VIDEO: City reps attend Junction Plaza Park safety meeting without acknowledging escalating problems

(WSJA recording of Tuesday’s online meeting)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The “hygiene station” blamed as a trouble magnet at Junction Plaza Park won’t be there forever.

That’s the only bit of news that emerged from Tuesday afternoon’s online community meeting with city reps, who refused to acknowledge that safety concerns in the area have escalated since its installation in May, and did not promise solutions.

There were repeated mentions that the city Navigation Team had visited the park – without any mention that Mayor Jenny Durkan has suspended the team, after the City Council‘s vote to cut its funding.

The meeting was organized and hosted by Lora Radford, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association (which helped raise money for the park’s completion a decade ago).

“This is not a discussion about criminalizing homelessness,” Radford clarified at the start – it was meant to be a discussion about what’s happened since the hygiene station went in at Junction Plaza Park in xx.

Participants included (in order of introduction and how their roles were described) City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, Department of Neighborhoods rep Tom Van Bronkhorst (whose roles include homelessness and COVID response), Seattle Public Utilities rep Bill Benzer (involved with the hygiene-station program), Mayor’s Office representative Tess Colby (mayor’s adviser on homelessness), Aaron Burkhalter, a LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) project manager who’s working on the program’s West Seattle expansion, Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger, and the precinct’s City Attorney liaison, Joe Everett – working on programs that go beyond policing, that might involve coordination of multiple departments, “neighborhood programs that are tough to crack … that can’t be solved with one 911 call.”

The park is “one of our only greenspaces in The Junction,” explained Radford, as well as a site for many events. Since the hygiene station’s installation, “we’ve observed some behavior that’s been (troubling),” and it’s been harder to keep The Junction clean and safe. She first asked Van Bronkhorst how the hygiene station ended up in the park – what was the decision process?

He said the program overall started early this year “in response to COVID-19 … as businesses were closing, there was a lack of access for people who are unhoused” to access hand-washing and toilet facilities – the need for facilities like this is expected to be “short term,” until libraries and businesses and other such facilities reopen. “We went about siting 15 of these stations around the city, trying to make sure we were covering as many areas of the city as possible … where we could site them on or next to city (property). This was one of the second round of sitings; he said “community members and advocates” contacted the city to ask for it. The one initially installed at Westcrest Park was moved to the South Delridge Salvation Army parking lot.

Radford asked Burkhalter what issues were typical if these types of facilities were placed in parks without other services nearby. He said the challenges his program could help with are “at the intersection of what you are talking about … if people are congregating in an area and causing low-level public-safety (problems),” that’s how his program works. The placement of other types of services, though, is outside their scope. He said they see challenges in areas in Burien (where he also works) – they try to come up with a “creative way” to meet people’s needs.

Next, she asked Everett if they have seen a correlation between “low-level crime” and hygiene station sites – he said that analyzing SPD data is not something he’s done in this type of issue. So Radford asked Lt. Ebinger the same question. She said there were seven disturbance calls, two involving weapons, and one assault, plus two drug-dealing calls, since October 1st, in the park vicinity.

Radford asked about the priority level for calls about the park. Depends, Lt. Ebinger said – weapons calls, for example, would be a quicker response – depends on the nature of the call and the time at which it’s happening.

Then Radford went to questions from the WSB comment thread: For Van Bronkhorst, “Do they realize the constant chaos … how it’s affecting nearby residents?” He said they’ve placed hygiene stations around the city “and they get a variety of responses from people … we know they’re heavily used, and appreciated by unhoused people … We have had some sited at locations where community partners have been willing to provide some additional guardianship,” encampments, for example. “Overall the program was developed in a way to provide clean facilities .. they’re cleaned and pumped out every day, restocked by a vendor, and Parks Department staff look at each unit and report whether damage has been done or whether they need additional services. … We know we’re siting these in places where people are living unhoused … people have been living on the street in that area for some time, so the homeless community predated the siting of the station.” That didn’t entirely answer the question, so Radford asked if someone else could speak directly to the problems. Councilmember Herbold spoke up at that point and wondered about staffing from one of the city’s providers, the Millionair Club, and whether they could visit the site and help deal with the behavior that is “interfering with the enjoyment of the park. … is there a more robust staffing model we could consider, working with the Millionair Club?”

Van Bronkhorst added that outreach workers and the Navigation Team, has stopped by in the past, “up to three visits a week in trying to engage with community members there” and offering them services.

What kidn of services would LEAD be able to offer? Radford asked Burkhalter. He said he’s seen “great things happen with positive activation in parks.” He observed that the lack of services is a region-wide challenge, and REACH case managers “are there to do” that kind of help, developing relationships with people, working on everything from housing to behavior feedback. He gave an example of a person pushing a “massive shopping cart” all over Burien, and a case manager was trying to work with him on it. Someone finally suggested getting him a storage unit so he doesn’t have to push all his belongings around all the time.

Burkhalter also said that since his last conversation with Radford, they have a “green sheet in with the council” for a REACH staffer doing that kind of work in The Junction”

Van Bronkhorst introduced Donna Waters from Parks with some additional information. She’s the encampment manager for Parks, as well as the West Seattle district’s overall manager for Parks. “Currently the encampment team that specializes in our encampment program visits Junction Plaza Park Monday and Thursday,” including taking photos, sending information to a data program – another team observes and takes photos other days – the Southwest District cleans the park Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Radfprd voiced surprise at hearing that schedule, saying the park often has an “insurmountable amount of trash.”

Then on to participant Q&A: A park neighbor said she has “called multiple times in the past month,” and her partner put out a fire in the park, but police told them they couldn’t do anything because the court system is not processing misdemeanors currently. When asked what they could do, she said police suggested, “Move.” She mentioned destructive and violent behavior against the facilities in the park. She said she and neighbors have been threatened and harassed.

Lt. Ebinger said that regarding misdemeanors, they can make arrests but previously couldn’t book into jail. But if a crime is committed against a person, assault for example, they CAN book into jail, even if it’s misdemeanor assault. And if someone’s threatening with a weapon, “that’s a felony-level crime … Please continue to call 911.” The neighbor responded that both times they called for “very violent crimes” led to arrests ‘but they were back in the park within an hour … back at their nonsense.” Lt. Ebinger asked for specific dates; the neighbor said it had been “more than a month.” Lt. Ebinger invited offline contact so she could look up the case(s).

Radford asked: Was it the right decision to place this in the middle of a business district, without services, without a bridge? Should it be downtown, closer to shelters, food, mental health? Van Bronkhorst said no, the city needs to provide these services where people are. “Businesses here … and all across the city were closed” and unable to provide facilities access. Van Bronkhorst also said they’re always re-evaluating sitings and that’s going on here; he said they talked to some (unnamed) businesses before installation ‘and they were fine with it,’ and the comments the city is getting now “are part of the review process we’re going through … none of the hygiene stations are meant to be long term.” Originally it was thought they’d be in place through maybe July, August, but things have stretched out.

“Was it sited in the wrong place? No. We have homeless people everywhere in the city. They need services.” declared Van Bronkhorst.

Radford said certainly they’ve had some people in the area but “these are people we’ve never seen before … the hygiene stations attracted brand new faces to The Junction that we’ve never seen before … it attracted the crime, attracted the drug use, attracted the prostitution.”

Another question: Can it be moved somewhere else to stop negatively affecting businesses? Benzer said, “We’re a part of a team, it’s a citywide effort to site where these units go, we’ve been working with people who seem to know better where the need is,” but said making that kind of decision wasn’t in his purview.

Next, Radford posed the question to Waters. “As a city, we’re all responsible … it would have to go to the interdepartmental team” regarding a decision to move it. The neighbor reported that the handwashing station was once thrown into the street; Waters said that hadn’t been reported or seen previously.

For Colby, Radford asked whether other parts of the city are reporting similar issues. Her reply: “We haven’t been able to really establish a specific correlation between the hygiene stations and crime … the presence of homelessness across the city has definitely increased … regarding contact and outreach,” she said, REACH and the Navigation Team have been there.

Colby said they feel very strongly that the ‘critical amenity’ of handwashing and clean toilets is important for unhoused people and to ensure they won’t spread anything to others nearby. “These conversations are a big part of what we take into consideration.”

Dan Austin from the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce said that as a bar owner he would be considered responsible if he hosted an event and some of its patrons brought in something illegal like drug traffic. But the city brought in something that has created ‘a critical situation for the safety of our community’ and he’s not hearing that they’re going to do anything about the illegal activity.

Van Bronkhorst countered, “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and we still need to provide services to people … if we were in Phase 3,” all the hygiene stations would likely be removed.

“Needles and knives … are a health risk for the public,” countered Austin.

The park neighbor added that it’s not the handwashing station but the portable toilets that “are the issue.”

Waters said that regarding needles, Parks crews “litter-pick” the park for those, and also have a program to respond to needle reports. The neighbor countered that she has had a view of somebody in the park shooting up and “toss the needles over his shoulder.” The needle disposal unit at the hygiene station has been torn away. “How do we prevent (the problem) from happening to begin with?”

None of the panelists replied.

Radford summarized that “there’s obviously a disconnect between the logic of placing a hygiene station in the business district” and the effects it’s having on nearby businesses and residents, “horrific” effects “on top of a pandemic and the bridge closure.” The logic may “sound good on paper” but the logistics seem to be falling short. She vowed to keep pursuing the issue, including organizing other meetings, because something more has to be done, for the sake of the unsheltered people in the park as well as those in the area around it. You can watch for updates on the WSJA webpage devoted to the park situation.

58 Replies to "VIDEO: City reps attend Junction Plaza Park safety meeting without acknowledging escalating problems"

  • JVP October 14, 2020 (12:21 pm)

    Wow.

  • Lol October 14, 2020 (12:40 pm)

    Does this surprise anyone? Nope! Bye. 

  • Dyn99 October 14, 2020 (12:52 pm)

    This is what happens when your government forgets that it serves its citizens and instead attempts to impose its will on them. It’s time to secede from the City of Seattle.

    • DJ October 14, 2020 (1:52 pm)

      They have one playbook that they are running all across the city. These exact same conditions are happening because they are under the illusion that people who are impaired by drugs/alcohol will use these facilities as they were intended when they are unable to. Providing these without the supporting services for people who are not able to take advantage of them on their own is not a compassionate response Without providing support, these are the conditions that have been mirrored across the city.  I’ve been in other meetings concerning these exact same issues in other parks and am hearing the exact same response … other than when council is blaming the mayor or the mayor  is blaming the council.  I was told by Human Services that “they are concerned with the needs of the housed, the unhoused, and the business community”.  They have failed in all three places and continue to try to use COVID as the scape goat.  The same policies existed before COVID … this just brought it into the light.

  • Duffy October 14, 2020 (12:54 pm)

    What the? Sooooo that is the response we get from our city leadership about a REAL issue affecting our community? This is embarrassing.

    • Roms October 14, 2020 (1:03 pm)

      That’s how the city of Seattle handles mostly everything: By ignoring residents and doing what they want. At times, they’ll set up committees and task forces, like for the bridge, but purely as a decoy to buy them peace for some time; Then they’ll throw someone from these committes/task forces under the bus when they realize they were plain wrong.

  • oerthehill October 14, 2020 (12:56 pm)

    Now can we get a giant can so we can throw our leadership into the garbage? Thank you Lora for trying.

  • Anne October 14, 2020 (1:01 pm)

    So -What else is new? 

  • Blinkyjoe October 14, 2020 (1:04 pm)

    Just ridiculous. Herbold, Ebinger, etc should all be embarassed. 

    • WSobserver October 14, 2020 (8:23 pm)

      Herbold, Ebinger, etc should all be FIRED..

  • Anne October 14, 2020 (1:14 pm)

    Gotta love Lisa Herbold-& these other officials- sitting on this panel -that asked us what we wanted done about Junction Plaza Park-(guess ignored that input) posting a poll as to what we want done re:bridge -repair/replace(wonder if that will be ignored) . They seem to only  hear you if it aligns with their thinking.

    • WSB October 14, 2020 (1:37 pm)

      At the Bridge Task Force discussion that just concluded, CM Herbold said the survey had received 6,700 responses so far and the results would be announced in the next day or so.

      • Kyle October 14, 2020 (2:31 pm)

        Yeah, but it’s the most unscientific poll I’ve ever seen. It’s a google doc and you can literally vote as many times as you want. I pray that those results have no effect on the decision. Who are the adults in the room? Weren’t we supposed to have experts paid by SDOT? Isn’t that why we waited all this time? 

      • Um, No! October 14, 2020 (2:48 pm)

        Trust me,  Lisa knows what the results are right now or at least which way they are leaning.   Technology is a great thing.   Doesn’t mean she will “hear” or give any weight to the results.

  • wetone October 14, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    Anyone that thinks Seattle is heading in a positive direction needs there head checked. City seems to be in complete denial or ?  maybe consuming  happy pills,  whacky tobacky, on a mission that benefits them $$$, simply incompetent or all of the above. Only way things will ever change is by VOTING for people that will start enforcing the law.  Crime is rising quickly, City is filthy, Heavy drug use growing rapidly,  Businesses are closing or running on empty, Infrastructure needs major updates, Traffic is terrible………..can’t blame covid for all this, it’s bad city management.   

  • anonyme October 14, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    A total lack of accountability.  It would be interesting to know the total dollar amount of all of their salaries combined.  Fire them all, and put the money toward services.  Miscreants must then accept those services or go to jail for their crimes.  Who is the genius who had a needle disposal box placed in the park (which was then destroyed)?  I’m so, so glad they have a program to “respond to needle reports”.  How?  Let me guess: “None of the panelists replied.”

  • Jeff October 14, 2020 (1:24 pm)

    One party rule inevitably leads to ineffective and unresponsive governance, regardless of the party. The elections are simply about who gets to implement the same policy, never a substantive difference.   Lacking a meaningful opposition, we get what we get.  

    • s October 14, 2020 (4:56 pm)

      I listened in and was very impressed with the quality of the two community members who commented—the person who lives next to the park and the bar owner—and disgusted with the government workers, council person, and police person who just kept repeating talking points, denied the experiences people have observed, and didn’t show any ability for complex thought. I was also impressed by the moderator who (respectfully) called out the first government worker for totally ignoring the question. I was left with no sense that anything will be done by the City to address what is going on at that park. What can be done to get them to do their jobs. Even our council person Herbold just showed up and started openly brainstorming…instead, maybe she could do some thinking before the meeting and come with some more concrete thoughts?

    • Brayton October 14, 2020 (8:53 pm)

      I couldn’t agree more. Balance is what makes the political system function well. Negotiations, give-and-take, compromise. Even though I consider myself more in agreement with the Democratic Party, I hesitate to vote that way locally. Seattle politics are just too crazy.  

  • B Dawg October 14, 2020 (1:44 pm)

    City to Junction businesses and residents: Just deal with it. . .Your tax dollars at work.

  • Ashley October 14, 2020 (1:51 pm)

    I listened in on the meeting and could not believe how little our elected official cared. I do not see the need for these hygiene stations in the west Seattle junction. Prior to them installing them, we did not have this many homeless drug users in this space. A nice park to sleep in and nice place to use drugs is not a sign of the pandemic and homelessness, it is a sign of how Seattle passively allows people to use public spaces. It awful. I frequent the junction and use to know the 2-3 people that would call that area home. They were not high, not dangerous and would smile and wave after I said hello. Those people have left and a new group has moved in. It’s absolutely awful. 

  • PotKettleBlack October 14, 2020 (1:56 pm)

    Honestly this is exactly what we deserve. You can either vote for policies that help people, or you can end up having those people use your lawn as a toilet. And quick fix attempts at making the problem (people) go away only make it worse. The mentally ill people in our parks are the end result of policies that started under Reagan. Same for the refugees running from South and Central America. We could have done the right thing and offered help, but we went for the fast, greedy solution. We need to stop looking at solutions that make our weekend visit to the farmers market more pleasant and start finding solutions that will effect our children and grandchildren. The “I need mine now” way of thinking only moves the problem for someone else to solve.

    • SideEyeSally October 14, 2020 (5:56 pm)

      Reagan hasn’t been in office since January 1989 and he’s long dead. Besides, the issue of chronic mentally ill homeless in the streets began with the move by left-minded academics who thought the “compassionate” thing to do was empty out the mental institutions and let the mentally ill be treated in community clinics. Where are those clinics now? At some point, Seattleites are going to have to call a spade, a spade, and dispense with lofty progressive ideals and start doing the actual real work of getting this city in order. “Compassion” is a cheap word. 

      • AdmiralE October 14, 2020 (7:12 pm)

        Precisely 

        • PotKettleBlack October 14, 2020 (10:05 pm)

          The truly shameful part is that this is what gets people involved in government. It’s not that we decimated South and Central America so we could have cheap bananas. It wasn’t the thousands of civilians we killed in the Middle East so we could drive big pick-um-trucks. It’s not factory farming or the abused immigrants that work on them so that we can have cheap burgers. It’s not the kids we keep in cages or their mothers we do medical experiments on. It’s that you saw a yelly man in the park and were scared. SIDEEYESALLY and ADMIRALE aren’t here to help solve a homeless problem. You’re here for YOU. You’re here to help YOURSELF. You saw another human being suffering and your first thought was “who do I complain to to make this better FOR ME.” I can’t imagine what that sort of deranged vanity must feel like.

      • PotKettleBlack October 14, 2020 (9:04 pm)

        That’s my whole point. Reagan is long dead and we are STILL living with his (our) misdeeds and the trends those misdeeds started. That’s the whole idea. The idea that government exists to help people and be compassionate is the whole idea.  Compassion and good government are the same thing. You either help people now, or your children clean up the mess you made. Our city has two (soon to be three) multi-million dollar sporting facilities that stand basically empty for half the year so that adults can watch a game. Those facilities have heat, multiple restrooms, multiple food prep areas, & medical facilities. There’s zero reason to have anyone sleeping in the park other than we are too greedy to provide an actual solution. And it shouldn’t be up to the government to “tell” us to, or “make” us pay for it. If we’re halfway decent human beings we should “want” to.

        • CAM October 14, 2020 (10:29 pm)

          The city has indicated they do not have the staff to administer those facilities should they attempt to open them up as temporary shelters. It isn’t a lack of vision or willingness. 

      • CAM October 14, 2020 (10:27 pm)

        This conversation is sorely lacking in necessary detail to understand what actually occurred. Yes, liberals and academics started the deinstitutionalization movement and the transition to treatment in the community, closer to people’s homes, that was more family and community centered. They had funding set aside to develop these programs simultaneously with the closure of the larger state run facilities. When the Republicans took control of the government, they reallocated the money that had been destined to build those services but also continued the plan to close the state facilities with no additional community services being developed. The answer is not to reinstitutionalize all of the mentally ill. It is to finally fully fund the mental health system in the manner that we have known for decades that it requires funding. Also, please stop associating mental illness with crime and violence. The mentally ill are statistically less likely per capita to commit crimes or engage in aggressive behavior than non-mentally ill individuals. 

        • Bronson October 15, 2020 (7:51 am)

          While I agree that funding mental health facilities is needed, the solution is to stop acting like this is a mental illness and affordability problem and acknowledge that this is primarily a drug problem made worse by the permissive attitude of Seattle residents and government. Until our leaders acknowledge that problem, we will continue to have this issue across our city and parks.

          • PotKettleBlack October 15, 2020 (11:01 am)

            Are drugs part of the problem? Yes. Are they primarily the problem? No, not at all. And study after study supports that. In reality I think it’s an attitude problem. Our attitude. And it’s global. Not just a park, or a city, or a state… or even a country. Too many of us see people in need and our first thought is “how do I avoid having to see this?” And we are willing to pay good money to move the problem out of our sight. It doesn’t solve it. We’re just more comfortable not having to look at it.

  • Erithan October 14, 2020 (2:46 pm)

    Wow… just… wow… I live right above the park, I can promise the park got 1000x worse AFTER the station was put in… How about the park near Calmor circle? Pretty much empty, no porta potty(why only at the junction?)…. QFC used to let the them use their facilities for a bit, but they started trashing it and even lit it on fire once… There is a porta potty by the bus stops already too…I’m almost positive if it was just open air washing stations rather then enclosed porta potties it wouldn’t be as bad either.I’ve said it so many times, it’s non stop, it gets worse and worse(we never had actual tents until this year for example), I get to hear off and on screaming matches and fights 24/7. Why not set up a hidden camera in the park so everyone can see what exactly goes on there? I have personal video, but I only see part of the park, they tend to move when people see them on one side.I know I complain about the issue a lot, but for me I’m trapped here because of the costs in the city now, and it’s draining to say the least… Why is the violence, open drug use and general trashing of everything ok? Why are those us simply asking for accountability and saftey for the area in the wrong? What will it take for action to be taken? More OD’s? More people getting hurt? Someone actually dying?

    • How about a Park Live Stream? October 14, 2020 (7:07 pm)

      Some folks live stream the protest, perhaps an enterprising individual will live stream the challenges at the park to provide more visibility to the issues.

  • Brenda October 14, 2020 (3:04 pm)

    NOT one of these speakers actually cares about the quality of life for these poor neighbors in The Junction. What a joke! We’ll hold a Zoom call so that the West Seattle community thinks we actually give a shi*! 

  • Brian October 14, 2020 (3:04 pm)

    This was frustrating to watch but thank you for posting.  We get it its been a rough year, however,  it is not unreasonable for us as home owners, business owners, and renters to ask for a solution to this “challenge” as it was so eloquently put.  I own a home on Avalon Way, less than a mile from Junction Park Plaza and frequently walk our dog in the area.  My significant other and I have experienced used needles EVERYWHERE in the surrounding area.  We’ve had needles on our apartment complex grounds and this last weekend as we were going to pick up after our dog right in front of Rudy’s on Fauntleroy my girlfriend was almost stuck with a used needle.   The placement of the hygiene facility in the park is a poor decision, the inaction of those who are tasked with the West Seattle community’s welfare is really a poor decision.  Having a large populous of displaced folks is endemic to Seattle but adding drugs, violence, and psychiatric instability makes this a crisis and warrants a sense of urgency from our city’s government.  City officials need to held accountable for the safety of our citizens, our homeless, and our community.    Lora thank you for facilitating this and please don’t let this fall through the cracks! 

  • Frustrated October 14, 2020 (3:16 pm)

    Do we have a count of how many citizens attended the meeting? I wished I could attend, though it was in the middle of a work day. Since reading the recap, I am actually glad that I couldn’t attend. I feel like I would have just been overly frustrated! Thank you for posting the re-cap. I am so sorry for Erithan and everyone else who lives in the buildings overlooking the park. Let’s hope for Phase 3 as soon as possible so that we can hold those responsible to promptly remove the hygiene station and porta-potty !

  • Carl Calla October 14, 2020 (3:50 pm)

    Unf—ingbelievable.  When leaders fail to act, should anyone be surprised if the community decides to act in their place?

  • Daily Walker October 14, 2020 (5:02 pm)

    I take daily night walks and walk past that park every night. Since they put portable potties, it just got worst. Every night there some person destroying the park. I had to call cops on people at the park and half time they come but it still bad. I had people come at me when I walk past the park. One time two guys who were drunk because I know they always there getting drunk anyway they came at me trying start fight with me where point we were in middle the street and I tripped because I was walking backwards but I was able get up and run home. I did call cops but I don’t know if they responded to the call because I was at home when I called the cops.The time the cops came were when people came at me to get drugs or getting in other people face or following me. They have arrest couple people but I’m been seeing the cops driving around the park more and actually responding to calls. 

  • mark47n October 14, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    Perhaps load the hygiene station up and deliver it to your local politician. A flatbed, ramp, a few straps and comealongs? easy-peasy.

  • WS Biz owner October 14, 2020 (5:51 pm)

    As a junction business owner and long time resident of WS, I was excited to get on the call. Thank you to the WS Blog and Lora for organizing all the “heavy hitters” from the City involved with the initiative/action to set up hygiene stations in the park. It was clear the city officials were unprepared for this call.  So disappointed that not one of them came prepared to address specific questions regarding the initial placement of the stations, follow up/relocation of the hygiene stations and porta potty, support for the homeless population, public safety, impacts to businesses, property damage etc. Lets keep putting pressure on the city and make them accountable. Its not too late to re-evaluate. Smart idea to offer these services for the homeless, but poor idea and execution to place  in the middle of a business district and the only green space in the junction. 

  • WSJunctionres October 14, 2020 (5:54 pm)

    The whole conversation and joke of no solutions from Lisa H. and the other officials on this issue is absolutely disgusting! To be told by the police the solution is to move when one commentator wrote that we can’t afford to move! I’m supposed to leave a neighborhood I’ve lived in for 20 years because worthless bureaucrats decide to place hygiene stations in the midst of a family neighborhood and business district to attract a bunch of violent homeless druggies because supposedly a few nameless business said they supported the idea. These people aren’t spending money at the businesses nor doing anything useful for this community. It seems we as a neighborhood need to organize and take our park back!  This problem is only getting worse each day and it’s clear from yesterday’s zoom conversation we have zero support from anyone with authority in this city.

  • dsa October 14, 2020 (6:01 pm)

    How many users use the station compared to the cost.  That is what is the cost benefit.  I bet there are better uses of the money to help the homeless.

  • Nebula72 October 14, 2020 (6:15 pm)

    Herbold-  “I did not realize I was a panel member, but thank you… [giggle]… ”  –You may now exit stage left, don’t forget to pick up your sash & swag bag.

    ***

    Mr. Van Bronkhorst, you sir, are either desperately out of touch or were guided to stay on script.  You did more harm on this call than good. 

    I didn’t hear anyone bring up the port-a-potty that has been stationed 1 block West at the Alaska Junction bus stop for years.  I never see a line up there, did we really need another so close?

    Has anyone actually seen anything being ‘washed’ in that hygiene station?  

    ***

    Thank you Lora and especially Ashley and Dan for speaking up.

  • ttt October 14, 2020 (7:21 pm)

    Whoa. This city that I once loved has become completely absurd. I guess I go back to writing emails to them and leaving telephone messages. And damn, I wish Herbold had been voted out in the last election. She is definitely part of the problem.

  • Comments from inside cozy homes October 14, 2020 (8:04 pm)

    Something for people to keep in mind. These pandemic times have been especially challenging and impactful on ALL of us in various ways, including those without housing in the community. 

    It is likely even harsher out there and harder for them to get their needs met. Many bathrooms are closed, less people are out-and-about and giving to homeless folks, resources might me stretched thin all around.

    Think back to the stay at home order period. Seattle was like a ghost town. Can you try to imagine how strange and hard that must have been for people on the streets?

    In addition, remember we recently had 1-2 weeks of poor air quality due to the wildfire smoke. Most of us were able to stay indoors much of the time, to help protect our health. These folks were probably challenged with getting in from that and were outside breathing that air every day. Imagine if you were stuck outside breathing in that toxic air and couldn’t take care of yourself, in the most basic way of just getting indoors.

    Some of you are expressing concern and frustration at how there are more of these folks now and things seem to have escalated there, and you assume it’s just because of the hygiene stations. I suggest also considering these other stress factors I’ve mentioned, as a possible explanation, at least in part, for things worsening, and look at the situation with more understanding.

    Kindness and giving and helping homeless folks meet their needs better where they are at, could be part of the solution. I’m not talking about just sending ‘services’ their way. I’m talking about people, individuals, making kind choices which may have a positive impact on those in the community needing kindness.

    Your small act of kindness may just be enough to help lift them so that they feel hopeful and able to make some other choices that day or seek services that may help. Even if it just helps to create more peace, that would be good.

    And, no, you are not teaching them to stay and be dependent. That’s not what is going on. Homelessness isn’t a laziness problem. The reality is, many homeless folks are not close to being ready for employment, or even for employment services. They need care, and help.

    • Anne October 15, 2020 (7:54 am)

      Isn’t this is what the meeting was supposed to be about -what they asked our input for? No one is suggesting not giving care & help & being kind. Quite the opposite-do the outreach -offer & give that care & help to all those who will take it. But obviously -from comments there are those that don’t want help, ( you can’t force people to want help) that for whatever reason -cause trouble & contribute to lack of safety there. There needs to be a solution for that.

  • Ivan Weiss October 14, 2020 (9:16 pm)

    When the moratorium on evictions ends, the homeless population in West Seattle might double, or even triple, and just as sure as it rains here sometimes, some of you lot will find a way to blame Lisa for that, too.

    • Anne October 15, 2020 (7:56 am)

      Why yes-yes we might.  -Ms. Herbold asks for our input-but in reality only listens to ideas that align with her thinking. 

  • Derek October 15, 2020 (8:16 am)

    The comments here are horrifying. People here really hate the homeless. 

    • Sarge October 15, 2020 (11:21 am)

      No.  And this is exactly the kind of comment that stymies solutions.  Any questioning to status quo = “Oh you hate the homeless”.  The end, let everyone do whatever they want in the park, it’s easier that way.No, just no.  No one hates the homeless.  

    • Tyr1001 October 15, 2020 (11:41 am)

      The comments you’re referring to are not aimed at homelessness but lawlessness. This is becoming a tired argument that those who are criminally mischievous or even dangerous cannot be held accountable for their actions due solely to their living conditions. It’s a tragedy no doubt, but I’ve known homeless people that  don’t cause trouble and stay clean, working towards improving their situation and ultimately do. The miscreants people are talking about here are not those. I don’t hate homeless, I hate crooks, whether they sleep in a park or the Whitehouse.  Kindness begets kindness, I’ve never been keen on altruism.

    • CMT October 15, 2020 (1:00 pm)

      Oh please.  “The homeless” is not a homogenous mass.   The fact people do not want a tiny neighborhood park dominated by individuals that are disruptive and whose actions deter use of the park by the remainder of the public whom the park was intended to serve – never mind the people in the surrounding apartments and businesses who are hostage to the situation – does not equate to hate.    

  • BJG October 15, 2020 (8:45 am)

    We live on the edge of the Junction. Our teenage granddaughters from the suburbs have always loved to “walk through the Junction” on their visits. No more. Too dirty. Too sketchy. Too many unpredictable drugged out wanderes.  We don’t really have a safe community now. Car prowls, thefts, and garbage, poop and pee abound. Did I mention the gun found tossed in our rockery? This isn’t Mayberry. It hardly seems like West Seattle. The overall City response is why we live like this. We’ve been here too long.

  • anonyme October 15, 2020 (10:31 am)

    I suggest a late-night march on Lisa’s house, as that seems to be the only way to wake her out of her stupor and get her to do her job.  The utter incompetence of this entire panel is mind-blowing. I think Mark47 has a good idea: citizens need to take this situation into their own hands.  Move the station; TAKE BACK THE PARK.

  • Beckyjo October 15, 2020 (8:53 pm)

    I think Lisa needs to go hang out at the park for a couple hours ALONE and see how she feels after her visit.

  • Findlay October 15, 2020 (9:03 pm)

    This should be a softball for the city.  You can see how the group think of our political leaders also leave them unable to make a good decision because they are fearful of offending.  This hour should be a must watch (as well as Debra Juarez latest town hall) for all voters.  The folks in charge do not have a clue and admit as such as they are trying to start outsourcing everything to step further away from their responsibility for public safety.  Truly sad the lack of a backbone.

  • CAM October 15, 2020 (11:54 pm)

    There is a possibility that these problems could be resolved if people wanted to discuss the actual problems instead of throwing around shaming and vitriolic language aimed at an entire population of people. The comments above are not solely about violence. They are about people not wanting to see poverty when they go shopping or go out to eat. I’m also disappointed that the junction association appears to be approaching this from the perspective that they get to make demands and have them granted based on a bunch of anecdotal reports and scary stories. Maybe the hygiene stations and portapotties have led to an increase in illegal behavior in that area. So far no one knows if that is factually true. Why isn’t anyone involved asking for data rather than just making demands for action without any investigation to see if the concerns are based in reality? There is a psychological principle called the recency effect in which people’s recall for recent events is better than past events. It’s also true that our recall is unintentionally distorted to benefit our underlying beliefs. Memory is fallible in general. A group of people telling me something is more dangerous because they say so without any supporting data other than anecdotes is unconvincing. Let’s get some facts and then talk about how to reduce the problems that have, by my recall, been being complained about by many of the above commenters since I moved to West Seattle. Let’s also recognize that not everyone agrees with the majority of the commenters on this page. Look around and see how people who try to temper the conversation (not even denying there’s a problem, just saying let’s approach it from another perspective) get responded to and think about whether you’d voice an alternate view when you read everything else here. 

    • CMT October 16, 2020 (10:14 am)

      The “actual problem” at issue that this park is being dominated by disruptive individuals to the effective exclusion of the rest of the public.   Period.  What supporting data would you accept?    Yes, by all means, let’s reject the eye witness accounts of the people that live in the apartments next door and the neighbors that walk by the park daily in favor of . . . .?   No doubt these people simply have an anti-homeless person agenda and are simply uncomfortable witnessing the poverty of otherwise law abiding persons.  I know, maybe we could send out  a survey to gather data.  SMH.

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