Please heed this Seat­tle trans­plant’s cau­tion­ary tale

Hordes of itin­er­ant tech em­ploy­ees and the money that fol­lowed them ru­ined my neigh­bor­hood beyond recog­ni­tion.

Star Tribune - - EDITORIALS READERS WRITE - By MATTHEW SMAUS Matthew Smaus lives in Min­neapo­lis. Erin Stevens is an OB-GYN physi­cian with of­fices in Ed­ina and Maple Grove.

Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul doesn’t need Ama­zon. Other places do. As a Seat­tle trans­plant, I can as­sure you we’ve got some­thing pre­cious here: an amaz­ing metro area thriv­ing and grow­ing at a home­grown pace that the re­gion it­self has set and can han­dle. Ama­zon would change that.

I moved to Seat­tle from the Bay Area of Cal­i­for­nia, flee­ing the on­slaught of tech-com­pa­nyin­duced “progress.” I have been one step ahead of such progress all of my life.

I grew up in West Los An­ge­les, moved to Santa Cruz, then Oakland, then Seat­tle. I loved each place while I lived there, only to watch each ex­plode with the in­tro­duc­tion of out­side money. Ev­ery­where I have lived, I’ve watched both long­time res­i­dents and re­cent arrivals get pushed out of neigh­bor­hoods as prop­erty prices soared. In­evitably, they are pushed out of the hous­ing mar­ket al­to­gether and, like me, move to a new city in search of new op­por­tu­nity.

If you want your chil­dren to move away from the Twin Cities, by all means in­vite Ama­zon in to dis­place them.

The Cen­tral District in Seat­tle, where I lived between 2006 and 2012, was a won­der­fully di­verse neigh­bor­hood with a rich his­tory when I ar­rived. But it had the grave mis­for­tune of be­ing a mile and a half from where the new Ama­zon cam­pus was built in South Lake Union.

I watched large fam­ily homes, many of them beau­ti­ful Crafts­man-era struc­tures, get torn down and re­placed with six- or eight-unit town­house com­plexes. Th­ese de­vel­op­ments are gen­er­ally built quickly and con­structed of low-end ma­te­ri­als, made to look slick and mod­ern. They are ac­ces­si­ble by sub­ter­ranean, onecar garages, and the oc­cu­pants rarely use their front doors. Ev­ery three-level condo, ad­ver­tised as three-bed­room units to young tech work­ers, has a bed­room on each level. What fam­ily will in­habit a three-bed­room home with a bed­room on each level?

I’ve watched th­ese types of de­vel­op­ments re­place half of the homes on sin­gle blocks in a five-year pe­riod. The Cen­tral District will never be a neigh­bor­hood again. Kids won’t grow up there. Neigh­bors won’t stay long enough to know each other. It is for­ever fated to be in­dus­try hous­ing for itin­er­ant tech work­ers.

The peo­ple who ar­rive with such an ex­trav­a­gant in­jec­tion of money may re­ally like things about their new place, but the sur­plus of money that moves through such an en­gorged sys­tem in­evitably cor­rupts the qual­i­ties it is drawn to. I watched Capi­tol Hill — an old neigh­bor­hood east of down­town Seat­tle — trans­form from an in­tri­cately or­ganic ecosys­tem of cof­fee shops, restau­rants, venues, mu­sic stores, thrift stores, etc., into a slick mock-up of the same.

Many of the es­tab­lish­ments were pushed out or closed as build­ing own­ers sold to new buy­ers for big bucks. Those buy­ers tore down the old brick struc­tures to build mod­ern mul­ti­pur­pose build­ings with re­tail on the ground floor and apart­ments up top. Some busi­nesses moved back in. Most could not af­ford the new rents.

High-den­sity ur­ban de­vel­op­ment is not in­her­ently bad, but those stores were do­ing well. Capi­tol Hill had re­bounded and been re­vi­tal­ized through a re­newed in­ter­est by Seat­tleites in what it al­ready had go­ing for it. Capi­tol Hill was not in need of sav­ing by Ama­zon.

That said, there are places that could ben­e­fit from Ama­zon’s pres­ence. Detroit. Colum­bus. Buf­falo. Mil­wau­kee. Th­ese places could use a jump-start to their econ­omy; they need a rea­son for peo­ple to stay or to re­turn. Ama­zon could be a new be­gin­ning for them. More­over, th­ese places are part of our Midwest neigh­bor­hood. What’s good for them is good for us, if you con­sider that a greater re­gional econ­omy shares a por­tion of its tal­ent, trade and good re­pute. Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul, with its strong busi­ness com­mu­nity and pool of res­i­dent tal­ent, is in a good po­si­tion to con­tinue to lead through ex­am­ple and ex­change with th­ese neigh­bors.

Let those who need Ama­zon have Ama­zon. We don’t need them, and I as­sure you they would up­set the bal­ance between eco­nomic growth and qual­ity of life that makes our re­gion such a won­der­ful place to live, work and raise kids. cysts may not only cause pain, but some­times re­quire surgery and even re­moval of the ovaries. This in­volves the in­her­ent risks of surgery as well as re­duced fer­til­ity. If both ovaries ul­ti­mately re­quire re­moval be­fore the nat­u­ral age of menopause, we see an in­creased risk of car­diac events, bone frac­tures and death by any cause.

Oral con­tra­cep­tive pills have been shown to greatly re­duce the risk of ovar­ian cancer and are par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial for women with a fam­ily his­tory of breast and ovar­ian cancer con­di­tions. Pro­ges­terone-only meth­ods can pro­tect against de­vel­op­ment of en­dome­trial cancer (cancer of the lin­ing of the uterus), and pro­ges­terone IUDs can even treat early stages of this dis­ease. Oral con­tra­cep­tive pills have been shown to re­duce the risk of colon cancer, es­pe­cially with re­cent use.

It is time to call on our lo­cal lead­ers to en­sure that Min­nesota law pro­tects against the po­ten­tial harms of in­ter­fer­ence by politi­cians, re­li­gious fig­ures and em­ploy­ers in per­sonal health care de­ci­sions.

Our women and their fam­i­lies de­serve our sup­port.

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