Leslie Helm

Without more middle-income jobs, Seattle faces a tough climb.

Stop and listen. Do you hear it? The roar of the city is just a little louder, more jarring. Drivers are quicker to honk their horns, run red lights and screech their brakes.

Founded in 1989 as the Cascade Land Conservancy, Gene Duvernoy’s conservation and stewardship organization known as Forterra, now boasting a staff of 50, has managed more than 400 transactions on $500 million worth of real estate to conserve more than 250,000 acres of land. 

A young, diligent man I know came to the Seattle area from Mexico as a toddler. Permitted recently to work legally under former President Obama’s DREAM Act, the young man found a job at a used-car dealership. With bilingual skills and personal charm, he sold several cars in his first weeks on the job. Sadly, his employer took advantage of anti-immigrant sentiment stirred up by President Donald Trump to fire the young man, depriving him of commissions he was owed.