JASON RANTZ

Rantz: ‘Homeless recording studio’ terrorizes Seattle neighborhood, but councilmember ignores it

Nov 14, 2021, 6:00 PM | Updated: Nov 15, 2021, 5:39 am
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A makeshift, double-decker RV dubbed a “homeless recording studio” by its occupant is back terrorizing a Seattle neighborhood. Thanks to a complete disinterest from the district’s city council member, there’s no end in sight. It’s hardly the only homeless danger in the area.

The homeless RV is parked on 8th Avenue Northwest in Ballard. Nearby are quaint residential streets and small businesses. It started as an RV that was collecting more and more trash around it. But soon, the homeless occupant wanted more space. The man built a second story on top, garnering him as much room as you’d get in an area studio, but for no rent.

But it’s become much more than a house. The homeless man, who won’t offer his name, says he’s using it as a music studio.

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Homeless music studio takes Ballard

The double-decker RV earned the ire of the neighborhood’s residents and business owners when it first arrived in September. After some media coverage, the man took down the wood planks comprising the top story of his RV. But about two weeks ago, the man started to rebuild. And this time, he was inspired by song.

“It’s for music,” he said KOMO TV. “The homeless music recording studio. No, this is not coming down anytime soon.”

I attempted to contact the man this past rainy Sunday morning. He was not pleased.

The man yelled obscenities at me as I pulled a car toward him, recognizing him from a TV interview. He wanted me gone. I assume I interrupted a deep lyric writing session, so I understood his frustration. You can’t always recapture the creative juices when they’re flowing, and he didn’t want to lose his inspiration.

At night, he puts the pen and pad away and gets to jamming. It’s definitely not soundproof since it doesn’t actually have a roof. Neighbors complain that it gets loud.

“They have drums,” one neighbor told KOMO TV.

It’s not just noise

It’s not just the noise pollution the neighbors are enduring. In fact, it’s not even all the trash surrounding the RV, plus a broken-down car and two tents. Neighbors are concerned over the structural integrity of the RV extension housing the Lo-fi studio. They’re concerned it could fall over and injure someone, or hit oncoming traffic.

“This has just gotten worse and worse and worse,” nearby business owner Carolyn Boyle told KOMO TV. “There’s no enforcement.”

No, there’s not. Like in most Seattle neighborhoods, the city has given up enforcement efforts and has left residents and business owners to fend for themselves. No matter the number of complaints, nothing gets done — save an empty statement to the media that the city will continue outreach efforts.

Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss, who represents the homeless in the district, won’t get involved. He says there’s no timeline for outreach workers to pretend to engage with the homeless music studio manager. It’s the only time Strauss has backed a Ballard area business venture, but likely only because it’s currently pre-revenue.

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Have you been to Ballard lately?

I admit I don’t go to Ballard much. It’s out of the way, especially for someone who only uses the station vehicle when covering stories. The last time I went was last year to cover the exploding homeless crisis. Unfortunately, little has changed.

There are tents and broken-down RVs and cars everywhere. You’ll find it as you drive down any random residential street.

An encampment has overrun the greenspace at Leary Way and 9th Ave Northwest. There are several tents, a broken-down RV, and trash strewn everywhere. The city appears to have dropped off a portable toilet and trash bins. Or the residents stole it. Either way, it’s not being used. There’s more trash around the encampment than in the trash bins.

Strauss must not live in the district for him to care so little. Or the human misery humbles him. It’s a daily reminder of his privilege of living inside.

Seattle Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell has vowed to tackle the hundreds of encampments around the city once he takes control of the mayor’s office. Despite the reasonable Councilmember-elect Sara Nelson taking the city vacated by failed mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez, the council is still controlled by the very activist politicians who let the city devolve in this way. It’s unclear how Harrell will be able to truly address this problem.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: ‘Homeless recording studio’ terrorizes Seattle neighborhood, but councilmember ignores it