QUESTIONS? Panel set for Tuesday discussion of Junction Plaza Park safety. What would you ask?

As reported here last Thursday, a public meeting is planned Tuesday afternoon (online) to discuss safety issues at Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska). In addition to the panelists mentioned Thursday, more city reps will participate – City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Mayor’s Office senior adviser Tess Colby, Department of Neighborhoods’ Tom Van Bronkhorst, Seattle Public Utilities’ Bill Benzer. Q&A is planned during the 2 pm meeting, and advance questions are also welcome (comment below). Connection information for attending the meeting is on the WSJA’s webpage about the ongoing park problems.

42 Replies to "QUESTIONS? Panel set for Tuesday discussion of Junction Plaza Park safety. What would you ask?"

  • Wsres October 12, 2020 (6:57 am)

    Why were two honey buckets and a wash station set up in such a tiny park?  What is the plan for helping people that do not contribute to society (do not pay taxes and only drain resources)? Why doesn’t Lisa Herbold’s office create a poll so she can actually get her constituents’  opinions about WS issues, since it does not seem like she is listening to our emails?

  • Morgan October 12, 2020 (7:07 am)

    Why are anti loitering laws a thing in some US states with major cities like New York, and not others like Seattle? Why can some progressive American cities care about anti social, domineering behaviors in Parks that take away from general public enjoyment, and can enforce rules around that, and Seattle can not?

  • Sillygoose October 12, 2020 (7:49 am)

    Morgan I am wondering the same thing, please post anti lottering area, and start asking for ID’s ask to see a license and rabies tag for any dogs that are present.  If they are witnessed littering fine them.  Take their picture run it through the system for record and back ground check.  Why aren’t the basic laws that we are all expected to follow not enforced on the biggest violators?

    • Frog October 12, 2020 (11:45 am)

      Dude, you are so 20th-century.  Surveillance cameras integrated with facial recognition can check Palantir and Google profiles in real time, and dispatch robo-drones to tase anyone whose carbon footprint is over a certain size.  That will take care of all the complaining.

  • Stickerbush October 12, 2020 (8:02 am)

    The first question I would ask is “what is the purpose of this park”.

  • Duffy October 12, 2020 (8:06 am)

    Parks are to be used/enjoyed by all. Why does the city of seattle not care about protecting our parks? Encampments in parks should be illegal and enforced. The city is failing their duties to protect public land for the use of the citizens by catering to those who have set up shop there. This needs to end now. It isn’t fair to the rest of us.

    • 1994 October 12, 2020 (9:41 pm)

      Agreed with you Duffy. The Homesteading Act ended in the 1970s and didn’t apply to urban locations anyway.

  • Kevin October 12, 2020 (8:19 am)

    Do they realize the ramifications the constant chaos from the homeless in that park has on nearby residents? I lived over QFC for three years. They are aloud and yell and scream, and make other loud, disturbing noises throughout the night, and the police rarely respond to calls. I think the council should speak to the managers from the nearby apartment buildings. I guarantee they have seen residents decide against renewing leases due to the horrible noise and chaos. And they put porta-potties in the park?? The number of homeless increased since. Please make it into a dog park with gravel and a fence. It worked in Cap Hill. 

  • Anne October 12, 2020 (8:23 am)

    What would I ask? I would ask that THEY come up with a solution to keep folks safe.  Bring in reps for programs to help those in the park that need-WANT help & give it to them- for those that don’t -that threaten ,FIGURE IT OUT. But I’m not holding my breath -SCC seemed to be paralyzed when it comes to these situations-isn’t that the big problem we’ve had in this city for years? There is no plan no substantive solution to deal with those that don’t want help. 

  • Patrick October 12, 2020 (8:29 am)

    The big key here is your choice of words.  Seattle CAN enforce the issues you have listed above, and many others as well.  The problem lies in the fact that the leaders of this once beautiful city WILL not do it.  They would rather promote and enable this type of behavior.

    • Um, No! October 12, 2020 (1:07 pm)

      Until the people of Seattle stop electing same kind of candidates to City Counsel,  this problem and others like it will never end or get better.  Why would any candidate do anything  to help solve some of the very issues they have created when they keep getting elected?   Until they are run out of office and more level headed candidates who actually have a clue on how to run a city are elected,  things will never change. I suspect many of the people complaining here voted for the candidates currently in office.  If you did,  you’re the problem!  

  • KS October 12, 2020 (9:16 am)

    Can city leaders responsible for the decision to install the hygiene station please identify alternative locations where these might be placed other then in the center of the already struggling West Seattle business district?Do these City/SPU leaders/employees know that, despite being on city land, this park was built with funds from donations of private West Seattle citizens – who now can no longer use the park they paid for?

  • vee October 12, 2020 (10:06 am)

    yes we just want the differentiation between illegal activity and homelessness enforced which seattle fails to do this is causing so much crime and safety problems for residents and business forcing many to leave  and/or closed down .This also a big health problem especially now with sitting together close and no masks-no one else can use the park which is wrong  

  • Joe Torkel October 12, 2020 (10:09 am)

    Where is the mayor ? 

    • Frog October 12, 2020 (11:42 am)

      I don’t recall.

    • CandrewB October 12, 2020 (12:53 pm)

      From what I’ve seen, she’s been in hiding since June only coming out to respond to some Trump criticism or another. 

      • WSB October 12, 2020 (2:37 pm)

        That’s not true. We’ve covered myriad appearances of West Seattle note alone, as recently as last week’s West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting.

  • wondering October 12, 2020 (10:20 am)

    Can we increase trash pick up for the park? Including removing trash from under bushes and trees? 

  • WW Resident October 12, 2020 (10:35 am)

    I got tires at Les Schaub the weekend before last and took my daughter with me. They said it would be at least an hour, so we walked up to the junction.I saw in the park as we passed by, 2 homeless people screaming at each other, while another guy was shirtless “meth” dancing to Nine Inch Nails. Then there were a few more in what looked to be in various stages of intoxication. People just walked by like it was no big deal. 

  • Azimuth October 12, 2020 (10:47 am)

    It is natural that if residents and visitors are uncomfortable or unsafe – perceived or real – they won’t feel the need to visit and linger in the neighborhood. This deprives general community interaction and the secondary benefits to local businesses. It is a tough cycle to overcome and I don’t know the solution (we are supposed to have experts for that) but the status quo isn’t it.

  • Lincoln Park mom October 12, 2020 (11:08 am)

    Why does it feel like groundhogs day on this thread?

  • Jason October 12, 2020 (11:23 am)

    When can the port a potties be removed from the park?  Can we try this simple action, combined with the inclement weather to discourage the criminal loitering that occurs there now?

  • anonyme October 12, 2020 (12:09 pm)

    Question: Will Junction Plaza Park be included in Harvest Fest?  Why or why not?  This park should be the first and obvious choice for such an event, yet no parent in their right mind would take a child on a scavenger hunt or a pumpkin walk there.

    • WSB October 12, 2020 (3:13 pm)

      Harvest Fest is not an in-person event this year.

  • bikerep October 12, 2020 (12:29 pm)

    they’re also now camping in Lincoln Park, right in the center of West Seattle, all over Greenlake, good lord go see Ballard, or wow go check Portland… It’s a complete mess. I travel all over for my job and ride my bicycle around quite a bit, I’m ashamed of our great city/state/NW. All these smart people here in the NW w/ good jobs all over the city paying big taxes, and this is how it is now. Build army barracks, gather em up,  tag em, mandate they live there  in tents but provide doctors/teachers/bathrooms/showers/medicines and chain gang them and put em to work/educate/heal them until they get off the drugs and clean up. Absurd we can’t even protect our homes/cars/property and we as a society can’t even figure this out. FACEPALM.

  • Mellow Kitty October 12, 2020 (12:29 pm)

    With all the talk about hygiene and general grossness – I would like to know if the city has any plans to hand out tickets to dog owners who don’t clean up after their stupid dogs!!!! Because that’s not contained to one area – dog crap on the sidewalks happens on just about EVERY DAY all over West Seattle. It’s nasty! 

  • Mj October 12, 2020 (12:37 pm)

    The City keeps talking about equity and fairness.  It’s time the City enforce rules and laws equally to all parties.  

    • KM October 12, 2020 (3:52 pm)

      Equality and equity are not the same thing.

  • KM October 12, 2020 (4:10 pm)

    What services for housing and mental health will be offered to those who are there now? With The El Ray closing and Camp Second Chance full (and otherwise with restrictions), we are limited in supported and/or long-term housing options. Most shelters don’t provide solutions for more than a night at a time. I’d like to see triage happening at a place they are comfortable and have established community, rather than just sweeping them elsewhere so those complaining don’t have to see poverty. 

    • CAM October 12, 2020 (4:58 pm)

      Agreed. Shelters are running at limited capacity and will need to limit capacity even further for health and safety reasons for the whole winter. I think this is a conversation that needs to happen but it would be a lot more likely to achieve some success if people would stop using inflammatory and othering language. Parks are for everyone. Agreed. The people in the parks right now are included in the definition of everyone. Lock people up for loitering. If someone came into your living room how often would you meet the definition of loitering? We can’t apply laws that some people have no opportunity to follow. Get rid of the hygiene stations. I’m guessing we also would discourage public urination and other behaviors but I don’t see anyone encouraging other solutions for people who don’t have the luxury of having access to a private bathroom throughout the day. Threatening and aggressive behavior should be addressed in the best way possible but these other things are just my neighbors not wanting to face the reality of poverty. There are no cities in the world where you won’t find people sleeping in parks or on benches. Let’s focus on what the real problems are rather than hateful expressions of anger. 

      • flimflam October 12, 2020 (7:13 pm)

        “the parks are for everyone” – yes, but not for sleeping, living in. for everyone to enjoy as intended, not as a “should i risk it?” scenario. stop it already.

    • flimflam October 12, 2020 (5:32 pm)

      so you are essentially saying that hunkering down in a park is ok by you then? that the “campers” comfort is somehow elevated over the greater good of the city and tax paying neighbors? i’m not a monster, i just cannot accept that we pretend that the destruction of parks (as well as the fact that nobody else uses them once they’ve been commandeered) is any sort of measure of virtue. i think its pretty clear the city has no idea to handle this and will certainly not make any major changes regarding the idea that these camps are a major problem.

      • KM October 12, 2020 (9:06 pm)

        At no point did I “essentially” say that.

  • TJ October 12, 2020 (5:08 pm)

    People aren’t complaining about seeing poverty, they are complaining about a nuisance environment. Saying it’s poverty is a simple excuse. Equity and equality are the same thing when expecting the same behavior from everyone, and not making excuses for anyone 

    • Canton October 12, 2020 (9:52 pm)

      Very well said. Spot on.

    • Erithan October 12, 2020 (10:48 pm)

      Exactly, I live right above the park, I see and hear all the noise and drug use daily and nightly. I see the threats against people, the violence (I have recordings even). If the people there were being quiet and respectful without trashing the park, stealing, and threatening people I wouldn’t ever call the police. The police aren’t even allowed to come out right now either unless there is psychical violence…. The porta potties can’t be removed because the mayor ordered it. I called parks directly before it exploded because I knew it would make things worse. I was told they’d keep an eye on it… and welp…>.>

    • Wsres October 13, 2020 (7:50 am)


  • Millie October 12, 2020 (6:50 pm)

    KC, thank you for remembering the Junction Plaza Park is a result of West Seattle neighbors and businesses contributing to its’ existence.  Obviously, everyone felt there was a need to have a central location for community functions (i.e., Bergen Place in Ballard).   Since it is a community-funded park the City should be more responsive to, as TJ writes, a nuisance environment.  I can’t disagree with many of the previous comments regarding the City’s maintenance of parks, enforcing loitering laws,  etc.People need to be responsible for their behavior.

  • Canton October 12, 2020 (10:08 pm)

    My question to the city is, how much money are you going to squander, without ANY measurable results? We have spent hundreds of millions over the last few years, to no avail. When will the city, the county, the state, stop pointing fingers at each other and work together? When will any of these agencies stop paying 3rd party nonprofits, and eliminate the middleman? The facilities could be up and running now, but they have to DO it themselves. It is hard work, but the system is too bloated, so they have to pay others to solve the problem. Which they aren’t….

  • Comments from inside... October 13, 2020 (8:17 am)

    Dear panel, and WS community,

    Thank you for meeting on these issues and inviting public comments and questions.

    These are the issues as I see them:

    1. 1. A community that is being faced with the realities of social and economic disparities and homelessness, and that doesn’t want to feel exposed to it, and a current lack of understanding, compassion, and tolerance.

      2. A park that in and of itself is not very inviting or useful and could be made more so (not that during a pandemic the greater public should be congregating in a small park anyway, but for longer term vision).

      3. People congregating in a park who may be in need of kindness, compassion, support, resources, and services.

      Here are some solutions as I see them:

      1. 1. Kind and compassionate leadership in WS on the issues of homelessness, both from the city and from individuals within the community.

      2. 2. Upgrades to the park could include, more plants and flowers, beautiful tile work and other art, a living plant wall on the ‘soviet’ looking building as another recently suggested, a life size chess set installed on the paved square area near the hygiene stations (lets provide a positive activity and focus for these folks and for others to enjoy!), a food truck and/or regular music performance programming, and more frequent cleaning snd trash pick up.

      3. 3. More efforts of tolerance and kindness from the community, more resources being offered to these folks to meet needs where they are, engagement and conversations to better understand the issues and needs of homeless people in our community, sharing of services available and housing opportunities and coordination of services, more housing opportunities created

      A few other comments and points I’d like to share.

      When I walked by the park the other day in the afternoon, here is what I saw.  The westside of the park with the green space and benches was completely unoccupied and available for anyone to use. Anyone could have shared in this space, no one we choosing to. There was a group of 10 or more congregating on the east side of the park near the hygeine stations. They were sitting and talking and listening to music, and were fairly mellow aside from one brief loud disagreement between two of them regarding birds in the park. I did not see anything truly concerning, threatening, or disgusting at this time. I also noticed there wasn’t any trash around, and these folks had a broom with them, so it appears they may be trying to help with cleaning efforts.

      There are other parks in Seattle that seem to be successfully shared by the greater public and by homeless folks, one example is Occidental Square.

    2. The idea of embracing and connecting with those who are homeless in our community instead of turning away is not a novel idea, but there is more work to be done. 

      The efforts of the organization Facing Homelessness in Seattle has been both encouraging and inspiring for me, and for others. I want to encourage everyone in WS reading this, to take the time from the coziness of your home or office this morning, and watch this video.

      Thank you,
      <3 The Cozy Project

  • KB October 13, 2020 (9:53 am)

    Questions for today’s meeting:1. What does the city plan to do to improve public safety near the Alaska Junction park? It is dangerous and unsanitary. The city has responded to my concerns with a long list of things they’re doing to improve the lot of the homeless, but nothing to protect the public from the people who spend their days in that park. If the city is so committed to the homeless why did they disband the Navigation Team? And why, as we continue to funnel more money into homelessness do things continue to get worse? It’s not just this park either. Take a stroll down NW Market St. some day and you’ll see what I mean. 2. Not a question but a request — please remove the port-a-potties. Problems started when they showed up. 

Sorry, comment time is over.