Act. Also google Agenda 21 growth, as this is the driving force behind all current urban planning laws in this country.

  79. 79
    SF Douche says:

    What I find interesting is that nobody has mentioned the hot dogs. Seattle hot dogs are served at an unacceptably cool temperature as opposed to their east coast counterparts. I typically base my home purchasing decisions solely on hot dog temperature so I give Seattle a failing grade here.

  80. 80
    greg says:

    RE: Som @ 76
    NIMBYs are just selfish greedy people in my mind. They have their little slice and then go a fight everything and anything they can they completely ignore the hypocritical nature of buying a Newer home in Redmond or some other satellite town and then protesting any and all development.

    We have massive resources, huge tracts of wasted lands that could be converted from crops to towns in very little time. But very selfish and thoughtless people want to stop development so that they can have a nice view and feel good about “protecting ” nature when they are really just blocking development on a monoculture tree farm that supports about 1/10th the wildlife a natural forest does….
    Any shortages of land in WA are simply zoning and elected officials afraid to do anything that might hurt their chances of getting elected again..

  81. 81
    Erik says:

    Going to happy hour at diamond knot brewery if anyone wants to get off their computer for a while, I’ll buy them a beer. The password is Seattle bubble.

  82. 82
    greg says:

    RE: Erik @ 81

    some would say that tech saved this city. Sure you may not like that smart well educated people who vote to the left have moved in, but maybe without them Seattle would be just another slowly dying out of date American city.

    Instead of being bitter, maybe the next time you see a nerd walking around trying to look hip, you could smile and “hey thanks for paying the taxes , thanks for funding King county, keeping the schools going, thanks for that GETS program that allowed working moms and dads to afford to send their kids to UW.

    After all it is the many many billions of dollars that MSFT brought to WA that saved this city. These days maybe it is a little too much, but surely it is better too much than nothing at all….

  83. 83
    Ted says:

    RE: greg @ 82 – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  84. 84
    Blurtman says:

    By greg @ 80:

    RE: Som @ 76
    NIMBYs are just selfish greedy people in my mind.

    Folks that have a home and then lobby against further development seem to have forgotten that once there were trees and open space where now sits their home. And that neighbors may have seen their new home as a further sign of out of control development.

    We are all here and it seems more are coming. No one can afford to live in every area that they desire, except the ultra wealthy. If you are priced out, suck it up. Move or make more money. Finding an area that you can better afford is not the end of the world.

  85. 85
    wreckingbull says:

    Tim, thanks for your continued inclusion of Skagit County. Many Seattle workers up here, so it is very relevant to the overall picture. For those who can arrange a partial telecommute, it is great place to live, although I think the secret is out and the hordes are coming. When I tell people I go to the San Juans every Tuesday night, they think I am lying. Boat launched at 4pm, beer cracked on the beach by 5pm and back home by 10pm.

  86. 86
    ess says:

    By SF Douche @ 79:

    What I find interesting is that nobody has mentioned the hot dogs. Seattle hot dogs are served at an unacceptably cool temperature as opposed to their east coast counterparts. I typically base my home purchasing decisions solely on hot dog temperature so I give Seattle a failing grade here.

    If you think that is bad- you ought to see what passes for pastrami sandwiches in most places around here.

  87. 87

    The average intelligent person here is annoyed by the techies because they had an opportunity to essentially take over an entire section of Seattle (South Lake Union) When I moved back to Seattle I went to South Lake Union and couldn’t believe how poorly though out the area had become and how obnoxious the people were. And I had just come from SF! If you work for Amazon, you’re not some tech messiah sent here to show us regular folk the way to the future, you work for the online equivalent of Walmart.

    Also so you techies know, 99.9% of all college students are going into computer science which at this point is like getting a degree in “panning for gold”. This gravy train of stupid ideas won’t last forever and when you turn 40 you will be discarded out of the short sighted, youth-centric economy you forced on all of us, and we’re going to laugh out fu$&ing ass off when the group that took this countries long term prosperity away can’t get a job at McDonalds.

  88. 88
    John Tesh says:

    I walked into a restaurant in a nice-ish South Lake Union and sat next to three, count them, THREE service dogs. Or as they’re called in SLU, kids. Give one of these self-centered apartment-lifers a real kid and you might as well call CPS right there.

  89. 89
    John Tesh says:

    RE: ess @ 85 – You should see what passes for a woman here! There’s times where I actually think we need more people from LA #sorrynotsorry

  90. 90
    ess says:

    RE: Homeless House Flipper @ 87

    If you work for Amazon, you’re not some tech messiah sent here to show us regular folk the way to the future, you work for the online equivalent of Walmart.

    Actually, to be more historically accurate, a more accurate comparison to Amazon is not Walmart, but actually Sears Roebuck. As cutting edge as Amazon is, reviewing the old Sears Roebuck catalogues, and realizing that many people in the old days ordered everything from Sears Roebuck, one is struck that Amazon in some ways is actually the Sears Roebuck of the modern times. Instead of ordering by looking through a paper catalogue, one these days looks through all the products Amazon has to offer by computer. The old Sears Roebucks catalogues were amazing – you could even order a kit house through them and I have heard there are a few of those houses in the Seattle area. The genius of Amazon is in part that they modernized the way many shop for goods. But the actual methodology has been around a long time.

  91. 91

    RE: Homeless House Flipper @ 87 – My Amazon worker story is this: About 2 years ago the wife’s car’s alternator gave out, and her battery gave out downtown near the Convention Center and a police precinct. While waiting with her for AAA I noticed dozens and dozens of people coming out of the office building across the street, 90% of which were wearing back packs. It looked with the UW campus back in the late 70s.

    Since the people were mainly younger I called the daughter and asked her what would be the cause of this strangeness. Her answer: Are you near an Amazon building? She hit the nail on the head.

    Still not sure what it is they carry around in their backpacks to work every day. I can only assume they have crappy office space and/or that maybe dozens and dozens of employees are let go each day. ;-)

  92. 92
    greg says:

    RE: ess @ 90

    ess, i guess you are not an amazon investor, nor really up on what they do. Amazon is part sears but look where it is making money and focusing its treasure on… It is not the online stores, it is it’s excellent “cloud” services. they are dominating and making a nice sum of monies doing it. Along with that they have a bunch of businesses that go far beyond retail sales.

    I am not an investor in Amazon at these price levels, but i do believe they are a very strong company with a bright future and a strong aggressive competitor. They may or may not continue to grow in this area, but they certainly will not be displaced by any US based competitor for the foreseeable future.
    How long the hire here i really dont know, they work people very hard , have very high churn and lose a lot of very strong people due to the culture.

  93. 93
    redmondjp says:

    By greg @ 92:

    RE: ess @ 90

    ess, i guess you are not an amazon investor, nor really up on what they do. Amazon is part sears but look where it is making money and focusing its treasure on… It is not the online stores, it is it’s excellent “cloud” services. they are dominating and making a nice sum of monies doing it. Along with that they have a bunch of businesses that go far beyond retail sales.

    I am not an investor in Amazon at these price levels, but i do believe they are a very strong company with a bright future and a strong aggressive competitor. They may or may not continue to grow in this area, but they certainly will not be displaced by any US based competitor for the foreseeable future.
    How long the hire here i really dont know, they work people very hard , have very high churn and lose a lot of very strong people due to the culture.

    But you have identified the achilles heel of Amazon – they do not have some exclusive corner on offering cloud services. Sure, they may be ahead of the game right now, but history proves that often the initial leaders in a new business are out-Amazon’d, if you will. Time will tell if and when this happens.

  94. 94

    RE: redmondjp @ 93 – It’s somewhat amazing to me that Netflix hasn’t moved into that area.

  95. 95
    Justme says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 94

    Guess what, Netflix is/was a big cloud customer of Amazon and others, mainly because Netflix has proven to be too inept to run their own datacenters. And,Netflix does not really want to be an Amazon customer because there is too much overlap and competition between their businesses (streaming media, essentially). But perhaps you knew that already?

  96. 96
    Erik says:

    RE: greg @ 82
    Well they don’t seem very intelligent on this website. Maybe this website contains all the dummies in the computer industry? Christian, johness, and Tim don’t seem dumb. The rest….well…

    I was thinking about leaving my company for Facebook, but I remembered back to my frustration on this website with simple minded computer nerds. I’d rather not be associated with them.

  97. 97

    RE: Justme @ 95 – I knew Netflix has done a number of things in that area, but I haven’t researched it specifically.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    greg says:

    RE: Erik @ 96

    Well if you are using a website that focuses on the housing market as your sample set ref the IQ of tech workers, than I can only guess you don’t like rigorous data.
    I would go further and suggest envy is distorting your world view.

    But I suggest it with a smile on my face as I have always suspected your posts are tongue in cheek.

  100. 100
    greg says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 93

    I believe I identified a strength. Amazon has strong margins, provides a very powerful and high quality product that is very widely used.

    I don’t intend to break out the entire business model as it is far too much work. But you need only dig just a little to see Amazon has leveraged almost every aspect of its business into profit centers. Cloud services are in no way a weakness they are very much a strength and will continue to be a center of growth for amazon for years to come.

  101. 101
    redmondjp says:

    RE: greg @ 100 – Thanks for that glowing PR piece/forward-looking statement, Greg! You helped me win buzzword bingo this morning as well.

  102. 102
    Erik says:

    RE: greg @ 99
    I like the razz these computer people for fun. They get so worked up.

  103. 103
    Blurtman says:

    What is Mayor Ed “Don’t call me Agnos” Murray’s position on the SF policy?
    ———-
    Supervisors reach compromise to allow in-law units across SF

    After weeks of political wrangling, San Francisco is poised today to approve legislation that would allow the creation of tens of thousands of in-law units within existing buildings.

    These in-law units, formally known as accessory dwelling units, are one way for San Francisco to potentially create 30,000 more affordable housing units in privately owned buildings to help with the housing crisis. In-law units created in rent-controlled buildings predating 1979 would come under rent-control protections.

    The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote today on in-law legislation after a compromise was reached between Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who first introduced the legislation in March, and Supervisor Mark Farrell, who introduced a competing proposal in May. In June, Farrell went a step further and submitted a November ballot measure.

    “I am frankly delighted that the political environment, coupled with the housing crisis, has finally created an environment where this legislation’s time has come,” Peskin told the San Francisco Examiner on Monday.

    The compromise, which ensures Farrell removes his ballot measure, was reached between Farrell and Peskin on Thursday, following a one-hour discussion. Smaller details were hammered out Monday during the board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee, when the legislation was amended to reflect the supervisors’ compromise.

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/supervisors-reach-compromise-allow-law-units-across-sf/

  104. 104
    greg says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 103

    ADUs are a great way to provide a little additional housing and to allow those who might need it the extra income. I know one family near my home who are able to afford the neighborhood due to the ADU rules, it helps with the mortgage… (I am in Kirkland our ADU rule are over the top but my guess is that they will ease them over time)

    I am always looking for properties that conform ..

  105. 105
    IT Transplant says:

    Re: Erik @96:
    “I was thinking about leaving my company for Facebook”

    Thinking big! At least you have that going for you! The chances of you being hired by facebook are same as me winning the lotto. But, one can still dream! Just a suggestion… don’t leave your lawn mowing job in anticipation of being hired by facebook.

  106. 106
    Macro Investor says:

    By Matt Damon @ 8:

    DEAR TECH TRANSPLANTS

    Matt, nice to see someone with a sense of humor — keep up the good work. This site has become so stale and uninteresting, even Tim barely bothers to stop by.

    Step 1 in solving a problem is understanding the problem. You have done that. There were folks back in the 80s who were predicting Seattle would soon suck because of the influx of a-holes from California. That has obviously happened IN SPADES. The once beautiful green city is now a crowded, crime infested land of the self-centered douche bag.

    Step 2 is doing something about it. On this you seem stuck in a cognitive dissonance… still loving something that is now unlovable, but frustrated at the change. There is no going back. Divorce the b****. I did and couldn’t be happier.

  107. 107
    Erik says:

    RE: IT Transplant @ 105
    No, they were pretty desperate for mechanical engineers for a while. Maybe I should have gone to the interview…

    I have a great job now. I am very lucky.

    I don’t think Facebook is like a google job or else everyone would want to work there. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

  108. 108
    StupidLifeDecisions says:

    By greg @ 100:

    RE: redmondjp @ 93

    I believe I identified a strength. Amazon has strong margins, provides a very powerful and high quality product that is very widely used.

    I don’t intend to break out the entire business model as it is far too much work. But you need only dig just a little to see Amazon has leveraged almost every aspect of its business into profit centers. Cloud services are in no way a weakness they are very much a strength and will continue to be a center of growth for amazon for years to come.

    I’m kind of scared that people would make this sort of assessment of amazon, especially the part about their “strong” margins and “profit” centers, especially if you are referring to amazon as a whole. Ironically, their cloud services are going to be the easiest for competitors to topple.

    I agree that this company isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, just due to the size and their expertise in information manipulation, but let’s flash forward a few years. I already feel bad for the middle class people (especially those approaching retirement) who have been buying this stock at the prices it has been trading at the last year. Middle class investors need to be a lot more critical of this company/stock unless you have some uncanny ability to time everything perfectly.

  109. 109
    Som says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 91 – Dear Kary, the strange Mashco Piro people of Amazon carry rocks in their backpacks to fend off hypermodern people like you.

  110. 110
    Ross says:

    By redmondjp @ 93:

    By greg @ 92:

    RE: ess @ 90

    ess, i guess you are not an amazon investor, nor really up on what they do. Amazon is part sears but look where it is making money and focusing its treasure on… It is not the online stores, it is it’s excellent “cloud” services. they are dominating and making a nice sum of monies doing it. Along with that they have a bunch of businesses that go far beyond retail sales.

    I am not an investor in Amazon at these price levels, but i do believe they are a very strong company with a bright future and a strong aggressive competitor. They may or may not continue to grow in this area, but they certainly will not be displaced by any US based competitor for the foreseeable future.
    How long the hire here i really dont know, they work people very hard , have very high churn and lose a lot of very strong people due to the culture.

    But you have identified the achilles heel of Amazon – they do not have some exclusive corner on offering cloud services. Sure, they may be ahead of the game right now, but history proves that often the initial leaders in a new business are out-Amazon’d, if you will. Time will tell if and when this happens.

    That’s basically true of any tech company. Google doesn’t have an exclusive corner on search, Apple doesn’t have an exclusive corner on mobile phones, IBM doesn’t have an exclusive corner on PCs, Microsoft doesn’t have an exclusive corner on operating systems. Tech is 80% about how much you are ahead and 20% about the brand you’ve established (numbers vary a little by the company). The ability to stay ahead depends on good leadership and great engineers. Will Amazon always be dominant at cloud services. Probably not (or cloud services may fade in importance). But they can still be leaders for a long time. Microsoft was ahead for a good 20 years, and even now prints ridiculous amounts of cash every quarter, even as they are thought to be in decline.

  111. 111

    By Ross @ 110:

    That’s basically true of any tech company. Google doesn’t have an exclusive corner on search,

    Very true. It’s somewhat amazing how long Google has held on. I don’t even remember all the search engines I’ve preferred in the past, I just remember there were a lot before Google. The only one I do recall is Altavista, and that apparently was taken over by Yahoo.

  112. 112

    By Som @ 109:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 91 – Dear Kary, the strange Mashco Piro people of Amazon carry rocks in their backpacks to fend off hypermodern people like you.

    They didn’t look like they were in that kind of shape. Either the employees or the backpacks.

    One of my other theories was that they were delivering packages.

  113. 113

    RE: Matt Damon @ 8
    Yes Matt

    Soccer takes 2 hours to score a point….BORING.

    Tech Companies hire masses of degreed engineers, especially Seattle area residents….LOL

    Of course they don’t teach their computer programming in the world’s engineering colleges…that is almost all on the job experience. Did anyone say high school is enough education? Ask Bill Gates. LOL

    No wonder they all want cheap foreign replacements instead of hiring NW Seattle American citizens…like they did for Windows 95 and 98…..you know the O/S S/W that didn’t require weekly patches and expensive virus S/W…before our foreign replacements destroyed its QUALITY recently.

  114. 114
    [troll] says:

    Kry wk p n cld swt — h lkd t hs lrm clck — 9:37 — t flshd. Hd h slpt thrgh hs 3 lrms gn? Hs hrng ws strtng t fd vn mr nw. H smmnd th strngth t wsl t f bd — 5 mnts t gt p Kry — bttr thn ystrdys 13. Hs nck nd bck wr s sr frm ll ths yrs f pr pstr. H wnt t th ktchn t brw hs cff — h stll cld nt fgr t hw t prgrm hs cff mkr t t brw. Kry pnd hs pll bx nd tk th 24 plls ndd t kp hm lv. 4 fr hyprtnsn. 2 vgr fr plns ltr. 2 fr hrps, whch ws strtng t flr p gn — dmn th Mllnnl hkr h fnd n crgslst!! Bck n hs dy th strt scrps h slyd hd cd f vls!!

    Kry gt n th bs nd pd th snr fr. Thr wr n sts — sgh — yt gn th crsd yth wth thr hdphns n gnrng th ld mn lkng fr st. H vrhd yng prgrmmr tlkng bt hw hs ptn pckg f $100,000 ws gng t b wrth vn mr ftr mzn rlsd thr nmbrs fr th qrtr. Kry cld nt hlp bt fl rg — h knw h ws slss ld bg bt t d — nd sn — wth hm nd hs thr ld bdds dyng ff — wh wld scff t th kds.

    ftr hrd dys wrk f strgglng t lg nt cmptr, Kry jmpd n th bs nd ws n hs wy hm. H wrkd hrd! H ws grt! H knw thngs!!! H dsrvd bttr!!!! Why ws hs lf s msrbl h spnt ll hs tms n nn nmd blg clld sttlbbbl jst t rg n th cmmnts sctn! Kry plld th crd t sgnl th bs t stp. H ws n rr nd fnd n pl f drty clths nd crdbrd fmlr fc… nd smll. rdl, dnt tll m y rsd yr prcs gn! H thrw hr $10 nd strtd t gt t wrk. H knw tkng ths 2 vgr wld b wrth t. Brly mngng t gt hlf mst h wnt t wrk.

  115. 115

    By softwarengineer @ 113:

    .like they did for Windows 95 and 98…..you know the O/S S/W that didn’t require weekly patches and expensive virus S/W…before our foreign replacements destroyed its QUALITY recently.

    Just because they didn’t get patches doesn’t mean they didn’t need them.

    Also, AV software was necessary then, and probably more expensive.

  116. 116
    greg says:

    RE: StupidLifeDecisions @ 108

    I thought it was VERY clear i was talking about AWS. And they do have excellent margins. Perhaps i could have made it clearer.

    I never suggested anything about valuation, nor did i suggest i am an investor in amazon (hint i am not).

    However they are excellent competitors, and many a business has gone out of business under estimating them.
    I find amazons ability to leverage what many would see as a cost/overhead into profit centers as simply stunning.
    So again not a cheerleader but very impressed with how they have been converting what should be liabilities into revenue generators .

    Again i am not going to break out each and every market , you can find that on any site and plenty of “in love” investors do it much better than me.

  117. 117

    RE: Sam Hunter @ 114 – Wow, you really know very little about me (you managed to get just about everything wrong), and you also are not very funny. Better luck next time at your attempted humor, but it’s going to take a lot of luck since you have so little talent.

  118. 118
    Blurtman says:

    Perhaps he was reaching for a weapon….?
    ———-
    U.S. Charges HSBC Official in FX Rigging Probe

    Federal agents surprised an HSBC Holdings Plc executive as he prepared to fly out of New York’s Kennedy airport late Tuesday, arresting him for alleged fraud involving currency trading, according to three people familiar with the matter. The arrest marks an escalation of the Justice Department’s three-year investigation into foreign-exchange rigging at global banks.

    Mark Johnson, HSBC’s global head of foreign exchange cash trading in London, is also the first individual to be charged in the long-running probe. He is due to appear before a judge in federal court in Brooklyn Wednesday morning, said the people, who asked not to be named because the case hasn’t been made public. Johnson, who works between London and New York, is being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud involving front-running client orders, according to the complaint.

    Stuart Scott, HSBC’s head of foreign-exchange cash trading for Europe, was also accused in the complaint, which was unsealed Wednesday in Brooklyn. HSBC, which is still under criminal investigation in the currency case, wasn’t made aware of the planned arrest, one of the people said. More than two-dozen traders have been suspended by their banks in the course of the investigation.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-20/hsbc-official-said-to-be-charged-by-u-s-in-fx-rigging-probe

  119. 119
    Erik says:

    RE: Sam Hunter @ 114
    Good one Sam! I was laughing the whole time. I can tell you that your assessment is correct.

  120. 120

    RE: Erik @ 119 – Oh, so the humor was aimed at people with low IQ’s. No wonder I didn’t think it was funny. :-D

  121. 121
    [troll] says:

    By < hrf='#cmmnt-256590' rl="nfllw">Kry L. Krsmr @ 117:R: < hrf='#cmmnt-256587' rl="nfllw">Sm Hntr @ 114 – Ww, y rlly knw vry lttl bt m (y mngd t gt jst bt vrythng wrng), nd y ls r nt vry fnny. Bttr lck nxt tm t yr ttmptd hmr, bt t’s gng t tk lt f lck snc y hv s lttl tlnt.

    Kry y r rght dd lv t lt — sch s th bldng nd ld mn smll. nd hv bn fllwng y rnd snc m mllnnl wth n jb s thr s n wy gt ny f ths wrng. wll pst ftg ftr dt th vd :)

  122. 122
    Justme says:

    RE: Sam Hunter @ 114

    Not all that funny, and why the bullying in the first place? I’m sure Kary (and Ardell) can handle it, but If you really have to, why don’t you bully Erik instead? Then you can bully each other. Or maybe you and Erik are the same person?

  123. 123
    Erik says:

    RE: Justme @ 122
    I you suggesting Kary is the innocent one here? Read Kary’s comments for a few years as I have. He likes to jab others with the law since he is a lawyer.

  124. 124
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 120
    I would fight back, but your advice helped save me 10k on the hoa thing.

  125. 125

    By Erik @ 123:

    RE: Justme @ 122
    I you suggesting Kary is the innocent one here? Read Kary’s comments for a few years as I have. He likes to jab others with the law since he is a lawyer.

    So in other words, I like to point out when real estate agents don’t have a clue what they are talking about since they don’t understand the law? Sorry to burden this site with facts. /sarc

  126. 126
  127. 127

    By Sam Hunter @ 121:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 117:

    RE: Sam Hunter @ 114 – Wow, you really know very little about me (you managed to get just about everything wrong), and you also are not very funny. Better luck next time at your attempted humor, but it’s going to take a lot of luck since you have so little talent.

    Kary you are right I did leave out a lot —

    No, you got a lot wrong. There’s a difference. You don’t know what time I wake up, how I wake up, how I make coffee, what I know about tech, what I think about other people who make more money than me, etc. Like I said, just about everything was wrong. If you want to insult someone you should try at least getting one fact right that might be somehow insulting.

    On the topic of what others make, the only things I’ve been critical of is a $15 minimum wage, but that’s because it will put a lot of poor people out of work, and sports figure salaries, because they are subsidized by billionaires getting tax subsidies on stadiums. Other than that, if someone is making a lot of money, good for them!

  128. 128
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 125
    Ray pepper ate your lunch. Ray exposed you and then crushed you. Ardell beats you continuously. I start to feel sorry for you until you comment back and I realize you deserve it.

    You looked up Ray’s personal records and threatened him with the law. Ray looked up your records and made you look like a fool. You deserved that.

  129. 129
    StupidLifeDecisions says:

    By greg @ 116:

    RE: StupidLifeDecisions @ 108

    I thought it was VERY clear i was talking about AWS. And they do have excellent margins. Perhaps i could have made it clearer.

    I never suggested anything about valuation, nor did i suggest i am an investor in amazon (hint i am not).

    However they are excellent competitors, and many a business has gone out of business under estimating them.
    I find amazons ability to leverage what many would see as a cost/overhead into profit centers as simply stunning.
    So again not a cheerleader but very impressed with how they have been converting what should be liabilities into revenue generators .

    Again i am not going to break out each and every market , you can find that on any site and plenty of “in love” investors do it much better than me.

    I apologize if I came across as rude in my response and I did not mean to make my response personal or insulting to you. This company just infuriates me though, and it looks to me like they are positioning themselves not just to change our way life, but to damage it. Some of the things you mentioned are true as far as their cloud sector is concerned, but I also think that is the easiest area for a competitor to move in on given some time. And they have some established competitors. Just my opinion, but I don’t think companies like Microsoft or Oracle are done yet, despite not having the luster they once had. Historically, this company has been notorious for running at a loss and having a ridiculous PE ratio, not to mention other segments of their company have miniscule or negative margins, with the exception of a few quarters here and there. I’ve spent the last year watching this stock like a hawk and I feel like there is some price manipulation going on if you look at some the trading patterns in closing and opening (there is a lot of consistency to be found there). Not to mention press releases are also probably deliberately made to further the price manipulation, especially when the stock goes down.

    Even their retail portion is not going to be immune to threats, when into take into consideration that competitors are going to have to get better at competing to survive and some of them are going to do a pretty good job given enough time.

    Don’t even get me started on all the little kids that make up the bulk of their “talent” whose moms wrote their cover letters and resumes for them. Sadly, that actually does happen. :(

  130. 130
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Erik @ 128 – And you continue to be willfully ignorant with respect to the law and Ray Pepper. It’s one thing to be ignorant; it’s another to be willfully so.

  131. 131

    By Erik @ 128:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 125
    Ray pepper ate your lunch. Ray exposed you and then crushed you. Ardell beats you continuously. I start to feel sorry for you until you comment back and I realize you deserve it.

    You looked up Ray’s personal records and threatened him with the law. Ray looked up your records and made you look like a fool. You deserved that.

    You got that entirely wrong.

    Ray, who claims to be a knowledgeable real estate agent, didn’t even know how to read Realist, one of the services offered agents by the NWMLS. So he couldn’t even figure out I paid cash for my house. I don’t know how he represents buyers not having a clue what the seller owes, but whatever. Ray also apparently doesn’t know what a HELOC is. By coincidence, that is the topic of Ken Harney’s piece this week. http://www.telegram.com/article/20160719/NEWS/160719091 (Rather amazing that a real estate agent could learn anything from a newspaper article, but that’s apparently true in Ray’s case.)

    I looked up Ray’s records to point out that he is FoS and a scammer. He was in a world of hurt (maybe still is), and not some great investor, but despite that he was still trying to get others here to go down is incredibly ignorant and incredibly risky path.

    But all that was over your head. You don’t even understand what it means that Ray did an Offer in Compromise with the IRS.

  132. 132
    Erik says:

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 130
    Ray pepper got very rich by making the right moves in the real estate crash. What more needs to be discussed? He made the right moves, Kary made the wrong moves by putting almost all cash down on a house in 2007.

  133. 133
    Ryan says:

    Off-topic, but there’s some strong RE knowledge here and I was hoping to get advice.

    There’s a unit in my building that has a Sherriff notice on it. It will go to auction in a couple weeks if the amount owed isn’t paid. I would happily pay the amount myself to have the unit! It’s not available as a short sale, that I can find.

    It seems like a buying opportunity if I can get it before the auction. But is that even possible?

  134. 134
    David B. says:

    RE: Ryan @ 133 – Typically not. The normal procedure for such things in most jurisdictions is that the property goes to an auction. If it sells for more than the amount of the debt, the ex-owner gets a check for the difference.

    The point of the process is to settle the debt, not to punish the owner (and create a random windfall for someone else) by causing him to lose all the value of his/her property.

  135. 135
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 131
    Ray took risks and navigated them with good business decisions. He’s rich now. When you should have been selling, you were buying with a big down payment and borrowing the remainder.

    Ray provides useful advice. You attack stuff that doesn’t matter in the big picture. You know the law, and Ray knows how to get rich.

    Don’t make me get Ray to come crush you again.

  136. 136
    greg says:

    RE: Ryan @ 133
    I suggest contacting someone directly and doing so right away if you are serious about it.
    Frankly if you are talking about real transactions it is best to do it offline. phone calls can be much more productive than email. Of course phone tag can be a nightmare too.

    Maybe Ardell could help or knows someone who could…

  137. 137
    greg says:

    RE: StupidLifeDecisions @ 129

    I took no offense at all. I enjoy the discourse, I learn a lot and find big gaps in my knowledge, to me that is the whole point of visiting sites like this.

  138. 138
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Erik @ 132 – He may be rich now, but there are very real risks that he will become poor. And anyone following his “plan”/”advice” runs a risk of prison time for fraud (mail and/or wire) and/or non-dischargable debt (to the IRS). You seem either to refuse to acknowledge that non-financial risks need to be assessed when performing risk analysis or your risk analysis assumes that prison isn’t that bad of an outcome.

  139. 139
    Erik says:

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 138
    Your screen name says it all. You are a coward. Meow.

    Ray did everything within the law. He was financially rewarded for his good decisions. Our next us president has done similar things. Good on them both.

    It’s okay to cheat as long as you win. Ask bill billocheck. He won the Super Bowl by filming the opponent practice and nobody cared because he won. Nobody cares if Ray did or didn’t cheat. He won last bubble and Kary lost.

  140. 140
    greg says:

    RE: Erik @ 139

    I don’t recall Hillary doing property deals? But given her deep skillsets I should not be surprised to learn she excels in the field of RE as well…

  141. 141
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: greg @ 140 – Wasn’t “Whitewater” all about real estate?

  142. 142
    Ryan says:

    RE: David B. @ 134
    I failed to mention that the owner is deceased, and after some records searching, deceased for quite some time. The Sheriff’s notice is made out to “Unknown heirs”.

    It’s actually pretty heartbreaking. Their dog passed away and they did too four months later. :(

    RE: greg @ 137
    I’d gladly do all of the work offline. I just don’t know who to contact – the bank is listed on the notice. I’ve been trying to get a hold of my agent with no luck. Definitely serious about purchasing this as soon as possible if the price is close to the amount listed on the door notice. It’s in the same building I already own in and an easy investment opportunity for me.

    Thanks for the replies!

  143. 143

    RE: Ryan @ 133

    First, just because the owner can pay the amount owed to stop the foreclosure does not mean that you can buy it for the amount owed. Also there are likely unpaid condo dues and some other things that need to be paid/negotiated.

    Odd that you said “Sheriff” notice as usually we have Trustee notices here. So at face value it sounds like the lender is going for a full Judicial Foreclosure vs the customary “non-judicial” foreclosure.

    But to answer your question, until and unless the property is either sold to a 3rd party AT foreclosure or the bank takes it back AT foreclosure, the property would be purchased through the current owner. The best way to approach a seller whose property is not for sale is to send them an actual offer. If you can get the seller to accept your offer, then it usually becomes a short sale based on all liens against the property and not merely the amount that needs to be paid to the foreclosing lien holder.

    The first thing I would do if you know someone on The Board is to find out how far behind the condo fees are and possibly find the current address of the owner from the Board or maybe neighbors who know the owner. But my guess is you are thinking you can buy it for significantly less than “fair market value”, and that is not normally the case.

    I did one at significantly less than fair market value some time ago for someone who came to me with the same scenario you noted, but it took 9 months and the house had a significant issue. We just kept sending offer extensions to both the owner and the lien holder every 30 days. The owner agreed but since it was also a short sale at that price we needed lien holder approval as well. Eventually someone at the bank opened the file to finalize the foreclosure and saw our offer and my client got the house. I received 20+ calls afterward from would be buyers who were waiting for it to go to auction so they could buy it asking how we did it, but that was an extraordinary case.

    When a lien holder decides to do a Sheriff Sale vs a Trustee Sale that usually means the owner has significant assets outside of this property and that could nix the short sale effort. But first step…find the owner as he/she/they are the only ones who can sell it pre-auction. When you find out where the seller is, you would submit an offer (not ask to see it or buy it) “subject to a visual inspection after mutual acceptance”. That would be the normal course for those who succeed at these types of situations.

  144. 144
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By Erik @ 139:

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 138

    It’s okay to cheat as long as you win.

    Is Michael Mastro a winner or a loser?

  145. 145
    Ryan says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 143
    Thanks, Ardell! It’s a condo and I own in the same building. I can definitely reach out to the Board to inquire about the dues, but I know the square footage and can estimate the dues. It would be well within my budget and still under market value. Add in unpaid property taxes, still under. It’s in a well-maintained building and it’s a condo, so I can’t imagine there being any crazy unforeseen damage expenses.

    I mentioned in an earlier comment that the owner is deceased and apparently King County can’t get a hold of any heirs or spouses. So it seems the unit is owned by the bank by default at this point.

  146. 146
    Erik says:

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 144
    He is filthy rich and lives with his wife in the French alps. He’s an obvious winner to me. His life is much better than mine. My life is working daily for someone else to make money only to go back to my 2 bedroom apartment in the city. My truck has 345k miles. Yah, he is a huge winner compared to me.

  147. 147
    Erik says:

    RE: Ryan @ 145
    Get a lawyer and take the condo legally. I’m sure there is s way. The only 2 times I contacted a lawyer for real estate, I won. One time, I didn’t think I could, but I figured there was some convoluted reason why I should win. Sure enough, I won.

  148. 148
    Blurtman says:

    Walk-through fail.

    “It’s not unusual to find unwelcome bats, squirrels or termites in the attic, but one man was shocked to find something much more unusual – a woman.

    Davis Wahlman was stunned when he heard rustling around in the upper levels of his Green Lake, Washington home Monday night, and pulled on the door to his office, only to find it locked.
    In the unusual position of knocking on a door in his own home, he knocked a few times before a woman called out, ‘Jimmy? Is that you, Jimmy?’ according to KOMO.

    Minutes earlier, Wahlman had also heard rummaging around in his attic, and thought that was strange.
    But things got even more odd when the noises moved to his office, and then a dark-haired woman opened the door and Wahlman was confronted with the face of a total stranger.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3701472/Man-finds-strange-woman-living-attic-insists-s-actually-house.html

  149. 149

    By Erik @ 139:

    He was financially rewarded for his good decisions.

    Erik, give it up. That Ray did an Offer in Compromise (something he didn’t even know the correct name of) basically meant that the IRS took from him all of his net worth and his expected earnings for probably something like three years. There was not financial reward! That he did an Offer in Compromise should have told you that.

    But if you want to bring my financial situation into this, calculate out the value of the rent of the house I bought over the past 9 years. It would be roughly $200,000 in before tax income to generate the same position. And that ignores the fact that the house is now worth more than when I bought it. Compares rather favorably to being a defendant in a judicial foreclosure being subject to an Offer in Compromise.

    You don’t have a clue about financial matters.

  150. 150

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 143:

    Odd that you said “Sheriff” notice as usually we have Trustee notices here. So at face value it sounds like the lender is going for a full Judicial Foreclosure vs the customary “non-judicial” foreclosure.

    That it’s a Sheriff’s Sale it could be almost anything–even a judgment. That would probably be the best scenario in that it would mean there was some equity in the property for the judgment creditor, and possibly a deal to cut. Keep in mind though that the owner may be entitled to either 8 months or 12 months of being able to live there–which could be a disincentive to the owner to cut a deal but an incentive for the judgment creditor.

    Before bidding at a sheriff’s sale, or making an offer to the owner, someone really should understand the encumbrances against the property. I sort of doubt the condo association would just disclose that sort of thing.

    You could check the King County Recorder’s site to see what’s been recorded, and also Washington Court’s site to try to find if it is a judicial proceeding causing the sale. The former you can find through Google, the latter here: http://dw.courts.wa.gov/index.cfm?fa=home.home

    Contacting an attorney about the situation would also be prudent.

  151. 151
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 150

    I was thinking it is vacant because the person who asked the question lives in the same complex. If the owner still lives in it I change my answer to ” knock on the door”. :)

  152. 152
    Ryan says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 151

    I could knock on the door, but the tenant passed away over a year ago. :)

    Thanks, Kary. I was able to look up the documents on the King County Recorder site. All I can tell is that it’s a foreclosure and Wells Fargo wants money.

    It’s all for not anyway. I left my job just last week to move permanently to Seattle and take a short break before working again and the bank won’t allow my HELOC now – even though renting out the unit would pay the bank bank easily. Darn bank technicalities! If only I knew this potential opportunity would hit me before I decided to take a little time off from working…

  153. 153
    Som says:

    RE: Ryan @ 152 – Since you are not interested anymore in it, you are welcome to post here the address of the property :)

  154. 154
    AjaxManifesto says:

    This site always amuses me. It often breaks down into code jockeys and real estate sales clerks throw poop at each other.

  155. 155
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 149
    Please provide me a link that shows Ray pepper did an offer in compromise.

  156. 156

    RE: Erik @ 155 – He said it himself! Post 123 here, where he calls it an “Offer and Compromise” being ignorant of what he even did! https://seattlebubble.com/blog/2015/06/29/most-new-listings-being-immediately-snatched-up/

    I believe it came up because of the IRS tax lien, which you can find in the Pierce County records.

    The point though is that Ray didn’t make a ton of money doing what he did. That’s all just his sales pitch BS where he seemingly is trying to attract others into whatever scheme he’s involved with. I assume someone profits off the scheme, but they probably have to be at a higher level than Ray.

  157. 157
    ess says:

    This healthy increase in rents should keep housing sales brisk and prices rising in the immediate future. But then again – if housing prices are increasing, one may expect rents to increase. And rents will continue to rise after the elections as voters approve every initiative that is put before them.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-rents-now-growing-faster-than-in-any-other-us-city/

  158. 158
    Blurtman says:

    Accountability? Don’t count on it.

    Seattle tunnel project $223 million over budget, open in 2019

    SEATTLE (AP) – The troubled project to replace an aging double-decker highway bridge hugging Seattle’s waterfront with a tunnel faces $223 million in cost overruns, Washington transportation officials said Thursday.

    The additional money is needed for the project, originally budgeted at $3.1 billion, because of repeated delays.

    Those delays have increased the administration and oversight costs, made it more expensive to acquire right of ways to build the tunnel and added to the costs of ultimately demolishing the viaduct, the state Department of Transportation said.

    The project has an immediate cash flow need of $60 million, the transportation department said.

    The Seattle tunnel was the preferred choice to replace the viaduct when it was damaged in a 2001 earthquake. But the tunnel boring machine broke down in late 2013, leading to a more than two-year delay while it was fixed.

    The original completion date for the tunnel was the fall of 2015 but the opening of the double-decker highway project is now projected for early 2019.

    http://komonews.com/news/local/seattle-tunnel-project-223-million-over-budget

  159. 159

    RE: Blurtman @ 158 – I think the tunnel was only the preferred method by the City of Seattle, not the state. If my recollection is correct, I’m hoping that the state will force the city to pay for those overruns, but it may turn on who was responsible for that metal pipe that may have broke Bertha.

    But really, cost overruns in a tunnel project are almost to be expected.

    Note the city also went with a questionable method of repairing the seawall, and that has also run into issues/costs overruns.

  160. 160
    ess says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 159:

    RE: Blurtman @ 158 – I think the tunnel was only the preferred method by the City of Seattle, not the state. If my recollection is correct, I’m hoping that the state will force the city to pay for those overruns, but it may turn on who was responsible for that metal pipe that may have broke Bertha.

    But really, cost overruns in a tunnel project are almost to be expected.

    Note the city also went with a questionable method of repairing the seawall, and that has also run into issues/costs overruns.

    It isn’t the delays and cost overruns that are as you say are to be expected in a big project such as this, but the actual design of the tunnel. It is my understanding that it will only be four lanes, rather than six which is what the old viaduct had. Not because the technology or money wasn’t available, but as a result of the hope that more people will use public transportation and bicycles to get to downtown Seattle. Furthermore, I thought I read that there are less entrances and exits within the new tunnel – forcing even more traffic onto Interstate 5. It is going to be even more fun to get not only into Seattle, but through Seattle when the tunnel opens up.

  161. 161
    greg says:

    I look forward to paying something around $1,000 a year for ST3…. they say it should be only $169 per adult. But it would require you live in your car to make those numbers work.

    over 1% sales tax, $25 per 100k on your house, car tax…

    And what do we get? mostly nothing. The RAIL which will cost most of the money will NOT even be a RING like it should. Who will bother to use a train that requires bus to get to and a bus to get from…

    The whole things stinks , we will have driverless cars in the next 20 years and the trains wont even be finished by then..

    I see it now, people getting elected in 2035 on the back of promising to close down the unused rail lines and open them to driverless cars as paid express routes …

  162. 162
    David B. says:

    RE: greg @ 161 – LOL, driverless cars won’t fix the problem that cars don’t scale well with population. If anything, they’ll make congestion worse as people send their cars out unattended to run errands for them, and tell them to circle blocks while on errands so as to avoid paying for parking.

    No city of any significant size has ever solved its traffic woes simply by building more and more roads. Even Houston has horrible traffic, despite following the “build more roads” strategy more than any other major US city.

  163. 163
    greg says:

    RE: David B. @ 162

    We can argue about the time frames , but there is no doubt that driving on public roads will vanish. It might take 40 years before humans are actually banned from public roads but itwill happen.

    less cars, less death, less hassle , increased capacity on our roads for free. Whats not to like?

    either way , st3 sounds like a pile of pants to me.

  164. 164
    David B. says:

    RE: greg @ 163 – I wasn’t talking about human drivers, I was talking about cars scaling. Basically they don’t. Not enough to work well in any large urban area, that is.

    Getting rid of human drivers won’t change that. In fact, it’ll likely make it worse, absent measures to discourage things like I mentioned in my other post.

  165. 165
    erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 156
    Yeah, he made probably $2M and it cost him $30K. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. $2M-$30K= $1.97M. Good job ray.

    I followed his advice and it worked. That is why I’m a big Ray Pepper fan. He helped me improve my situation. If I followed your advice, I would still be broke and stuck living in squaller in a house I couldn’t afford. North Everett is a horrible place and I’m thankful every day that I don’t have to live there.

    Honestly, I don’t think you understand. When you are making dirt wages, living in a terrible area, you have no motivation to achieve anything higher. Getting out from under that loan I had was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Now I over the water in Seattle, I have a great job, and I got my Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UW. None of that would have happened if I was underwater in that house living in North Everett.

  166. 166

    RE: erik @ 165 – You’re completely delusional, or at least have been very deceived. I hope you’re not following his advice, because if you are you’re going to be in trouble.

    Here’s a hint: Only take out mortgages that you intend to repay, and then actually make payment on them. That way you might actually build up equity instead of being incredibly underwater. There’s no great secret to that.

  167. 167
    erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 166
    Ray said that he never took out a loan that he didn’t intend to repay. I would never do that either. The great thing about america is that you can take risk and if you fail, you don’t get put in jail. I would like to take more legal risk moving forward. If another bubble comes, I would have to re-evaluate like mr. peppers did. I would say that ray chose a great exit strategy that made him lots of money.

  168. 168

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 115
    I Used Windows 95 and 98 For Years

    No virus S/W or patches needed and the O/S S/W always got my AOL mail for like 5 years. No glitches and no viruses.

    Does MSFT hire its own Hackers to sell patches? No one can prove they haven’t.

  169. 169

    RE: ess @ 160
    An Engineer Running for Office This August

    Suggested trash canning the useless trains and tunnels. Replace ’em with a better Metro bus system with more carpool lots all over the place….much cheaper and gosh, it actually works!

  170. 170

    By softwarengineer @ 168:

    Does MSFT hire its own Hackers to sell patches? No one can prove they haven’t.

    Patches are free, at least for several years, at which point they no longer get produced.

  171. 171
    pfft says:

    By David B. @ 162:

    RE: greg @ 161 – LOL, driverless cars won’t fix the problem that cars don’t scale well with population. If anything, they’ll make congestion worse as people send their cars out unattended to run errands for them, and tell them to circle blocks while on errands so as to avoid paying for parking.

    every one says this but I just don’t think it’s true. congestion is often caused by bottlenecks and traffic accidents. driverless/autopilot cars will cause a lot less accidents and autopilot will get rush hour traffic running more smoothly. who can handle rush hour traffic better, a computer or the dude drinking his coffee and switching lanes every 3 minutes?

    if people don’t want to pay for parking why would they waste gas circling the block? also how many times do you go somewhere and have to pay for parking? for most people they go to starbucks, the store and work. none of those places charge for parking for most people. cars might not circle the block they just might go to free parking nearby. places you wouldn’t park even though they are free because you don’t want to walk that far.

  172. 172
    Som says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 168 – You are fluent in gibberish.

  173. 173
    David B. says:

    RE: pfft @ 171 – People pay for parking to go to work and shopping in Downtown Seattle, and the streets of Downtown are dangerously close to gridlock as it is during peak hours. You think they won’t tell their driverless cars to circulate for a few minutes to save on parking? Think again.

    Yes, driverless cars offer the possibility of improving throughput on the freeways by letting cars safely tailgate each other at freeway speeds, but that’s not a good thing if it just results in more cars being dumped onto a surface street network that’s struggling with the existing volume. Then the off-ramps back up and you’re back to congested freeways again.

  174. 174
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: David B. @ 173

    David, I think the future for congested cities can be seen in London right now. It is my understanding tolls for entering the city (and parking once you get there) are so high everyone not rich is forced into public transit. The first steps are happening here now with the bridge and HOV tolls adjusted for traffic patterns.

    You make a great point about driverless cars not solving the problem on surface streets. There is no solution to congestion that is not hugely wasteful. Cities need 4x the infrastructure, but it will only be used a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. Property taxes to the moon.

  175. 175
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: erik @ 167

    Erik, what you said is true with a caveat. Now that you have money banked, you can be sued and lose that very quickly. So consider this — large risks can be taken SAFELY, only when you have nothing to lose.

    What you did during the bubble made sense for many people. It was the banks that took all the risk, lending money to poor people. The poor people were never going to get sued for what little they had. But if richer people tried that, the banks had the option to go after their savings, pay check, or other properties. That depends on each state’s law of course.

    Rich people spend a lot of time worrying about protecting their assets. A guy like Trump does everything through corporations and can declare bankruptcy pretty safely. For the rest of us, banks require collateral and personal guarantees. Hopefully Ray walked away with some of his gains, but IRS liens are a pretty hard net to get out of.

    Good luck to you too, but now that you have something to lose the game is different. Might want to try some business law and finance classes/books.

  176. 176
    Timothy Crosley says:

    @pfft and @David B. pfft is 100% correct self driving cars could solve the problem of congestion and do so in a very efficient manner over a long course of time. In fact significantly more efficiently than mass transit. Your falling into a common fallacy of failing to see just how many things can change (especially individuals behaviors) over a long period with a disruptive technology:

    I’ll share with you my vision of how they could replace all current forms of mass transit / personal transit:

    In the future no one (except a few elites, and fleets) will own a self driving car themselves, and instead people will simply request a car when they need one. These cars will be intelligently sized for the customers they will contain – picking up just one person? A very tiny self driving car in an upright position just large enough for you and some groceries – will wisp your way the moment you need it. Parking??!?!? what’s that!?!?! Those are all additional transit lanes now, some of them in lower traffic areas have actual been purposed for wider walking paths, and greenery. No, instead, the moment your done with the car it goes and wisps off to pick up the closest potential customer not currently being attended for. At the most opportune time the cars drive by a battery replacement station and instantly are ready to pick up the next customer. Every night as commuters die down a portion of the fleet rotates for it’s monthly maintenance and check up. The speed limit just about every where has more then doubled, the roads are packed to the brim with just a few feet of distance between every individual, in what looks and feels like almost perfect efficiency. The rail has been re – purposed for the cars, but in reality it’s almost always underutilized – other then sections like u-district to capital hill, it turned out that the rail where actually generating a significant amount of artifical traffic as very little people wanted to go from the point A, and point Bs exactly where it landed – but instead drove or took a bus too and from those points from wherever they where. And to many: the very best thing about the shift was that finally people not well off enough to afford to live in close proximity to a transit station were no longer punished for this, bringing more equal opportunity to all.

    Sidenote: I think this is unlikely. I think we should still invest in mass transit as I still think that will pay dividends. However, you can’t simply dismiss as impossible. It is 100% possible for self driving cars to end up being more overall efficient than traditional rail – even if it requires several technical and societal jumps to get there.

  177. 177

    By David B. @ 173:

    RE: pfft @ 171 – People pay for parking to go to work and shopping in Downtown Seattle, and the streets of Downtown are dangerously close to gridlock as it is during peak hours. You think they won’t tell their driverless cars to circulate for a few minutes to save on parking? Think again..

    Well at least now we know why pfft thought the Brexit was going to cause the stock market to collapse. He doesn’t even understand something as simple as parking, and that in many places it’s a scarce resource.

  178. 178

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 176 – I think those ideas have some merit, but the main problem I see with that is as long as the work schedule remains the same there will be a need for way too many cars during the commute times, and so that makes it a less viable option because the investment would be significant (and not reduce significantly the number of cars needed). It might though have appeal to those who live in more congested areas where parking is a problem. Sort of an advance on the current car-sharing idea. Also obviously more remote work from home situations would help, and tech can make that possible without self-driving cars.

    I think more likely would be smaller self-driven buses, which wouldn’t run as rigid of routes. They would not only be more useful to the passengers, but they could be idled in remote locations without paying for the driver to stay or get home, etc.

  179. 179
    ess says:

    Not only did Seattle and its housing shortage make national news – but an answer has been provided. Tiny apartments with group facilities – sort of like dorms.

    http://www.npr.org/2016/07/23/484919328/theyre-small-but-these-big-city-apartments-tout-their-communal-feel

  180. 180

    As long as we’re talking transportation . . ..

    I wonder how much Uber/Lyft, etc. contribute to congestion downtown? Before you had a regulated number of taxis with specified places they could sit. Now you just have a bunch of people with cars wanting to be as close to high congestion areas driving around so that they can get a fare.

    Also, I’ve noticed that the Amazon delivery people are now driving much newer cars than when the program started. I wonder if Amazon is requiring that or somehow helping that occur?

  181. 181

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 180 – By coincidence, this story popped up, showing how Uber/Lyft help drivers get cars. It’s what I was thinking Amazon might be doing.

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/desperately-seeking-drivers-uber-lyft-offer-car-options/

    Also, it’s possible Uber/Lyft drivers might be using these programs and moonlighting for Amazon since they probably don’t make enough money doing Uber/Lyft.

  182. 182
    David B. says:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 176 – “In the future no one (except a few elites, and fleets) will own a self driving car themselves, and instead people will simply request a car when they need one.”

    There is nothing particular to driverless cars about sharing vehicles; it is already completely possible with current technology. Services like ZipCar and Car2Go have been offering it for years, not to mention taxicabs which have been around since the dawn of the automobile age. It’s a definite market segment, but it definitely has not completely replaced either private automobiles or mass transit.

    You’re making an error that many technology fans make: seriously overestimating the impact of a new technology. Driverless cars aren’t all that different from current, human-driven ones, much like Internet commerce isn’t all that different from old-school mail-order catalogs. Predictions that driverless cars will obsolete either personal automobiles or mass transit are as silly as the predictions in the late 90s that Internet commerce would spell the death of brick-and-mortar stores.

  183. 183
    David B. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 178 – Driverless cars might also actually help traditional mass transit work well in many low-density suburban areas where it currently struggles, by providing a link between stations and residences that doesn’t have the parking demands (and thus parking structure construction costs) which park-and-ride stations do.

  184. 184
    pfft says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 177:

    By David B. @ 173:

    RE: pfft @ 171 – People pay for parking to go to work and shopping in Downtown Seattle, and the streets of Downtown are dangerously close to gridlock as it is during peak hours. You think they won’t tell their driverless cars to circulate for a few minutes to save on parking? Think again..

    Well at least now we know why pfft thought the Brexit was going to cause the stock market to collapse. He doesn’t even understand something as simple as parking, and that in many places it’s a scarce resource.

    I don’t really remember saying that Brexit was going to cause the market to collapse. in many places parking is a scare resource. but how many times do you pay for parking each day? I hardly ever pay for parking. if you pay for parking for work you aren’t going to have your car circling the bloc.

    just how many people run errands at the same time? anyway with driverless cars you could use your app to run errands and your goods will be shipped by driverless cars at off peak hours.

    computer algorithms are a lot better at reducing traffic than humans. if computers reduce traffic by 50% it would take 100% increase in “errands” where your car circles the block to make up the difference. the one problem with the circling the block argument is that computers will just have them avoid traffic or circle as an efficient pack that doesn’t increase traffic jams. those cars might park maybe a mile away where parking is free. or 1/2 a mile away.

    think more along the line of traffic circles reducing traffic and traffic jams. think of intersections with no wait and no lights.

  185. 185
    whatever says:

    RE: It transplant @ 40
    事实上我们看到的.

  186. 186
    Ross says:

    There’s going to be a ton of implications to self driving cars:

    1) Cars will be able to communicate with each other and know accurately where they and others cars are and are going
    – so traffic lights will basically not be needed, and cars will be able to drive continuously through intersection, with very tight margins.
    – cars will be able to leave much less space between themselves, so more cars can fit on the same road. On highways, they could function similar to a train, moving in unison
    – They will be able to drive (safely) at much higher speeds
    – Cars will have greater awareness of congestion, construction and accidents and be able to route around more efficiently.
    (all of these make the roads more efficient, and allow significantly more cars on existing roads)
    2) Ride sharing will increase / Car ownership will decrease. For “owned” cars, after commuting to work, can send the car to spouse/kids for use. Or, send it out to pickup arbitrary strangers, and rent the car out while not in use. The net decreases the expense of cars (if you can subsidize it by renting out), and decreases the total number of cars needed.
    3) Car pooling will be able to take close to optimal routes. This can make commuting service more convenient, economical and require fewer cars on the road
    4) Demand for parking will vastly decrease, cars can be sent home, to act as car share, or to a cheap parking lot on the other side of town (or in some case to idle around the block). This will free up the “parking lane” to such a degree that we’ll gain additional lanes that can be used for traffic on existing downtown roads. Also parking garages will have less usage, some could be converted to alternate uses.
    5) Accidents will go down substantially, insurance rates will plummet and 90% of existing car insurance industry will be dead. (One of the largest costs of driving will be substantially reduced)
    6) Cars can drive themselves to do errands like oil changes, repairs, mechanical. They can also drive to the cheapest vendor, accounting for the gas/electricity to get there. This saves time and reduces cost of ownership
    7) A whole bunch of delivery services will get cheaper, and can be available more often. i.e. pizza deliver, grocery delivery, goods delivery will not need a person involved. Decreases costs again. This will also change where many types of business will be located. Attractive retail locations less important.
    8) Teenagers and kids can commute without an adult. More freedom and saves time.
    9) Commuters don’t need to focus on the road, and can instead use commute time to read/work/surf internet/check email

    Many of these changes will take a while to become fully available, but some of them will make an impact immediately. There’s huge social and business implications to the changes though.

  187. 187

    RE: Ross @ 185 – I think you’ll still have traffic signals of a sort, because it will be faster to get a bunch of cars through in one direction at a time rather than your system, and in part because there will be some non-self-driving cars forever. But the cars will be better able to communicate with the lights, sort of like how police/fire vehicles can change some lights when they’re approaching. And the cars might be able to pace themselves better to make lights (non-regenerative brakes are a huge energy waster). The non-self-driving cars will become second class citizens unless maybe they can have some sort of transponder letting the light know they are approaching.

    I don’t see cars driving very far to get cheaper fuel, in part because you can’t go too far before the benefit evaporates, and in part because electric rates might not vary as much as gas (or people may be able to just charge at home).

    I think your main point is good though, that the impacts will be great and in ways we don’t even consider. One huge impact will be that the timing might be nearly perfect–keeping many of the aging baby boomers from being behind the wheel in their 80s and 90s.

  188. 188

    By pfft @ 184:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 177:

    By David B. @ 173:

    RE: pfft @ 171 – People pay for parking to go to work and shopping in Downtown Seattle, and the streets of Downtown are dangerously close to gridlock as it is during peak hours. You think they won’t tell their driverless cars to circulate for a few minutes to save on parking? Think again..

    Well at least now we know why pfft thought the Brexit was going to cause the stock market to collapse. He doesn’t even understand something as simple as parking, and that in many places it’s a scarce resource.

    I don’t really remember saying that Brexit was going to cause the market to collapse..

    Looking back, technically correct. You were using the large declines in the market to try to prove the Brexit was a bad idea. Post 128 here: https://seattlebubble.com/blog/2016/06/21/record-high-home-prices-affordable-thanks-high-incomes-low-rates/

    Funny thing is you started off that thread with almost the same point I was making. You noted banks were trading like crazy and profiting (post 89) which was very similar to my point that entities like movement (post 95). Note those posts are before post 128, where for some reason you still thought that the losses meant something.

  189. 189
    jon says:

    One easy way to get rid of non-self driven cars is get rid of parking. Then traffic lights will be obsolete because there will be no one to look at them. Cars will just whizz past each other through the intersection, with imperceptible adjustments in speed to avoid collisions. Intersections managed that way will have nearly the same maximum throughput as the current approach, and when there is enough traffic that the difference matters, the current approach would be at or near gridlock level anyway, so cars would just route around the congestion.

    Electricity pricing will vary throughout the day, so timing the refueling will be more important than finding a cheaper location.

    People who enjoy driving themselves will have amusement parks to drive in, because they will be a nuisance on regular roads.

  190. 190
    Justme says:

    RE: Ross @ 185

    Just one word: Pedestrians. You can’t have self-driving cars coordinating amongst themselves without also coordinating with the population of pedestrians. That will throw a pretty big wrench into the works with respect to the vision of self-driving cars zipping through intersections at high speed. There will be lots of interruptions of the system by the (presumably much more numerous) pedestrians in city centers. This is NOT an easy problem to solve. Off the top of my head, you could institute a dual-green system where both directions have green light at the same time, with collaboration, and then have a separate dual-green for pedestrians. That would not get rid of the traffic lights, but may improve efficiency, much like he way roundabouts work in locations with few pedestrians. Actually, the dual-green for cars probably should be operated as a “virtual roundabout”, whereas the dual-green for pedestrians should be operated the way they do some places in Japan: a free-for-all where pedestrians also cross diagonally through the center of the intersection as needed.

    I also take issue with the idea of “sending cars home” to avoid parking. I have seen people make that suggestion several times before. This scheme will double the energy usage and also double the traffic exactly at the worst time, namely peak commute hours. Not good, and not practical in most commuter cases.

    In summary, I think people are being unrealistic about the benefits that self-driving cars will bring. A high density of high-rises on each side of a subway/train line is hard to beat. Think Manhattan. For other scenarios, there really are not many good solutions.

  191. 191
    Blurtman says:

    Replace humans with non-polluting, low carbon footprint robots, and problem solved.

  192. 192
    David B. says:

    RE: Justme @ 190 – “I also take issue with the idea of “sending cars home” to avoid parking. I have seen people make that suggestion several times before. This scheme will double the energy usage and also double the traffic exactly at the worst time, namely peak commute hours. Not good, and not practical in most commuter cases.”

    I’m one of the people that’s mentioned it. I agree it’s not good from either an energy conservation or a traffic viewpoint. But it’s completely possible, and absent some policy change to discourage it, cannot be discounted. (Driving alone to work in a conventional car sucks from both energy efficiency and traffic standpoints, and that doesn’t stop lots of people from doing just that today.)

    Simply sending self-driving cars on errands unattended could also make traffic much worse. There’s routes people avoid at certain times (because they are too congested), but if your car is sitting on 520 while you’re at home enjoying dinner then watching TV, why not send it on an errand to pick something across the lake up for you so you can have it at 8:00 PM tonight? That makes traffic all the worse for those who are personally are sitting in it.

    As far as added capacity goes, there’s nothing magic about the added capacity from self-driving cars that makes it any different from the capacity added by building or expanding freeways. It will fall victim to the very same induced demand problem. See Houston, TX.

  193. 193
    Justme says:

    RE: David B. @ 192

    >>I’m one of the people that’s mentioned it. I agree it’s not good from either an energy conservation or a traffic viewpoint. But it’s completely possible, and absent some policy change to discourage it, cannot be discounted.

    Yes, indeed. All your examples of gaming the system are good ones. And there are other examples, too. For example, a single vehicle with a human driver can wreak havoc with the traffic flow in the city center by playing a game of chicken with the other vehicles so that they stop and let the human driver through, This will create great ripples of standstilll that will greatly reduce the efficiency of the overall system. It seems clear to me self-driving vehicles must be programmed to stop in the face of danger from a non-collaborating vehicle, and an anti-social and self-centered human can very easily exploit that knowledge. Put a few of these anti-social drivers on the road, and the system will grind to a halt. And of course, my previous example with pedestrians gaming the system works the same way. A few jaywalkers can bring the flow to standstill.

    By the way, foolish and self-centered drivers are already one of the main reasons for traffic jams, especially on freeways. One of the must damaging driver type I see is what I call “space-fillers” or “butt-sniffers”. These are the type of drivers that never saw an open space in front of them that they did not want to accelerate into. This behavior is incredibly counter-productive. Once everyone has filled the space in front of them, cars are so close that any little disturbance, such as a lane change, or an entering or exiting vehicle, will lead to fast-moving ripples of breaking and acceleration, even near standstill. A huge average speed reduction will occur.

    Another favorite is what happens when people slow down way below the speed limit because they see a police car at the side of the road. This can easily create a 20min half-or-less speed traffic jam in ALL LANES. Have you ever passed such a location and noticed how suddenly the freeway is all clear and speed at the limit as soon as you pass? That was caused by the idiots that slowed down for no good reason.

  194. 194
    Action says:

    By Ross @ 110:

    That’s basically true of any tech company. Google doesn’t have an exclusive corner on search, Apple doesn’t have an exclusive corner on mobile phones, IBM doesn’t have an exclusive corner on PCs, Microsoft doesn’t have an exclusive corner on operating systems. Tech is 80% about how much you are ahead and 20% about the brand you’ve established (numbers vary a little by the company). The ability to stay ahead depends on good leadership and great engineers. Will Amazon always be dominant at cloud services. Probably not (or cloud services may fade in importance). But they can still be leaders for a long time. Microsoft was ahead for a good 20 years, and even now prints ridiculous amounts of cash every quarter, even as they are thought to be in decline.

    Here it is from Bezos himself, Amazon won’t be around forever…
    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2016/07/22/amazon-exec-bezos-has-planned-for-the-eventual-end.html

    Interesting to think if all these office buildings and campuses being built by tech companies might just be a way of translating the hoards of cash they have into something tangible that will last. Might not necessarily be a sign of future hiring and employment.

  195. 195
    Doug says:

    RE: Action @ 194 – “Jeff said to me, ‘John, opportunities like this come along once every 125 years. One hundred twenty-five years from now, when people have forgotten about Amazon…'”

    Not sure I’m going to care what Seattle real estate looks like in 125 years, but I’m pretty sure it will worth more than it is today.

  196. 196

    By Doug @ 195:

    Not sure I’m going to care what Seattle real estate looks like in 125 years, but I’m pretty sure it will worth more than it is today.

    I know I don’t care. ;-)

  197. 197
    David B. says:

    RE: Justme @ 193 – “One of the must damaging driver type I see is what I call “space-fillers” or “butt-sniffers”. ”

    Funny you should mention that. There was a lingering back-up on Highway 104 caused by an earlier Hood Canal Bridge yesterday. After a stop/go cycle or two it was pretty clear that the average speed was about 10 mph. So the next “go” cycle, I didn’t drive faster than 10 mph. A huge gap opened up in front of me. No matter, it would soon close, thought I.

    At that point, the butt-sniffers behind me got all peeved and started honking at me. Then a bunch of them passed me, unsafely. Under a minute later, they were at the far end of the gap. I gave up; I didn’t want to promote such unsafe behavior and sped up.

    A minute or so later everyone was at a dead stop again. The butt-sniffers gained nothing by their exercise except for the chance to turn slow and steady driving into stop-and-go driving. Well done!

  198. 198
    Justme says:

    RE: David B. @ 197

    You know it! I have had that very same experience. I occasionally try to keep a lower and steady speed so that one never has to stop fully, but it is not uncommon that other drivers do not understand the concept and the advantage of such driving.

  199. 199
    Seth B says:

    I’ve never seen a comment section go to self driving cars BEFORE getting racist. Let’s talk about minorities…..

  200. 200

    By Seth B @ 199:

    I’ve never seen a comment section go to self driving cars BEFORE getting racist. Let’s talk about minorities…..

    Apparently none of the self-driving cars are from China. :-D

  201. 201
    Timothy Crosley says:

    No one legitimately addressed any of the potential outcomes I provided that would lead to the efficiency of self driving cars if they came about (remember I never said they where likely, just possible)

    – No one owning their own car – w/ full ride sharing. Current ride sharing programs aren’t about efficiency like a self driving car one would be, they are about convenience. Think about it – with a modal like zip car it’s about having extra cars everywhere taking up space in parking spots so they are there when you need it (convenience not efficiency). And with things like uber and lyft you need a driver in addition to the passenger so one passenger vehicle isn’t possible. In fact it wasn’t even until recently that uber / lyft provided *any* road usage efficiency benefit – with the introduction of things like uber pool.

    – Size of vehicle. One thing that was completely ignored that’s the most important to any truly efficient system is reducing the size of vehicles: http://urbanist.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83454714d69e2017d3c37d8ac970c-800wi if we don’t need a driver and can have an upright single passenger car come get a single person, and two person car two people etc. It would drastically improve road usage and capacity. This is possible with completely automated fleets of autonomous cars – it’s not at all possible without this. For one thing, to really make it efficient space wise these vehicles would have no crumple zone. Which means you anticipate no accidents.

    To really make a system like this efficient you would absolutely need to remove the pedestrian component as much as possible raised walkways instead of crosswalks etc. This is all very unlikely, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

  202. 202
    Timothy Crosley says:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 201 – It’s also important to note that the pedestrian factor is actually *unrelated* to the efficiency or preference for or against self-driving cars. Places where rail coincides with human walkways the concern is still present, and only somewhat reduced because of humans learned caution, a caution which could just as easily be learned for self-driving car routes. By the same token: any where you’ve built rail that’s practically completely inaccessible to human foot traffic you could have *more* easily and with less cost built a traditional road there[0]. That is really just an argument for keeping walkways clearly separate from transportation pathways in general.

    [0] “The Reality: While a few rail-transit lines may have had a marginal effect on rush-hour congestion, the cost is exorbitant. The average light-rail line under construction or in planning stages today costs $25 million per mile ($50 million per mile in both directions). Heavy rail costs more than twice as much. By comparison, the average lane mile of freeway costs only about $5 to $10 million. Since freeway lanes carry far more people than any rail line outside of New York, they are much more cost effective. Running express buses on high-occupancy vehicle or high-occupancy/toll lanes will carry more people at a far lower cost than rail.” – http://seattletransitblog.com/2009/10/26/the-highway-vs-fixed-transit-debate/

  203. 203
    redmondjp says:

    RE: David B. @ 197 – You have identified one of the primary reasons why our local traffic is so farked up. It’s the “me only matters” mentality – screw traffic flow, screw all other drivers, ME needs to be first!

    I drive the same as you through the S-curves in Renton on 405 every day, which has very consistent and predictable spots (after onramps) that come to a stop or near-stop. I drive a manual transmission car. I try to drive an even speed so the people behind me can also drive that same even speed, thereby smoothing the traffic flow. Boy does it tick people off! People whip around me (sometimes even on the right using the onramp) and then have to brake to a stop right in front of me. Pure fricking genius.

    Oh well . . .

  204. 204
    ess says:

    By Timothy Crosley @ 202:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 201 – It’s also important to note that the pedestrian factor is actually *unrelated* to the efficiency or preference for or against self-driving cars. Places where rail coincides with human walkways the concern is still present, and only somewhat reduced because of humans learned caution, a caution which could just as easily be learned for self-driving car routes. By the same token: any where you’ve built rail that’s practically completely inaccessible to human foot traffic you could have *more* easily and with less cost built a traditional road there[0]. That is really just an argument for keeping walkways clearly separate from transportation pathways in general.

    [0] “The Reality: While a few rail-transit lines may have had a marginal effect on rush-hour congestion, the cost is exorbitant. The average light-rail line under construction or in planning stages today costs $25 million per mile ($50 million per mile in both directions). Heavy rail costs more than twice as much. By comparison, the average lane mile of freeway costs only about $5 to $10 million. Since freeway lanes carry far more people than any rail line outside of New York, they are much more cost effective. Running express buses on high-occupancy vehicle or high-occupancy/toll lanes will carry more people at a far lower cost than rail.” – http://seattletransitblog.com/2009/10/26/the-highway-vs-fixed-transit-debate/</blockquote

    Now don't get me wrong – I love travel by rail, and that is how I travel each time we go to Europe for vacations. On the other hand, for the Puget Sound area, I understand that light rail is not a solution, as the number of new inhabitants, not to mention the number of new commuters will dwarf the capacity of light rail. Light rail isn't called light because of its weight, but rather its passenger carrying capacity. NYC subway cars are much bigger, and hold many more people. I was hoping that the bus system would be expanded into more neighborhoods with more service, and that dedicated bus lanes be constructed only for express buses. But that will not come to pass, as the focus will be on light rail. Good luck to those trying to get to light rail that live miles away.

    Light rail is coming to the neighborhoods of my two little rentals. I have resigned myself to that. Thus I tell my friends "if government has to waste money – let it waste money on my behalf". Not only will a few people whose property is located within the sweet spot of a light rail station (one mile or closer) benefit by increase property values, but if they are rentals – the tenants get to pay for those taxes through their rent. And rents for property along the light rail should go up as it becomes the only viable alternative for a few who need to get into Seattle from up north.

    I look forward to the vote on ST3. Don't know if it will pass – but the time table for building seems amazingly long. At least it will be an exciting election for light rail supporters and opponents. Lots of money – which will translate into higher living expenses for homeowners and higher rents.

  205. 205

    RE: Som @ 172
    You Sound Like a Hillary Supporter

    Trump supporters are always full of gibberish when they tell the truth. Take my freedom of speech away from me, an establishment wish…LOL

    Bernie delegates’ signs were taken from them today and they were told to “zip their mouths shut”.

    Wake up and get some common sense.

  206. 206
    David B. says:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 201 – Actually I did address the ownership aspect. So far as “convenience” versus “efficiency”, they both play a role in both. Efficiency is definitely a selling point of services like Zipcar.

    As for the size aspect: same answer as the ownership issue. It has nothing to do with self-driving cars and has long been possible with the normal human-driven type. Vehicles like the GO-4 Interceptor and Smart Fortwo already exist. In fact, tiny cars have been made for about as long as larger ones have been. They’ve never become super-popular. Why do you think this will change once self-driving cars appear on the scene? How many taxi companies have Smart Fortwo’s in their fleets for the cases where they only need to carry a single passenger?

  207. 207
    Timothy Crosley says:

    RE: David B. @ 206 – @David B. You still haven’t addressed it. I stand by my statement that zip car is about convenience not efficiency. It trades lower demand underground and house parking for more usage of city street parking spots – which are in much higher demand – for of course convenience. You could say it’s more efficient in terms of number of vehicles required – but that’s not the measure of efficiency we are talking about. We are talking about efficiency of current road space utilization in high demand areas, as that’s what affects peak throughput.

    You conveniently ignored one of the biggest potential savings (no crumple zone) that no one would or should give up in a non self-driving world, but would be perfectly reasonable to give up in one. Now to your other statement, the reason single vehicles don’t work in a non-self driving car world has to do with ownership – both for individuals and lyft drivers, cabs, etc. As a single user I don’t want a single person car because not only because of how they are perceived – but because of lack of flexibility, *and* the biggest complaint I’ve heard: lack of safety – as I *own* it. But, if it’s a self driving taxi, with a better safety record then the buses of today, that no one is even going to know that I took – I’m not going to care. For the taxis it’s the same thing: it’s always beneficial for an individual taxi driver to ride a multi passenger car for increased flexibility, and there’s a fixed cost for the dedicated driver – so you mine as well go bigger. Get rid of the driver and change it to a self-driving fleet perspective and the math changes completely, then both the passenger and fleet company have an incentive to provide vehicles to size at appropriate price points. Besides, even in the “best case” Smart Fortwo situation your talking about – the car is still 4 times as space inefficient as the equivalent single person self driving cab I described. And even in the case that someone would be mad enough to drive a single person size vehicle in the non self driving world, it’s still less than half as efficient as if the car immediately going to pick someone else up on its own.

  208. 208
    boater says:

    This seems unlikely to help the seattle market
    15% tax on foreign purchases of BC real estate.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-to-target-foreign-real-estate-buyers-with-new-tax/article31096550/

  209. 209
    Blake says:

    Timely article…
    What a City With Driverless Cars Will Look Like (In 10 Years or Less)
    https://mishtalk.com/2016/07/26/what-a-city-with-driverless-cars-will-look-like-in-10-years-or-less/
    This was posted at Naked Capitalism with the comment: “Ooh! A partner at ‘a prestigious Silicon Valley VC firm’ waxing technotopian about ‘entire cities totally driverless within ten years’! Complete with unicorns and sparkly ponies! They wouldn’t be taking their book or anything now, would they?”

  210. 210
    David B. says:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 207 – LOL, if “efficiency” was a paramount consumer consideration in transportation, hardly anyone would drive alone to work in a vehicle weighing several tons. You’re assuming the existence of a motive for which there is very little evidence in the real world.

    And why wouldn’t self-image continue to be an issue when self-driving cars come on the scene? You don’t think there will continue to be both luxury and economy marques, with the former having snob-appeal over the latter?

    If safety was of paramount concern and the main reason smaller cars today aren’t popular, then again far fewer would be choosing to drive cars to work at all, because buses and trains are far safer in crashes than private automobiles (and because of some basic laws of physics, always will be, even after self-driving technology becomes widespread).

    It really looks like you’re grasping, inventing possible motives out of thin air in a desperate attempt to save your assertion. It’s not working.

  211. 211
    David B. says:

    RE: Blake @ 209 – That’s even a bigger hoot than the stuff Crosley is posting.

    Yes, despite how the average service lifetime of an automobile has been steadily increasing over the years and is now somewhere north of 150K miles, for some unexplained reason a miracle is about to happen and in the next few years everyone will be zipping around in an almost-new driverless car.

    It is to LOL.

  212. 212

    RE: David B. @ 211 – I think the bigger mistake is thinking people will be giving up what is one of their primary means of showing status (falsely in many cases) only to go instead with a shared self-driving car.

  213. 213
    David B. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 212 – Hence my comments about self-image in post #210.

  214. 214
    Timothy Crosley says:

    @David B. I think we are having different conversations. I’ve very clearly stated that I think this is unlikely – just possible. And over a very long period of time. Eventually exponentially expensive single-user ownership cost combined with convenience of not having to manage a car, especially in cities where there is a great lack of parking – could make people seek out other ways of showing status. Unlikely, but possible – even if over several generations minor changes in behavior. I would never make a prediction that it would happen over 10 years, that’s crazy aggressive. I wouldn’t even make a prediction that it will happen, since I wouldn’t claim to be so smart as to be able to correctly predict individuals and societal behavior. All I can clearly state, is that strictly speaking, on paper, it is *possible*. Also, just about everyone I know that takes a car to work in my generation, does it because they either couldn’t afford to live near a good bus or rail line – or because the alternative is significantly slower then the other. In fact, the view already has shifted among my peers that the act of living near good transport and not having to take an unsafe car is the status symbol, to a much greater extent than cars.

  215. 215

    By Timothy Crosley @ 214:

    especially in cities where there is a great lack of parking

    That is a good distinction. In the suburbs you’re going to have people who want a 3 car garage and that still won’t be enough to park all their cars. In the city someone might only need a car once a week if that, and be more willing to consider a shared car. Back when I lived on First Hill and worked downtown I used to get groceries up at Ravenna or Northgate just so my truck could get a drive once a week.

  216. 216
    David B. says:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 214 – Fine, but “unlikely… just possible… over a very long period of time” is a pretty thin hope. I’ll stick with my belief that mass transit is necessary and that investing in it is not investing in guaranteed obsolescence.

  217. 217
    Timothy Crosley says:

    RE: David B. @ 216 – @David B. Me too! I’ll be voting for ST3, honestly my own only push would be to get things done sooner so that even if the unlikely happens 50-500 years from now the rail has several years of good usage before then :).

  218. 218
    David B. says:

    RE: Timothy Crosley @ 217 – Regardless of what I personally want, I think that ST3 will probably not pass, because size of both the budget and the time frame will make many people queasy. Then a more modest proposal will be made, which probably will pass; the system will continue to grow, but by a more incremental process.

    All that said, I still plan on throwing some $$$ the way of the pro campaign (not living in the Sound Transit district myself, I can’t vote for it directly). Providing alternatives to sitting in traffic (be it in a car or a bus) is probably the single most important thing that can be done to improve the livability of the Seattle metro area, given how much traffic congestion is pretty much fated to continue being a problem here.

  219. 219
    Erik says:

    RE: David B. @ 218
    You are going to give money to a campaign in an area you don’t live? Bad idea. I live in Seattle and I can tell you these idiots that run things for the city will throw your money away and then ask for more just like the Bertha underground tunnel.

    These morons hit a pipe because some fat state worker didn’t see the pipe on the plans. Now they ask for more money. I suspect the problems aren’t over and they will ask for more money.

  220. 220
    David B. says:

    You’re conflating tunnels dug by two different agencies. Unlike the WSDOT and Bertha, Sound Transit has a record of completing their tunnels on schedule and not hitting their own well casings. (Yes, the WSDOT itself installed the very pipe that Bertha hit and broke itself on; it’s that much of a Charlie Foxtrot.)

    I moved to Bainbridge Island because it let me be closer to nature without fighting traffic. Because I’m relatively affluent, I could afford that option. It fixes the problem for me but it doesn’t fix it in general. Building ST3 will include a line to Downtown Issaquah, walking distance to two state parks, a state forest, a county park, and lots of trailheads.

    I consider it my responsibility as someone fortunate enough to be able to afford what currently is a privilege (and ought to be a birthright) to act to help make things the way I believe they ought to be.

  221. 221
    Justme says:

    Here’s what I think: The Big Bertha tunnel is how landowners and developers increase the value of the waterfront and near-waterfront property, with the whole thing being paid for by taxpayers. The taxpayers get no benefit except perhaps a nice occasional stroll on the waterfront.

    Same thing happened in 1989 in San Francisco, after the 7.x Loma Prieta earthquake damaged some of the waterfront Embarcadero Freeway. That was a great excuse to tear the whole freeway down. And there is also the Boston so-called Big Dig, which cost a fortune for taxpayers. Who benefitted? make a guess…

  222. 222

    By David B. @ 220:

    You’re conflating tunnels dug by two different agencies. Unlike the WSDOT and Bertha

    From memory, that tunnel wasn’t WSDOT’s first choice. I think it was Seattle that was pushing for the tunnel option. WSDOT also publicly was against the Monorail expansion. They couldn’t stop that one either, but other forces did.

    Also the size and location of the ST tunnels makes the comparison really apples and oranges.

  223. 223
    redmondjp says:

    By Justme @ 221:

    Here’s what I think: The Big Bertha tunnel is how landowners and developers increase the value of the waterfront and near-waterfront property, with the whole thing being paid for by taxpayers. The taxpayers get no benefit except perhaps a nice occasional stroll on the waterfront.

    You are precisely correct. I’m waiting for the day when the taxpayers finally wake up to this fact. But that could get very ugly, judging from human history. Privatize the gains; socialize the losses/expenses.

  224. 224

    RE: redmondjp @ 223 – Isn’t that true of almost any public work project? They would impact surrounding properties either positively or negatively.

    I still have a search that looks for properties within 1/2 mile of the south end light rail stations. Those properties benefited.

  225. 225
    EJ says:

    By Ross @ 110:

    That’s basically true of any tech company. Google doesn’t have an exclusive corner on search, Apple doesn’t have an exclusive corner on mobile phones, IBM doesn’t have an exclusive corner on PCs, Microsoft doesn’t have an exclusive corner on operating systems. Tech is 80% about how much you are ahead and 20% about the brand you’ve established (numbers vary a little by the company). The ability to stay ahead depends on good leadership and great engineers. Will Amazon always be dominant at cloud services. Probably not (or cloud services may fade in importance). But they can still be leaders for a long time. Microsoft was ahead for a good 20 years, and even now prints ridiculous amounts of cash every quarter, even as they are thought to be in decline.

    You know, Microsoft constantly surprises me. They have been dead to me more times than any other major company only to weasel their way back into my life. They seem to fail at more than they succeed at, make terrible purchasing decisions, and generally cannot seem to do much right, but they seem to have a bigger pot of spaghetti and a willingness to throw it at the wall just to see what sticks, even if it’s a tiny sliver of some competitor’s market share…

    I can’t help but love, hate, and begrudgingly respect them.

  226. 226
    redmondjp says:

    By EJ @ 225:

    By Ross @ 110:

    That’s basically true of any tech company. Google doesn’t have an exclusive corner on search, Apple doesn’t have an exclusive corner on mobile phones, IBM doesn’t have an exclusive corner on PCs, Microsoft doesn’t have an exclusive corner on operating systems. Tech is 80% about how much you are ahead and 20% about the brand you’ve established (numbers vary a little by the company). The ability to stay ahead depends on good leadership and great engineers. Will Amazon always be dominant at cloud services. Probably not (or cloud services may fade in importance). But they can still be leaders for a long time. Microsoft was ahead for a good 20 years, and even now prints ridiculous amounts of cash every quarter, even as they are thought to be in decline.

    You know, Microsoft constantly surprises me. They have been dead to me more times than any other major company only to weasel their way back into my life. They seem to fail at more than they succeed at, make terrible purchasing decisions, and generally cannot seem to do much right, but they seem to have a bigger pot of spaghetti and a willingness to throw it at the wall just to see what sticks, even if it’s a tiny sliver of some competitor’s market share…

    I can’t help but love, hate, and begrudgingly respect them.

    I have to agree with you. I saw my coworker’s Surface 4 last night in action – just the tablet portion, which he was using to mark up drawings as we walked a building – he said that he has had some of the previous models of the Surface and they finally got this one right. Now I want one!

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