A Dori Monson Show listener who is a lifelong resident of Seattle is a little worried about what is happening downtown, and wrote us an email.
A lifelong resident of Seattle, I was at the Pike Place Market last week and put myself in the shoes of a tourist. I tried to imagine what it was like for someone visiting our city and tried to look at things from a tourist's point of view.
After walking from First & Pike up to 3rd Avenue, over to Macy's and ending up in Westlake Center, I had an episode of "culture shock." And I am not shocked easily.
First, the streets were lined with people with signs, weaving down the streets, with language that would make a longshoreman blush. There was talk about jail time, drugs, and probation. From the area on 3rd Avenue where everyone waits for buses, I saw two loud fights, several drug deals, and two people selling watches and hard liquor (obviously stolen). There were about four people nodding off.
At the McDonald's by Macy's there was a young woman who was most likely a meth addict, very agitated with dilated pupils who came in to use the restroom. She couldn't make it to the restroom, and since she couldn't walk right, she was detained by the store manager. Her boyfriend was very angry, while the manager called the fire department and told the boyfriend that she needed help. He wanted to run. The woman was out of control, very dilated eyes, unable to talk or walk. The fire department came and took her pulse, asked her her name and birth date and how she would get home, and she said, "I'll take the bus." So they left. A quick look at the woman showed that she was pregnant, nicely dressed, and obviously needed help. Why they didn't take her to an ER, I don't know. Surely, the fact that she was pregnant should have required that.
Then after squeezing through the crowd of street corner evangelists, eight people with signs stating they were veterans asking for help, I arrived at the Westlake Mall. Despite having heard that this area had been cleaned up, it didn't look that way to me. The smell of marijuana was everywhere. I know it's legal now - but were they all of age? I doubt it. Money was being exchanged, and there were homeless and impaired young and old people everywhere. Some were lying on benches, some were gathered in groups and making comments about passersby.
As I watched the duck bus going by with clucking tourists, I couldn't help but wonder what they thought; although I think they were better off being on the duck tour than walking on the streets.
SO - what happened? I know I would never bring a visitor through the area. SO sad.
Are you finding similar issues in downtown Seattle? What do you think should be done?