Tom Douglas, two-eyed Chihuly
  • R.B.
  • Tom Douglas, two-eyed Chihuly
After a hubbub between a self-important chef and a self-important organization, a competing salmon bake (hosted by Tom Douglas) and sausage sale (hosted by the homeless-advocacy group SHARE) ended without incident this weekend. The events—on their face just about barbecues on opposite sides of Victor Steinbrueck Park—had become symbolic of a tension over cleaning up downtown streets and accommodating people who have nowhere else to go.

Douglas (AKA "T-Doug"), who owns two restaurants right across the street, is tired of seeing tourists and visitors being harassed by panhandlers and thugs who frequent the spot. "The city doesn't have any money for more security, so we decided to do something," he told The Stranger while grilling some corn. "I just want the park to be safe." His money will go toward paying for more park security.

But leaders of SHARE see Douglas's intent to beef up security as a threat. They contend that security starts with shelters for homeless people. "Contrary to popular belief we have no real animosity with Tom Douglas," said SHARE spokesperson Jerry Thomas. "We are not trying to get into a political wrestling match with this gentleman. He's concerned about park security. Our main concern is we have so many homeless—if you are homeless where do you go when the park closes at 10:00 p.m.?" Their sausages would go for more shelters.

Despite some past hard feelings, things were pretty peaceful. Both sides even went over to say hi to each other. SHARE managed to sell 160 hot dogs at $4 each. "Four dollars is what it costs us to have one person get a bed for a night," said Thomas. Douglas's team had sold almost 400 plates of salmon, which each cost $15.