JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Parents sound alarm as needles, human waste collect near Seattle schools

May 20, 2019, 5:55 AM

The impacts of homelessness in the city has fed up thousands of Seattleites, enough for them to beg for help with cleaning their neighborhoods of used needles and human waste, according to a review of 2018 and 2019 data from the city’s Find It, Fix It app.

Parents, in particular, are sounding alarms.

“As a mother of two boys living in North Ballard, gone are the days where my children can roam freely around our neighborhood,” laments parent and Speak Out Seattle activist Erika Nagy to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “I grew up here, in Ballard actually, and for all the people that say we’ve ‘always had issues,’ that is an utter false narrative.”

RELATED: Mayor Durkan says Seattle crime is down. Is it?
RELATED: Everett teen cleans up 3 tons of homeless camp trash

Seattle’s Find It, Fix It app tracks residents’ complaints about everything from graffiti and trash to improperly dumped RVs and clogged storm drains. Out of the 77,428 submissions last year, thousands directly relate to used needles, with many impacting local schools.

One resident by Hamlin Robinson School near Judkins Park complains of an “Abandoned camper with trash and needles around the area. There is a school across the street and I have seen homeless come in and out of it using drugs.”

Another resident complained of a broken down RV with needles strewn around near Viewlands Elementary School in Northwest Seattle. “…I have seen homeless come in and out of it [the RV] using drugs,” the user complains.

Near Olympic Hills elementary in Lake City, someone found two used needles, writing “SCHOOL KIDS USE THESE STAIRS!”

A parent at John Stanford International School, a few minutes east of the UW, complained of “5 shopping carts barricading the pedestrian stairwell. My kids walk to school on this path and people are shooting up and leaving needles here and the garbage and smell of urine is disgusting! The shopping carts are going to cause an accident when they roll down the stairwell into traffic.”

Some aren’t just alarmed at what they’re finding near schools, but the action of the homeless nearby.

A few blocks from the Meridian School in Wallingford, one resident complained of used needles on the ground. “Seattle has failed me,” the person writes. “The person just went to the adjacent gas station and masturbated in the bushes.”

Another complaint literally begs for help as they spotted a run down RV and used needles near the Hilltop Children’s Center in North Queen Anne. The user saw the homeless man “carrying a knife. Please help! Kids play there and someone is going to get hurt. It’s just not a safe place for someone to shoot up.”

“Under a pedestrian overpass, which many of the school kids use to walk to school safely, there is a man who has been living underneath, collecting stolen bikes, harassing kids as they walk to and from school, invading the space so much so that the children are walking onto Holman road (major arterial) to walk around his ‘belongings,’” Nagy tells KTTH.

For Nagy, the problems have taken a toll on her neighborhood.

“I do not even allow my children to walk to the neighborhood stores, as the Whittier Heights women village is nearby, and now the drug dealers and pimps have moved into the neighborhood, selling to woman of the village and prostituting them for money for their drug habits,” she says. “Nothing is hidden, this is done in the middle of the day within plain sight because they know the city won’t do anything about it.”

The Find It, Fix It app has made it easy to report these everyday observations with 37,135 users (as defined by unique mobile devices downloading the app) sending a complaint. And the image it paints of Seattle is startling.

Taking some of the place of complaints normally phoned in, the app reports have increased significantly over the last few years: 2014 (18,846 reports), 2015 (27,551), 2016 (38,852), 2017 (55,428), 2018 (77,428).

It’s hard to track how the city responds to the individual complaints, as they can be routed through different departments that track responses differently. From my positive experiences using the app, and hearing from other users and some city sources, some complaints are immediately addressed. Others are not. Even after some of the sites are cleaned up, it’s not uncommon for the homeless to return and the mess to reappear.

The tone of some of these complaints — a mix of anger and desperation — suggests resident are losing their patience as the city tackles the growing homeless problem.

Naveed Jamali is a local parent. Last year, his four year old and six your old kids found needles and a used condom on Seattle’s waterfront. It was one of the moments that propelled him to run for Seattle City Council in District 7.

“As a parent I’d like to have the same standard for city government as I do for my kids: honesty. It’s obvious when we see used needles what is happening, so why not just be honest with us?” Jamali told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It’s not just the lack of resolution (we understand these are big problems) it’s the lack of candor and honesty that pisses me off.”

Indeed, after the KOMO TV special Seattle Is Dying, Mayor Jenny Durkan dismissed it as “limited” in what it showed.

“I think if you went to any neighborhood in Seattle today and told the story from Alki to Seward Park, up north to Seattle Center, you’re going to see a city that’s thriving with people who care, that’s welcoming and diverse,” she claimed. It was shockingly clueless and delusional.

“I keep asking what we are waiting for to take serious action,” Nagy wonders.

Many others wonder the same thing.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Mill Creek police...
KTTH staff

Mill Creek councilmember calls for unvaccinated police separated under mandate to apply

With an eye toward those recently separated for non-compliance with Washington's vaccine mandate, Mill Creek is looking to fill a police labor shortage.
16 hours ago
Pat Chun...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Photo shows WSU’s Pat Chun violating COVID policy after Rolovich firing

Four days before firing WSU head coach Nick Rolovich, Athletic Director Pat Chun appears to have violated the indoor mask mandate.
2 days ago
seattle police, shootings, Twitter...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle Police can’t find enough staff for patrol, city and media silent

The Seattle Police Department does not have enough officers to meet daily minimum staffing needs in any precinct across the city.
3 days ago
Seattle Council President Lorena Gonzalez, records requests...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Lorena Gonzalez runs ‘morally disgusting,’ ‘anti-Black’ attack ad in mayor’s race

A new "racist" attack ad by Seattle City Council President Lorena Gonzalez probably killed her chances of being the city's next mayor.
3 days ago
tacoma, officers, tacoma police, manny ellis, Urquhart...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Police staffing crisis in Tacoma is nearly as bad as in Seattle, morale ‘decimated’

The Tacoma Police Department is dramatically understaffed as crime continues to surge across the city. Police officers are now sounding the alarms.
7 days ago
vaccinations...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Inslee firing thousands isn’t about health – it’s about forced vaccinations

Governor Jay Inslee's COVID-19 vaccine mandate isn't about public health. It's about power and forced vaccinations. 
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Rantz: Parents sound alarm as needles, human waste collect near Seattle schools