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Friends of the Market Newsletter

June 2014

Counting from the last day of April, June has been a big 50th Anniversary month for Friends of the Market (FoM).
 


A "recreated" Champagne Breakfast on April 30th was a successful sell-out (with plenty of left-over food for the Senior Center). Lowell's is still there, but, in 1964, the senior center wasn't. At the 50th Commemorative Breakfast, past and present members toasted the visionaries and leaders who gathered at breakfasts during the 7-year campaign to “Keep the Market”.
 
Keynote Speaker, former Mayor Charlie Royer, had only good things to say about the Pike Place Market and FoM, unlike the '60's mayor. Many old Friends and familiar faces gabbed and caught up on families and fortunes and came away smiling. Credit goes to FoM board members Joan Singler and Judy Ogliore for promoting, gathering and serving the food. A few of the photos taken that April morning are now available on our website.
 
Later, on June 19th, a MOHAI History Cafe lecture, featuring Pike Place Market History, was filled with 85 old and new Friends.  Paul Dunn expanded on the subject: The History of the Pike Place Market in the 1960's is the History of Friends of the Market. John  Turnbull, Market PDA’s Asset Manager, presented a slide show with commentary on the execution of the agenda created for the Market by Friends' activism and its 1971 Citizens' Initiative to “Keep the Market”. This was the first of two 'educational' events during the Friends’ 50th Anniversary year.
 
The next event is September 30th, a Tuesday, 7:30pm, in the Seattle Central Public Library. It will feature a talk by David O'Neil, a nationally known expert on public and private markets. He will join a panel discussion led  by Peter Steinbrueck, including Knute Berger, Christine Vaughan, and perhaps Jim Diers, former head of the City’s Department of Neighborhoods. Remember to check our Events page!
 
“Passages” this month is the second in a three part series on the history of Friends of the Market. Reprinted from Pike Place Market News.
 


Post Alley Passages


 

FRIENDS OF THE MARKET @ 50   Part II

Previously in "Passages":  Friends of the Market, organized in 1964, waged a seven year campaign to redirect federal money for urban renewal of the Pike Place Market to repair, renovate, and restore. It wrote and presented an Initiative to Seattle voters in November 1971.

                              The Initiative Passes

All Seattle newspapers and radio and TV stations opposed Proposition #1 on the November ballot, as did city government leaders and business interests, led by the Seattle Central Association. Friends led the campaign to support the Initiative to Keep the Market assisted by Allied Arts and a smaller, newer group of savvy political activists called the Alliance for a Living Market. Businesses in the Market were divided, most not knowing what to expect.

Again, Alice Shorett sums it up: “At this point the tweedy figure of Victor Steinbrueck may have been the most important symbol. He clearly loved the Market and he had been proved right on several disputed points. He couldn’t have done it by himself. It probably couldn’t have been done without him.”

           Initiative No. 1: Yes, 76,369. No. 5d3, 264

After the successful vote provisions of the Keep the Market Initiative were converted to city ordinance (SMC 25.24) signed by Mayor Wes Uhlman. He appointed the twelve-member Pike Place Market Historical Commission in December as called for in the Initiative. Victor Steinbrueck and John Bagdale were the original Friends representatives on the Historical Commission, with Irving Clark Jr. as Chair.

 Origins of Preservation and Development Authorities

The Initiative had directed the Historical Commission to develop plans for “the acquisition and perpetuation of the Pike Place Market and of market activities through either public ownership or other means.” A subcommittee was formed with John Bagdale of Friends of the Market, and Jean Falls and Tim Manring, both active in An Alliance for a Living Market, and Randy Lee and Frank Miller. This group met weekly in the law offices of Yale Lewis, a corporate attorney, to develop those plans.
         
They envisioned a public entity or organization, to restore and manage the Market, but with the freedom of a private body. Their product, a Public Development Authority (PDA) was rare nationally at the time. Manring and Miller convinced federal and city officials the new form would meet legal tests and Lewis lobbied Olympia for enabling legislation. The city created the Pike Place Market Public Development Authority (PPMPDA) and it was chartered in June, 1973.  (Nineteen ‘public authorities’ have been formed since then in Seattle, operating sports stadia, medical clinic groups, economic zones, and specialized residential providers.)

                Historical Commission Guidelines

Through December and January the new Historical Commission met in the grim, chilly barber school space in the Corner Market Building. One wag observed the rats had fur coats. But the Historical Commission Guidelines were drafted and approved. They were quickly but thoughtfully written and have survived basically unchanged into this new century. The first Certificate of Use and Design was to Shirley Collins, who was opening Sur la Table, a kitchenware store, in the former St. Vincent De Paul thrift store, between Pine and Stewart. Shirley had been an active Friend of the Market for several years prior.

                 City Department Runs the Market

 The years immediately following the Initiative left the Market under the jurisdiction of the city’s Department of Community Development, led by former Mayor Dorm Braman’s son James. The governance of the seven-acre historical district created by the initiative had to fit into the twenty-two acre urban renewal district, which was still a key to unlock federal funds. James Mason, a city planner, was appointed Manager of the Pike Project, assisted by Harriet Sherburne, who was formerly active in the Alliance for a Living Market.

In addition to acting as landlord and market manager, the Pike Project staff had to write an Historical Preservation Plan to place the Market on the National Register of Historic Places, which would free up federal money to be spent on any buildings. A dispute arose between project staff and Victor Steinbrueck over the nature of the ‘saving’ of the Market buildings. A series of workshops at Seattle Center worked out a compromise. The whole twenty-two acre district would be governed by a philosophy now familiar to Market people that “It is generally better to preserve than to repair, better to repair than to restore, better to restore than to reconstruct.” It was not sufficient for Steinbrueck, who feared the wrecking-ball and demolitionists might prevail.  He was backed by Friends of the Market, but the Alliance for a Living Market, the Historical Commission, and Project staff prevailed. The City Council went along and adopted the Pike Place Project Plan.

In many formative actions in that first year after the Initiative Friends of the Market members and leaders advocated the most stringent protections for the Market. Friends filled positions on the Historical Commission and later on the PDA Council. In both forums Friends would express ideas and points of view for the most conservative courses of action for preservation principles. Though they did not always prevail, they continually influenced and shaped the result.                            


Part III    -   1973 to Now

Next month’s concluding column will recount the free flow of federal money to start the first renovation of the Market, its subsequent funding and fiascoes, and later public support expressed at the polls plus the roles of Friends of the Market, its members and delegates in the Market’s advance into this new century.

 

"Post Alley Passages" written by Paul Dunn, fessdunn@aol.com

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