JuNO members take input on the future of Avalon substation
By Gwen Davis
On Wednesday evening, JuNO members held a community input meeting regarding the future of the Avalon Substation property at 3243 SW Genesee St.
Taking place at Rene Common’s home, a JuNO member, participants had the opportunity provide input about the decisions. Three colorful draft renderings of the property created by JuNO’s Brandon Herman were hung on the wall.
“They are idea dumps to start the conversation,” Herman said.
The meeting was also an opportunity for JuNO to submit feedback to Pecos Pit, the organization that will most likely be hosting the development.
However, members were ambivalent about Pecos Pit.
“We are under no pressure to provide them with anything at this point,” Commons noted. “How do you all feel about the negotiation process? I have a hard time partnering, because they don’t own the property yet, and they are not developers. This is kind of odd.”
Members felt that plans for the property have already been set.
“Pecos and City Light already know what they want to do, they already have a game plan,” Herman said. “We are just a sideshow.”
But JuNO has ideas for what can be done, a member expressed. “You guys could bring public art into the park that is very organic,” the participant said.
Members particularly want the property to be an open space, which the public can enjoy. Green spaces are scarce in West Seattle, and this is an opportunity to add one.
“I think we need to go all-in,” Herman said, and expressed that if plans were simply left to Pecos and the city, the property will not be developed in the public’s best interest. “We don’t want to start in the middle.”
The city is reactive, a participant expressed. When Seattle creates development plans, money is always the major instigator for decisions. Therefore, people said they were not even sure if Pecos wanted to listen to JuNO’s feedback, despite their statements to the contrary.
“They did not come to the neighbored to talk to us about any of this,” one participant said. “They have backroom deals.”
West Seattle resident Gerry Kingen owns Pecos Pit.
"Wouldn’t it be great to have a park in this spot?” one person asked the group.
Resentment to Pecos ran deep throughout the meeting.
"Pecos is not here for anything to better the community, that’s a fact,” a participant said.
A couple participants suggested how in their fight to get Pecos to develop the property appropriately, JuNO members needed to sell their ideas to the public well. If they frame arguments with a social justice slant, their words might go further, particularly regrading the lack of green space in the city.
Participants decided to show up at the Pecos meeting and provide input, but be noncommittal or only so helpful to Pecos staff.
Amanda Sawyer, the new executive director of JuNO could not attend the meeting.
The Pecos Pit meeting is set for next Monday, June 26 at 6 p.m. at the Senior Center.