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Ballard gears up for Mike O’Brien town hall

A homeless tent blocks a doorway at Ballard's Whitman Middle School in April. (KIRO 7)
LISTEN: Ballard gears up for Mike O'Brien town hall

Anyone interested in giving Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien an opinion on the city’s homelessness policies is invited to a town hall meeting on the evening of Wednesday, May 2 at Ballard’s Trinity United Methodist Church.

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Erika Nagy — who earlier this month told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that a homeless person’s tent had been put up at Whitman Middle School in Ballard — said Friday that she had personally met with O’Brien that morning to discuss her concerns.

“He definitely tried [to sweet-talk me],” she said.

Nagy said that O’Brien had mistakenly quoted Barbara Poppe, author of the 2016 city-commissioned study, Recommendations for the City of Seattle’s Homeless Investment Policy: The Path Forward – Act Now, Act Strategically, and Act Decisively, as recommending that the city build tiny house encampments like the one planned for the Whittier Heights neighborhood.

However, Nagy contacted Poppe and confirmed that actually, Poppe strongly discourages city leaders from building tiny house and tent encampments for homeless people for fear that they will lead to the development of shanty towns.

City officials ordered Nagy to let them censor a Facebook invitation for the town hall as a condition for Nagy being allowed to meet with O’Brien.

“They told me that I needed to change my invitation for the town hall on May 2 … in order for them to have coffee with me,” Nagy said.

Nagy encourages not just Ballard residents, but people from across the region, to come to the meeting and hold the city council accountable for its failure to address the city’s serious problems with drugs and homelessness.

Trinity United Methodist Church is located at 6512 23rd Avenue NW in Ballard. The town hall runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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