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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Holdout in Seattle

This morning's Seattle Post Intelligencer brings this charming story about a holdout, Edith Macefield, who refuses to sell her home in Ballard--and the construction that is taking place around her.

Some excerpts from the story:

Edith Macefield is stubborn. Man, is she stubborn.

That's what her mother told her when she was a little girl back in the 1920s. It's a characteristic that has followed her all her life. Now that unrelenting stubbornness has won the 86-year-old woman admirers throughout Ballard.

Macefield refused to sell her little old house where she has lived since 1966 to developers, forcing them to build an entire five-story project, which includes a grocery store, fitness club and parking garage, around her.

She was offered $1 million to leave. She turned it down flat.

"I don't want to move. I don't need the money. Money doesn't mean anything," she said last week....

"When she digs her heels in, there is no changing her mind, she is set in her ways," said her friend, musician Charlie Peck, who has known her for more than 20 years.

Ballard residents, lamenting the loss of their blue-collar, Scandinavian-rooted neighborhood as it disappears beneath swanky condominiums, sprawling grocery stores and trendy restaurants, see Macefield as a symbol of the rough-and-tumble Old Ballard, and they cheer her on.

"People with money are going to push wherever they can to get what they can. It is nice to see somebody resisting," said Ben Anderson, who drives by the place on his way to work and first noticed Macefield's little house with the brown, faux-brick siding, a few months ago.

Alfred L. Brophy
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