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Seattle's Historic Chinatown Set To-Be-Demolished to Make Room for "a Convenience Escalator"


Sound Transit's "CID" Plans to Extend the already-existing International District-Chinatown Station access will destroy all of Chinatown's landmarks.

Seattle’s Historic Chinatown Gate. Culture Is About To Be Razed For “Convenience Escalator”.

In a move which Keaton, the Lord Wycliffe, historian and researcher of local anthropology, alum of Ryerson University, says may be a "bold" example of “legitimate racial and cultural dismissiveness,” for the Asian-Pacific Islander heritage of Seattle, is in danger of being erased to install “a convenience escalator” to the already-existing “and up to industry standard” International District - Chinatown subway station.

The plan includes “representations” of “the heritage of Seattle’s Asian-American population.

“It’s a very pretty looking proposal,” said one person, Danielle McGinnis, who took interest as this writer was on-site taking photographs of the Chinatown Gate for this article. McGinnis also said that she used the Chinatown Station upon her arrival in Seattle on Friday.

The plan to add more access to the Chinatown Station would raze the gate and demolish it, as well as several adjacent buildings built with historic architectural features, which emphasise the traditional Chinese and Japanese designs, and built by many people who came to Seattle as a place where their culture would thrive and be protected.

Wycliffe notes that many Asian families in the Seattle area are the great grandsons of their Imperial ancestors that fled China during and the communist takeover of what was then the Chinese Empire.

“Representations of ‘our’ heritage.” scoffed a rider of Washington State’s Sound Transit’s “Link” Light Rail, Lin Ngyuen-Tskino, sneering with emphasis upon her use of the word ‘our’, “They say representations of our heritage because they plan to demolish the actual heritage itself in order to build the representation of it. We are invisible to them, and helpless to stop them. What an outcome!

"It is actually barbaric,” she said.

“Given the day and era in which we find ourselves, it seems an uncharacteristic move for the local government to implement such an insensitive plan to strike down a beloved landmark for an entire racial community," Lord Wycliffe said.

"The Chinese Gate represents the heart and soul of the peoples from Japan, for example, in a city which saw their forced removal into internment camps for Japanese Americans during the second world war. That took place here in Seattle," said Ngyuen-Tskino. “It is an outrageous scandal."

"For a city that boasts proudly about it’s multicultural and diversity bona fides, during the campaign seasons of the public office holders,” said Lord Wycliffe, noting that ‘bona fides’ means ‘good faith’, in the Latin language. “But in government, after the campaign season, in the political off-season, it may be that this is rather more perfidy than good faith.”

The meaning of the word perfidy, (per, as in, perjury, and fides, as in faith, “a betrayal of trust”) is the root of the modern word, ‘pretty’.

“That which is pretty can often be deceptive, perfidious,” he said. “This is not the first instance I have heard of in which such sensitivity has been at issue for local administrations.”

“The Sound Transit mandate is one that supersedes in this instances, they just received tens of billions of dollars, they do not have to care, and don’t,” said a longtime local resident in Seattle’s Cascade neighborhood who did not give his name for the purposes of this article, when research gathering for this piece. “I am an impicist [SIC] and I look at the situation [how it is presented], and accept that that’s reality - what is anyone going to do about it?”

Already a far cry from the thriving culture of other cities such as New York, NY, and Philadelphia, Penna., with elaborate architectural designs for their Chinatowns, Japantowns, and Little India neighbourhoods, they also serve the purposes of distinction and demarcation of significance, distinguishing and declaring hic Orientalis, via proxima, est - that is, this place is for Asian and Pacific Island peoples.

According to Wycliffe, protections are in place for the Chinese Gates in New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, Calif., so that such a demolition would be prevented by statute, as is also the case in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which boasts two major Chinatown hubs, one next to Kensington Market where their Chinatown gate stretches for several city blocks, and a second, smaller Chinatown, along Broadview Avenue, in the Danforth neighbourhood. The Toronto Gates are protected by municipal law of the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario, and hold Protections via Royal Prerogative, and by the laws and customs of Her Majesty's Government of Canada.

“Sound Transit’s plans to demolish and erase the accomplishments and struggles of our community at-large do not make me feel safe,” Nguyen-Tskino said. “They should move the project onto 4th Avenue.”

Local activists agree and signs to “move on 4th” have popped up seemingly everywhere in the International District, bombarding the light rail and nearby bus and train stations, including King Street Station, with their counter-proposal that the project be moved to an alternative site in order to preserve the landmarks, “which have their pride and power based in their antiquity,” Mutsumi Mokusei says outside of the Wing-Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience, “to destroy them and install a marker to where the Gate and other buildings used to be, is as insulting and artificial as would be to cut down an old, ancient tree, in order to put up a plastic tree with a sign-post attached to it, marking it as a memorial to the very same tree that had to be cut down in order for the plastic tree to be there in the first place.”

“The station is up to industry standard, and the extension-addition onto 5th Avenue is unnecessary and arbitrary. They could just cancel the project. I cannot believe that a convenience escalator is worth the gutting [of the Chinatown neighborhood]. It stabs at the heart of the Asian-Pacific Islander Community,” said Mokusei. “We should not be sacrificed upon our own altar for an unnecessary convenience escalator and yet-more retail space that will sit empty and unfilled, along with AFCs above them.”

When asked what AFC signifed, she says, “It’s my own word - a term that means, Another F***ing Condo!” (Emphasis Added)

Nguyen-Tskino’s family emigrated to the United States as refugees from the Maoists from Imperial China, and her great grandfather, she says, was the first to arrive on US shores. These events remind her chillingly of the stories that he would tell her about the communist revolution in China. And what would he say of Sound Transit’s current “CID” plans?

“Sound Transit does not have the Mandate of Heaven,” she said.

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