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As Tacoma’s Hilltop changes, residents are priced out

Brendan Nelson is the president of the Hilltop Action Coalition, a community organization in the historic Tacoma neighborhood. Nelson moved with his family to Hilltop as a child in the summer of 1989, and now pushes for equitable growth. “People want to see the Hilltop thrive and grow,” said Nelson. “But not at the expense of displacing people.” A light rail expansion is scheduled for construction and a 2022 opening along this stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, which is bringing a flurry of new construction and businesses. “The challenge for me and a lot of other folks who echo this is, we love small business, but, what about empowering local people to start businesses?”

The Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma is feeling the crunch of gentrification as Seattleites and their businesses migrate south.
Photographed Monday March 26, 2018.

In the Hilltop neighborhood, a historically black and low-income community, the median home price has gone up by 18 percent in the last 12 months alone, and that change isn’t expected to slow, as light rail is scheduled to run through the neighborhood by 2022.  VIEW

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