When Megan Nystrom parked at a Greenwood grocery store, she noticed something didn’t seem quite right. It didn’t take long to see, and smell, why.
“When we got to the Greenwood Fred Meyer it smelled terrible outside, but I wasn’t sure why,” Nystrom said. “Later, I was putting my groceries away when I noticed the mess under the car next to mine.”
That mess covered an entire parking space and appeared to be recently dumped waste from an RV holding tank — human waste.
“There were several RVs parked adjacent to the lot,” Nystrom noted.
It’s an angle of a Seattle discussion neighbors are having about the many RVs lining neighborhood streets — waste produced by the roadside campers. The issue has also been witnessed elsewhere in Seattle, such as in Magnolia, where members of Safe Seattle observed an RV dumping waste from the vehicle’s bathroom along 20th Street. The waste created a puddle apparent to anyone walking by. Safe Seattle’s Facebook post notes that the RV has moved up and down 20th Street, leaving multiple puddles over about 10 days.
The reality of dumping in Seattle is of no surprise to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson, who has noted a new ambiance present throughout Seattle.
“What used to be the smell of Seattle? I used to go down to Shilshole all the time as a kid. The creosote they used on all the logs in the marina. The sea. The salt water smell. That’s what I used to associate with my city,” Dori said. “Now it’s fecal matter and urine.”
“I rode my bike a couple months ago out to Shilshole on the Burke Gilman (trail). There was trash everywhere. There’s an overwhelming stench of urine,” he said. “I also rode my bike through Myrtle Edwards Park on the downtown waterfront not too long ago. The stench of urine is was absolutely overwhelming. That’s becoming the smell of Seattle.”
Dori notes that he witnessed the same problem in San Francisco, where he used to associated the smell of sourdough bread or the wharf. Now the California city smells like urine. Both cities have experienced a rise in rents and real estate prices. In the same time, homeless populations have also gone up.
But another city has approached its homeless problem in a similar manner as Dori has promoted.
“San Francisco spends $165 million a year on homelessness. Their homeless population has skyrocketed. Seattle spend $80 million a year on homelessness. Our homeless population has skyrocketed,” Dori said. “Salt Lake City, which a few years ago had a significant homeless problem, spends a relative pittance — just $20 million a year. They have virtually eliminated homelessness. It was with a plan.”
That plan, according to Dori, sold much of the land that homeless people were camping on. The funds were then used toward homeless services such as addiction and mental health counseling and job placement.