Mondo - If LIHi is asked to hire a police officer for their (estimated) 50 people a day, I assume you also think each bar down on Ballard AV should hire a police officer? I've never been harassed by any of our local homeless but some of those hipster drunks have been down right nasty. Hiring a police officer for fifty people over the course of a day... These are people, we don't have to be so afraid of them.
Ballard Urban Rest Stop update(88 posts)
What I keep hearing in this and other related threads is the dual face of homelessness, and even I, after being faced with that reality two years ago, have a very hard time seeing solutions that truly help those who need a boost to get back on their feet without enabling the population who have lost all sense of purposeful living. Even the latter group, I believe, is made up of those who have spiraled downward in need of mental healing (which really does nor exist in our overwhelmed society) and those who have perfected a game on the system and the rest of us.
There's no easy answer to how we help someone who has worked hard in life but because of illness or layoff is now in true need of our compassion and inclusion. Please don't ignore or punish them because you want to distance yourself from those who have given up.
I'm also surprised that no one has suggested having the LIHI fund a police officer to be stationed on that block (or at the park) in order to respond to issues caused by folks drawn to the area by the URS.
Stationed on that block? LOL! I'm sure a cop would die of boredom within a month of being "stationed on that block". Also, what, exactly, do you think that it would cost to hire a full time cop to stand watch over the scary poor people doing their laundry? Probably well over $100K. LOL....again.
The hyperbole and paranoid fantasies on this thread have reached an all time high, even for MyBallard. Gawd, who knew that a few laundry machines and showers would result in the total destruction of Ballard at the hands of a homeless zombie apocalypse?
The more I think about "a police officer stationed on the block" the more offended I am. This isn't a police state and these are people washing laundry, a legal, and encouraged, activity These aren't monsters or demons, these are people, very real human people. People who want a warm shower and clean clothes.
for the second time on this thread......Cate +1
You might want to check out what a "police state" really is, Cate :) I'm not worried we'll end up with an overt one here, although all the behind-the-scenes data slurping without court oversight does have me worried. All I'm saying is that having police nearby would help nip any disturbances in the bud, whether they come from in front of the URS, the Ballard Commons Park, NW 56th St (I'm guessing most here haven't observed the ruckus there around 2AM on party nights as I have), or the bars closer to the Ship Canal. I think it would be great to have the bars chip in to help pay -- good suggestion!
Plenty of humans are monsters or demons; trying to whitewash any given population as composed only of saints tends to lead to conflict when reality steps in to school us.
Just to clarify things, do any of the other posters here actually live within a block or two of the Commons Park/Library/URS? If you don't, I'd urge you to walk/ride through the area at various times of day and night (yes, even at 2AM bar closing time) to get a feel for what those of us who do live here experience.
From another perspective, would any of you feel comfortable sending elementary school-aged children (say 3rd-5th graders) on their own to walk/ride to the Ballard Library or Commons Park at some time of the day?
"The more I think about "a police officer stationed on the block" the more offended I am."
Sheeesh, Cate. If you are a proponent of this, to the point of it being a net benefit to society locally, and accept no premise of it being a problem what-so-ever. You should welcome added eyeballs to prove it.
It may very well prove out that drunken frat boys and dope smoking teens are the major issue here.
btw, I don't think a dude dying on a bench at Ballard Commons is any better off for us being an enabling magnet for him, nor would a shower and clean clothes be any better to stumble around in drunk.
I really wish folks that talked compassion walked it a few times. If you care about anybody, you want better for them, not make it easier to stomach the worst for them.
I'm not within a block or two (from Ballard Commons) but not much further. I have definitely gone through the park at every part of the day and realize that it attracts undesirables, particularly when the weather is nice.
hiring a police officer does seem a bit extreme to me. unless that person also folded clothes or maybe did a little ironing.
imagine how wonderful this area would look with the homeless all freshly-scrubbed and wearing steam-pressed outfits?
or perhaps that person also policed the laundromat area to ensure no one removes someone else's clothes from the dryer if they're not around.
I think 3rd grade is a little young to be walking out & about alone, but I'd let a 5th grader go through this area alone. I would be more worried about some idiot driver hitting them than being harassed/attacked in the park (assuming this is during the day and there are other people around).
"I really wish folks that talked compassion walked it a few times"
you have no clue, pal.
So, I live 3 blocks from the proposed URS, is that close enough to have an opinion?
"What I keep hearing in this and other related threads is the dual face of homelessness, and even I, after being faced with that reality two years ago, have a very hard time seeing solutions that truly help those who need a boost to get back on their feet without enabling the population who have lost all sense of purposeful living. Even the latter group, I believe, is made up of those who have spiraled downward in need of mental healing (which really does nor exist in our overwhelmed society) and those who have perfected a game on the system and the rest of us."
This is the most realistic, sensible comment I've read in this entire thread. I also agree with SP's following comment about not ignoring or punishing those who need assistance and will take it, versus the homeless-as-lifestyle-choice types.
I don't disagree with the need for an URS in Ballard, but I am concerned about the already increased level of vagrancy and illegal behavior at Ballard Commons, less than a block from the proposed site. I fear that situating the URS there will just bring more of that element to the area and really think it's the wrong location for this. I don't see anything wrong with locating it near the food bank or in the Fred Meyer area (where a lot of car campers live). The food bank is a complementary service and either location would be close to transit lines.
Marigold and Cate, if you happened to own a home on the block where the URS is proposed to be located, would you still want it there? If you're honest, I really don't think you would.
FWIW, I own a home three blocks from Ballard Commons. I'm invested in the neighborhood and don't want to see it downgraded. That's my concern about this, and about Ballard Commons. This is our home and our investment.
To answer Mondomans question I live a block from URS and 2 from the commons. I used to bring my son to the commons all the time. I would now just as soon go to Golden Gardens or the Locks.
I am not "afraid" of any of these people, I am 6-2 240 and can take care of myself just fine. The issue is I just don't want to hear with the potential for an issue. Nor do I want the risk of my son being exposed to behavior in public I don't want him exposed to. Or picking up a needle, or any of the other undesirable behaviors that go on there.
With regard to the URS, I don't think a residential area is where they belong. People can talk all they want about most of the people there trying to get back on their feet and being deserving, and that is likely true. That being said there will be a percentage of a bad element, criminals, drug users, and sex offenders mixed in. I don't think being in an area with families and children is a good mix.
You can call me a NIMBY or whatever, but the reality is I pay a lot to live here and a lot in taxes, some of which funds these programs, and if I don't want this in my backyard I have every right to feel that way.
It really sucks that the Commons is a place you no longer feel comfortable taking your son, PG. I completely understand why. And I agree with you that while the URS would serve people who are genuinely trying to get back on their feet, I think it will also attract an undesirable element.
My concerns about the Commons and the URS are, like yours, completely influenced by living nearby and being a homeowner. You absolutely have a right to feel that way. You have a personal stake in what happens in the neighborhood.
Well Compass Rose I bought in the Ballard Urban core knowing that it was a designated Urban Village and seeking that diversity. On my block, one block from the Commons by the way, is the largest subsidized housing building in the Ballard area - most of you probably don't know it is there. It's residents are either older or disabled, some with mental illness. Knew that when I bought. Now Urness House is also going to be older residents, I haven't heard anyone object to that. And of course the URS. From my experience they will be easier to live with then the drunk hipsters who take over on Friday and Saturday night (and I enjoy that slice of urban life as well). So yes, it would be fine with me if they were on my block instead of three blocks away. My guess is two years after it opens it will be a non-issue. I think I will take the URS over some home-baked cookies when they open. I am sure the clients and staff will appreciate being welcomed to the neighborhood.
Unless you came here before the mid-1980s this was a designated Urban Village when you arrived. They are not asking for a zoning variance, it was already zoned to allow this type of structure.
Right on Cate.
Well, Cate, maybe you're a better person than I am if you truly wouldn't mind having the URS on your block. That's not the kind of "diversity" I want next door to where I'm living.
Cate- you continue to ignore the fact there will be an undesirable element mixed in with the rest. You may not like the drunk hipsters, but at least they are contributing to society, not leeching off it.
Why are you so certain that these individuals are not contributing to society? I have known people living in vehicles who worked but could not find or afford housing on minimum wage or part-time hours. Seattle is an expensive city to live in. Now I know that the majority of these clients will probably be unemployed or disabled but a sizable minority will be working poor who need facilities like this to maintain their jobs.
That being said there will be a percentage of a bad element, criminals, drug users, and sex offenders mixed in
Yep, probably a similar percentage to that in the rest of the Ballard population.
Ernie- I would be shocked if the percentages are the same
Regardless of the degree to which one may or may not contribute to society, here are the problems The Cosmopolitan, the high rise across from the URS downtown has regularly experienced as a direct result of that facility:
*Loitering at all hours of the day and night
*Urinating on the building
*Hanging out and/or sleeping in the entry to their garage and startling residents
*Singing (in the middle of the night)
*Attempts to get into their building (they have a night concierge that addresses this)
*Drug and alcohol use
URS clients queue up to get in at all hours when the facility is closed. Like – starting at midnight. They basically camp out there.
The police are there ~ 2 times / week
Fire is there ~ 2 times / month (because they have set something on fire)
LIHI has asked the clients not to do these things, but it has no effect. And there is nothing they can do.
For those of us that live urination distance away, these activities are the concern.
BTW, the Cosmopolitan's residential space begins on the 8th floor. People on NW 57th live on the ground floor. Additionally, the residents of the facility are to be elderly.
Cate, I have no problem with the type of people you're describing and do support providing services for those people. But like Poker, I suspect the presence of URS would also attract an undesirable element of people hanging around outside - the type of people who currently hang around Ballard Commons. That's why I don't think that the proposed site, which is surrounded by residences, is a good place for this. I'm guessing it wasn't what the people who bought the new townhouses next door - I.e. their homes - when they bought there. Most people would not knowingly choose to buy a place next to a future URS.
@Poker. Yeah, probably not the same, but probably not dramatically different either. There are a lot of people living in houses that you wouldn't want around your family. We've had a few on our block over the years.
Sillygirl's post sums up my concerns about the proposed URS location. Why would LIHI want to subject the building's residences and their neighbors to that? Who would want to live near that?
Oops. Accidental double post.
I have thought that the combination of an URS and housing for older residents is interesting, two very different clientele. Am wondering how they will work out some of the differing needs.
Cate, there is a dual type building in Hillbillyland that is half low income with kids type housing and half retirement. Seems a crazy mix to me, perhaps it's opportunistic for the builder? Who's to say.
Silly_girl, thank you for that. CR too, you are always a very logical voice in this all.
I actually try to look at it both ways, as a client and as a resident living in the area. As a client, I'd actually prefer more of an industrial area. I'd be somewhat ashamed, I'd want it on a bus route, and I wouldn't want to be lining up in front of someones house. As a resident near the facility, I wouldn't want it either.
There's no harm in LIHI admitting they made a mistake in trying to tack on an URS to an otherwise standard low income senior housing development in a residential area. I'm hoping that they've learned from this experience and next time will make a set of criteria in advance as to what area(s) need an URS and what access and design considerations make for an URS that functions well and fits in its neighborhood. The fact that they *still* haven't figured out how to zone it is not an encouraging indication as to the competence of their staff.
Personally, I think there's a reasonable chance that nobody will show up at the URS because it's out of the way and the local Commons crowd won't be interested in it, and that we'll just end up with lots of money wasted and a neighborhood antagonized for no good reason.
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