I’ll never forget the neon.
To be sure, it wasn’t the only dazzling thing about arriving here in the late summer of 2007.
This region had one of the most diverse economies in America, from tech to Boeing and deep-water ports. And it was only getting started — especially downtown.
That first summer, especially, I noticed how happy people seemed walking around the central city. The sense of pleasure was heightened by the Duck tours, passengers singing, years before poor maintenance caused a fatal crash.
Unlike so many American cities that lost their downtown retail and major corporate headquarters to suburbanization, Seattle didn’t. Retaining a strong core required repeated infusions of new capital, ideas and commitment. Most Seattleites loved their downtown and never gave up on it.
As a result, and despite the Great Recession’s grim reaper claiming a key employer, Washington Mutual, downtown was in amazing shape. And it