A year ago, Captain Lou and his volunteers stepped up to a call to save Little Saigon. Lou, who is retired and is now a hobbyist freelance videographer spent endless hours to meet with youths, elders, and city council members to help me to capture the history of the Little Saigon neighborhood.
The City of Seattle Department of Planning is proposing re-zoning new streetscape plans for many neighborhoods south of downtown. The name for this gentrification plan is Livable South of Downtown. Within the plan there are pictures of high-rises and street cars in replacement of the current warm, friendly, two story street front Vietnamese shops.
Captain Lou and I both disagree with the gentrification plan. Captain Lou, a worldwide frequent travel, objects to big box commercial planning that destroys the affordable rents and culture of the neighborhood. I oppose the height increases arguing that, the multi-level idea is not an acceptable concept, because I’ve seen the unfriendly structure and their struggle to retain business renters of the multi-level building such as the Pacific Rim building in the Little Saigon neighborhood.
I had tried to meet with all of the city council members with my youth last year, but only 1/2 of the council members agreed to discuss their opinions. It has been twice in front of the city council that myself and community members had asked the council not to displace the Vietnamese people.
Business will go on as usual. I hope that the city leaders will allow small businesses in the Little Saigon to earn reimbursement for loss of business during the course of construction of the street car and to save the business from folding. I suggested to the Environment Built Committee that they should take a look at the success of integrating between small businesses and the community of the Columbia City neighborhood into consideration for the Little Saigon. The council should consider protecting the Little Saigon from franchise and national chain stores such as McDonald, Wal-Mart, or others from building in Little Saigon. Perhaps, the council should also allocate funding for the construction of a parking lot for Little Saigon to attract more customers and taking the parking lot revenue to revitalize the neighborhood. Little Saigon should be protected from franchise and national chain stores. I established a foundation of my own, The Nguyen’s Foundation LLC, and am finishing up the last few interviews for the documentary of Little Saigon with Captain Lou and the International Young Ambassadors. However, the final version of the film still needs a dedicated, crafty volunteer video editor that wants to learn about Little Saigon. I’m offering a $1,000 scholarship for a qualified youth. The Scholarship information will be announced at the end of August.
The propose changes to the Little Saigon
To watch The-Anh commenting about Little Saigon in front of City Council: