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"What price growth...?"
Copyright 1998 The Seattle Times Company

Local News : Sunday, May 17, 1998

What's good about growth? Some people think plenty

Kathy Fletcher, executive director of People for Puget Sound, is a Seattle native and leader of the region's environmental community. She despairs over many of the changes growth has wrought in her home town.

But she wouldn't turn back the clock.

"Seattle is a much more interesting, exciting place now than it was in 1950," Fletcher says.

Growth has brought changes that many perceive as assaults on the region's quality of life. At the same time it has brought changes that many would argue make this place a better place to live.

Growth means traffic congestion and sprawl. It also means Microsoft, Thai restaurants and big-league sports.

Last fall the Front Porch Forum surveyed 400 King, Snohomish and Pierce county voters on growth and its impacts. When they were asked to name any positive consequences of the region's growth over the past 10 years, 10 percent said it had none. Another 13 percent said they just didn't know.

But the rest found something to like about growth. Among their responses:

More jobs/ better paying jobs: 33%

Improved economy/ growing economy: 11%

Cultural diversity: 6%

New businesses: 5%

More/ varied shopping, restaurants, etc: 3%

New people/ ideas: 3%

More arts/ entertainment/ culture/ music: 3%

Increase in property values: 2%

More things to do: 1%

Source: Elway Research


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