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Opinion: Goodbye, Cascade Cliffs, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out

The March 2024 Gazette covered the impending departure of Cascade Cliffs, a winery tasting room on 12th Ave S. that will cease operation in April and relocate to Woodinville. While I began reading the news of the closure with sympathy, Cascade Cliffs’ stated reasons for leaving Georgetown not only indicated a lack of accountability, but were tone deaf about our neighborhood to such a degree that by the end of the article I was ready to call and offer to help them pack their bags. To revisit a few of their reported operating challenges:

  • City regulations caused the tasting room to lose its sidewalk patio - To clarify, this “patio” was an unpermitted collection of barrels and rope that encroached onto the sidewalk and made it difficult for pedestrians to pass by, let alone anyone in a wheelchair. The City has an Outdoor Dining permit process to review and approve any food service business who wants to operate on a public right-of-way; perhaps Cascade Cliffs should have applied (I could not locate any permit records or applications on file with the City) to determine if barrels would be appropriate on that stretch of sidewalk.

  • Georgetown’s “charm doesn’t attract people from outside” - Have you been here on a weekend? Georgetown is a destination neighborhood. Restaurants and bars are packed. We have regular events like the Georgetown Flea Market and Art Attack!, as well as tons of annual events–the Georgetown Carnival, Garden Walk, Dead Baby Downhill, Seafair, R-Day, Equinox Studios’ Very Open House, Georgetown Bites, and more–that draw in loads of outside visitors year round.

  • “Other business districts advertise” - The Georgetown Merchants Association (GMA) does advertise: for example, Art Attack! brings in visitors to the neighborhood monthly and directs them to participating businesses. I checked on the Art Attack! website and Cascade Cliffs was not listed as a participant; seems like a missed opportunity for foot traffic. I also spoke with the GMA, who confirmed that Cascade Cliffs last paid membership dues in 2019, but has not in the years since.

  • Nearby encampments, concern for car break-ins, graffiti - This is not unique to Georgetown. I had my car broken into when I lived on Capitol Hill. Encampments exist in many parts of the city - try visiting Ballard. You can probably find graffiti in over 75% of the restaurant bathrooms in Seattle.

I understand that Georgetown faces a specific combination of overlapping challenges: we’re in an industrial area, we have a small residential community and we experience environmental, social and health impacts in heavier ways than other neighborhoods. But is Georgetown really to blame for your business operating challenges? What about the many bars and restaurants–including several often bustling wine tasting rooms within a 2 block radius of Cascade Cliffs–that are thriving here? If you don’t think the business district is doing enough to advertise, why not actively participate in the GMA? If your customers are really “used to something shinier and brighter” than this drab, unsafe neighborhood, then perhaps rethink your own curb appeal: I for one never went into Cascade Cliffs because the space looked dark and uninviting, not because of someone sleeping in a tent 150 feet away. Maybe it’s not that Georgetown wasn’t a good fit for you, but rather that you were not a good fit for Georgetown. Best of luck up north.

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Well said, Tim. Every time I tell someone I live in Georgetown the response is universally “omg I love Georgetown” and they proceed to list their favorite places - our incredible restaurants, bars, art galleries, and other wineries by name. We’re blessed to live in such a dynamic community with neighbors who want to roll up their sleeves and work on the challenges we do face.

And is it possible the main reason a commenter “doesn’t want to come to Georgetown” isn’t because of crime but because their LinkedIn clearly shows they live in Oregon and there’s another Cascade Cliffs in their very town? 🤔


She's right. I don't want to come to Georgetown. Too much crime, I just don't feel safe. I wish something could be done about that. Cascade Cliffs is a wonderful winery run by extraordinary folks who really care about their customers and plus they have really great wine! It's sad that yet another business if forced to leave because of crime and safety issues.


Tea! Well put Tim! Can’t wait to see what comes next.


Amy Horn
Amy Horn
Mar 22

Well said, Tim. That was such a cringey, whiney interview. Buh-bye!

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