KIRO 7’s Gary Horcher first reported that a tent belonging to a homeless person has been sitting on the grounds of Ballard’s Whitman Middle School since Tuesday. Little has been done about it.
Horcher’s story is scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Whitman Middle School parent Erika Nagy told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the tent sits inside a doorway of the school “literally on school property,” along with drug paraphernalia and other debris.
“If there was a fire in the building, if school was happening today, the kids would not be able to get out of that doorway due to this tent,” she said.
Whitman Middle School
The tent’s occupier left the scene before the Seattle Police Department showed up on Friday, but Nagy said that she has no doubt the person will return. Whitman is currently on spring break, but classes will resume on Monday.
According to Nagy, this is not the first time something like this has happened in Ballard. She blames city leadership for letting the homeless problem get out of control to the extent of a tent being set up on the property of a school.
“Common sense has absolutely flown out the window,” she said.
Nagy said that during a Wednesday evening public meeting with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who represents the Ballard area, O’Brien stressed that more money needed to be spent on the issue. Nagy, however, pointed out that Seattle is already spending more money per homeless person than any other city in the nation.
“We are throwing hundreds of millions, almost a billion dollars, at this problem, and it has only gotten worse,” she said. “There is absolutely no accountability with any of our representatives … Mike O’Brien is absolutely not representing Ballard residents whatsoever.”
Elsewhere in Ballard
The coming Whittier Heights tiny house encampment is a prime example of the city’s lack of consideration for its residents, Nagy said. The encampment, which allows drug and alcohol consumption, will bring drug use and prostitution within blocks of three Ballard schools, she argued.
“For LIHI (the Low-Income Housing Institute) and SHARE (the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort), this is a cash cow,” Nagy said. “There’s no incentive for them to make it better, because the money goes away.”
The tiny house encampment is being forced on the Whittier Heights neighborhood “with absolutely no community input whatsoever,” Nagy said.
“How is this getting any better, and why is the only solution that Mike O’Brien can put forward more money?” she asked.