Hoax Alert: Save the hood. Live Better.
Early in the morning on October 23, Georgetown residents and business owners awoke to an unsettling sight. Rattling on the chain-link fence at the entrance to a parking lot in the south Seattle neighborhood was a sign carrying an ominous message: “Coming to Georgetown in 2011: Walmart...Save money. Live better.”
Photograph by Shawn Zeiger
Filled with panic that Sabey – the company that owns the property and who was responsible for tearing down the old Seattle Brewing & Malting Company building that once stood there – had chosen the dark side by selling to the superstore, business owners and neighbors posted their comments on the forum Blogging Georgetown, as well as on the neighborhood’s message board, with questions about the sign’s authenticity and what it could mean for the community. As one resident commented, “I would have a huge problem if this were not a prank. If we want to talk about threats to Georgetown small business, this would be it.”
As it turned out, the sign was indeed a jarring hoax, aimed directly at Sabey and its decision to turn nearly one-third of the brewery into a concrete pancake.
City Arts tracked down the man behind the sign to find out
why he did it.
“I was hoping to start dialogue to allow people to think about what we’re doing down here,” said the man, who asked to be identified as “comic book guy.” “We want to preserve what’s left of the character of Georgetown such as its industrial arts, which are emblematic of Seattle’s blue-collar past.”
Referring to Sabey’s destruction as “mindless” and characterized by a “lack of sensitivity,” he chose his wording carefully. “Walmart is symbolic of destroying main street purely for profit,” he said, adding: “I just thought Georgetown would have a little more sense of irony.” •