Forterra Statement on Confrontations at 23rd and Union


Forterra is committed to securing places that are keystones of a sustainable, equitable future in our region—from wildlands, to working farms and forests, to places in our cities for affordable housing, parks and cultural centers.

In recent months, Forterra has been working actively with partners to acquire part of the southeast corner block at 23rd and Union in Seattle’s Central District. The Central District, given its proximity to downtown, has been experiencing severe growth pressure. Rents and home values have been rising fast, and many longtime residents of the neighborhood—an historically black neighborhood due to redlining in earlier decades—have been displaced, or soon may be.

Forterra hopes to be part of re-establishing affordable housing in the area, and helping the African-American community continue as a strong presence in a neighborhood whose rich tapestry they have been so much a part of.

There have been many twists and turns as plans for the sale of 23rd and Union have advanced over the last year. Emotions have run high, and at times there have been verbal and physical altercations among people in the neighborhood with different goals and points of view. These altercations have at times turned ugly, with cruel things said in anger, even things that are blatantly racist and anti-Semitic.

Forterra strongly condemns such hateful and inflammatory behavior, which runs completely counter to our organizational values of decency, civility, and pursuit of common ground. We urge those who have crossed the line to take personal responsibility for their actions and to try to repair the damage done by their words and actions.

Achieving an outcome at 23rd and Union that honors the proud history and rich potential of this keystone part of our city will only be possible if all parties act responsibly and respectfully.

***Update, 4/7/2017***

Added Perspective:

Gene Duvernoy, Forterra’s President, recently stated at an employee meeting when asked about the demonstration at 23rd and Union:

“We totally disavow this neighbor-yelling-at-neighbor ugliness and its anti-Semitic slurs. It is far beneath our values and the values we firmly believe are shared by our PNW community. It is a divisive shouting match we are not part of and cannot referee. We remain focused on securing keystone real estate for a strong and diverse city neighborhood.”



Read Africatown’s Statement about the incident here.