19 Jan Shelton Burr: Back in the Old Neighborhood
The Capitol Hill Housing project is somewhat of a homecoming for plumbing contractor, Shelton Burr. He lived for awhile just a few blocks away and attended Garfield High School. “I remember when Liberty Bank opened,” Burr said. “I think this project is very good for the community. The Central District used to be primarily Black and minority, and before that, it was a predominantly Asian and Jewish community. Now, many people with low incomes can’t afford to live here.” Burr says he remembers redlining and when the Central Area was about the only neighborhood open to Black people. When redlining ended Burr’s family moved to Montlake, five miles north of the Central District but he kept his ties to the community since it was the center of the City’s minority life at the time. Now demographics are changing again. Burr says that’s why the project and the potential ownership by the community are so significant. They help to re-establish and revitalize this community and make it better represent the City as a whole.
Shelton Burr is president and CEO of the general and mechanical contracting firm, Adept Mechanical. Adept will design and install the plumbing system on the project. The 25 year old Kent based company has 17 employees. Burr says his company reflects the diversity he believes in. “Seventy-five percent of our office staff and managers are African Americans. Our field staff is 20% minority.” Two of Burr’s ten children work with him in the business.
Shelton Burr likes to work on classic cars and has a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and a 1953 Hudson Wasp. He says his best advice to anyone is, “Make your word mean something no matter what—even if it hurts.”