Do you think Ballard is worst now than it was 20 years ago?

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  JM98107 4 years ago.

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    What do you think?



    Two words..Hell yes. I moved back to Ballard in 1985. There was one homeless person..a woman with mental issues who had anger issues. She eventually got help, I hope. There were no tents, garbage all over, needles. Felt safe walking by library day or night. There was a walking beat officer who sent troublemakers on their way. Low crime.
    then they transferred that officer and slowly thechomeless, the transients with drinking, drug, mental issues filtered in.
    I no longer go to our library. Too many incidents and last time I was there this transient started pscing behind me as I was on computer yelling, getthe f*ck off my computer. I was walking my dog down by 14th and had this drunk come after me with 2×4 with nail in it. At Burger King one blocked me in at drive thru. Burger King told me they would come and jump thru drive thru when bus stop across such a huge problem.
    is it worse? It is beyond worse and we need a mayor who doesn’t tell police hands off to ones creating problems. Friend lives by him. Asked how many tents. None and when group tried at park, kicked them off and put up a gate. Here and elsewhere..turn their back. The garbage gets to ne, like under bridge by Trader Joe’s. Friend got notified by City would be fined if didn’t remove cooler from yard..cooler used during summer next to bbq.



    I agree that everything Gracie mentioned are problems, but I think the good outweighs the bad. Granted, my opinion might vary if I’d been personally screamed at in the library.

    I really like being able to walk to Old Ballard and have a choice of places to dine and interesting shops to look at (not that I buy much of it…). I love the Sunday farmer’s market. Our grocery stores are better. The Bay is now Majestic. The BECU at the bus stop is so damned convenient. Much as I mourn the rte 18, I find I use the 40 a lot more to run errands – which still isn’t a lot. I love that I have neighbors going back over 20 years. And quiet as this forum has become, it didn’t even exist 20 years ago.

    The downsides? I don’t even try to park in Old or downtown Ballard anymore. The drivers have certainly gotten more aggressive (tailgating? In Ballard??). Yeah, there’s more bums, but I manage to just avoid ’em without much problem. I’m sorry that it’s no longer a modest, affordable neighborhood. (Anyone remember those?)


    Salmon Bay

    It’s changed for sure. It’s not as sleepy as it once was. All of my old neighbors that lived in their houses for decades have passed away and young couples have moved in. We don’t get any construction near our house, but there certainly is plenty going on. Just ten years ago we had few restaurants to go to, Madame K’s, Lombardi’s, Le Gourmand, Ray’s. I love all the new restaurants and the weekly Farmer’s Market. I love all the new greenways and the parts of the Burke Gilman Trail that have been improved. It’s easy now to bike anywhere in Ballard, there are now bike racks everywhere. There have been homeless people in Ballard for ever. I remember one guy from the 70s who used to hang out under the Ballard Bridge, back when there were brick planter boxes by the sidewalk. He would plant flowers and tend the garden and panhandle. There have always been some car campers by the bridge and in the industrial areas. There have always been homeless in the libraries too. The petty crime and car prowls seem to be the same as they’ve been for the last several decades, except they don’t seem to be targeting car stereos anymore. Smash and grab now.
    Ballard’s great and thriving now. Loads of new people, restaurants and shops. I just wish the city would replace the Ballard Bridge and make it safe for all users. Maybe a high rise so it wouldn’t have to open so often, with bike lanes and big sidewalks.



    “…back to Ballard in 1985. There was one homeless person..a woman with mental issues who had anger issues. She eventually got help,…”

    I’m glad you were able to get the help you needed, Gracie. I too know what it feels like to be totally bonkers, its not a pleasant way to go about life.



    One homeless person? What nonsense. I remember the person Salmon Bay is talking about – we used to bring him plants from Ernst. That was early 90s. But there were plenty of homeless people. Plenty.



    Edog, how witty of you! Forgot about your juvenile comments. So happy you haven’t changed.
    And yes, when I first moved back to Ballard I only saw this woman who was living on the streets. She was a real mess and very combative. Now maybe in different part of Ballard there were more people with addiction it booze or drugs. But there were no tents, strewn garbage and she is truly the only one I saw who lived on streets with her shopping cart. But then more and more showed up in Ballard.



    Great, this topic got a few of you back here. Hi pennygirl! And Edog!

    IAnd the homeless issue is on a lot of peoples minds I see. I do remember when I lived up at 80th and 31st in the 90s that there were a number of encampments below the bluff at 80th. I used to walk my dog down there often and there were a number of small trails the let to camps down there. I notice that there are tents there now and you can see them from the Little Cony place if you look up at the hill side.
    As for crime, well I remember in the 80s when I lived on 77th and 14th I had my house broken into by smashing a window and also my car was broken into by smashing the back window!

    Things in Ballard were a lot slower 20 years ago but there were some homeless and there waas crime, but it has increased in the last few years dramatically.

    I also used to know almost everyone in the neighborhood at least by sight, now I know very few of the people on the streets around my home near Adams school, and most of them do not even want to make eye contact.

    It is a changing world that is for sure.



    Hello Vegan, nice to hear from you, and hope you are doing well! And that goes for you too, Gracie and Penny!

    As for your question, I was not here 20 years ago, so I can’t say if its better or worse. We moved to Seattle about 12 years ago and spent 10 years in Ballard. In 2008, we would have been called New Ballard, yet so much has changed since then. Recall I used to joke about New Ballard and New New Ballard. I don’t know how I would describe it today?

    I’m stunned by all the changes, and somewhat depressed by them, even citywide its hard to process. When we moved in, the direction Ballard was trending in was pretty obvious and we liked it, or we thought we did. While I still like the area, I can’t imagine someone, who was born circa 70s and lived in it as their hood, would like it much at all.

    I think the only thing that really gets me down about Ballard, and Seattle, is the homogeneity of the newcomers. All these IT companies bring in people who remind of living on Capitol Hill in DC during the 90s, its all college educated, blowdried “…like well designed bottles of bleach. It’s beer and lifestyle… I mean it’s like the next world war will be sponsored by i don’t know,…” small plates, micro brews, and Uber.



    Well said, Edog.



    Well – progress, like beauty, is always in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. I wasn’t living there 20 years ago, though my husband was, and I frequently visited an Aunt who lived on the bluff above Shilshole. Everything changes. But, to me, it feels like Ballard lost its soul somewhere along the way. Yes, the issues of rising crime and increased homelessness are deeply troubling, though they are in some ways, inevitable as “town” becomes a “city” as Seattle certainly has in the last 10 years or so. I think it’s more about what gets….”attention” for want of a better word – Edog’s spot on about the “small plates microbrew” impact.

    We moved out of Ballard about 6 months ago, and recently visited some old haunts there a few weeks ago. We both looked at each other and looked at what Ballard is now and knew, for us, that we’d made the right decision. I’m the first to admit that we are no longer in the “demographic” of Ballard so I guess it’s probably more of an an “age thing”. I just know I’d never go back to living there – no place is perfect but it’s nice to have people smile at you at the grocery store now and then, as goofy as that sounds ;o)


    great idea

    “small plates and microbrews”? bring ’em on!

    I have only lived in Ballard for 15 years but am familiar with this town 20 years ago.

    sure, it was much sleepier, but there were definitely vagrants around. one of my early memories of Ballard was seeing an older homeless-looking guy playing his guitar up the steps of some old building down on ballard ave in the mid-90’s.

    but 10+ microbreweries in a one mile radius? sure I’ll take that.

    traffic is certainly worse, but this neighborhood has only improved IMHO. it really doesn’t bother me running past a bunch of tents near the locks which I do on a daily basis.

    I’m super happy Edog and pennygirl are still lurking to engage. where did you move to Edog? how about you, crownhiller?

    even when my kids are out of school I love being ‘near the action’ but lucky enough to own a house with a yard.

    it’s funny to ask “was Ballard better 20 years ago” when property values have probably jumped 4700% since then



    I don’t think so. I’m born and raised in Ballard and used to walk around all over with my friends at night. About the same i’d think but with anyone moving into the neighborhood and it getting larger…I guess I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Is this place active anymore or less? I haven’t been here in awhile and lost my password. I miss everyone talking all the time. Used to be fun on the old site.



    waughoutwoud – what was your “old” name on here?
    I was trying to get more people to post here hence the possibly silly question in original post.



    It’s always been Waughoutwoud but it’s been a long time since I’ve been back posting. I was on the old site and when we moved here I kind of fell off.



    I began work in Ballard in the 60s, bought a home here in the 70s when homes were affordable. Plenty of parking in downtown Ballard then. Ate lunch at Vera’s and breakfast at Mannings. Rode my bike down Shilshole and got a tire caught in the RR track. It’s been 40 years and you can still do that on that stretch of what should be the Burke-Gilman Missing Link. :-(

    The increase in density in the Urban Village has been breathtaking as has been the increase in rents. Federal funding for low income housing pretty much flat-lined in the late 70s and 80s and the number of homeless people grew as SROs were demolished to make way for new construction. Used to be it was fisherfolk many of whom were homeless in the off season waiting for the season to start. Now it’s all kinds. All of that I attribute to the economy which has worked well for some and not so well for far too many.

    All that said, there are many fine folks in Ballard, kind and generous. They make all those other changes tolerable.



    Is Vera’s where they had the Smorgasborg? My family used to have dinner or lunch there and I remember loving it there and the smoke shop. They’d make me shirley temple’s and my brother roy roger’s drinks.

    I like this setup a bit better then the old site. I seen that we get notifications up there on the top right hand corner when someone replies or messages us. Really cool.



    Old cheap Ballard vs new fancy Ballard? Where is the Wonderfulone to scold and berate everyone?

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