Last Night in Magnolia, Mike O'Brien Got Shouted at for Suggesting It's Wrong to Punish People for Being Homeless

Comments

1
Yes, the people who have been forced into having to live in an RV tend to put their garbage outside of their RV (I see it every morning on my run around Greenlake) but what can they do? Everyone guards and locks their trash cans like it's some sort of precious treasure that must be protected for some damn reason.

The drug dealing? I've not seen that, though given many of the homeless do suffer mental issues my guess is people don't know the difference between being stoned and suffering mental illness.

2
Actually, all the neighborhood wants is to punish the people who are OPENLY DEALING METH AND HEROIN. This is happening, no matter how snarky the Stranger wants to write about it. And the entire neighborhood suffers, including the innocent tent camps.
3
And after leaving the warm environs of the UCC (which obviously none of them were members of...), the attendees all went back to their warm houses and lived happily ever after.
4
who wants to help me set up a free food club for the homeless in the heart of Magnolia? Fuck these scumbags...
5
given the high cost of living in this city, it's hardly surprising that residents/tax-payers resent transient strangers camping on, littering on, and defecating on the streets where they live. we're starting to bump up against human nature.

seattle is bearing the brunt of a nationwide epidemic of homelessness, and it's getting worse every year. half-measures like RV parking lots with honey buckets aren't going to cut it.

we need to convert vacant warehouses into SROs (assuming there are any), zoning be damned. we need federal money. Inslee could try talking Obama into declaring the city a homeless disaster area - I'm sure lawyers could make a persuasive argument.
6
The problems that cause homelessness causes blight and other repercussions. One cannot expect unaddressed homelessness to simply co-exist in any city. And most of all, you cannot not expect citizenry to behave like angels in meetings with their representatives when they discuss it - no more than one can expect citizenry to behave like angels when there's an unfortunate trigger-happy cop shooting.
7
@1: (OT) The best jog in Seattle. I prefer the outside track. Every morning? You obviously have young knees.
8
@1 Trash is sort of a precious thing in Seattle. We don't have competitive waste disposal companies. Part of the city is Cleanscapes and the other part is Waste Management. It is like a franchise and there is no competition. I think the City does this so there is less traffic congestion but a result is super expensive rates. I'm a business owner and if I don't lock down my dumpsters random people will dump there trash in them and they'll fill up too quickly. A medium size dumpster with 2 pickups a week is a bit over $1k so not inconsequential. The city also has some good screening requirements that are being enforced more often than before. I know how dumb stealing of trash services seems but it does add up quickly and is a legitimate concern for businesses.
9
The total lack of empathy is really sickening. These big babies are completely mental, and someone needs to tell them as much. As far as arresting the displaced, where is the evidence and what are the charges??
10
Pardon my rant, but Jesus Christ Seattle, have some compassion and humanity for your fellow humans. I'm an RN at Harborview, I take care of a largely homeless population. I can tell you first hand that most of the homeless people in this city weren't given very much a of a chance to succeed in life. I'm guessing if you are reading SLOG on your home computer, you've probably always had a place to stay, and you've probably always had at least one person in life you could count on and who loved you. A lot of these people have had neither for. There is also a HUGE amount of untreated mental illness in this population. Mental illness is not a crime; I believe it's our duty as citizens who benefit from living in the richest country in the world to at the very least to make sure our fellow citizens have at least food and shelter, and treatment for the mentally ill. I can also tell you from a nursing standpoint that doing so would save our state billions of dollars spent on out hospitals where many of people wind up time and time again because they're chronic illnesses cannot be managed on an outpatient basis simply because they are homeless and have no resources. I'm tired of seeing this needless suffering. There is so much money in this city, I can't see why allow this homeless problem to persist.
11
We need a Magnolia Poop In.
12
Good look gouging out these, ya boozshie b!
13
@9, it's like the Seattle Times comment section just came to life and puked itself out into the audience. I wonder how many more years Seattle will be reliably liberal or if it's going to start to become more purple?
14
It sucks when trolls gather together. I doubt they would be so eager to lock everyone up if they knew how much it's costing them in taxes.
15
Couldn't we just concentrate them all into a camp, and put them to work?
16
I saw people in my FB feed last night who were at this meeting articulating the same sentiment. DOWN WITH THE POORS! WHY TAXES NOT USED TO BLEACH THEM AWAY FROM MY STREETS? As if your property values haven't soared enough in the last 24 months.

Way to take off your librul costume, Seattle. YIkes.
17
The concerns of housed people who want a quiet and tidy neighborhood are infinitely less important than the concerns of people who are living through more serious situations. If you are such a precious blushing flower that you can't stand _seeing_ poop in your neighborhood, think about how much more uncomfortable you would be if you had no access to sanitation facilities and had to poop on the street.

I'm not kidding at all when I say this: the group in Magnolia who heckled O'Brien are a blight on the city. They are a genuinely shameful indication that Seattle's values are getting worse and worse as the city gets richer and richer. Their inability to see their neighbors who live in RVs as people and as neighbors and as fellow Seattleites indicates that they are not people to be trusted or respected. The fact that their precious, sensitive little mob organized a demonstration against their neighbors while in a Christian church is in and of itself utterly blasphemous.

Let's triage this. Let's help the people who need help the most first -- and these are the people who don't have homes -- and deal with the problems of these twee, immoral homeowners later. If the worst thing in your life is the mere sight of a needle or some poop or an RV or a tent, your life is fantastic. Calm down and get over yourself.

If you are sickened by the sight of people living in tents in your neighborhood, offer to let them crash on your couch or in your spare room. If you hate seeing poop on the street, let your unhoused neighbors use your bathroom when they need it. And for Christ's sake don't pretend your neighbors aren't human while you're a guest in a church. That's disgusting.
18
Yup. Magnolia is very Very NIMBY! As as Seattle is short aboutt 100 police, no wonder property (and non-violent) crime is a low priority. Ms Bagshaw is in a very safe district
19
"Seattle is no longer the "magical place" it was when he moved here eight years ago" said the assclown channeling the spirit of Mark Sidran
20
As a Magnolian, I can assure Slog readers that the shouters who provided last night's spectacle are a minority view. Most of us want our communities to be safe for everyone - including the less fortunate among us. The shouters are promoting their agenda of increasing the stigma and shame associated with homelessness, addiction, and mental illness, under the guise of safety. Case in point - after hectoring homeless advocates about drug testing and criminal records, they then expressed faux "concern" about the safety of the sites proposed for Tent Cities. They delayed the opening of the Interbay Tent City by floating claims of soil/air quality issues, which of course, the City had to follow up on. Result: no environmental issues, lots of our taxpayer money spent, people left out in the cold without a safe place to sleep for an extra month or two. Disgraceful.
21
What's with all the hate for Magnolia? I bike through the camp slums in Ballard and Innerbay/Magnolia on a regular basis and understand why they are upset. I see the piles of trash, the RV's that aren't drivable, mountains of stripped bikes (you'd have to be delusional to not believe they are stolen), and hordes of junk in shopping carts. I'm also aware that SPD
doesn't pay much attention to property crimes.

There's an occasional cleanup that seems to bounce these folks around but no sustained effort to engage both social services and police in togather. I'm not naive enough to believe that we can arrest our way out of homelessness but
SPD doesn't seem to be doing much to deal with the worst folks. It's seems to me that they could be on message that homelessness itself isn't criminal but uncivilized behavior that affects the quality of life for everyone else won't be tolerated. Extra scruintinny can be applied to the folks who can't be bothered to return their shopping carts, put their used needles in a soda bottles, accumulate bikes well beyond their means, don't ever move their vehicles, deal drugs, etc. There are both drug courts and mental health courts that are better suited to dealing with these issues than the traditional criminal justice system.
22
For any outsiders, I think it should be explicitly stated that Magnolia is a very white and relatively wealthy neighborhood which is why The Stranger was obligated to take this tone.
23
Why don't we all volunteer to take one in? Problem solved overnight.

Who's with me?!!
24
Man, if there's one thing an uptight homeowner hates, it's the sight of somebody else's RV on their block.

True story: after my father passed away last year, my mother sold the family home, and during the few weeks it took her to get settled into her new place, had nowhere to park our modest-but-decent family RV.

Street parking is abundant in my part of Madison Valley, so I parked it in front of my house. And then, like clockwork, every three days, some neighbor of mine would complain to the city, and a 72-hour parking notice would be slapped on the windshield. I'd remove the notice, move the RV around the corner, and repeat the process.

As much as it apparently rankled my neighbors to see me parking that RV on the street, sometimes that felt like reason enough to just leave it there.
25
Dear Cato the Younger Younger "I haven't seen it therefore it doesn't exist" is pretty much my FAVORITE retort. so much fun! There is open dealing of drugs from these rv's that has been documented and shared repeatedly. I IMPLORE any of you assholes to go take a stroll along 28th Ave West/Gilman (not the prettiest strip of Magnolia, to be sure) and see if you can tell the difference between someone with mental health issues and high on heroin. Go see for yourself. 4 years ago I was disgusted to find a feces-covered dildo along this lovely bike path, today, that's nothing.
26
looks like the city already tried for FEMA funding: http://www.emergencymgmt.com/emergency-b…
27
Thorndyke Ave West isn't lined with multi-million dollar mansions. It's mostly rentals with a few $180k condominiums mixed in. We are lower income working families that step over piles of human shit on a daily basis. We're not "white NIMBYs" complaining about the homeless. We are a community trying to get these traveling drug dealers and bicycle thieves to be held accountable.
28
As a current resident of magnolia, I'd like to remind everyone that the area of magnolia has largely and historically been an industrial and military driven. It still houses a military folk, reserve and whatever else they do out there in fort Lawton. They stored trucks in Interbay for years. There's West Point treatment center. The cruise line, the cargo ship deliveries. Then there is all the railroad, metal fabrication and machine rebuilds. And the fisherman! The fisherman!! Did you know their jobs are seasonal? And then the numerous other businesses that rely on the canal and train yard.

I think we forget that industry and its lifestyle isn't "pretty" or "glamorous". Have you seen ole Shilshole? Or sodo? Or South Park?

My point is: y'all moved to a neighborhood that is a functional, productive, industrial area.
29
We need to be more kind to one another.
30
To those standing atop the compassion soapbox: Don't confuse lack of compassion with the healthy anger by your fellow (liberal, BTW) citizens by a failure of government to help alleviate the problem. Homeless, like war, are ancient problems that governments cannot solve - but better policies on a local and national scale help to alleviate the conditions. If the country was overall more economically viable, then there wouldn't be so many people moving to the bigger cities and the resulting high numbers of the mentally ill in the big cities would be less concentrated.

Perhaps. I don't know. It is so incredibly awful to be homeless on these cold nights.
31
@29 28th and Gilman? I just so happen to live right near there - up near 28th and Elmore (about 3 blocks from the midnite mart on Gilman). I drive on Thorndyke every day in the morning and evening as part of my work commute. Are there a few RVs? Yes. Do they look shabby? A bit. But I have yet to see any "piles of needles" or massive piles of trash (well, except the abandond mattress that has slowly made its way down Elmore to Gilman). Methings perhaps some Magnolians are using the homeless as an excuse to do some illegal dumping of their own. Those who live in Magnolian houses should not cast stones.
32
whoops, I meant @25.
33
At neighborhood block watch meetings last summer in Ballard, our CPT officer, when asked why they weren't doing anything about the open-air dealing in the park near us, repeatedly cited the DOJ investigation as a cause for stand-down on arrests, mental health-related or otherwise. So while it may be the official SPD line that there's no stand-down, most of us have heard differently from beat cops. We can't force people into treatment who don't want it, but the cops can keep an eye on the people who need it, and keep in contact with them (and they do!). The north precinct (which covers Ballard) is literally all of Seattle north of the ship canal, and that's a hell of a lot of ground to cover when you're understaffed. If Magnolia and Ballard want more action on homeless issues, I hope to god they're voting for property tax increases to fund mental health treatment, social workers, cops, and transitional housing.
34
Every time I read the Stranger I'm reminded why I rarely do anymore.

This story is as predictably slanted as I'd expect and completely mischaracterizes the meeting, the sentiments expressed by organizers and the very real problems neighborhoods are having with some RVs. I live in central Ballard, and over the past couple of years the neighborhood has become overwhelmed with illegal encampments, piles of trash, needles and human waste, rampant theft and open drug dealing/drug use. So yeah, I'm a NIMBY. I don't want that in my backyard, and neither would any of you, I'm guessing.

How does not wanting unchecked criminal activity in one's neighborhood equate to a lack of compassion? Is it compassionate to condone criminality? To allow people to live in squalor because they choose not to go to shelters or sanctioned encampments? There is a large encampment along the missing link of the Burke Gilman trail that's been there for several months. There are rats, needles, human waste and large piles of garbage thrown around. It's right across the street from Bowman Refrigeration and the campers have extended their mess to their property as well.

The city sent an outreach team to the site more than a month ago and offered the campers services. Only 3 of them accepted; the other 9 said no thanks. So they've been allowed to remain there, living in squalor, openly shooting up and creating a public health and safety hazard. Is that what you folks consider compassionate or humane? The area looks like a third-world slum. But it's somehow heartless and uncaring to not want that in the neighborhood?

Mike O'Brien was met with hostility because he's been contacted repeatedly, over and over again, by residents - you know, the people he was elected to serve - and has been completely unresponsive. I've written him numerous times about these issues and have never gotten a response. He's too busy having stickers put on gas pumps and flying to Paris. He was met with hostility last night because he has no solutions or suggestions other than setting up portapotties and trash collection. He's an enabler with no vision or ideas.

Sally Bagshaw, on the other hand, acknowledged the public safety crisis that's impacting neighborhoods and promised to take action, as did the SPD, who also acknowledged that they know there's drug dealing and other criminal activity involving some of these RVs.

The organizers of the meeting made it very clear that the intent was not to focus on homelessness, but on the crime that is impacting neighborhoods and putting homeless people in particular at risk.

I'm compassionate, but I'm also frustrated with the city's lack of leadership and total lack of response to neighbors' very valid concerns. We are no longer willing to put up with the unchecked lawlessness and uncivil behavior that's been allowed to proliferate.
35
@raindrop Um, government can solve homelessness by housing the homeless. Period. It's that simple. No, really: just housing the homeless is the cheapest, most ethical solution to the housing crisis.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/insp…
36
@11, a Poop In is just what I was thinking! I have a home, but the next time I have to take a dump, I'm taking it in Magnolia. On the nicest lawn I can find.
37
#27, that's true. That stretch by the railroad is light industry, apartments and small bungalows. Doesn't exactly live up to rich NIMBY image. People forget there are nice mansions and condos on Capitol Hill too and way more swankier bars and restaurants than in Magnolia (sorry Boxcar).

I've biked from the waterfront to Golden Garden by way of Magnolia and saw plenty of RV campers (including one which looked burnt). I thought the Interbay tent city would help, but no room for RVs obviously. Biked on BG toward the U and it's pretty clear this city has a problem. I don't remember that many tents or car/RV campers during the recession. Where do people get these campers and school buses anyway?

There are homeless folks who need housing, need mental health and addiction treatment. Among them also are people who are criminals, who do steal and sell hard drugs. The homeless lady who was killed under the Magnolia bridge was killed by a mentally ill homeless man. There are plenty of videos and photos to verify this. It isn't ok to have people throw trash and yes, human waste and dirty syringes everywhere. That's illegal and a public health hazard and shouldn't be allowed anymore than a bunch of dudes wanting free government land in eastern Oregon.

If this is a real mayoral crisis, then prioritize where city budget is going. Do we need more pronto or more streetcars? Duplication of service. It's obvious Seattle need RV parks, more crisis and hygiene centers, public trash bins and bathrooms which aren't locked up in the winter!

38
@35: That "Utah solution" always gets trotted out in these discussions. Even that article shows that they're not "solving" the problem. #1, that is "Chronic" Homelessness only. #2: It was the entire state. #3: they reduced the number of "Chronic" Homeless from roughly 2000 to roughly 500 OVER 9 YEARS. 500 is not zero, and look at the number of other categories. They stay consistent over time.

Seattle has >5000 homeless on the streets every night. Let's assume you double them up, 2 to an apartment. 2,500 units at $200K each (that's what they cost, sorry) = 500 million dollars just to build the homes.

Sure, we could use existing vacant affordable apartments. Seen any lately?
39
@20 A group calling itself the "Neighborhood Safety Alliance" is going to be composed entirely of enraged NIMBYs, not a representative slice of Seattle.
40
@35: Um, and quoted in the article from Utah's Director of HUD:
He conceded, however, that “it’s not that simple” everywhere.

Government can't totally solve homelessness in a free society, period. However, in totalitarian regime, you could enforce a roof over every head and shared misery for all.
41
Of course, the same people will complain about an "RV Park" but who cares. These are the same people in Magnolia that were complaining about 4 way stop sign last year. You just can't please everyone. Having said that, I run/bike by the RV spot on Thorndyke everyday and it's admittedly pretty bad. We already have the solutions to these problems though...create an RV version of a tent city and eliminate or put limits on the parking in the areas where the RVs keep parking. The spot on Thorndyke is full of RVs because few people live there, there are few businesses and quite frankly Magnolia has more parking than it knows what do with. The industrial areas of the city have plenty of space and resources to support these RV areas. Shipping them out of the city or in jail is not the solution.
42
@37 gets it.

Another homeless woman was found stuffed in a shopping cart under the Ballard bridge in November. KIRO reported that there's now a murder investigation into her death involving an RV that's still parked in the area. The mobile chop shop that was operating outside the Ballard post office annex in October moved to Magnolia but is now back in Ballard in the exact same spot. It's occupied by meth addicts, one of whom was arrested on a felony warrant last weekend.

And people wonder why neighborhoods are upset?
43
O'Brien was shouted at for taking a meeting on crime prevention and attempting to turn it into a homelessness issue. People are sick of having the two conflated and ignored as the same issue. A lot of these trailer dwellers aren't even homeless, they just aren't welcome at home while stealing to support an addiction.
44
I have a great idea on how to handle the homeless problem. It's a property tax structure on residential dwellings held in quantities of 10 or more with monthly per vacancy penalties when there is a 10% vacancy rate for more then an aggregate 6 months in an 18 month period on vacent residential dwellings that fall into that status.

The retroactive monthly penalties should be triple a 30 year 12% monthly mortgage payment of historical high tax appraisal per vacancy for condos and single family dwellings and triple historical high rental value for per vacancy on apartments. This would turn the long term high vacancy numbers into burning hot potatos and force corporate landlords and Banks sitting on forclosed homes to figure out real market value instead of rigged value because those are two completely different things.
45
And paradoxically, @35, because of mental illness or whatever - a subset of the homeless population indeed wants to be homeless. That is their constitutional right.
46
Whoa! I live in Magnolia. I do really. And I can tell you that this shouty loud contingent (that I'm sure has been written about so unbiased by The Stranger) doesn't represent the community as a whole. When the Interbay Tent City opened a couple of months ago many of us from the Magnolia Community went down to welcome them, to bring food, blankets, tents, tarps. Calls for these things went out through our local BN FB group and people stepped up. Sounds like there were some scared (not so nice) people at this meeting. But don't lump us all into the same category. The shitty and the kind can be found most everywhere.
47
WOW! I am usually a fan of the Stranger, but what a BIASED PIECE OF NEWS COVERAGE THIS IS. I was one of the speakers.

No, Mike O'Brien was yelled at for not making a distinction between the homeless and the criminals who prey on them.

What we asked for was to make a distinction between the homeless and the criminals who terrorize the homeless and the rest of the residents of Seattle. We asked that RV owners be given a KOA-style RV park as safe and drug free environment where they can have access to drug addiction services, mental health services, job services, garbage disposal, human waste disposal, and clean water.

Ann Zachariansen, was just murdered in an RV. Our drug addicted homeless neighbors have no chance of recovery, if their drug dealers are allowed to set up shop right next to them and go unchecked. Our teens fleeing sex abuse and bad homes have no chance at survival if the sex traffickers in RVs are allowed to thrive as the hide among the homeless. Our mentally ill have no shot at stability if thugs and thieves who are hiding in RVs are allowed to terrorize them night after night. Our homeless neighbors are the first ones who will step on the needles. Our homeless neighbors are the first to be assaulted and robbed. Our homeless neighbors are the first to be forced into sex trafficking. So if you care about the homeless, you will push to get the criminals, sex traffickers, drug dealers, and drug manufacturers away from them.

A homeless veteran and members of SAFE (Stand Against Foreclosure Eviction) approached me last night and thanked me for our approach. They originally came to protest the meeting, but were so very happy that we made the distinction between the homeless who we need to care for, and the criminals who all too often prey upon them. They were grateful for pushing to have a safe environment for the homeless RV owners to live.

So let's have an honest conversation. Let's not spin what was talked about last night. Maybe then we can work together to help solve homelessness in Seattle.

Harley Lever

PS, if you want me to send you all the videos of the needles on Thorndyke, please let me know!!! The truth is not on your side.

48
I think the rage is from traditionally tolerant property owners who has been shat upon (literally) by criminals, who have taken advantage of neighborhood tolerance. As a bike commuter I get to be up close to this stuff. For several years along the west side of I5 in Wallingford from time to time a tent appears. I don't bug them, they don't bug me, things are kept clean, and eventually they moved on. NOW, several tents have popped up. Trash piles are accumulating. The trash piles contain local citizen's personal trash and it's obvious they are trying to steal identities. Bike parts, stripped frames, women's clothes, panties, the smell of alocohol. The place is a complete DUMP now, and they are putting out obstacles to keep me and others from using the path that goes through. I used to be tolerant but now I just want to punch them in the face because these degenerates have taken our tolerance and wiped their asses with it. I'm done.
49
LOL!!! I love reading comments that start off with "I've been a long time reader of The Stranger...." and then start to bitch about the reporting. Then you click on their name and they "may" have been a reader but they sure have never commented on anything before.

Such a classic bullshit ploy. Almost as good as "I implore you to..." Very rich!
50
All humans create a lot of garbage and shit. Most of us pay taxes to have those things taken away from. Some don't have that option. The solution seems obvious to me.
51
#49, I was reading the stranger before it had a blog. It wasn't until very recently I chose to comment on-line, mainly because I'm a poor writer and well it just never occured to me to register and comment. So I understand people who read more than comment. (I do read your stuff though.) I think Harley Lever made good points, especially about the likeliest victims of these criminals are fellow homeless people. He offered real solutions, plus he did signed with his real name.
53
@50, there's no excuse for shitting on the street unless someone is mentally challenged or otherwise incapacitated. It's not hard to find a bag to crap in and deposit in the garbage. Nor is it acceptable to toss garbage on the streets. When I'm out on Puget Sound, I don't toss my trash into the water; I collect it and deposit it in a receptacle.

We need to stop enabling uncivil, unsanitary behavior and hold people accountable for their actions.
54
BTW#44, that's an intriguing idea. I read about this being done in Baltimore(?) and other cities. Sadly, I'm not sure HALA and city hall will go for it though.
55
Regarding the trash situation: Homeowners (and renters of homes) are protective of their garbage cans because garbage collection is intentionally very expensive in Seattle. It's because they want people to recycle. There used to be more ways to get rid of trash but about twenty years or so ago the water department got grand and became "Seattle Public Utilities" and took on contracting out garbage and recycling services, making it a monopoly.

My heart really does go out to the people who are forced to live in RV's. They're like the the "tiny houses" everyone dotes on, without utilities and utterly devoid of charm. They're cheaply made, poorly insulated, and not designed for long-term living (we have an RV. I know what I'm talking about). At the same time, I've been walking by both RV's and tent campers for years (I walk home through SODO and Yesler Terrace a lot), and I understand the disgust with the hygiene situation. I don't know why the city doesn't just spring for some dumpsters in the areas frequented by the campers - they are going to pick up the trash eventually, why not make it easier and more efficient?

And I like the idea of the parking lots for campers, because I think a lot of the people who reside in them are transitory - they go up and down the coast. I'll go one step further, and add sewer dumps and water/electric hookups. You can't give away water and power (that's considered a gift of public funds) but there has to be a way that the utilities could be underwritten.
56
Before you go railing on Magnolia residents for being NIMBY's you need to know that property crimes, car prowling, etc. has gone up 50-fold over the last year. From my block watch email string alone, there's at least one report a week (usually more) of neighbors who have found people prowling their yards or have had break ins. The RV situation is not about homeless people who are down on their luck... they are active drug dealers and criminals operating chop shops, stolen bike rings, etc. out of RVs. The trash from people coming by to get high and then they leave their trash and needles is a environmental and health hazard. So many of our residents are supporting Tent City 5 in Interbay by stopping by to say hi and bring donations. Your biased opinion of how you *think* Magnolia residents are is an uneducated one.
57
The excuse for what's not acceptable is that it's necessary. Some people have a hard enough time carrying around what little they possession without having to carry their trash with them. Garbage bags aren't free either. It's not 'enabling' to consider that their may be better options than punishing these people.
58
The part of Magnolia with the problem is not wealthy. It's all apartment buildings. If it were up near the Village, (or near Mike O'Brien's house in Ballard) the politicians would have done something already.
60
@57, we live in a city. There are bags all over and garbage cans in many places.

I suppose it's necessary to throw trash and needles on the ground too.
61
This "story" from Heidi made me laugh and laugh. I was at the meeting last night. And as a former, professional journalist who has covered probably 500 public meetings in my life, this as biased a piece of shit as I've ever read.

Most of you probably hate FOX news for its slanted, confirmation-biased reporting and commentary. Well, The Stranger, once a proactive and interesting news source (by the way, I read from the first few issues, when it was about 10 pages) has sunk to become just the FOX news for angry, lefty urbanists. Sad, sad, sad.
62
The author presents the complaints of local residents as if they are made up and imaginary. In reality they are the reaction to City’s abject failure to address massive increases in homelessness, heroin addiction, and the correlating trash, feces, and used syringes which litter our community.

I fully understand why the homeless dump trash in the street, shit in the street, and why addicts discard their needles in the street. However, when it is happening in your figurative and literal backyard, if you have any sense, you’re going to demand action from the institutions and people that are paid to address these problems and provide services to those in need. At a minimum, the City could put a dumpster at 15th and Shilshole, currently the piles of trash are three feet tall and seven feet long.
63
Agreed - Heidi should perhaps return to writing "Weed Wednesdays" where her "journalism" was better understood.

64
@61, I'm also a former journalist who has covered hundreds of public meetings in the past couple of decades. Your assessment is spot on. The Stranger has become FOX for the left.
65
The homeless woman in your photo is more than just "the homeless woman" - she is a real person and has a name - it's Courtney Burnett-Lauer, and I came across her and her family (3 small children) panhandling in Phinney Ridge last September. Thanks to Facebook I was able to raise money to get them in a hotel for a few days. I'm not a professional in this. But it all starts with some compassion.

HOUSING FIRST. Without housing, you can't move forward. Without housing, you can't go to the bathroom! Without housing, you can't take showers and get jobs and be healthy. If we want people to be a productive member of society they NEED to have housing to make that happen, period point blank. They had been sleeping in Woodland Park and all of their items got ruined. The kids were sick and hungry.

Rex at Facing Homelessness/Homeless in Seattle (the most beautiful FB page on earth - really striking, beautiful photography aimed at giving homeless people a face, a name, a story, and making them human) - his group really stepped up and helped raise enough money to get them into a hotel for a month. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/HomelessInSeatt…

Myself and a team of volunteers tried to help them navigate the system to get help. You have no idea. I don't think anyone commenting on this thread gets it and I barely even do with my limited experience. It was so difficult, the hoops. Now they have jobs and are on their way to getting permanent housing. The kids are back in school.

My point is, these are REAL people, with real names, that deserve the same things in life that we all have. There is more than enough to go around for all of us. We have more than enough to eat, more than enough wealth. I welcome our progressive attitudes and solutions towards this. We all want the same thing. No one wants poop in their yards or junk in the streets. These people need homes. That is the solution.
66
@65 Yep, Rex rules. Thanks for giving him a shoutout.
67
iheartgalore that was a nice post. "These people need homes. That is the solution." They do need homes. What if they don't want homes? I'd like to see more tent camps like the one on Market two blocks from my house for those that are willing to use them. Many, many of the folks stealing, dealing and using around the bridge and in the RVs are quoted as saying they don't want services.
68
I'm also a former journalist! The Stranger is the Pravda of the Homosexual Agenda!
This is easy! & fun!
69
I am pissed they killed that Madrona tree on the trail outside Bowman Refrigeration. That was a nice tree.
70
@65: yes, they need homes. that's obvious. the questions are: how and where?

look at any LIHI or Plymouth Group Apartment building - the sign on the door says the wait lists are closed. The wait lists at the SHA are closed. I've talked to people at meetings in Port Angeles who moved there only because that's where housing was available, where the wait list wasn't closed. Now that they're there, they're screwed - there's hardly an economy in PA.

the need vastly exceeds the available resources. you can't give an apartment that doesn't exist.
71
I blame the entire Magnolia RV/junkie problem on SPD for repeatedly looking the other way (unless you're an elderly black man using a golf club as a cane), and for repeatedly using the "our hands are tied" excuse.
72
sperifera dear, I don't know that it's quite that simple. I remember when RV campers were "ok" in places like SODO, Georgetown, Fremont, Delridge, lower Ballard and - yes - Magnolia (although strictly in places like Commodore Way and interlay) because those were industrial areas, and they weren't "bothering anyone". One could probably have parked their camper on 12th Ave S by Seattle U back in the day without much fuss from anyone.

The trouble is that most of those areas have become neighborhoods.
73
For everyone stating have compassion, have empathy towards your fellow humans - you need to separate the homeless who want help and what's else going on here. Do you not understand there is a certain population of criminals at work here when it comes to open drug use, home burglary, smashing your car windows and discarding large amounts of garbage, human feces and god knows what else.

Still think this is all ok? Let's shift this group of people to your street or in front of your business or somehow let them otherwise directly impact your life financially. How long will you pay with either increased costs to replace stolen items, broken car windows or a loss in business revenue? Maybe that's ok with you because these people need help and you're ok to pay whatever inconvenience repeatedly. Maybe you're ok with potentially being exposed to needles and human feces and all the risk those bring. Maybe your just fine with your tax dollars to continue to fund these needy, misunderstood souls. If you are, please let me know because I want the $400 back I just shelled out unexpectedly to deal with replacing my shattered driver's side window...again.
74
I'm with The Stranger: Fuck NIMBYs. Unless you're invading my favorite pseudo-dive bar on Capitol Hill with your brogrammer cohorts!
75
Yeah, O'Brien should have stuck with impact fees. And not the grand bargain. Impact fees toward subsidized housing. Impact fees to mitigate infrastructure needs, including schools and social service. Not more 12 years of tax breaks- developer's MFTE, especially without adequate city's oversight.

In the meantime, open up the car/RV camps. There are plenty of short term solutions proposed here and elsewhere. This isn't news to city council or the mayor. Politicians better not make this into a war on the homeless by rich entitled neighborhoods. Because that's crap. That's trying to pull a Trump and doing it badly. This issue is pushed aside and left to simmer, because for a while the number was small enough to contain.

People here are quite empathetic and giving. People aren't dumb. You can be a renter or a homeowner and run a drug house and commit crime and you know what, your neighbors won't tolerate it and will call the police on you. That doesn't make them NIMBYs. I have lived in crappy places when I was poor, but it doesn't mean I, my roommates or neighbors embraced trashing where we lived and people stealing or assaulting each other. That attitude hasn't changed because I now live in a 60 yo bungalow.

76
I'm totally down with NIMBYism. Let's not have the homeless wandering the streets shitting on everything. Why we could give all those homeless people a bus ticket, couldn't we?

A bus ticket to a social worker for a program that gets them into a home of their own, so that they can have some sort of stable basis for getting back on their feet.

Don't want homeless people in your backyard? Give them a fucking home. It's cheaper than the alternative.
77
With all this talk about feces, I think it's important to point out that the biggest, steamiest pile of shit is Heidi Groover's account of what happened at last night's meeting.

No wonder The Stranger is hiring a news editor ...
78
The biggest problem with the complaint about rising property crime is that it is bullshit. Look at the city crime stats, including in Ballard, Magnolia, etc. It is the same as it's been for years. I am convinced that neighborhood websites like Nextdoor have simply made people aware of crimes that have been going on forever. What was once awareness of our immediate surroundings and people we know has quickly become awareness of several square miles with thousands of people, and it is making people lose their fucking minds.
79
Well the Stranger can dig deeper in how effective MFTE has been. Or the Pulitzer Prize winning Seattle Times. The program has been around long enough to evaluate. City audit? 12 years of tax breaks big, rich developers got. ( Surely we must be housing thousands of people like those living in tents and RVs by now.) Instead of paying direct fees to build. No wonder they don't care about property tax hike. They can convert all those apartments to condos before the 12 year is up.

The city, SHA and Vulcan got rid of Yesler Terrace. Vulcan did very well. Plus new trolley line to boot. Indeed Seattle taxpayers are very generous! Did the city gain more subsidized housing from this deal? Meanwhile, individuals can feel good by helping one homeless family or volunteer at a food bank or stitch up a facial laceration of a homeless woman who just got beaten up by another homeless camper. And righteous people here can show how supportive they are by pooping on other people's lawn, because evidently when you are homeless, that's the kind of support some people think you need.

80
The nationwide epidemic of homelessness is not getting worse every year. Nationally, homelessness is down over 10% since 2007. It's Seattle that has a problem.

http://www.endhomelessness.org/page/-/fi…

81
To everyone saying crime has remained constant - you either don't live in the affected areas or are one of the lucky ones who hasn't been personally affected. Me? 4 car break ins in last 4 years. For the first 7 years I've lived in Ballard - zero car break ins. Maybe I should just suck it up and deal with it.

If only we could buy bus tickets to send the needy on a path to recovery, we'd gladly do that. Just tell us how that magic works.

Everyone crying that we're NIMBY, you're fortunate to not have to deal with the daily/weekly/monthly/annual break ins. I'm sure you'll all open your wallets and glady pay and pay and pay until your generous hearts can give no more.

god bless the bleeding fucking hearts of yours. Me? I don't feel I own bearing the financial burden of your goodwill. Pay up or shut the fuck up.
82
Video of actual meeting just posted if anyone cares:
http://neighborhoodsafetyalliance.org/

Does kind of look like a Trump rally, true...But Heidi, which people should I show a little more compassion for with nowhere to live but their cars or RVs first? The ones who stole my two beloved bicycles off my deck in Magnolia this summer, the ones who smash my car windows outside my house, or the ones who have broken into my business in Georgetown 3 times over the past 2 years?

83
Look, if a guy is straight-up *pooping in the road* he's one of God's favorites, and he's gonna need our help in living a rewarding life.
His criminality may reach depraved heights, true. It is up to us to help him not end up that way.
There's not two distinct groups, the kindly homeless and the evil predators hiding among them. Some of the most vulnerable people commit the worst crimes. Swallow that pill cuz its true.
84
I went to Tokyo and Beijing a month ago and they had two really great public services:

Ubiquitous public toilets

People cleaning trash off the streets

Two cities on opposite ends of the GDP curve can both provide public services that allow their most vulnerable members to have some dignity, it can't be that difficult for a US city to do the same.
85
@78 seattle was named number 1 in property crime in 2014 by the fbi
86
'Among early rabbinic commentators, the common reading of the sin of Sodom was its cruelty, arrogance and disdain for the poor. The sages of the Babylonian Talmud also associated Sodom with the sins of pride, envy, cruelty to orphans, theft, murder, and perversion of justice. While the event which sealed the fate of the Sodomites was their demand for Lot to bring out his guests so that the mob might “know” them, this still was not seen so much as an act of sexual excess, but as hatred of the stranger and exploitation of the weak. Midrashic writers lavishly portray Sodom and the surrounding cities as arrogant and self-satisfied, destroyed for the sins of greed and indifference to the poor.

Rabbinic legends about Sodom describe an area of unusual natural resources, precious stones, silver and gold. Every path in Sodom, say the sages, was lined with seven rows of fruit trees. Eager to keep their great wealth for themselves, and suspicious of outsiders’ desires to share in it, the residents of Sodom agreed to overturn the ancient law of hospitality to wayfarers. The legislation later prohibited giving charity to anyone. One legend claims that when a beggar would wander into Sodom, the people would mark their names on their coins and give him a dinar. However, no one would sell him bread. When he perished of hunger, everyone would come and claim his coin. There was once a maiden who secretly carried bread out to a poor person in the street in her water pitcher. After three days passed and the man didn’t die, the maiden was discovered. They covered the girl with honey and put her atop the city walls, leaving her there until bees came and ate her. Hers was the cry that came up to God, the cry that inaugurated the angelic visit and its consequences.'
87
@84 I agree, but the modern controlling trend in the United States is to reduce the number of people employed by government entities. We don't believe public employment is a useful policy tool unless it is of people in prison, "bus ticket out of here" is treated a some kind of sensible solution, or prison - the most expensive solution of all.
88
@80: Apparently it's getting worse also in NYC.
89
The has to be an equitable solution for all involved, and there are several legitimate perspectives here.

I live off a bad stretch of an already bad street, and yes, homelessness can be a safety issue, especially when drugs or serious mental illness is at play. With most people, even "criminals", if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. That is not something you can always rely on. I've been yelled at, threatened, spit on, etc. I've had unwanted interactions where I've wondered how much longer I'd be alive. And yes, it is scary walking home at night past vans that people are living in, sometimes surrounded by trash, food waste, needles, you name it. These are the safety conditions that have always plagued working class people who have to live in crappy neighborhoods. I guess now that it's happening in a rich neighborhood, the city suddenly cares.

But, being low income, I've faced serious housing instability, and while I've never been homeless, a lot of people in my life have. Some were homeless as youths who had to flee violent or molest-y parents. A few women that I am close to had to flee domestic violence. I know trans people that have been homeless. I know mentally ill people that ended up homeless. It can happen to a wide range of people, and assuming they were all drug addicts or some other nondescript "criminals" before being on the street is a) inaccurate and b) entirely unhelpful.

Also, let's be practical and think like adults. People don't stop eating and generating trash when they become homeless. They don't stop sleeping from time to time. And you know what they say: everybody poops. Unfortunately, because of drugs, there are fewer and fewer public bathrooms. People have also been known to start using drugs to deal with homelessness, or start dealing drugs because there just wasn't enough legal, safe work that paid a living wage.

When I was young and volunteered in a homeless shelter, I also personally met people who committed crimes because jail=shelter, so that's one of many reasons that jailing chronically homeless people often doesn't discourage illegal behavior in other homeless people. Likewise, I met people who weren't even addicts who had more than once checked into detox because that was shelter (and at least in that state, detoxes couldn't refuse people, not sure about WA) which diverts resources from actual addicts who need treatment.

We need to find a way to house people.
90
@85 The crime rate hasn't changed much here in 10-15 years. it's 2-3x lower than it was in the early 90's. If someone thinks the city has changed much in 8 years, the only explanation is that they were completely unaware of the crime around them at the time.
91
Marcie dear, no one "got rid" of Yesler Terrace. They are tearing down what is basically uninhabitable housing (I, unlike others, have actually been in Yesler Terrace housing) and are replacing all of the original 660 housingunits, plus 300 or so units of subsidized housing for people who are poor, but not at the level of poverty that would have gotten them subsidized housing under the classic YT eligibility rules. There's also 850 "workforce" and 1200 "market rate" housing units in the mix. All in all, there's going to be something like 4x the housing in that area than there was with the old YT. While we may mourn the picturesque nature of the old Yesler Terrace, it's a much better use of the land.
92
"Do something about this problem" is the common refrain from people who have never had to wipe their own nose. If you can not take responsibility for your property or your neighborhood, maybe you should be the one in the RV. Other people are not responsible for your problems. Why don't you organize a block clean up party yourselves? You know that they sell trash bags at the store? Why don't you take some responsibility and fix your own problems.
93
@92, You obviously haven't had to deal with the crowd of junkies in the article as a homeowner if you think it's that simple. Practically speaking the junkies have a lot more rights than a homeowner. They have no accountability and are essentially judgement proof whereas the homeowner has liability.
94
#91 Right, after displacing all those people from Yesler Terrace, all the city and SHA got back is the SAME number of units for the poorest at 30% AMI or less. A couple hundred more for <60%. What happened to all those displaced in the meantime? Housing vouchers are highly desired by these newly constructed apartments all over the city right? SHA has no wait list. They didn't leave the city did they? It doesn't matter anyway because the city has a growing homeless crisis and tent city and RV living isn't the long term solution.

I like to see the city and SHA number on how many displaced (and others like them), poor people with little to no income, being housed in these MFTE units. It can't be that hard for the city to come up with these facts. It was a good exchange wasn't it for the city? Instead of getting linkage fees or making developers pay property tax for 12 years so you know, the city get tax money to provide housing services for the citizens, it was way more effective to have these private developers provide housing for poor people because for profit developers are known to be generous with housing and embrace poor people.

Not everyone agrees this housing deal was so great.

http://psara.org/2012/10/02/the-yesler-t…

http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/05/…

http://crosscut.com/2012/08/yesler-terra…
Working poor people people are moving out of the city. The most vulnerable who can't work onto the streets. Which brings this all back to the story.

95
@90 show your data cause mine shows otherwise

https://www.fbi.gov/seattle/press-releases/2015/the-fbi-releases-2014-crime-statistics-for-washington-state">https://m.fbi.gov/#https://www.fbi.gov/s…

SEATTLE 2013 2014
Murder & non-negligent manslaughter 19 26
Rape 153 154
Robbery 1,601 1,567
Aggravated assault 1,985 2,254
Burglary 7,384 7,099
Larceny-theft 24,189 28,036
Motor vehicle theft 4,310 5,514
Arson
96
I don't get the strangers reporting here. This is simple, the crime rate in these neighborhoods and Seattle is too high, data backs this up. People are angry about it and want the city to do something. But the city is not doing anything, it's gotten to the point where the city can't even keep the parks and roads clean.

The same goes goes for the hill, as much as the stranger doesn't want to report it the crime they complain about (assults on the hill) does get committed by homeless drug addicts (look at chs blog, which will actually post police follow ups on assaults with information about who committed the crime)

Fuck, i hate how the strangers goal is to divide this town in order to get page hits.

People should be mad about crime and policing in this city and they should be yelling at city council about it.
97
Here I did some research about the grand bargain.

And why Seattle homeless advocates who want to get clients into more stable housing and keep people on the brink from falling into homelessness need to start evaluating the city's and developer's effort thus far.

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/seattle…

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news…

98
I was at the meeting. This Stranger article is so inaccurate, I wonder if we were at two different meetings. I'm disappointed, as I've been a long-time supporter of the The Stranger.

Neighbors at the meeting were expressing support for safety and hygiene services for our homeless neighbors. I.e., asking Ed Murray to back off his self-serving lip service to the homeless and actually do something with the extra $5 million Seattle received when a state of emergency was called. Homeless in our neighborhood are also the first to suffer from victimization by the meth labs, dealers, and predators who've set up tents or RV's in their midst, and the police have been doing little about it. Except starting yesterday, after the meeting: now city and state police are everywhere in Ballard and Magnolia.
99
@82 - Yes, thank you. The booing from the crowd when O'Brien comments that "police are not going to arrest someone for being poor" was clearly not because the crowd disagreed with that statement as the blog post implies. The booing was because it was a condescendingly obvious statement that the discussion was well beyond. It is very hard to believe Heidi Groover sat through the hour of meeting up to that point and honestly believed those were boos from people who wanted to arrest poor people. I know a blog post isn't journalism but that's some very shady shit.
100
Good thing that itinerant Jesus isn't around now, or he'd be tarred and feathered and run out of town. UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN!!!
101
AND that hobo Buddha, dude actually go door to door with his bowl EXPECTING to be fed EVERY DAY! Look at how he sat under that bloody tree day after day with his eyes closed, obviously STONED!! Run that lazy criminal out of OUR neighborhood before he destroy our property values!!!
102
Seattle, put your money where your mouth is. You don't want homeless campers however you won't create decent paying jobs with living wages and affordable housing in the city..The poor are just that, poor. They don't prefer to live in squalor and they didn't land here from Outer Space nor did they move here specifically to sleep in the rain. They're fellow Seattle human beings hanging on to what's left of their dignity.They love Seattle and the PNW and the Seahawks just as much as you do. However the resources are currently not available for them to properly go back to work, get paid and take care of themselves. And ultimately take care of the city. Seattle why is Amazon, Google Starbucks, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, GMO and the MIC important to your portfolio.. Where are the people? Where are the jobs and paychecks from manufacturing? If coffee is $5 bucks a cup, why isn't minimum wage $23.dollars an hour?