Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
I finally took an hour and watched the painful, sad KOMO Special report, Seattle is Dying. As a native Seattleite, I can attest, these are not the streets I was raised on. Our beautiful city, with historic streets running from Elliot Bay to Lake Washington, flanked by picturesque mountain ranges has a new nickname- Free-attle. There is no denying, the Emerald City is green, but the symbol may as well be Mr. Yuk. The homeless camps have invaded every neighborhood, freeway, and even disrespected cemeteries. When I entertain out of towners, I too am embarrassed. I explain as I drive over the I-90 freeway, that this is a new Seattle- not the one I was raised in. It’s incredulous to out of towners that one can just pitch a tent and call it home.
We should be outraged as well. This is NOT the norm, nor should it be tolerated.
The issue at hand is this is not only a homeless problem, Seattle has become a welcome mat for drug addiction and the mentally ill. We witness it everyday as crime is on the rise and needles and drug paraphernalia are visible on every sidewalk.
As a landlord, I have to police the halls of my apartment buildings and have added security cameras to cease homeless from creeping in and sleeping in the hallways for shelter. Just last week, I was called as a man had gained entry and was sound asleep with his tattered belongings, startling the residents with his pungent smell. My maintenance supervisor and I awoke him and fortunately without incident he went on his way.
Last weekend, my fiancé and I spent a staycation at the new State Hotel on 2nd Avenue. We woke up Saturday morning and the sun was shining, so we ventured one block to the Public Market. The vibrancy of the beautiful day became somber with the plethora of pan handlers and homeless tucked in store fronts. The smell of urine and garbage was prevalent.
Two years ago, I shared this post:
Twenty plus years later, and he still stands on the corner of 4th and Pike panhandling. As I walk by and look at his pock-marked skin, soiled raggedy clothes, and deteriorating teeth, I recall a glimpse of my former contract laborer. He was young, ambitious, and quite talented when my mom and I hired him over two decades ago to be a part of our maintenance crew. He came from a well off Mercer Island family. He was educated, and privileged, however, addiction does not discriminate and his parents put him out. I shake my head as I approach. S, I say his name as I don’t have the heart to sneak by and avert eye attention. “Dana! hey, come on now. Help me out.” He shakes from withdrawals as he shoves the dirty warped Starbucks cup in my direction. His face is smeared with dirty residue and I can only imagine the last time hot water and soap embraced his skin. His body is a testament to the strength of the human body. He’s still in his 40’s, but after 2 decades of life on the streets without medical attention, proper shelter, and nutrition, I marvel that he is still alive. It is said the eyes are the key to the soul. I stare at him, and I recall the soul of the diligent young workman who offered and stayed in a vacant house we were remodeling to protect the tongue and groove cedar from potential bandits until we could get it hung. “S, You know, I won’t give you money,” I lament. I can’t fathom participating in the addiction. It’s agreed I would return with a bite of food.
The saga continues and it is real. Just take a drive through downtown Seattle where homeless tents are launched next to new construction. Often the honey buckets temporary toilets are shared laboratories for workmen and homeless. The irony of the disparity is disturbing. For those in the suburbs, please don’t think this is just a Seattle epidemic. This disease is contagious and very well could soon be at your doorstep.
SEATTLE and vicinity- our region is sick. If someone or something you love is dying, you fight to save it. We can no longer afford to turn our heads and briskly walk past this crisis. What is our RX to remedy this disease?