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

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

The AI chatbots have drawn increased interest during the global virus pandemic, which has led to a ...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Google engineer explains how AI chatbot shows sentient side, might have a soul

Cognitive and computer science expert Blake Lemoine boldly told his employer that the machine showed a sentient side and might have a soul.
4 days ago
Follow @
Dori Monson

Dori: Parkland dad protecting preschool daughter during attempted carjacking gets shot in mouth

Adrenalin, parental instincts and lessons learned from his dad kicked into overdrive at the start of Matthew Phillips’s Father’s Day weekend when an attempted carjacker pulled a rifle on him and his 3-year-old daughter in Pierce County.
6 days ago
Photo by Samuel Corum...
Dori Monson

Dori: Local gun stores ‘busy as all get out’ as firearm debates rage nationwide

With two weeks to go before Washington state enacts tougher gun laws, at least one local firearms retailer says stores like hers are seeing “a buying rush.”
9 days ago
Dori Monson

Dori: Bellingham dad upset with transgender books for preschoolers: ‘let kids be kids’

Bellingham parent Christopher Morris believes preschool should be a time of life when adults need to let “kids be kids.”
10 days ago
Photo by Noah Riffe...
Dori Monson

Dori: Seattle Police guild president calls slower response times a `crisis’ that local leaders ‘don’t grasp’

At a time when the number of police on Seattle streets keeps dropping and crime is rising, response times to life-threatening cases continue to climb
11 days ago
Footage from Ring camera showing a lit flare about to be thrown into the building after window was ...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: `Somebody tried to burn our building down,’ Olympia lawmaker says

Barkis said that “whoever did this had clear intent, clear motive ... these people had the intent of burning my building down.”
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
A Long story: History of the Seattle man living in his truck