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Fundraising effort to save Seattle’s ‘Up’ house, move it to Orcas Island fails

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SEATTLE — An effort to raise enough money to save the long-closed Edith Macefield House — or ‘Up’ house — and move it from Seattle to Orcas Island for a needy family has failed, the fundraisers announced Wednesday.

OPAL Community Land Trust — a nonprofit that provides affordable housing on Orcas Island — announced nearly two months ago that it would try to raise funds to move the home and give it to a family in need on Orcas Island.

“We were excited by the potential of having Edith’s home provide permanently affordable housing, but there were not enough donations to our online campaign or through personal appeals to make this happen,” said Lisa Byers, OPAL executive director. “We are sad to not be the ones who will care for this house into the future, and thereby honor Edith’s legacy of scrappy independence.”

OPAL said the current owner of the property has offered the opportunity to “another interested party in an effort to ensure that the house does not face demolition. The owner is committed to finding a location where the structure can become a home for a local family,” the OPAL news release said.

No other information was provided.

The expense of bringing the 100-year-old house up to code for a new buyer proved impossible. So, it came down to a choice of demolishing the house or moving it.

Edith Macefield became a symbol of strength in 2006 when she refused to sell her Ballard home to developers. After she turned down their million-dollar offer, they built large commercial office buildings around her tiny house. She died there in 2008 and the house has remained vacant since then.

It became known as the “Up” house because in May 2009, Disney publicists attached balloons to the roof of Macefield’s former house as a promotional tie-in to their film ‘Up,’ in which an aging widower’s home is similarly surrounded by development


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