A Long story: History of the Seattle man living in his truck

Mar 6, 2018, 2:00 PM | Updated: 4:06 pm
LISTEN: Homeless man had his truck declared a home, so the city can't touch it

Steven Long likes to live the “Gypsy-style” life. That life was interrupted when the truck he was living in ran afoul of Seattle parking laws.

Interrupted, but only briefly. A recent court ruling states that Long’s truck is a home.

RELATED: Park anywhere, because a truck is legally a home in Seattle

“I have many, many jobs. I’ve always had jobs,” Long told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “There was just this point in time … my mother had passed away, my teeth were giving me problems, and the truck gave me problems. I just had to work my way out of it.”

Long’s 2000 GMC was parked longer than Seattle’s 72-hour limit. It was towed. The Columbia Legal Center and the ACLU stepped in. The result: a ruling is based on an old homesteading law from Washington’s pioneer days. Now, Long’s truck is classified as a home and not subject to parking laws drivers must follow.

Long says that there should be some kind of designation for people living in vehicles. He says if people have a problem with folks living in their cars near their home or work, they should just knock on the car door.

“Well, I’d say they would have to meet them and see if they are the kind of people that they would like to meet, and if they didn’t then ask them if they would find another place, ” he said. “There’s always the option to move away.”

Long has other advice for the area’s homeless crisis. Houses should be built for the homeless. He also says the backyard cottage idea is a good one.

Long’s court ruling has had many locals wondering if homeless living in their vehicles will now line city streets for good. Some have contacted the Dori Monson Show proposing that they ditch their long commute from out of town. Instead, they could live in an RV in Seattle during the week and leave it parked in town indefinitely.

Living in a truck: A Long story

Long moved to Seattle from Wyoming in 1988. Before that he lived in a camper, moving between five different states. When he got to Seattle, he lived in a 1,500-square-foot apartment for $290 a month at 20th and Yesler. He lived there for 15 years. But times change. Rents went up.

He also says he got into some controversy with an ex-Marine he was helping out, but wouldn’t go into details. After that, he went back to living in a vehicle.

“Nah, I gave up the apartment,” he said. “I don’t like the high price and the rent and all that.”

The Dori Monson Show looked into Long’s history before he came to Seattle. There are criminal records, but long says he was a different person many decades ago. He says he’s been sober 33 years.

“That guy, I forgot all about him,” he said. “In 1982, I gave up a drinking career I was heavily involved in. I was a barroom brawler. I was beaten by the police several times. That’s neither here nor there.”

There is also a sex offense on his record, for which he received two years probation. Long said the particular offense happened in 1982 after a Black Sabbath concert. Long didn’t provide specifics. But he said it stemmed from when he was trying to help a young girl whose mother was pimping her out.

“There was a lady who ran a brothel,” Long explained. “And her daughter, I thought she was 18 because she was in the same grade as my sister. She was an intelligent and bright young girl. Her father was an ex-police officer with the Billings police and he was Native American and he got thrown out for shooting too many Mexicans, evidently.”

Long doesn’t know exactly what is next for him. But he knows he’s staying in the truck.

“I’ll probably just travel again; gypsy-style living,” he said. “I kind of enjoy it. It’s a freedom that most people need to experience.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

lawn mower man...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Rebuffed by City of Seattle, grassroots volunteers get ‘Lawn Mower Man’ off the streets

After more than a year of terrorizing Ballard neighbors with noise from his encampment, Seattle’s “Lawn Mower Man” has agreed to accept shelter placement.
11 hours ago
seattle barber...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Is it time to cut-and-run for Seattle barber?

The owner of Steele Barber, with two Seattle locations, says repeat vandals and burglars with no help from city officials has him "closer to (his) limit."
1 day ago
crime, shooting...
Dori Monson Show

Kent mayor: After rash of shootings, ‘my residents are scared (but) I’m not giving up’

Multiple shootings marred a four-day Thanksgiving weekend for many cities in the Puget Sound area, but few more so than the city of Kent.
1 day ago
Reagan Dunn...
Dori Monson

Dori: King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn announces Congressional run

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn announced his candidacy on Monday for Washington's 8th District Congressional seat.
2 days ago
gay couple wedding flowers...
Dori Monson

Dori: Tri-Cities florist settles with gay couple over refusal to sell them wedding flowers

Richland, Washington, flower shop owner Barronelle Stutzman has settled with the ACLU, citing her Southern Baptist faith as reason for the refusal.
7 days ago
Fentanyl overdose, opioids...
Dori Monson

Dori: Homeland Security Special Agent on surge in drug trafficking, fentanyl deaths

Homeland Security Investigations agent Robert Hammer describes the surge in illegal drugs, and related death counts across the nation.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
A Long story: History of the Seattle man living in his truck