Urban Rest Stop comes under fire

The people behind a proposed low income housing development in Ballard quickly lost control of a community meeting Wednesday night as residents demanded answers about plans to bring an Urban Rest Stop to the neighborhood. Instead of starting with a formal presentation on the design of the building, organizers were forced to scrap their agenda to answer a barrage of questions from about three dozen concerned neighbors.

“Is this a done deal or can we fight it,” said one resident.


Urban Rest Stop program manager Ronni Gilboa speaks to the crowd

The Urban Rest Stop, which would be on street level of the building at 2014 NW 57th Street, is part of the project proposed by the Low Income Housing Institute. The building’s upper floors would be home to up to 60 units of low income housing, with 20 percent set aside for the homeless.  Wednesday night, we learned the specifics of what the Urban Rest Stop portion of the facility would include:

  • Operating hours of 6am to 2pm (Mon-Fri only)
  • 75 to 100 people expected each day
  • 5 shower rooms
  • Laundry area
  • Health room

Ronni Gilboa, the program manager for the downtown Urban Rest Stop, explained that the proposed facility in Ballard would basically be a place for people to come in and clean up to start the day with showers and laundry.  Gilboa said 60 percent of people who use the downtown facility are employed, but only at minimum wage.

“It’s really boring.  People come in to take care of themselves,” Gilboa told the crowd.  The organizers also said that Ballard was currently underserved by low income housing with many people being pushed out of the neighborhood by skyrocketing home prices and rent.

But many in the audience, including a group of people who live in the area near the proposed building, say they have concerns about what happens when the rest stop isn’t open.  They worry about lines forming outside the building in the overnight hours as the homeless wait for the rest stop to open. 

“You have no way to protect us when you’re not open,” said one member of the audience.

Others questioned if Ballard really needed a facility like this, especially in a residential area.

“It seems like you’re bombarding Ballard,” one man told the crowd.

“There are about five cars of people that camp on that street.  I would like to know how having an urban rest stop on a residential block, not Market, helps rather than exacerbates homeless camping on this residential block,” said one neighbor.


Proposed site at 2014 NW 57th St.

But some did speak in favor of the development, including a former employee of the Ballard library and a downtown resident who says she’s invested in some Ballard condos.

“I’d say Ballard has the most pervasive homeless population of any community in Seattle except for the central library.  I know people are concerned. I’m not a resident of Ballard, but in terms of a need it’s pretty apparent to people who work in the library that there are homeless people here all the time and there’s definitely a need for a rest stop,” said the library employee.

“I had more problems with the party people,” said the downtown resident who used to live in Belltown.  “Over where I’m at right now with Urban Rest Stop right next door, there’s an orderliness,” the downtown resident said.

Sharon Lee, executive director of the Low Income Housing Institute, said the property has not been purchased yet.  LIHI will be depending on a mix of private funding and government programs.  She says they currently have no plans to proceed with the development unless the Urban Rest Stop is included.  Lee told the audience that more community meetings will be planned as the project moves forward.

400 comments on “Urban Rest Stop comes under fire”

  1. That’s certainly a way of looking at it. I respectfully disagree. Thank you for sharing.

    By the way, is your bank account insured by the FDIC? Do you get a tax deduction for your mortgage interest and property taxes? Do you eat food, use energy, spend money? Then you’re on the dole, too. Don’t ever make the mistake of thinking your lifestyle isn’t subsidized. Go ahead and tell me I’m wrong, but I’m not. Read your history.

  2. Sorry I’ve caused you so much misery, Rondi. Reasonable Debate is the only one of your supporters who has been articulate and reasonable. Do you really want to align yourself with the likes of Barfly, Andrew, Guest (however many of him/her there are) and TTTCOTTH? You may have noticed that most of my posts were in response to their rabble-rousing.

    But look at it this way. This forum is pushing 400 posts. No doubt it’s being watched by quite a few people. Lots of free publicity for your issue.

    You’re welcome.

  3. Last time I checked, cops, fireman and teachers weren’t out on the Commons getting sh*t-faced, doing dope and harassing homeowners.

  4. I have no problem with my kids seeing the occasional bum, it’s an important lesson to them on what happens when you refuse to follow civilization’s and society’s most basic rules.

    What I don’t want them to have to deal with is an army of them.

  5. “It’s really mostly luck.”

    No, it’s not. It’s about bad choices made over many years. Luck has nothing to do with it. I’ve seen bad luck, earthquakes, floods etc. That’s bad luck. Being a petty criminal and drunk who refuses to follow the most basic rules of a Seattle shelter to get yourself off the streets? That’s a choice.

  6. no last, this thread is not about you even though you may think so. note the reply link next to the time of my entry???? if not, the reply was for cdpenne.

  7. Oh, and one question, RD.

    Why are you calling me out for (my admitted) rudeness, while letting the (in my opinion) far more vitriolic posters such as Barfly and Guest off scott-free, despite the fact that nearly every one of my sarcastic posts was in response to inflammatory and mostly unreasonable comments?

    Is it because you know that you actually have a chance of getting through to me, which you did? That I have a consciense you can appeal to?

    I’d like to think that it was because you were distressed by the damage my rapier wit was doing to the likes of Barfly, and you nobly wanted to level the playing field to give the poor schlubs a chance. :-)

  8. Personally, I believe it’s more complicated than that; I think that happenstance has a far greater impact on our lives that we like to admit. I doubt that we’ll be able to persuade each other differently. Our world views are just too far apart.

    But think of it this way: if your world was completely under your control, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, because I wouldn’t exist to annoy you.

  9. Not about me? How can that be? :-)

    You are right, of course. I wasn’t looking closely enough. My apologies,

  10. And I have two words for anyone who assumes that all employed, productive people are kind, upright citizens who are not down on their luck: Gary Ridgway.

    What did we prove by our examples, Rose? Exactly nothing.

  11. Perhaps you should look up the definition of “sarcasm”. Please report your findings to the forum. Thanks.

  12. I don’t think anger is the appropriate response. Just my opinion. You, of course, have every right to be as pissed-off as you want to be. And I have a right to disagree with you.

    Too much anger in the world. Doesn’t help a thing. Try something else for a change.

  13. Mondoman, you may think the scenarios are improbable, but consider this:

    If a different sperm (out of millions in the vicinity) had gotten there first, you wouldn’t even exist. Someone would, but it wouldn’t be you. And you think circumstance doesn’t matter? In some ways, it’s the most important thing of all.

  14. That is because this messed up city cannot seem to find the fund for additional police officers, but we can seem to find them for bike lanes and washing machines for the homeless.

  15. A little righteous anger is justified every now and then.. it does a body good. The problem is the format. The above comment was to one of the “Guests” 8 comments above: “Don’t confuse compassion with stupidity and naïveté. Common mistake for 18 year olds or those who haven’t learned much about the world” I know plenty about the world and more than enough to call bullshit on that comment.

  16. Believe it or not, I agree as well. But we should “follow the money” and examine how these various services and projects are funded before making assumptions that the situation is either/or. But the point is well taken.

    Perhaps the Federal government could end our property tax deduction and funnel the extra tax revenue to the municipalities. That would help a lot. And yes, I own a home and benefit from the deduction.

  17. And the bike trail, the BCOC, fireworks, Piccolino’s, Sunset Bowl, Denny’s, and on and on and on. Lots of discussion doesn’t necessarily reflect lots of legitimate complaints, and CERTAINLY not ones from people who may have a legitimate right to complain due to proximity or involvement.

    Remember, these forums are all about subjectivity. They are not a reliable source of factual information.

  18. Fair enough.

    But then, maybe I actually care about the issue.

    Just sayin’.

  19. Only in the first chapter. It’s a tough slog, but the book only uses the stereotypes as a framing device for lengthy examinations of many factors affecting the family. Extreme financial hardship aka poverty (which, like it or not, is quite intertwined with homelessness) is discussed at length throughout the book. NOT, as you imply, just pointing out that not everyone in 50’s America lived like the Nelsons and the Cleavers.

    Reading a few Amazon reviews does not substitute for reading the whole book.

    And I disagree that I have been using the terms interchangeably, but your comment is noted, and I’ll be be careful about that.

  20. Fisking you is too easy. Banks, which are private companies, pay for the FDIC insurance. I don’t have a mortgage, I own free and clear. I pay for all of my utilities , food etc. No my friend, I am not on the dole, and never have been. I have never begrudged paying paxes for necessary services. Trust me. Assuaging your charitable needs with my money isn’t a necessary service.

  21. You clearly have no idea of how the United States economy actually works, or how it developed over the last 100 years. There’s really no point in discussing it with you. Thanks for trying, though.

  22. There’s a pretty impressive number of hits in Google for “TTTCOTTH”… you get around my friend. And it’s clear that you and I have little to agree about when it comes to politics. For the sake of civility and community, it’s best we agree to only discuss dogs, which we both love, from now on. I have three, by the way, and I love them dearly.

  23. I guess you read the Cliff Notes edition. Or maybe Rush Limbaugh didn’t like the book. Whatever. We all bring different things to the table. You have your version of objectivity, and I have mine. Thanks for the discussion.

  24. Last Answer

    I couldn’t reply to your last insightful (not) observation so I’ll do it here. Unlike you I didn’t get my economic knowledge from Chomsky or Alinsky, I got it from actually being in business. Economic growth only happens in the private sector where people invest, and add value to products and services. Talking with you about economics is the equivalent of speaking to a bucket of cement. All and all I wish you well in whatever task you pursue. I hope you discover personal freedom at some point so you aren’t doomed to the control of someone else your entire life.

    At any rate I have a party to prepare for. Happy Halloween!

  25. Double-Amen to that, old Hippy Girl. I’m a van-dweller (an employed van-dweller, mind you) who has been in Ballard for years, and I can guarantee that most of the people who are engaged in unpleasant public behavior, littering the streets and parks with beer cans, and so forth, are the ones who are then staggering back to their townhomes afterward — either that, or to their parents’ houses! Since I’m on the street, I see it all the time. I have high-school kids asking me to buy them beer at least once a week. I won’t do it, but when people are hungry and some spoiled brat is waving a twenty under their noses, well, sooner or later the kids are going to find somebody who will get it for them. People who are afraid that a facility that will help us stay clean is going to encourage the “bad elements” in the town need to take a hard look at who it really is that is getting into fights and passing out in the park on any given Saturday night. There’s like, maybe five or ten bums who are a regular problem (out of the hundreds of us who are here), and other than that it is *all* people from the towers and the well-groomed neighborhoods who are trashing out the place. Thanks for your support in helping to keep Ballard real.

  26. The reason is much more mundane: opportunity. By the time I started posting, you had more responses and many of them were longer than the average post. A simple blindsiding ad hominem, of which many on this board are guilty, cannot be critiqued beyond mere identification (“that’s an ad hominem”). Your posts had more text to examine. I certainly wouldn’t want you to leave.

  27. Cliff notes? Rush Limbaugh? Really? THAT is your response to someone who had a different take on a book, and called you out on applying it to a broader group than the original subject? Wow. Just wow.

    (for the record, I subscribe to Al Franken’s philosophy on Limbaugh, and am starting to think it applies to you as well.)

  28. OK, you’re right. My sarcasm was unjustified. I apologize.

    But I still don’t believe you actually read the whole book, because your statements about its contents are demonstrably incorrect.

    Again, I apologize for being impolite. I will not apologize for calling you out for making false statements about the book.

    At best, your retention and comprehension of the material is poor. At worst, you are deliberately misrepresenting it as a tactic to undermine my recommendation that people read it, and the credibility of my belief that the book is quite relevant to a discussion of poverty and discrimination against the poor (including the homeless poor).

    Wow, yourself.

  29. LastAnswer

    Here’s beautiful thing to wrap yourself up in. Your world view needs me. You need me to make money and pay taxes so you can spend it. My world view requires nothing of you. To me you’re like navel lint.
    Nothing more then white noise in the background. As I said earlier needing others to support you and your beliefs is like a chain holding you down. Although I doubt it, make you’ll break free at some point.

    At any rate, it’s nice to be needed.

  30. How very American I’ve been: quantity, not necessary quality. :-)

    I’ve come to the conclusion that these forums do nothing but prompt the participants to dig in and fortify their positions; nobody ever seems to consider the points being made and soften their position, whichever side of the issue they are on. It’s mostly a shout fest.

    And yes, when you isolate and decontextualize my sarcastic comments as you did, a case can certainly be made that I was shouting as loud as anybody. But those sentences usually came at the end of a longer post, one with valid statements, reasonable queries that usually went unanswered, and even reading recommendations. This particular 1% of my contribution to this forum may support your argument, but the other 99% does not. If you searched through Barfly’s posts, you could construct a list of inflammatory and/or insulting remarks as long as the one you have of mine, but it would comprise a much larger percentage of his output. Nearly all, in fact.

    I suspect you are mounting an assault on a small part of what I have written as a tactic to undermine my credibility and therefore invalidate all of what I have written. That is a classic ad hominem tactic, by the way, the very thing you are (inaccurately) accusing me of. You don’t address the actual logic of my argument, you point out flaws in its presentation in an attempt to invalidate the argument itself.

    Why do you care enough to put in the obvious effort that you have? Am I that dangerous? Or do you just have higher expectations of me than you do of Barfly?

    And in the future, please don’t use ad hominem arguments to argue against ad hominem arguments.

  31. You are a very arrogant person. And I don’t appreciate being called “navel lint”.

    You want to put it at that level, after I tried to demonstrate to you that I’m a full-fledged human being who has lived a good life, had experiences, and has learned something from his experiences? You’re going to insult me because you disagree with some of the opinions I have legitimately formed from living my own life, a life that I have as much right to as you do to yours?

    You call me navel lint? You don’t deserve a dog, you nasty, hate-filled person.

  32. Oh, and you want to compare our total tax bills for, say, the last 40 years? I’d say there’s a fair chance I’ve paid a lot more into the system than you have, my friend. You need me as much as I need you. The difference between us is that you just don’t see it.

  33. Oh, and one more time, because I guess I haven’t been clear about this in my innumerable posts.

    I am not arguing “for” the URS per se. I am arguing that people should give it a chance, really consider it, rather than reject it out of hand because “it will bring more bums to the neighborhood”, which has been the prevailing sentiment.

    The crux of my argument is that objectively considering the URS is the right thing to do as relatively affluent Americans in present-day society.

    I base this upon the following propositions:

    -that the URS provides a valuable and helpful service to its clientele.
    -that the potential URS clientele is not composed entirely of “undesirables” who will have a negative effect on the community.
    -that the risk of attracting those “undesirables” outweighs the good done by the URS.
    -that the potential URS clientele, regardless of their possible “undesirability”, are human and deserving of reasonable assistance.
    -that, should just a couple of circumstances beyond our control change in any of our lives, we could find ourselves in the position of needing the services of charitable organizations such as the one proposing the URS, and that should spark some empathy in us.

    Much of the opposition expressed in this forum has been based upon an aversion to the potential clientele of the URS. It is this aversion that I have been addressing. It’s an attitude that precludes further consideration of the URS as an addition to our neighborhood.

    It may well be that there are very good reasons for not building the URS here, and I am happy to consider them and support them if they make sense. But rejecting the whole concept because “it’ll bring bums into the neighborhood” is not, in my opinion, a valid argument. And it’s almost the only argument against the facility that has been made in this forum; practical concerns have been vaguely mentioned by a few posters, but the “anti-bum” sentiment prevails.

    And once again, I cop to being impolite at times. But that doesn’t, in itself, invalidate the argument I have been making. So, instead of attacking me as a fool as so many in this forum have, how about addressing my actual argument, which is: please set aside “bum-phobia” and give the concept of the URS in our neighborhood fair consideration.

    Thank you.

  34. Oh, and one more time, because I guess I haven’t been clear about this in my innumerable posts.

    I am not arguing “for” the URS per se. I am arguing that people should give it a chance, really consider it, rather than reject it out of hand because “it will bring more bums to the neighborhood”, which has been the prevailing sentiment.

    The crux of my argument is that objectively considering the URS is the right thing to do as relatively affluent Americans in present-day society.

    I base this upon the following propositions:

    -that the URS provides a valuable and helpful service to its clientele.
    -that the potential URS clientele is not composed entirely of “undesirables” who will have a negative effect on the community.
    -that the risk of attracting those “undesirables” outweighs the good done by the URS.
    -that the potential URS clientele, regardless of their possible “undesirability”, are human and deserving of reasonable assistance.
    -that, should just a couple of circumstances beyond our control change in any of our lives, we could find ourselves in the position of needing the services of charitable organizations such as the one proposing the URS, and that should spark some empathy in us.

    Much of the opposition expressed in this forum has been based upon an aversion to the potential clientele of the URS. It is this aversion that I have been addressing. It’s an attitude that precludes further consideration of the URS as an addition to our neighborhood.

    It may well be that there are very good reasons for not building the URS here, and I am happy to consider them and support them if they make sense. But rejecting the whole concept because “it’ll bring bums into the neighborhood” is not, in my opinion, a valid argument. And it’s almost the only argument against the facility that has been made in this forum; practical concerns have been vaguely mentioned by a few posters, but the “anti-bum” sentiment prevails.

    And once again, I cop to being impolite at times. But that doesn’t, in itself, invalidate the argument I have been making. So, instead of attacking me as a fool as so many in this forum have, how about addressing my actual argument, which is: please set aside “bum-phobia” and give the concept of the URS in our neighborhood fair consideration.

    Thank you.

  35. Moderator — I suggest you close this item to any more comments. Really, no new news or new ideas are being presented by any of us. Ballard is NOT looking good here.

  36. By that, I assume that you’re saying that I think I’m always right. Not so; when I’m wrong, I readily admit it. It’s just that this time, I’m not wrong. You’ve said absolutely nothing that indicates that you read or understood the book.

    I apologize to you for being impolite, and you tell me to “get over myself”? Take your own advice, OK?

  37. Yes, too many stupid hippies around embarassing us. Move to Fremont why don’t you.

  38. No, the guy with the big afro isn’t hurting me. I’m just suspicious of what he and his cronies are doing hanging out at the park day after day. I seriously doubt they’re trying to bootstrap themselves out of homelessness and into being working, contributing members of the community.
    I never once said or implied that homelessness is “always” a choice. What I did say is that it’s sometimes a choice. And I really don’t believe that people who are trying to lift themselves out of homeless are the people who will be dropping by URS to take a shower. It’s the other types, the Mr. President types, who are more likely to use those services.
    If you want to see a realistic face of homelessness, go to the Ballard Food Bank. There you’ll see moms, people who are laid off or underemployed, seniors, young people – in other words, a regular cross-section of the community. Those are not the people aimlessly hanging out at the park, and they’re not the people who are likely to be using URS.
    My issue with the drop-in services of URS is that I believe they just facilitate and encourage homelessness, rather than offering a solution to get people off the streets.

  39. I tried to reply with a link to the 2008 LIHI filing which showed your total compensation of $190k, but due to the link I was moderated. Technically you’re right, you don’t make exactly $200k. But if we extrapolate from 2008, the last year for which data is available, at the 8-9% annual raises you were getting in the 2 years prior, you’d be at well over $200k. Nice work if you can get it.

  40. I tried to reply with a link to the 2008 LIHI filing which showed your total compensation of $190k, but due to the link I was moderated. Technically you’re right, you don’t make exactly $200k. But if we extrapolate from 2008, the last year for which data is available, at the 8-9% annual raises you were getting in the 2 years prior, you’d be at well over $200k. Nice work if you can get it.

  41. I live very near this proposed Urban Rest Stop and I have to deal with the existing consequences of Ballard already having so many homeless in the area. I’m constantly having to clean up mess and garbage dumped on my property and with persons arguing outside my place late night and early morning. IMHO, a residential area like this is not appropriate to host this type of facility. And yes, if I’m honest, I am concerned about my personal safety and that of property values.
    For the people that say I’m crying NIMBY, I challenge you to come and live in the area. Then let’s see what you have to say.

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