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Guest blogger: Seattle Youth Employment Program Intern, Allan Duong

Allan is a Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) intern this summer with Winnie Huang. The following comes after Allan’s first time visit and mini-tour of Lake City.

Lake City still seems to be growing like any other city in Seattle. They’re run by certain principles in many topics; Transportation, Diversity, Housing, etc. Lake city is mainly focusing on their “Urban Design Framework” by improving the neighborhood. This would make me expect that the neighborhood of Lake city would have a safe and fun environment for both the adults and youths of Lake City. Lake City also has and acknowledges its history, so I would maybe expect some historic piece of their history or somewhat related to that. Also, Lake city has quite a lot of businesses. Using the help of online research Lake city is known for its abundance number of car dealership businesses.

After visiting Lake city, it has surprised me both in a negative and a positive way. I noticed the animated streets and how active the city was. I soon then met with a resident of Lake city named Oliver, since he’s been living there, he’d probably know more than I do about Lake city. Oliver kept on saying that there is a lot of graffiti around the city, but during our entire adventure through Lake City I only noticed one or two graffiti marks. I also visited the Lake City Community center but before arriving there, I noticed that there is an intersection that does not have stop lights, I don’t know if there are more intersections that are the same but there is a saying, “if there’s one ant then there’s a colony behind it.”

After arriving at the community center, I compared it to my own neighborhood community center (Yesler) and noticed that Lake City’s building looked very old. I also noticed that there are tons of upcoming projects. Though this was a step forward to making Lake City better, it seemed like they were planning way too much but not executing those plans. The roads were mind opening for me as well. Some sidewalks in Lake City doesn’t exist. Going back, there was one thing that met my expectations, it was the fact that the city is filled with car dealership businesses.

Though some of these may be on the negative spectrum on what I saw in Lake city, there are good things I saw as well. Walking throughout Lake City, there was one thing I noticed that warmed my heart. The residents of Lake city are optimistic. I say this because there are community events and people trying to make art murals. Their community events allows anyone to join and have fun, dancing in a circle and holding hands, children, adults, elders (I really saw this, it made my heart fall immensely). The residents of Lake City are trying to do things that keep themselves optimistic and patient on the larger changes of Lake City. I honestly feel like they are creating their own change. Knowing that Lake City has such wonderful and positive residents makes the problems of Lake City presence barely there. Every city has its strengths, and I can most definitely say Lake City’s strength is within its people.