SoDo businesses plead with Seattle, King County to address ‘public health crisis’
Representatives from Seattle’s business community are pleading with Seattle and King County leaders not to forget about others affected by the homeless issue.
Officials met Wednesday to discuss the crisis that continues to plague the region. Erin Goodman with the SoDo Business Improvement District told a crowd of council members not to forget about the people who work in the areas where homelessness is prominent.
“As this committee meets to discuss and develop a compassionate plan to address the current crisis of our city’s un-sheltered residents, we ask that in addition to considering the health and well-being of the city’s homeless population, and the first responders that care for them, that the health and well-being of the thousands of SoDo employees be part of the discussion,” Erin Goodman told the crowd of King County and Seattle council members.
Goodman voiced her concerns to the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee lead by Seattle council member Sally Bagshaw and King County council member Jeanne Kohl-Welles. Others such as Seattle council member Bruce Harrel and county council member Larry Gossett were present as well. The committee was briefed on the region’s various efforts to address the homeless crisis, and actions moving forward.
SoDo is facing problems now, and has been for a while, Goodman said.
“SoDo is currently facing a public health crisis,” Goodman said. “Unauthorized tent and RV encampments present an unsafe and unsanitary environment for all and have a direct impact on social and economic health of the area.”
“SoDo businesses experience … negative impacts of garbage, human waste, rats, drug use, and crime,” she said.
SoDo is one Seattle neighborhood where the city is favoring Safe RV Zones — locations where RV dwellers can park for extended periods of time and receive services.
Frankie Stamford with outdoor store Filson voiced her concerns with Seattle’s Safe Zone and handling of the homeless issues in the neighborhood.
“Specifically impacted is our facility on 4th Avenue which is right next to the 3rd Avenue RV Safe Zone,” she said. “Since the beginning of the year we have been impacted by a huge amount of garbage … our own garbage containers have been overloaded. There are pests, there is urination, defecation, vandalism. Our business there on 4th Avenue is significantly impacted.”
“I am challenged to be compassionate,” she said. “But I also have to represent our business.”