Unplugged, never to buzz again, or so the Kress IGA promises.
Unplugged, never to buzz again, or so the Kress IGA promises. RS

Here's some good news for downtown denizens.

In an email, a representative from Kress IGA, a grocery store located on 3rd Avenue and Pike Street, says managers have indefinitely "turned off and unplugged" their Mosquito, an anti-loitering device that emits a continuous, high-pitched, incredibly annoying sound audible to all passersby.

In addition to tormenting the housed and unhoused alike, the noise bothered Benjamin Gaft, owner of the historic Turcos Last Stand, on a weekly basis.

In May, the grocery store, the Seattle Police Department, and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections agreed to allow the device to operate between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but Gaft and social media commenters reported hearing the noise blaring from the device much earlier than that on a regular basis.

Support The Stranger

The spokesperson didn't say why managers decided to unplug the device, but the store doubtlessly received a number of complaints from Slog readers and other members of the public who were concerned about their own aural health, the sanity of their neighbors, and the cruelty of hostile architecture. To all who let them know how you really feel, I emit a continuous, reasonably pitched, pleasant sound of gratitude.

Though the store promises to end this aural menace forever, managers say they will "continue working with our landlord and city officials to figure out the next step in keeping our business safe for employees, customers, and our neighbors." In an earlier post, I advised store owners to install their noisebox in the middle of the statehouse and to crank the volume until they adequately fund services and housing for the homeless. If lobbying Olympia and the U.S. Congress for those services isn't the "next step" they take, then they will likely be taking a wrong one.

And while I'm glad Kress IGA is doing the right thing here, I suspect other businesses are also using these kinds of devices all over the city. If you hear something, say something.