Four months after protest, Seattle business district not yet back to normal

Oct 29, 2020
Written by wpengine

Protests are over for now but business in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district has not yet recovered, according to longtime owner Bill Donner.

Nearly four months since Seattle police broke up the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest, businesses have reopened but remain boarded up, Donner said.

“All in all, it has been calmer, no disruption for us, doors are open, but not much activity on the Hill still,” Donner told “Most places are boarded up, some have opened a little bit … it’s got sort of a ghost town feel up here now.”

Donner owns Richmark Label, a printing company located near Cal Anderson Park since the 1970s. He’s joined a lawsuit against the city seeking compensation for damage to his business.

A homeless encampment remains in the park and Donner said a couple of recent fires broke out there weeks after police broke up the occupation staged to protest aggressive police tactics in Seattle and across the nation.

Donner isn’t sure if the drop off in business is solely due to the protests or a combination of factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent colder, wetter weather. He said nearby businesses remain wary that protests could return to the neighborhood.

“They’re open for business, but they’re not taking the boarding off their windows,” he said. “Nobody is assuming, from what I can tell, that this thing is all over.”

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