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Don O'Neill wanted to show his son this statue that stands in memory to four Seattle firefighters. "I want my son to know the city and to know our history and to walk down there and say, 'Let me tell you about the Pang warehouse and these four brave Seattle firefighters,' and now I can't tell you about them because a guy is over there, and has his pants down, and he's peeing on one of the firefighters, and he was. It's like, wow, we've got to do better than this," said Don. (MyNorthwest.com/file)

We've got a real problem in Pioneer Square

Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Ron and Don Show

I hadn't been down to Pioneer Square in a while, and the other day it was kids' day down at the Mariners game. After the game, I decided to take my son for a stroll through Pioneer Square.

My son is three now, it's a beautiful day, I was looking forward to walking hand-in-hand through Pioneer Square. I also wanted to take him to the statue down there of the four firefighters that died during the Pang warehouse fire.

So we were down in Pioneer Square and we started to walk. I've been through there 100 times, but I haven't been down there lately. I have never seen so many homeless people in my life.

These aren't just homeless people that are passed out. These are people that are high. These are people that are drunk. These are people that are loud. These are people who are defecating all over the place. These are people that were saying things to me about my son. Some of those things made me uncomfortable. Some of those things made him scared.

I tried to walk over to where the firefighter statue is. But there were a bunch of people sleeping, laying, peeing, drinking around and sitting on top of the firefighter statues that are down there to honor these four fallen Seattle firefighters.

As I walked through there, I thought to myself, we've got a real problem in Pioneer Square. It has really gone south. It has really become an issue and I feel bad for a lot of those businesses down there.

I can tell you this right now, I can't think of anytime in the future where I'm going to do what I did the other day: stop in Pioneer Square, get something to eat, walk through that area, head on down to the stadium. It scared the hell out of my son, and to be honest it scared me a bit, too.

Maybe that is a part of becoming really lax on some of the drug laws around here, but it is a real issue the City of Seattle has to face right now. If the mayor is going to have a press conference on anything, I hope he will have a press conference on that. We have to address that or these businesses are going to be punished, and some of these businesses are going to have to shutter their doors.

Pioneer Square and West Seattle, that's where Seattle was born. We're a very young city. We have to protect our heritage. And somehow we have to find a balance. I know that we're 'Freeattle,' and I know we're nice to homeless people, but somehow, someway, we have to be nicer to these businesses down there. We have to find a balance.

Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Ron and Don Show

JS


Don O'Neill, KIRO Radio Talk Show Host
Don O'Neill, co-host of the Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio (weekdays 3-7), is "type A" all the way, running mostly on passion, pride, and adrenaline.
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