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Capitol Hill businesses, residents are ‘suffering’ as the CHOP continues

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 20: A memorial for a person named Lorenzo is seen near the site where he was killed adjacent to the protest area known as CHOP on June 20, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Police Department said that a fatal shooting occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday at the intersection of East Pine Street and 10th Avenue, which is on the edge of CHOP. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

The CHOP in Capitol Hill continues on, greatly impacting residents and businesses in the area. Tanya manages three apartment buildings in the area, one of them very close to the shooting Tuesday morning. She joined KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show to express her and her residents’ concerns.

“Honestly, it’s been almost hard to put into words. I’ve spoken to my managers and my residents in the past 24 hours about how they’re feeling recently, especially with the shootings, and … every day has been OK, what’s next? Oh my gosh, what’s next?” Tanya described.

The maintenance technicians are having to spend more time outside, cleaning the building, cleaning graffiti, picking up garbage.

“It’s just been out of control,” she said. “He’s spending more time out there than he is inside taking care of our residents. Residents don’t feel comfortable going outside. Some of them have families and they’re like, we can’t even walk to the local QFC to get some stuff for lunch because it’s just mayhem.”

Tanya admits there’s always been some level of graffiti, a homeless population, and drug and mental health issues in Capitol Hill, but it’s become much worse with the CHOP.

“I feel like everyone in Seattle has moved up to that area because it’s a free for all,” she said. “You can just do what you want now.”

The buildings have seen more damage and destruction, and someone tried to light a bonfire in the stairwell of one of her buildings. Residents and property managers have tried to call the police, but it takes a long time for any response.

“The residents aren’t feeling safe,” she added. “We’ve just constantly had break-ins to the doors. We’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars having to change locks, having to replace windows. It just goes on and on. And we’re still trying to rent apartments.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best spoke Monday about their plans to try and return officers to the East Precinct, reducing the size of the CHOP.

Mayor Durkan, Chief Best say Seattle Police need to return to East Precinct

“All I kept on saying was OK, what’s your plan? When? How? What’s that gonna look like? What’s your benchmark? Who’s monitoring it? What is going on?,” Tanya asked. “Because as much as she’s saying it’s illegal to have Trump come in, unconstitutional and illegal. It is illegal and unconstitutional what’s going on right now.”

She’s not confident that asking people to leave peacefully is going to work.

“We all support the reason behind the protests. Everyone does,” Tanya said. “And managers were wanting to explain and make sure their voices were heard as well, that we all support that and encourage that. But when you remove the structure, remove the rules, there’s no supervision. That’s never been good, right? That’s never proven to work. We have to have some kind of consequences for our behaviors.”

“We need to get something in place now. We can’t have more shootings and rapes and thefts go on,” she added. “… We’re gonna lose all of our residents, they’re already moving out of Capitol Hill. They don’t want to be there anymore. Capitol Hill is losing its essence and … it’s just sad.”

The most recent change, Tanya said, is that Amazon is no longer delivering packages to residents in the area. A lot of people rely on Amazon for essentials, especially as COVID-19 remains a present threat.

“It’s getting more serious than I think people even realize,” she said.

The other problem is that people are scared to speak up for fear that they’ll be labeled as racists or as unsupportive. That’s not the case, she said. The locals support the cause, but she and other property managers are also trying to protect their residents and provide a safe place to live.

“We’ve lost all control of that, and our businesses that we share the streets with are suffering and they can’t run their businesses like they used to, especially with COVID. Now you add this,” Tanya said.

She wants to make sure that people recognize how the CHOP is affecting the businesses and residents in the community.

“I don’t feel like our businesses are being supported, or the residents that live there are being supported, and they’re just being forgotten,” she said.

“The businesses that make Capitol Hill thrive are suffering. We are suffering,” Tanya added. “And that’s what I guess I’m trying to communicate here is that this can’t continue because we’re going to crumble and … Capitol Hill’s going to lose everything that it’s worked so hard to become.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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