Columbia City

Columbia City


Columbia City is a small section of the Rainier Valley that includes a group of businesses on Rainier Avenue, running from Alaska for about five blocks south. The area has been either a victim of or blessed by, depending on who is speaking, rapid gentrification. What was until recently a fairly poor area, complete with empty storefronts and the crime to accompany them, has been built up with condo complexes and townhomes. To the south, further down Rainier, is Hillman City, which is reminiscent of what Columbia City was prior to the gentrification. To the north is Genessee and more of the Rainier Valley, which is somewhere between Columbia and Hillman cities in development. To the east is Seward Park, a neighborhood with a very different DNA altogether, and to the west, Beacon Hill.

The business center of the neighborhood has thrived on this, with excellent restaurants and stores popping out of the woodwork. The Wednesday afternoon farmers’ market has become a successful venture and gathers the neighborhood on a weekly basis. Another helpful stop on the way to gentrification was the addition of the Link Light Rail Transit stop in the neighborhood, offering easy public transportation to residents.

There are a number of interesting businesses and buildings in the area. The Columbia City Theater and Columbia Library are chief among these. The theater was originally built in 1917 and offered Vaudeville shows and the like for years before, like much of the neighborhood, falling to disrepair. It has been restored and now hosts cultural events and shows movies. The library is on the national register of historic places, dating back to 1912, though it was recently expanded. Behind the library is the village green style Columbia Park.




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