Seattle businesses owners say the city's homeless are making it hard for them

Seattle businesses leaders attended a meeting with city officials this week where they vented about the problems they are facing because of rampant homelessness. KIRO 7 reports that some businesses say they can’t continue unless something changes for the better:


Some businesses owners say they may not be able to stay open much longer if something doesn’t change…

Imiun Liu owns several businesses in Seattle such as the Eastern Café in the International District, where he says crimes involving the homeless are so common that he and other business owners can’t help but feel defeated by the RVs and tents surrounding their stores.

“We’ve all given up on calling 911. Nobody even thinks that the police will ever show up or do anything, and even if they do actually catch somebody, we know they’re going to come back the next day,” said Liu…

“Our employees walk over needles, trash, human waste,” said Denise Merle with Weyerhaeuser.

“(It’s) the third consecutive day that my employee got her tip jar stolen with no response from the police. She got fed up and chased the guy down the street herself and was assaulted,” said Lois Ko, owner of Sweet Alchemy.

This week there was an especially dramatic incident involving an RV plowing into a local gym. From King 5:

The owner of West Seattle Health Club says an abandoned recreational vehicle did $200,000 worth of damage to the business early Wednesday morning.

Dan Lehr says the incident occurred around 1 a.m. when the driver of a converted old “party bus” failed to negotiate a turn a plowed into the club…

He says he’s seen the vehicle parked at an adjacent encampment on Andover, which includes dozens of derelict RVs and buses.

The bus actually hit a gas line and started a fire which did significant damage to the club. After the crash, the driver fled the scene and has not been identified. Of course, it’s not likely the owner of the party bus would have any ability to pay for the damage even if he was caught but at least he’d be in jail for a while.


Here’s KIRO 7’s report on the meeting with city officials:

And finally, I came across this clip from an activist with the Neighborhood Safety Alliance of Seattle. The NSAS is (or was, the site hasn’t been updated in a while) a group that advocates for cracking down on the drug use and criminal behavior that flourishes in unregulated homeless encampments and RV parking areas. In this clip, Gretchen Taylor makes the case that people living in one of Seattle’s tiny house areas (Licton Springs, which will be closed in a few months) are drug addicts who aren’t looking for a way out because the addiction is all that matters to them. She argues that dealing with homelessness in the city means helping people conquer addiction, not turning the city into a free-for-all where residents are expected to simply put up with the crime and the filth that goes with thousands of addicted adults living on the streets.

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