Probably the most remarkable thing about a Seattle City Council resolution asking Pike Place Market managers to come up with a less controversial plan for allocating vendor space was that it passed unanimously. Achieving consensus in a debate over the Market is as rare as finding a parking spot within 10 blocks of the place.
Unanimity has been particularly rare since June 23, when the Market's Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) voted to revise and eventually discard the "Hildt Agreement." Since 1983, the city-brokered agreement has maintained a fragile truce among Market farmers, craftspeople, and flower vendors, to whom daystall space in the cramped North Arcade is allotted via a complicated seniority and priority system. A PDA plan to give more space to fresh-produce farmers at the expense of craftspeople and flower growers led to a petition drive against PDA executive director (and erstwhile University of Washington regent) Shelly Yapp. It also inspired what is believed to be the first strike in the Market's 91-year history.
In a resolution tactfully phrased by Nick Licata and Peter Steinbrueck, the City Council last month asked the PDA to try harder to achieve a consensus for its proposed Hildt Agreement changes. Yapp and her staff didn't come close last time around; virtually every group with a stake in the Market—including the umbrella Market Constituency—opposed the PDA's proposals.