This is coming to you from my tent office outside, on the sidewalk at Eastlake and Howe, where my listeners have built me a street office out of tarps and wooden pallets.
As you know, Seattle has one of the worst homeless problems in the country. We are not sitting out here to make fun of the plight of the innocent homeless, but the fact is, most of the people who are out on the street are out here by choice. They want to use drugs, they do not want to go into a shelter.
The city’s insane response is to build wet shelters in places like Whittier Heights, where people can go live in a tiny home, shoot up heroin, and drink all they want. This city’s approach to this, as Ed Murray said a year ago, is, “We’re just making it up as we go along.”
Now the city is embracing performance artists like the couple living across from the space needle with a shack they call “the homeless mansion.”
Homeless mansion and a tent office
A couple from West Virginia built a “tent mansion” across from the Space Needle. They are doing this, I’m convinced, as some kind of performance art. Last night, under all the scrutiny, they fired up a barbecue. And what were they cooking in the tent on the sidewalk? Steak and shrimp. That’s why I’m convinced it is performance art.
The city refused to do anything about it until late last night, which, in my mind, frees up every sidewalk in the city, including the one outside the radio station. If the city is going to take its hands off the problem to this extent so it can attract as many heroin users from around the country as possible, then the city needs to live with the ramifications of these shacks popping up all around the city.
By the way, I’m convinced that the city only told the Space Needle tent people to move because we said we were going to do this on our sidewalk outside the radio station.
The city has already stated it wants to raise taxes $100 million more to fight the homelessness crisis. We already spend more per homeless person than any other city in the United States. But they want to use this problem to spend even more money.
What we are doing out here is illustrating the insanity, the lack of leadership in Seattle. There are a lot of people who are desperately hurt and are homeless not by their choice. But there are a lot of people who choose to be homeless because they do not want to give up their drug of choice and get clean. And here in Seattle we have a city government that not only allows that, but has attracted that from all around the country.
According to a couple living up the street from the radio station, homeless people from all around the United States have come to set up camp under I-5 in Eastlake. Why? Because they know the Puget Sound area is the lowest-barrier area in the country for drug addicts. Snohomish County has legalized carrying any drug — heroin, meth, anything — if it’s in a small enough amount. In King County, people are shooting up heroin on downtown benches, and the police have been told to de-police the issue. In Pierce County, it’s the same — rampant homelessness, rampant crime attached to it. What we have is a lack of political leadership.
What you can do
What I’m hoping you will do is start building these shacks in the neighborhoods of Seattle City Council members. The city has already said, “Hands off,” thus taking a despicable position on all of this. They are encouraging as many homeless people to come as possible. They are trying to make this the destination so they can justify bigger tax increases. That’s what this is all about.
Some cities around here are doing something about this. The City of Monroe has banned sitting on the sidewalk as a way to help businesses. It gives the cops a tool — something that has been taken away from police in Seattle. Seattle has been told to de-police the homeless problem — to not bust any drug users in our city. Of course this has become the number-one heroin destination in the country. That’s an inevitable consequence of failed policies.
The city is encouraging people to use heroin on downtown bus benches, leave their needles throughout the city. Seattle is an example of failed political leadership. Caught in the maelstrom of all that failure are people who really need help. What I’ve said all along is we need to provide services like drug counseling, alcohol treatment, job training, and mental health counseling for the homeless people who want help. But sadly, more than half do not want any of those things. They have chosen to live a life of heroin and prostitution and public defecation. Our city has been trashed as a result of it.
UPDATE on Dori’s tent office:
After a day of broadcasting from his tent office on a Seattle sidewalk, Dori received an eviction notice from the Washington State Department of Transportation. Or did he?
A notice handed to Dori on the street ordered him to remove his tent office from the sidewalk within 72 hours, stating that the sidewalk was not an authorized area for storage or shelter. The notice also stated that “all private items stored on this property shall be removed” or they “will be subject to disposal.”
But WSDOT officials tell KIRO Radio that the notice is fake. WSDOT would not serve a notice on a Seattle sidewalk. That would fall under the purview of the Seattle Police Department or the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Seattle police officers did show up, however. Dori asked if he was in trouble for the tent office. The cops said all was OK “as long as you’re removing that.”