High Point community concerns: ‘It’s an ‘everybody’ issue’

July 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm | In High Point, West Seattle news | 45 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

More than 100 people packed a room at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center for a meeting about community “safety issues” – heavy on concerns but light on specifics.

Opening last night’s meeting, Heather Hutchinson from High Point community management described the reason behind it as a “diverse set of issues” – from car egging to “definitely more big parties happening in Commons Park” with disturbing debris afterward to “larger groups of teens wandering and really sort of engaging in … (behavior including) knock-down-drag-out fights” to “drugs, people seeing drug sales, people thinking they’re seeing drug sales,” to “some real sense that maybe there’s gang colors being worn …”

But before opening the floor to comments and questions, she asked attendees not to get specific about units or addresses.

“It’s not a homeowner or a renter issue,” stressed Seattle Housing Authority community builder Shukri Olow from SHA. “it’s an ‘everybody’ issue.”

Other representatives included Sean McKenna, who said he manages the 600 rental units and various related programs. “We’re here to have a conversation,” he reiterated, added, “I live in High Point and I see people walking around all the time … (but) it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an issue or a problem. … We’re here to serve everybody. Everybody who lives here in High Point has an investment.” He stressed, without saying it exactly this way, that both renters and owners had that investment – one wasn’t greater than the other.

High Point Neighborhood Association president Deborah Vandermar spoke as well, mentioning that rather than participate in National Night Out in August, HP would have one of its own on September 14th.

From SPD’s Southwest Precinct, Community Police Team Officer Kevin McDaniel – whose jurisdiction includes High Point and other SHA properties around WS – was in attendance; he said he spends 80 percent of his time at HP.

Asked about trends, he said he’s “hearing that mainly there’s been a lot of what’s perceived as gang members showing up in High Point now, people hanging around in parks, more fights … I’m here to tell you that every summer, my entire career, you will see a small spike as soon as these kids are out of school, in criminal activity, fights … I know it becomes a nuisance when you’re trying to relax at home and get some rest and (this activity happens), but it’s not only happening at High Point, it’s happening at … every park in West Seattle.” But he urged, “if you see something happening and your gut feeling tells you it’s wrong, make the call .. to the police.” He said some don’t do that because they’re afraid their name will be known and there’ll be retaliation; he said people can call police anonymously and say they don’t want contact: “When in doubt, just make the call and 911 operators will determine if it’s something they need to dispatch officers to or not.”

Hutchinson reinforced that, saying that it seemed people had been posting about problems or concerns online without bringing it to the attention of High Point management, much less police. “We have the ability to start recognizing patterns or trends,” she explained. “Please do let us know if you see something.”

The first attendee with a question asked Officer McDaniel: “Why is this the first time we’ve had to have a meeting like this?”

“It isn’t the first time,” he replied. “(But) it only happens when there’s a spike.”

The attendee observed this kind of spike didn’t seem to have happened last year and asked if any reason why it was happening this year. Officer McDaniel repeated that it was because youth are out of school.

Second question: If people are seeing particular potential troublemakers, and can identify them as linked to particular rental units, would it affect those tenants’ eligibility for subsidized rental housing? “It might,” said McKenna. “But everybody has rights … What I do as a landlord, whenever I hear information about people being perceived as maybe having done something, that’s where we do follow up, and we do exchange e-mails back and forth (with police) about things like this …” He said that he would typically schedule a meeting with the household in question and talk about what might be going on – he can’t just pursue eviction because of something that “might be going on.” Whether subsidized or not, he said, “renters have rights …I’ve got to give them an opportunity to comply (with the rules). …I don’t have an automatic right to remove (possible rulebreakers).” McKenna added, “We have done lots of stuff” regarding past trouble.

Next question was whether any lease had been terminated in the past 12 to 24 months. “Yes,” McKenna replied, elaborating that if a member of the household has caused trouble, he would give the head of household the chance to comply – or, if they didn’t, he might “move the whole household.” He said at least six households and dozens of individuals had moved or been moved as a result in the past few years.

The next person to speak talked about “(approximately) 12 young men who sit in the park,” non-residents, and said they have asked security guards to remove them – but “unless we work as a community to push them out,” they will keep coming back. She said she’s out at 1 am looking for visitors who “do unnecessary things .. whatever we (the community) allow them to do.” She suggested other community members could help. “They know me and they respect me and if I say hey, you gotta go ….they go.” She said she is the mother of a teenager who she works hard to keep away from the troublemakers.

Hutchinson emphasized that “making it unpleasant for (troublemakers) to be here” could indeed help. “Make them understand, that behavior is not welcome.”

Next speaker brought up the perception that security had been cut, and mentioned a “brawl” two weeks ago, with police called and responding. He said it seemed like more of a security issue when people are in the parks after their closing time at 9:30 pm.

“Does security do what we need them to do?” Hutchinson asked.

“No,” called out many in the audience.

“If there’s any sign it’s turning into a fight or brawl, call 911,” Hutchinson urged. She added that lighting is on the way for Bataan Park.

McKenna then interjected that “security’s job is not law enforcement…. When in doubt, call 911, don’t rely on security to break up a fight.”

The man concerned about security pressed the point about shorter hours – saying security could defuse situations that didn’t need anything more seriously, maybe teenagers challenging each other, and taking it to a basketball game instead of anything more serious. McKenna said the feedback could have them requesting different shifts so security is there more often when it’s needed.

Next, a woman suggested game programs in parks – including board games or cards – might help. Olow said a grant for youth activities would be kicking in “any moment now.” It was pointed out that the youth might not be connected to those programs and “parents need to be more involved with their kids.”

Then, a woman said, “When we call the police they don’t come.” But she also suggested her fellow residents not be afraid to speak to the “kids,” And she drew laughter and applause by suggesting SHA give the youth summer jobs “pulling everybody’s weeds.”

Officer McDaniel said police cannot decline to go to a call – but when calls come in, they are prioritized, and if there’s a call in which somebody’s life might be in danger somewhere, they have to respond to that first – “we don’t have a hundred officers here in West Seattle,” he said. “Bodily harm will get a faster response than kids hanging out in a park.” He also noted squad cars have GPS so there’s no chance of claiming they were somewhere when they were not.

Security would seem like the way to address that, said the next attendee to speak. In summertime, she said, there are always people in the parks late at night, after closing time. She was followed by someone who said that situation meant living next to a park was not “the amenity” it was supposed to be. She then said there’s a “known drug house on the park. … There’s more than one drug house in this development. … It’s not just this group of teenagers you guys are talking about that, school’s out and they’re causing trouble. It’s a lot deeper than that.”

She suggested rollback fencing for the parks; Hutchinson said that’s not likely. But she said the initial lighting could be added to later, because a “junction box” will be installed making that possible. Instead, “establishing a culture” dissuading people rom hanging out in the parks, also including signage, could help, including more authority for security if they can point to posted rules.

She said the “situation (the resident) was speaking to” regarding drug activity was on the radar. The resident said it was obvious, with people in the house for “two minutes,” coming and going. “Has it been reported to police?” Officer McDaniel asked. “Yes,” she replied. He started to say they couldn’t just barge in at any time and make accusations; “Do you want us to take pictures?” she asked. He said he couldn’t tell her to do that; “there are steps we have to take in addressing these types of (situations).”

Someone then spoke from the audience saying they had faced with a situation like that and after a year and a half, it was handled.

“It’s a lot of activity,” the woman said regarding the current situation, and for a moment, the audience erupted in chatter, with some calling out suggestions that she use a video camera.

HPNA’s Vandermar urged that everything be reported, online if needed, so police can see a pattern, including when they respond to a certain address which then has a history of calls.

Another brief question came from the audience: “Do our homeowner dues support security?”

“No,” said McKenna. When something is reported, though, to SHA or police, specifics are vital – you can’t just say “a group of teens,” he said.

From the back of the crowded room, a resident brought up burned-out lighting in several areas, and hoped that perhaps they could get fixed by Labor Day. McKenna said he was somewhat aware of the problem, but asked everyone to “let someone know and I’ll try to get maintenance over there to replace that bulb as quickly as possible. … You’re right, there are more lights out now than there should be.” In the middle of that exchange, Hutchinson asked everyone to keep their porch lights on.

Then a resident who said she works with an anti-violence group and other community organizations said there might be a communication issue, since she only heard about this meeting at the last moment. “Communication doesn’t get OUT to us,” she said. She said many young people come over to her home because she is a mentor and a friend, so some who don’t know had assumed hers was a potential trouble house. “… We need to come together more,” she said, observing that as a very longtime HP resident, it’s much more “cleaned up” than it had been in the past. However, she did say she didn’t recommend anyone taking matters into their own hands, while also urging people not to make assumptions about groups they might see.

She won a round of applause.

And then came someone who said she had trouble reaching security or police; she was urged to call 911, NOT the non-emergency number. Following her, a man wondering how often SHA staffers submit “activity reports” to their management and how residents could see those reports and find out what they are doing. He said his patio fronts on a park and “some nights it’s a living nightmare,” including a big fight his wife witnessed one night. Managers’ jobs are not 9 to 5, he admonished.

Hutchinson said yes, she reports to two boards of directors, on everything from community feedback to budgetary matters, but they’re not necessarily granular. And, she said, “I’m not going to be here every night, from 8 pm to 2 am.” However, she said, “we have been talking to security” in recent weeks, regarding specific tasks – “sweep the parks (after they close),” for example.

She mentioned lighting again, with other parks involved in addition to Bataan – Viewpoint and Pond Park, for example, And perhaps they could look into more lighting, she acknowledged.

After an hour and a half, about a third of the crowd had dwindled. McKenna was trying to explain that his role had a lot to do with management beyond specific incidents and events. “And I’m right here in the building – I’m more than happy to sit down and meet with people,” Hutchinson added. She said that she, McKenna, and McDaniel had been meeting at least once a month, while McDaniel and McKenna might speak multiple times a day.

As the meeting was being wrapped up moments later, a woman who had long been holding up her hand in the back was called on. “There is a gap between the hours you guys are available and the resources that are available – so I’m asking, what can we do in the moment? I think we should have more resources than this .. and we need to take this out into the community, to (people who) didn’t attend this meeting … ”

“Communication is a huge pice of the puzzle, and one that we struggle with for various reasons,” said Hutchinson. She has an e-mail list to hit 300 owners quickly, for example, but does not have a corresponding list for renters, she said. However, “if you are somebody who likes to be a communicator and would like to facilitate (getting information out) -” they could use the help, she acknowledged.

The every-other-month newsletter could use writing help too, she added.

Olow suggested a neighborhood e-mail list could be helpful, with both homeowners and renters; other SHA communities have one, she said. “Or, become a Block Watch captain, and be able to share with your neighbors resources and issues in the communities.” She invited the concerned resident to come to her officer in HP and speak with her about it.

McKenna acknowledged this meeting was called on short notice and that he had talked with two people about it late in the day, and ideas that came up included having groups out walking around, who might recognize people who are hanging out and can “sort of get a little exercise and socialize with each other as a group” … not just looking for trouble, but looking for the “good things that are happening, too.”

Before the meeting wrapped up, a resident expressed concern that SPD’s online-reporting page mentions that many reported crimes might be reviewed but not investigated. Officer McDaniel expalained that does NOT mean they are not seen – he gets all the reports for this area, for example. “But how does the community find out?” the resident repeated. They might not, if it’s not relevant, said McKenna. “I can’t necessarily share everything I get with everybody who cares to know.” The resident wasn’t placated. “You keep saying, come talk, we’ll talk one on one, one on one. I don’t need (that) – but I do need to know overall what’s going on in this community, some link, not to say that you are responsible, but … what is the linkage that’s going to bring us an overall confidence that things can go forward and we’re in this together, not meeting in individual conferences.”

Olow said residents are sent flyers about activities, “but I’m sure there’s more we can do.”

Another woman interjected that HP management should organize a meeting out in the park so hundreds more people can

While SHA reps acknowledged the idea as having potential, Hutchinson reiterated regarding the overall concerns: “This won’tbe something we can solve top down.”

As attendees departed, out in the hall, the community Peace and Safety Team was taking signups – for a role Hutchinson described as “not enforcer, not vigilante, just … be out in the community.”

45 Comments

  1. “It’s not a homeowner or a renter issue,” stressed Seattle Housing Authority community builder Shukri Olow from SHA. “it’s an ‘everybody’ issue.”
    .
    It’s not “everybody’s” issue when it’s the same tenant(s) repeatedly causing the problems. It’s an accountability issue.

    Comment by ltfd — 1:34 pm July 9, 2013 #

  2. Thanks, Tracy, for an as usual, excellent report. I left after the first hour. The buck stops with each and everyone. Our technological contrivances have eroded our ability to look each other in the eye and to talk to one another, unafraid, in a common language based in peace.

    Comment by RPH — 1:56 pm July 9, 2013 #

  3. McKenna then interjected that “security’s job is not law enforcement…. When in doubt, call 911, don’t rely on security to break up a fight.”

    However, she said, “we have been talking to security” in recent weeks, regarding specific tasks – “sweep the parks (after they close),” for example.

    Can someone please explain how a position described as above can even be called security. Sounds more like trash duty to me, or at best watchman tours. I bet a watchman is less money than paying a security guard, who provides no security apparently.

    Sounds miserable to live in High Point. 80% of the police officers time in West Seattle is spent at High Point. Certainly explains a lot, and makes me angry that such a small area is taking up so much police time.

    Comment by rico — 2:27 pm July 9, 2013 #

  4. I feel empathy for anyone who purchased a house in HP and were sold a bill of goods about how the community was going to be different from what it had been in the 1980s and 90s.

    You only need to look at other SHA housing “experiments” to see that
    a) SHA is poorly run.
    b) you can’t tart up a bad neighborhood merely by tearing down the old housing and attempting to put in actual homeowners alongside the Section 8 and other SHA clients.

    Comment by JimmyG — 2:39 pm July 9, 2013 #

  5. TR:

    Another fine example of your even-handed and wonderfully summarized reporting. I did not attend this meeting as I don’t live in HP, but this summary really helped me understand what the issues are. Thank you!

    Comment by kgdlg — 3:04 pm July 9, 2013 #

  6. I’ve lived in High Point for seven years raising two children here. It’s a great place to raise a family. Beautiful parks and so many young families. I love that my kids get to experience so much cultural diversity, and that they are learning not to be afraid of people who do not look like them or sound like them.

    I appreciate the community meeting yesterday, and I’d like to see irresponsible, illegal, and anti-social behavior confronted as much as anybody. But High Point is strong community of wonderful people, and if you don’t live in the neighborhood, you should avoid making assumptions that are not accurate.

    Comment by DS — 3:10 pm July 9, 2013 #

  7. JimmyG, how right you are, unfortunately. My friend was sold that “bill of goods” – and is deeply regretting it now.

    Comment by Denise — 3:30 pm July 9, 2013 #

  8. I grew up in subsidized housing and I take offense to anyone who thinks homeowners are the only people who take pride in their neighborhoods. Rather than continuing the negative dialogue and “feeling empathy”, how about offering ideas or contributing by visiting the neighborhood and maybe saying hello to some of the residents? Naïve? Maybe. But I do walk/drive through there sometimes just because. Do you? Communities don’t just change…residents change them.

    Comment by neoyogi — 3:36 pm July 9, 2013 #

  9. To clarify the “80 percent” since it was re-mentioned in a comment: Officer McDaniel’s job as CPT is to work with the SHA properties around West Seattle. The other two CPT officers each have their own turf too – one mostly west West Seattle, one mostly east West Seattle. Of the SHA properties, Officer McD says he spends 80 percent of his time in High Point. Given that HP is a sprawling community and other SHA properties are a building here and a building there, it does not sound disproportionate. It was NOT a comment about police in general spending 80 percent of their time there. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:41 pm July 9, 2013 #

  10. I agree with DS. I’ve been in High Point for years, and love it. Yes, it has a few issues, but what community doesn’t? This meeting was proof of the love of community, and the refusal to turn a blind eye.

    Comment by ag — 3:41 pm July 9, 2013 #

  11. I’ve lived in the re-developed Highpoint for six years. It is a fantastic place to raise a family in my opinion.

    Curious on the “bill of goods” comments. What promises were made and not kept? Were the promises in writing? (Genuinely interested in understanding these issues.)

    Comment by skeeter — 4:03 pm July 9, 2013 #

  12. I’d like to know what happened to the Summer Program in Commons Park that SHA has been funding the past three summers with Seattle Parks and Recreation. There were board games, active sports, arts and crafts, field trips, youth leadership and much more. It gave youth and teens a way to stay engaged and there were some small stipends for teens. There presence made a difference. I heard rumors SPR didn’t want to run the program any more because they felt like it was too much work. What really happened? If the program was happening surely some of the daytime issues wouldn’t be happening

    Comment by BD — 4:37 pm July 9, 2013 #

  13. It’s good to hear first hand, positive comments, from folks that actually reside in High Point, such as DS, ag, and skeeter.

    .

    Also, neoyogi brings up some very good points, and offers up a very sensible challenge.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 5:18 pm July 9, 2013 #

  14. JimmyG and Denise — I too know a person who was sold a bill of goods and purchased a HP home. This person was from out-of-state and did not know the history of HP. The posted article states: “larger groups of teens wandering and really sort of engaging in … (behavior including) knock-down-drag-out fights” to “drugs, people seeing drug sales, people thinking they’re seeing drug sales,” to “some real sense that maybe there’s gang colors being worn …” This is not equal to a good community if the thugs are not identified and punished. Instead it’s scary and would make any HP homeowner feel regret and upset.

    Comment by Seattlite — 7:03 pm July 9, 2013 #

  15. High Point has its ups and downs like most neighborhoods. One of the downs is that homeowner management coupled with SHA believe that renters there have an equal stake in the neighborhood. Despite their utopian viewpoint, it’s the owners who are financially at risk for the unpoliced crime and teen problems that occur on premises that have the potential to affect their property value. Owners are generally treated with disrespect by homeowner association management. They are largely unconcerned with anything except sending late notices to those behind in their HOA dues, and demonstrate an aloof disregard for everyday issues like security and keeping the neighborhood attractive and safe for residents. I echo the concerns of others who point out the SHA’s failings in other neighborhoods, and am concerned for the future of this beautiful property because of that issue.

    Comment by HP Owner — 7:36 pm July 9, 2013 #

  16. HP Owner — The article states: “But before opening the floor to comments and questions, she asked attendees not to get specific about units or addresses.” So are the perps known to the police? Are the perps renting or part of a household that are renters? Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has the right to terminate housing assistance to renters based on the bullet points below.

    “Seattle Housing Authority may terminate your assistance when your income increases to the point that the assistance is not needed. It may also be terminated because you have not fulfilled program obligations. Seattle Housing Authority will terminate your assistance if:
    •Any household member engages in drug-related criminal activity or violence against persons or property, or is subject to a sex offender registration requirement.

    •There are serious and repeated violations of the lease, documented by the landlord.

    •A member of the household seriously disturbs neighbors or destroys property, documented by the landlord, neighbors, and police reports.

    •Any household member commits fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act.

    •The household owes rent or other amounts to Seattle Housing Authority or another public housing authority and fails to stay current on a payment plan.

    •The household fails to submit income documentation or other information requested by Seattle Housing Authority, including Social Security numbers or consent forms.

    •No member of the household has eligible immigration status.

    •Any household member engages in actual physical abuse or threatens abusive or violent behavior toward a resident, member of the public or Seattle Housing Authority personnel.

    •The household violates any other program rules.”

    Comment by Seattlite — 9:19 pm July 9, 2013 #

  17. Seattlite – FYI, SHA often receives lotsa complaints about problem renters and then do nothing to move them out. I have seen fist fights, domestic violence, knife fights, drug deals, drug users and even if calling police and SHA, those lovely neighbors are still living in the hood. Nice to know they have such a great policy, but not good to know they don’t act on it to remove problems.

    Comment by Neighbor@HP — 11:15 pm July 9, 2013 #

  18. Neighbor@HP — Gosh I really feel for you decent HP homeowners and renters who have to put up with all the criminal activity. SHA stinks of mismanagement and creepy politics. SHA has seven commissioners and a director who set policy. The commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and then confirmed by the city council — incestuos. SHA is setting up HP to fail as a community by not applying the policies they created!

    Comment by Seattlite — 12:36 am July 10, 2013 #

  19. WTF?

    I guess my end of HP has missed out on all the criminal activity. Of course I am home all day and am not threatened by diversity and multiculturalism… other than an apparent natural law that says abaya clad women cannot drive anywhere without a cell phone in their ear :) And the choice of most it seems, to walk in the street rather than use the sidewalks… but these minor peeves do not rise to the levels of fear and loathing written about here by those who were perhaps thwarted in their attempt to buy and flip a house during the bubble.

    I am also surrounded by SHA subsidized housing and the same neighbors for many years. some of whom were moved elsewhere while the tear down and rebuid went on.

    Comment by Ken — 6:17 am July 10, 2013 #

  20. As I see it, as someone who watched the rebuild and 5 years of dust and noise, the HP area was much improved for all who lived there. This bothers some people I know but any evidence that the poor are not being punished for being poor or disabled annoys some people…
    Anyway, the only fraud I have seen is the complete fiction of “green construction” practices and “green buildings” sold to homeowners. Built at the end of the housing bubble in Seattle, there are some who are trapped in underwater investments. Some are simple homeowners who bought a house to raise their family, but others were expecting to rent their sometimes multiple units and then sell them into the “perpetual rising housing market”.

    Comment by Ken — 6:30 am July 10, 2013 #

  21. HP owner states:

    Owners are generally treated with disrespect by homeowner association management

    Heather has been the manager for about three years now. I’ve found her to be responsive and pleasant. We’re lucky to have her.

    Comment by skeeter — 8:41 am July 10, 2013 #

  22. My wife and I liked the of the new High Point from the beginning, before it was built. When it came time to buy a house, we looked around, but hardly anywhere else is so multicultural, so committed to being green, and so beautiful. High Point has the participation and the organizations in place to deal with the inevitable problems that come up (even in West Seattle). See you on the Peace and Safety patrols!

    Comment by Bob Poor — 9:31 am July 10, 2013 #

  23. As a HP resident, I firmly believe that the troubles we’re seeing are in “pockets” of the neighborhood rather than neighborhood wide. We are ultimately responsible for the quality of where we live, and must have an active voice in making things better, as well as be an active participant. Most HP residents care about their neighborhood and want a safe place to live and raise their families. If you see something, say something. I loved the comment about children learning not to be afraid of somebody who doesn’t look like them – we all need to learn that lesson. What is perceived is not necessarily what is real, and the more we can get to know our neighbors, the less we have to fear. So,say hello or good morning or something when you pass someone on the sidewalk. Participate in the Neighborhood Night Out in September. The more we get to know each other, the more we can work together to keep our community one we can be proud of and enjoy to it’s fullest.

    Comment by Pamela — 9:40 am July 10, 2013 #

  24. Community is not made quickly. When we become “quickaholic” we lose perspective, we want quick fixes. We forget that what is needed is everyone showing up and doing what they can do. All I really want to say is that “we are all in this together” and that there are NO quick fixes. It takes time and work. Community is everyone showing up and doing what they can do. It works best when we appreciate and value “otherness” and stop the us and thems!

    Comment by Karin Watson — 9:46 am July 10, 2013 #

  25. Did everyone really think that by rebuilding HighPoint that things would change?

    New houses do not equate to good people. I am sure there are wonderful people who live there now, but they will soon be overcome with the same type of scum bags who bring gangs, drugs and just flat out bad behavior to the entire area. Eventually all the people who bought will get the heck out and the ones left will do just what they did to the houses back in the 70′s and 80′s. Trahs the houses, trash the yards and have no respect for the neighborhood. YOU CANNOT CHANGE PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOR BY BUILDING THEM A NEW PLACE TO LIVE.

    It is a horrible cycle. I worry about the elderly people who are in the retirement community the most, as they will be the ones who will not be able to move as easily.

    Let’s hope all the great people who live there now can break the cycle. I wish them luck.

    Comment by T Rex — 10:05 am July 10, 2013 #

  26. As an owner I don’t feel like the neighborhood is hell in a hand basket already as some of the non-residents are implying in this thread. Nor do I feel like I was duped with my bill of sale. I knew all about High Point when I looked there, my grandpa practically had a heart attack when he heard I was moving in. However, there have been several issues in the new Bataan Park this year, what I didn’t realize is that one of the public stair cases leads out of that park and down to Delridge and there’s non-resident individuals coming up into the neighborhood to loiter and cause trouble. Many kudos to the resident that walks out late and night and tells them to get out, I have major respect for her! We all have a common goal from all walks of life, all units of housing, to create a safe vibrant community and we’re almost there! What we need to be doing is notifying all of the management groups about all of our police calls each time they happen so they understand when they need to be deploying their security patrol. 5pm-9pm security patrols only observe children riding bikes and buying ice cream from the ice cream man. 12am-4am is when the creeps start roving through and that’s when a security presence would be most useful. Even if they’re only instructed to “observe and report” at least we could get some actual observation going on. The other thing SHA brushed over really quickly is that the non-resident thugs loitering and trespassing in the parks at night are friends with the security guard so they don’t get reported. That needs addressed immediately.

    Comment by trickycoolj — 10:19 am July 10, 2013 #

  27. T Rex-

    If SHA does a good job screening tenants and removing violators, HP will stay nice.

    If SHA does a poor job screening tenants and removing violators, HP will be “overcome with the same type of scum bags who bring gangs, drugs and just flat out bad behavior to the entire area.”

    What we are seeing now is small pockets of trouble areas – overall the neigborhood is beautiful and safe. If police are able to work with SHA to identify and remove the trouble-makers then HP will stay nice.

    I have a feeling a lot of people commenting on this thread have spent very little time at Highpoint. Most SHA tenants are recent immigrants from Somalia. The families are delightful. The parks are full of kids playing.

    Comment by skeeter — 10:32 am July 10, 2013 #

  28. As an owner, I love HP! Of course we have issues, we have triple (probably more!) amount of families on a one block radius than your average block. Now combine all walks of life and you have problems, misunderstandings, but also a beautiful and unique community that I’m proud to call home.

    Comment by HP Res — 10:44 am July 10, 2013 #

  29. We’ve owned in HP for seven years with two small children that are home all day. We have a great community where people stop on the street to chat, and have never felt unsafe. If there’s stuff going on in the parks at night it needs to be addressed, but as someone else said, with such high density is this really so unexpected or out of proportion to other similarly dense areas?
    I grew up next to the old HP and it isn’t even close to the same atmosphere. People who haven’t walked in our neighborhood don’t really have informed opinions, just old biases.

    Comment by CooperWS — 11:22 am July 10, 2013 #

  30. I can’t believe some of the comments. I grew up in high point before and after the development. It’s a GREAT community to live in. I was a youth of many who have been actively involved in community building. Always a few violent crimes within the year from outsiders give us “high point” a bad rep. So before you past any judgements and label “group of youth” “renters” know that youth here are also making a difference like any other youth in other communities.

    Comment by Pauline — 11:27 am July 10, 2013 #

  31. I have lived in High Point for more than six years and am proud to call it home. It feels right to participate in a community that is founded on a goal to create good homes for families from all walks of life. In addition, I marvel at High Point’s dedication toward environmental stewardship and planning to create parks and gardens where families can gather and grow in community.

    High Point has not only built new homes, but also a Neighborhood House, with the sole purpose of managing our diverse community and creating programs and activities for its residents, allowing them to learn and grow and contribute positively to their community. West Seattle residents, did you know that the largest solar panel in the state of Washington is here in West Seattle, on the roof of the High Point Neighborhood House? It also sets a great example in utilizing geothermal energy. Healthy people and a healthy planet – I applaud High Point for stepping up to attempt to be part of the solution to the problems our society as a whole is facing. I hope that all West Seattle residents are willing to do the same.

    I am glad we have identified the problems our community is facing this summer, and have come together to discuss these problems and create solutions to address them. I have faith that if we act together, High Point will overcome this hurdle and continue to grow into a neighborhood I will continue to be proud of well into the future.

    All West Seattle residents are welcome to attend the High Point Neighborhood Association meetings, which consists of volunteer High Point owners and renters alike who meet to discuss ways to engage our community and create positive change. More info here: http://www.highpointneighborhood.org/?page_id=779

    Comment by HP Resident — 11:54 am July 10, 2013 #

  32. What people fail to realize is, anywhere you live can be an area with crime. Not only Low income neighborhoods. Homeowners/High income renters commit crimes as well. Being alert and aware can be your tool for enjoying any neighborhood.Always *assuming* folks of diverse backgrounds are criminals is most certainly a racial issue and will not solve problems in your community. Many people, who are not *diverse* commit crimes. The sooner a person realizes this the sooner you will be more comfortable where you live. Get to know your neighbors,even if it’s just saying *hello* to them. Be polite and respectful to one another.This creates the community we all want to live in. As for the youth, most of them are not committing crimes. Some may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.Parents need to be diligent in talking to them about this and many other issues. Especially about why it’s not good to commit crimes and the consequences of doing them, even by *just being there* and not actually committing the crime.Many parents don’t even have a clue or believe their children could be involved in criminal activity. Pay attention, even if you are busy…work all day..It’s our responsibility as parents. When you find that your child is involved, don’t ignore. Big mistake! Find the appropriate agency to help you, the sooner the better.The saying “nip it in the bud” is most important here.This is important because this affects your good standing in the community. But the worse thing is you may lose your child to the streets or they could lose their lives. Also by keeping quiet and not reporting crimes is the same thing as *just being there* If nothing is said…nothing can be done. “It Takes A Village”…use this in your community…it is one of the most effective ways in maintaining peace and tranquility. Let your neighbor/parents know when you witness their children doing things inappropriate, in as polite way as possible,never accusing the parent. If you are unsure of how to approach them,ask someone who is experienced in these situations to guide you,there are many. Do I sound like someone who has been through this? Yes, I have. It was hard to *swallow* that my children were committing crimes or involved in gang activity, but I began right away in *nipping it in the bud* took a while, but it was done. Then I payed attention to the younger ones to prevent any negative activities. I can not lay blame that “there was no father” in the home. We Mother’s have great power..we gave birth to them…we are their lifeline until they are adults..we want them to be good citizens…no Mother wants their child to be the *talk of the the neighborhood* or the embarrassment.Or the reason you are evicted…stay diligent with your child’s upbringing, who they are involved with,the way they live their life. What is very important is to communicate with them often.Be their *friend* but be their parent/guardian first. Remember…being silent is almost as if you are condoning the crime or nuisance being committed in your community. Remain anonymous, but let it be known…Just complaining will not solve the matter…If the appropriate agencies are not aware. how will they even know..no one is a mind reader…document,be detailed and speak up! Peace

    Comment by HP resident — 1:13 pm July 10, 2013 #

  33. Continued from above ( the comment ending in *Peace*) I realized that I didn’t say how I felt about living in Highpoint. I like it here, I see the best in most people,however I don’t ignore the worst. I see most of the community as being decent folks, maybe some unaware of their children’s activities,but still a great place to live. We all need to be supportive of the programs for the youth,adults as well. Try to be involved. If you want to only be involved in just by suggesting solutions,contact your Neighborhood House, HPNA( Highpoint Neighborhood Association) or the Seattle Parks and Recreation Center. There already are many wonderful programs going on, but new ideas are welcomed. They do their best to implement any great idea. Peace

    Comment by HP resident — 1:28 pm July 10, 2013 #

  34. I’ve been driving through HP regularly lately and I do have a question, about those weeds the one neighbor mentioned… Are individual owners/tenants responsible for the weeds or is the community association? Because I’ve noticed a marked decline in the state of the landscaping this summer. It looks overgrown and poorly weeded. Often the first sign of trouble, as people lose interest or money runs out. I know it seems like a small thing, but it’s noticeable. Anyone know?

    Comment by MTH — 3:39 pm July 10, 2013 #

  35. I live in High Point and chose to do so. The good things are new construction, great location, and beatutiful common spaces. The bad things include issues with some renters who don’t obey the rules, lack of policing of outsiders who use the public spaces for crime and fighting, and unconcerned management. I don’t think it’s that different that most neighborhoods except that most neighborhoods don’t have city owned low income housing intertwined in the mix. I have lived in U District, Capitol Hill, and Shoreline. They all had similar issues, except for the public housing related stuff. If you want to live in the city limits, High Point is one of the few affordable new quality home options that you can find.

    Comment by JoBee — 3:41 pm July 10, 2013 #

  36. It’s so interesting to me how people disguise racist comments and fears with coded language. I am a parent of an 18 year old mixed race son, who spends a lot of time, in the high point neighbor hood, with his friends who are residents, and also black males between the ages of 18 and 24. They all dress in mostly black, red, and white. And I get the feeling that the person who commented during the community meeting could likely be referring to them, when suspecting gang colors. Perhaps they should have some facts to enrich their opinion: 2 of the “gang color-wear’ers” are recent graduates of west seattle high school. One left to further his education on a full scholarship to a college in California, and the other, (my son) graduated with a 3.9 gpa, and leaves in a few weeks to attend a local university, where he’ll be majoring in communications. The older guys, are brothers and residents in high point and working, and sticking close to home to help their single mom with bills. They may listen to music a little loud, and you may smell a certain, recently legalized by voters, substance being smoked by them, but they’re good people. Realize that the war on youth of color is causing the callus. How about smile? How about a friendly wave? Can you imagine going through life as a teen-ager, a *kid* and seeing the look of distain on some adults faces, simply because you’re you?? Or you like to wear a certain color? SOFTEN UP. It’s you who is creating the hostility. You aren’t reacting to it. You are creating it.

    Comment by Danielle — 4:13 pm July 10, 2013 #

  37. After doing careful research, asking around and spending time in the neighborhood we decided to buy at High Point, and I am glad we did. It is a beautiful, award winning development full of heritage trees, beautiful parks, a diverse population, and kind people who are concerned about their neighborhood – a pleasant place to live. It is up to the residents of High Point to hold the SHA accountable and we, all of the residents of HP, will do just that. It IS up to us!

    Comment by Rose@HP — 4:15 pm July 10, 2013 #

  38. Ive lived in WS for 25 years. HighPoint is not as bad as before – not by a long shot. In the 90′s it was LA BAD. Over run with drugs and gangs. Many shootings and some notorious killings. Its not that bad now, but I caution people that you should address the issues now before it gets really bad.
    .

    If people just move away it will become bad. Stay and get out in groups at night, especially on Fri Sat nights. Report things and film things – like that old (former) orange cab with the black spraypaint that has many “customers” passing cash and “something” back thru the drivers window before taking off. Know him? Encourage him to find a better coarse in life. Get it now before it gets bad because if you think its bad now you dont know what bad is.
    .
    Also, why have the left some streets in HP unfinished for YEARS? They should all be paved smooth but some are still not done. Why not? Drive thru there if you dont believe me.
    .
    Remember, every kid is just like your kid. If the kid is a perp then its YOUR kid that is a perp. If a kid is a victim then YOUR kid is a victim. Take care of ALL your kids.

    Comment by LongAgoNotFarAway — 9:21 pm July 10, 2013 #

  39. Danielle, thanks for the comments. Please encourage your son and his friends to not smoke marijuana in the common-area parks. Yes it was legalized – but only for use in homes. It is illegal and inappropriate to smoke it in common-area parks. Thank you.

    Comment by skeeter — 8:44 am July 11, 2013 #

  40. High Point is a high density urban neighborhood. There is always noise in an urban area. The urban areas I lived in in Michigan were loud on weekend nights. Talk to people who live by the Junction or in Capital Hill about their noise. What High Point really has going for it is an involved community. It is vibrant, beautiful, and interesting. If you move here from the suburbs, you may get cultural shock. I would not live anywhere else in Seattle. SJF

    Comment by Sandra Firnhaber — 11:27 am July 11, 2013 #

  41. LongAgoNotFarAway you’ve got it right. According to some of the posts, the criminal acitivity is happening in “pockets” of HP. Unless the pockets of bad behavior are nipped in the bud now, the pockets of bad behavior will spread to the next block and then what. The HP community is taking responsibity by acknowledging the bad behavior and wanting to get rid of it quickly. SHA needs to step up and do their job according to their policies.

    Comment by Seattlite — 12:05 pm July 11, 2013 #

  42. Skeeter…. I will gladly do that. Believe it or not, these kids aren’t trying to be defiant. They just have limited resources and that affects their options for recreation with friends. So in exchange for me passing along the message to my son, please do this favor for me: encourage local business owners to be fair in their hiring practices. Don’t exclude the boys of color because of misconceptions. And encourage your neighbors to treat my son, his friends, and all of ws youth as treasured kids and valued members of our community. Its likely that you’ll see them try to fill those shoes, rather than the ones that have been layed out for them thus far.

    Comment by Danielle S — 7:29 am July 12, 2013 #

  43. That’s a deal Danielle. My daughter is mixed-race. She’s only two but I’d hate to think she would have a tougher time getting a job because of her skin color.

    I really feel strongly that illegally smoking marijuana in the public parks is a very very bad idea. It is intimidating to me to see it. I see it as similar to illegally consuming alcohol in a park. If your son and his friends want to be viewed as neighbors and friends I think the first step should be not breaking any laws.

    Comment by skeeter — 8:09 am July 12, 2013 #

  44. I think its unproductive and poor modeling for younger children for teens to be smoking marajuana in a public park, but “intimidating”? Would you still label the behavior “intimidating” if it were a group of white girls?…..like the hippies a few decades back? I’d suggest it isn’t the image of the activity that intimidates you and others, but rather the participants. And that’s what I’m talking about. There’s a certain animosity and hostility toward these young people simply because of who they are. How tough it must be to make their way in the world with that as their experience of adults.

    Comment by Danielle S — 3:49 pm July 12, 2013 #

  45. “It is sad that people,to this day, still make racist,stereotypical remarks. What I also don’t understand is, these same people, who do not like to be called a racist name or be stereotyped against, often get very upset when it happens to them…so *why* would you do the same?..We all know *two wrongs…don’t make it right*….but will make you look foolish and condoning of this hurtful behavior. Why would any person want to be known this way…want to feel this way or be a part of a racist, evil,hurtful society? Why would you teach your children this behavior, then be angry when it happens to them? Being a decent person in this upside down, backwards world can be challenging for many folks who experience this….they get angry and fight back the same way….they often never overcome their prejudices or do so too late…when a tragedy happens. This is NOT how the world was intended to be…..we all have the same blood (color) flowing through our veins….We are designed of many beautiful colors and hues…Why would this be so difficult to understand….Your children use these colors in their art…many people use these colors in their art…they are in our clothing….some folks, who are prejudice, have the nerve to *get a tan* then go around and treat those with a *natural tan* with utter disgust and racism…this makes absolutely no sense. Those who are naturally brown…often feel as if their hues are a bad thing…it can ruin a person self-esteem…is that really necessary to make you feel good? We all bleed the same color, love,play,love our families, work in similar jobs..etc…the same as others, maybe a little different..but it’s all good…There are good and bad in all races…realize that….no one race is *more superior* than the other……….We Are All Equal……….Peace”

    Comment by HP resident — 1:02 pm July 16, 2013 #

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