The Cold War – 1990
The steel mill continued to dominate the neighborhood, but residents diversified, finding work in fishing, canneries, flour mills, Boeing, and other Seattle employers. Over the years, the tideflats were filled, and the port grew on the north side of Spokane Street, once considered a highway.
During World War II, the few Japanese-American families in Delridge went to internment camps, and temporary war-worker housing crowded the playfields and empty lots. An influx of workers from the Midwest and South changed the neighborhood’s demographics. By 1990, Filipinos, Koreans, Samoans, and African-Americans made up more than one-third of the population; the high incidence of home ownership during the 1950s declined and the number of renters increased.
South Seattle Community College opened on the top of Puget Ridge in 1969. Traffic increased; larger businesses and office buildings crowded out neighborhood businesses. But over the years, the greenness of Delridge—its potential for landslides, periodic flooding, its ravines and creeks saved it from rapid development.
A ten-year effort, led by Seattle Public Utilities and Parks and Recreation, restored Longfellow Creek to health and blazed a heritage trail from Yancey Street south of the steel mill to a bog at Roxhill. In recent years, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association has converted the old Cooper School to the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, funded low-income housing, and envisioned a new Delridge Library integrated with housing and street-front space for small businesses and offices.
Throughout the years, Delridge has maintained its reputation as a boot strap community.