A vow against gentrification: Seattle woman 'marries' a warehouse

Woman marries a Seattle warehouse.
Marry a warehouse? There may be some women who can't much tell the difference between the football-watching lump in the living room and a storage shed, but an Occupy Seattle protester decided to take the metaphor a step further over the weekend when she married the abandoned building at 10th and Union.

The old warehouse, occupied not long ago by anti-corporate protesters in an attempt to reclaim it as a community center, is slated for demolition to make way for a new apartment complex.

"If corporations can have the [same] rights as people, so can buildings," Baylonia Aivaz told Seattle's KOMO-TV in a reference to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the door to nearly unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns.

"I'm doing this to show the building how much I love it, how much I love community space and how much I love this neighborhood. And I want to stop it from gentrification," said Aivaz, clad in a long white wedding dress and standing near a bulldozer as a ukulele player strummed "Lean on Me."

A graduate of Rancho Palos Verdes High School in Los Angeles and Duke University, Aivaz said on her Facebook event page that the 200 Occupy Seattle protesters who occupied the building had hoped the 107-year-old warehouse could have been used as a place for communal art displays, free child care or other community services.

"The moment we entered the warehouse we became a true community. We became self-motivated. We worked co-operatively," she wrote on the page, which also featured photos of the blessed event. "We explored 36,000 square feet like children, giggling and dreaming at the possibility of all that space. We played with conveyer belts, riding up and down. The kind you always want to sit on in the airport luggage dispensers. We strung up lights.... We removed pounds and pounds of unnecessary building materials.... We dreamed."

Sunday's "gay marriage" (presumably because the building had the female vibe, not to mention that a same-sex marriage bill is pending in the Washington legislature) was to point out that the new luxury apartments will render the city's funky Capitol Hill neighborhood, as Aivaz put it, "even more unaffordable."

Too late, though. As KOMO reported, the bulldozers are already on the move.

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-- Kim Murphy in Seattle

Photo: Occupy Seattle protester Baylonia Aivaz, shown here in a photo from her Facebook event page, "marries" an old warehouse in Seattle.

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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