From Mt. Baker neighbors Barbara and Ned who have called Seattle home for the past 58 years, 39 of them in Mt. Baker.

The history of the Lowes site is interesting: This is the way we remember it…

It was Sick’s Stadium. Sick was the brewer of Rainier Beer (I think). The apartments above MLKJr Way to the east of the stadium were built in the 1950s and advertised as “Stadium View Apartments” (a free ball game every evening). When the team was called the Seattle Pilots, a rather hefty pitcher on the team was referred to as Paunchiest Pilot.

When baseball ended, the City owned the stadium site. Proposals for its future use included a park (strongly supported by the Mt. Baker community), a tribal-run salmon restaurant or something like that, or a commercial development.

The City wanted to make money by selling the site. It was sold to the CX Corp. who manufactured film processing machines of the type used in drug stores. CX promised to aid SE Seattle employment by hiring local workers. We don’t think local employment ever happened. But they built the big white factory building and operated a few years. CX was then bought by Ceigy, a Swiss company. Ceigy shut down the factory and sold the building. Eagle Hardware, an expansion of Pay ‘n Pak which was once Buzzard Electric (check accuracy of these recollections) occupied the building until it became Lowes, a nation-wide big box store. The east end of the building has had other tenants.

The train station and Rainier-McClellan area could certainly be improved through carefully considered rezoning, but extremely tall buildings sandwiched between single family neighborhoods on the east and west and somewhat single family areas to the north and south seems inappropriate and destructive. “Extremely tall” means different things to different people. To us it means building heights that do not keep the sun from reaching the ground (important at our northern latitude with low sun angles), progressive building heights that taper gradually from the maximum to lower levels as they approach the single family areas and building heights that do not obscure the natural north-south ridge and valley topography of our city. There is less than 200 feet between Beacon Hill ridge top and Rainier Valley floor.

To us, the new building next to the Mt. Baker Light Rail Station is a good example of thoughtful development. Its design complements the form and color of the train station.

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