A man stands at an intersection on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Filling downtown’s empty storefronts; superintendent talks Scotts Valley challenges

Hello again, Lookout peeps! It’s Thursday, Aug. 4, and with the marine layer making a welcome return, Santa Cruz County should see gradually clearing skies and temperatures in that typical broad range from the 60s to the 90s.

We’re headed this morning to downtown Santa Cruz, where the pandemic and the changing demands of retail have made for some empty storefronts. But those spaces are gradually filling in, Max Chun reports, as city officials, landlords and business owners plot out a roadmap to both the immediate future and a longer term that includes plenty of development.

Up Highway 17, meanwhile, it’s been a challenging stretch for educators, and Lookout’s Hillary Ojeda spoke with Scotts Valley Unified School District Superintendent Tanya Krause about how she and the district are handling issues of equity, inclusion, staff turnover and more.

And in our Community Voices opinion section, recent UC Santa Cruz grad Madison Barneaux writes about their addiction to cocaine and how family and coming to UCSC saved them.

Much to get to, so let’s see about those Thursday headlines.

As retail itself morphs, downtown Santa Cruz fine-tunes approach to filling empty spaces

The empty site of the old Pacific Avenue Starbucks, which still has no tenant.
(Max Chun / Lookout Santa Cruz)

COVID made running a business in downtown Santa Cruz even harder on top of all the pre-existing impacts of online shopping. Today, 15 empty storefronts remain, down from about 30 that opened up after the pandemic hit. The city is working on new ways to get more businesses — particularly women- and minority-owned ones — into those spots. Max Chun reports.

MORE LOCAL BUSINESS: Thinking outside of the (big) box: Capitola Mall leans into local (Lookout)

Time, turnover, parent pushback: Superintendent Tanya Krause details challenges as she pursues equity in Scotts Valley

Tanya Krause, superintendent of the Scotts Valley Unified School District, at a vaccination clinic
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz County’s fourth-largest school district is seeing a 30% turnover of staff this year amid issues of affordability and COVID-related stress on the profession. Scotts Valley Unified Superintendent Tanya Krause talks about the pressures of the moment and how they affect her efforts to build fair and inclusive school environments. Here’s her Q&A with Hillary Ojeda.

MORE: Soul-searching in Scotts Valley: Flag flap highlights ongoing community issues around diversity and inclusion


A busy Thursday to say the least. It’s shaping up to be a busy weekend in these parts, too, so you’ll want to keep Lookout bookmarked and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the scoop via Weekender, Wallace Baine’s survey of the Santa Cruz arts and entertainment scene.

None of our content is possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member. And spread the word about what we’re doing!

Now go forth boldly and give Thursday a run for its money!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz