Logical people tend to not let negative emotions cloud judgment. It seems like one of the biggest things that causes so much negativity is change and far too many people stay away from being logical.
One change that is the most visible is the construction or razing of buildings in a town. These change events act as a lightning rod. The city of Pullman has seen a lot of construction. Much of the residential housing construction has not been met with a lot of negativity. Drive west on Center Street and look where it leads. The area around Sunnyside Park has seen dramatic development.
Head over to the northeast edge of town. It is called Apartmentland due to the vast number of apartment complexes. The area from Grand Avenue to the golf course is pretty much either SEL or apartment buildings. Most of this construction has been free of controversy.
It is clearly possible to have construction without people getting upset. But this development is on the edges of town. Massive quantities of residents do not travel through these areas frequently. It would appear that construction has been out of sight and therefore, out of mind.
Several new construction projects have been announced for different parts of centrally located portions of Pullman. Areas such as downtown and Bishop Boulevard where people frequently travel no matter what part of town they reside. These projects have been getting people upset.
These projects are getting people upset because it is a change to their world and they don’t have any control over the change. The arguments against these developments are delivered with logic rather than emotion but that doesn’t mean emotions aren’t the driving reason for the disapproval.
Recently, a person made the claim the recent mini-flood in Pullman was directly related to the Evolve building. I challenged the person’s argument and asked for evidence. I was told that if a large holding pond had been built, there wouldn’t have been a flood. The location of Evolve used to be a smaller building and a huge paved parking lot.
It’s not like there was a large holding pond that was removed due to Evolve. The flood was due to a huge amount of localized rain during a very short duration of time with a stormwater system that wasn’t built to handle that amount of water.
Frequently, people state the proposed developments are “out of character” for the area. They are concerned that Pullman doesn’t have comprehensive plan. I am trying to better understand logic behind this argument but it seems to be covering the emotional response to change. The current character of downtown is super old and short buildings. I am glad the new buildings are breaking the mold and going taller. I am glad more residential is being added downtown. People have said they want retail businesses to go back into the downtown area. Businesses need a regular flow of customers in order to remain in business. We live in an Amazon.com world. Why would I go to a small shop downtown with a limited selection when I can order something from Amazon and have it here in two days?
We have seen a change in the way we do our shopping and it has caused the 1950s downtown concept to die. Lead by emotions, some people don’t want downtown to change, however it no longer serves a useful different. The Pullman residents can lead other cities with a move towards the future by welcoming the kind of development that is practical in today’s world rather than fighting it because, by gosh, we hate change.
I would like to see Pullman have a vibrant and useful downtown for the 21st century rather than a dead early-20th century downtown. In a hundred years what works for us today will probably not be functional and I hope the future residents remake the downtown again to keep it relevant.
Scotty Anderson is a computer programmer who enjoys serving the community through various community-oriented service jobs.