Several Microsoft Connector shuttles were reportedly blocked for a total of 45 minutes in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood this morning by protesters handing out flyers and carrying signs that read, “Gentrification Stops Here.”
The protests, as detailed on Twitter and the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, underscore rising tensions in cities including Seattle and San Francisco over the effect of the growing tech workforce on housing costs and real estate, in some cases pushing out longtime residents. A new report from real estate company Trulia found that prices were 82 percent higher in tech hubs than in other large metro areas.
This is part of a larger movement. Following earlier protests in the Bay Area, the City of San Francisco struck a deal with technology companies for a pilot program to charge private bus companies for the use of the city’s bus stops for the transportation of tech employees from San Francisco to their offices in Silicon Valley.
The flyer handed out by the protesters in Seattle this morning explained that they were “trying to prevent the tech companies like Microsoft from sucking out what’s left of Seattle’s soul.” Here’s an image of the flyer for the rest of the message.
— Sean Maguire (@maguiresean) February 10, 2014
Microsoft declined to comment on the protest.