Seattle business forced to lock doors after homeless attack

May 30, 2019, 6:12 AM | Updated: 3:52 pm

Seattle art gallery...

A homeless attack has a local gallery rethinking its security. (Foster/White Gallery and Shawn Huckins)

(Foster/White Gallery and Shawn Huckins)

In order to get inside the Foster/White Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, you must either knock or ring the bell. This practice was enacted after a belligerent homeless man assaulted the director inside the building last October.

You may recall the story of Phen Huang, who was struck multiple times with an umbrella after asking an unwanted visitor to leave the gallery. In November, she told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that a man walked in and demanded a glass of water. After she obliged, he began disturbing the displays and creating a mess. When Huang asked him to leave, he slapped her across the face and struck her multiple times with an umbrella, knocking her into a glass case.

Huang no longer leaves the doors unlocked.

“After I got assaulted … at that point, you had to knock,” Huang said.

Seattle business owner looks to leave after having knife pulled on him

Huang said she began locking the doors the day after she was attacked. Fewer customers in the gallery appears to be an unintended consequence of that move.

“Probably,” Huang said, when asked if locking the doors has hurt business. “There are times when people don’t understand. They just think we’re just locked to the broke public, no longer, maybe, a viable business, and they don’t read the sign that says, ‘Please press the bell.’”

While the locked doors may confuse some customers, Huang surmises others are scared off by what’s often inside the atrium, leading into the studio: disruptive campers. She said the entrance is often used as a shelter by unruly “residents.”

“Either really loud, spreading out their things or acting out in such a way that others are uncomfortable to either come in or leave,” Huang said. “So, we feel a little trapped … helpless to help them.”

Pioneer Square has become a popular camping spot as of late. With the increase in campers has come problematic individuals. Just last week, a business owner had a knife pulled on him after confronting a man who was blocking the entrance. Police have since made efforts to clear tents quicker.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-7pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Bob Ferguson...

Jason Rantz

Rantz Exclusive: Secretary of State says AG Bob Ferguson demanded he break law in vulgar tirade

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs says Attorney General Bob Ferguson demanded he break the law in a vulgar and angry tirade.

3 days ago

Image: The crowd cheers at the 2013 Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival in Seattle....

Jason Rantz

Rantz: It’s time to pull the plug on Bumbershoot Seattle after latest disaster lineup

The newest Bumbershoot lineup confirms what we've known for a while: this music festival is dead in Seattle.

4 days ago


Jason Rantz

Rantz: Asylum seeker says Seattle activists are taking advantage of migrants

Migrants seeking asylum are being taken advantage of by Seattle housing activists convincing them to illegally occupy parks.

5 days ago

Photo: The anti-Israel encampment at the University of Washington gave rise to a new hate group: UW...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: UW Seattle embraced the Nazi Youth as a new generation of hate group has formed

The anti-Israel encampment at the University of Washington gave rise to a new hate group: UW Nazi Youth. It's time we call them what they are.

6 days ago

The State Capitol in Olympia...

Jackson Meyer

Bob Ferguson from Graham on governor’s race: ‘My intent was to win’

After Washington AG Bob Ferguson threatened legal action, two candidates also named Bob Ferguson have withdrawn from the gubernatorial race.

10 days ago

Photo: Progressive candidate Shaun Scott....

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Progressive candidate upset he isn’t running unopposed, makes up candidate

It appears that progressive candidate Shaun Scott expected to run unopposed for a state representative seat.

10 days ago

Seattle business forced to lock doors after homeless attack