Proposed low-income housing draws mixed reviews

Housing the homeless is a good idea, right? But what happens when the housing is next door to you?

On Monday night at Ballard High School, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development convened a design review board that consisted of architects from the Weinstein AIU architectural firm. The purpose of the public meeting was to discuss design options (.pdf) for newly approved low-income housing in downtown Ballard.

The housing is being developed by the Compass Center, a longtime fixture in downtown Seattle. It will be 57,000 square feet, seven stories high and house 80 residents. The building site is on Northwest 56th Street between 17th and 20th Avenues Northwest.

The Compass Center Ballard will be a new housing facility that will provide housing for homeless and low-income men and women who have issues that range from mental health to drug and alcohol dependency, according to its website.

Rumi Takahashi, the project’s lead architect, said although the project is in its early design stages, it will move forward and the Compass Center has already purchased the land. “They have now recently secured funding for the project, so financially we’re a go,” Takahashi said. She added that the money comes from a combination of public sources: the state, the county and the city.

Although the meeting was supposed to be about design options, local residents seemed more concerned with how the residents of the Compass Center Ballard will interact with the community.

Mike Yamaguchi, the owner of the Landmark Apartments and whose building will border the new Compass Center Ballard, said neither he nor any of the landowners nearby were given any notice about the construction of the housing.

“They tried to slide this entire project right behind our back,” Yamaguchi said.

Yamaguchi added that the lack of adequate parking combined with a substantial increase in people could cause problems.

“When you have that mass of people in a small space, violence occurs—all the time,” Yamaguchi said.

Dave Jarrell, an architect who works across the street from the Compass Center Ballard site, said this project has not been clearly communicated about to Ballard residents. He said they probably knew this would concern some people and instead of being upfront about it, they tried to “slide it by” everyone.

“Right away they should have been upfront with the notice here, that it wasn’t just low- income, that it was a segment of low-income that more people would probably be interested in finding out about,” Jarrell said.

Not everyone at the meeting had concerns about the housing. Melissa Hyatt, chair of the safety and security committee at St. Alphonsus Parish School in Ballard, said the project to build the Compass Center has been very visible and she couldn’t understand how some residents didn’t know about it. “Are you not reading your mail? This has been spoken about at the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, the Ballard District Council; this is a well-known project,” Hyatt said. Hyatt said she represents St. Alphonsus and was present at the meeting to support the project. “I am not at all concerned about this building; I think they’re doing it exactly right,” Hyatt said. “I think this is a great place for it.” When asked if she was concerned about the residents being a threat to anyone, Hyatt said she wasn’t. “Data supports that when you take people off the streets and you put them in a stable home they actually settle down, become much more stable,” Hyatt said. Hyatt said the naysayers of the project would say that they want to help the homeless, but when it comes time to “walk the walk,” they’d rather just “talk the talk.” “I don’t think you’d be able to find any location near them (where) they would support a project like this,” Hyatt said.

The Compass Center Ballard project is currently in the first of three stages prior to the breaking of ground and has no completion date yet.

(Contributor CHRIS MONGILLO is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.)

183 thoughts to “Proposed low-income housing draws mixed reviews”

  1. It is infuriating that some people think they get to decide what landowners can do with their property. The zoning allows it, they own the land, and they can build what they want. If you don’t like it, go buy up the rest of the land. We need to encourage development. If we don’t, then landowners just sit on the land and we are left looking at wastelands of what used to be. Then they sell the land and the cycle continues.

  2. It's too bad the NIMBYs ran wild over the meeting. Their greviances were displayed at the wrong venue. I'm not saying their concerns aren't valid. Only that there is a time and place for everything. There haven't been any secrets associated with this project.

  3. For people who couldn't attend the meeting last night, how might we be able to provide feedback? I'm concerned about the parking issue.

  4. from the sounds of how this meeting was run, the nimby's may never get their chance and this will continued to be stifled. the compass center doesn't want to hear about the obvious hence no need for a meeting about it.

  5. What parking issue? Their employees may need parking, but the residents most certainly won't.

    Personally, I'd rather see a charity with a long-standing history of helping people get back on their feet locate in Ballard than another overnight shelter for transients.

  6. Screw you. Why don't you invite the homeless to come live in YOUR house? Until you do that, you're a complete hypocrite. It's morons like you that have ruined this city.

    More NIMBYs, please.

  7. You'll get both.

    How about we try to maintain the number of homeless in Ballard, rather than always seeking to increase their number? If the Compass Center wants to move in another 80 homeless people, fine, then 80 beds at some other shelter need to close first.

    Why is it suddenly Ballard's responsibility to solve the world's problem, alone? I don't see homeless shelters flooding into other neighborhoods. But here – bring on as many as you can bus in!

  8. Sweeet! According to your logic then it's totally cool for me to build a twenty story industrial pig farm right next door to your house. Where do you live?

  9. Wake UP! This structure is 75 ft tall. It will shout at everyone on Market Street. All will then see, oh that building is for the homeless and they feed their tenants daily. So, what kind of magnet do you think this will be? Just maybe Compass can apply to widen the alley so we can fit more rejected tenants who lingers for their chance at opportunity.

    This project again is funded by local, state and private monies. So yes, our tax dollar is hard at work to support these tenants who are unemployed or maybe level 2 or 3 sex offenders! GREAT I sure can see Ballard turning into a ghost town!

  10. The time to fight this project was many months ago. Why is it that seattle citizens wait until the last minute to bitch and complain about something. Compass buying this property took place a long time ago and was public knowledge. Doing what they do, it was obvious they would build a facility like this. A fight to stop this should have been done THEN. Maybe it is the stupid initiative system that promotes the 'last minute stoppage' mentality in people. Where initiatives are introduced to stop already voted on initiatives. Whether the Compass center is good or bad is not my point here. My point is for the lazy last minute NIMBY's and pseudo activists. You need to keep your ear to the ground and look for these kinds of deals going on to act WHEN something can be done. Not when it is too late. This is Seattle and the projects you want to stop will not have big red arrows pointing at them.

  11. Even when Compass purchased the lot a long time ago, there is no way anyone can stop the sale of public land to a private institution. It's only when they begin their application process and letter of intent or proposed land use is when a voice can be heard.

    When LiHi purchased this piece for $750,000 then sold this to Compass for approximately $2million during markets high, and with construction cost of approximately $13 million for a total project cost of $15 million, do you really think Compass would disclose their plans to the public?

    So how much more can a person keep his hears to the ground. GETREAL dude!

  12. What a bunch of snobs. I live about 1000 feet from this place and I totally support it. Homeless people aren't any worse than everyone else. Some good, some bad. You probably have the same ratios in Canal Station, Hjarta, Noma, etc.

    This plan wasn't “hidden” either. If you pay attention, information on this plan has been available for a long time. I know I've known about it forever it seems. These complainers are a bunch of jerks I think.

  13. Umm.. did you see where snoopy says “The zoning allows it”? So no, according to his logic you would not be able to build a “twenty story industrial pig farm right next door to your house” because the city would not give you a permit for it because the zoning doesn't allow that sort of building.

  14. Nobody is talking about having homeless people live IN their house, just nextdoor or nearby. I see nothing wrong with that. I'd rather have people living under a roof near my house, instead of living on the street in front of my house.

  15. Maybe this parcel of land they bought will have a bunch of trees on it, then the city will prohibit the new owners from removing them…thus impeding the development of the project.

  16. What I'd want to know is what sort of background check would be part of the screening process. What will be done to ensure sex offenders are not able to reside in the space?

  17. Building a house to give the homeless a home somehow increases the number of homeless? I don't see how you could come to that conclusion. This will reduce the number of homeless people in Ballard.

    Why in the world would you demand that 80 beds at another shelter close before they create 80 units of affordable housing. Those temporary shelters are overflowing. Do you want more people to be homeless?

  18. It's unfortunate that neighbors wait until now to comment, then accuse Compass of trying to slide something by us all. This project has been well publicized. I'm with Melissa Hyatt – this is a needed facility, a reputable program and they have an excellent architect on board. I look forward to seeing the more detailed designs in the next round of review (if not the head in the sand, sky is falling comments!).

  19. Moreover, as a fairly normal resident and not a political activist, I noticed there was no big red notice in my mailbox that said, “that crappy halfway house next door is going to be torn down–oh, and before you get too excited, it's going to be an even worse monstrosity that will have 80 homeless and mentally ill folks causing you grief all day and night. If you have a problem with this, now's the time to voice your concerns to [THIS ORGANIZATION] or show up to [THIS MEETING] so that we can nix the idea. Instead, I got a notice in the mail AFTER had already notified me of what was going on, and it essentially just said, “here's what we're gonna do.” OK, sure, I guess I'm partly to blame because I don't watch the Seattle channel all day or go online to find the meeting notes to every local government meeting–but what regular person with regular responsibilities does?! There really ought to be more reasonable expectations of what to do as an average citizen if we have a problem with what is going in next door, down the street, etc.

    Honestly, I don't have a problem with what the Compass Center is trying to do for the area–I think it's a good idea. I just don't want it next door. I'd rather have it in some industrial area so they don't keep me up all night with their drunken screaming or scare my kids when we walk down the street.

  20. Great. Lets stick a bunch of people who already have mental health issues, drug abuse issues as well as many other issues where a lot of drugs are sold in Ballard. The gas station and park closest to the proposed area are known for drugs! I have seen it while walking my dog! This is a really bad idea…

  21. God damn NIMBYs. I would much rather live next door to this compass center with its population of low income people trying to get back on their feet through honest hard work, than live next door to all of the snobby NIMBYs that populate this board and seem to be everywhere in Ballard these days that would bitch and complain if I don't try and keep up with the Jone's and much as they do.

    Props to Melissa Hyatt. We need more people like her going to these meetings.

  22. Wouldn't that have been nice? There were some gorgeous mature trees on the property before, which they took down without a blink of an eye. Broke my heart.

  23. Hey Dave, I live next door. You're welcome to come hang out with me at 2AM when they're having drunken screaming matches or when the crazies scream profanities at nothing as they walk down the street. I tolerate this because I know that they're moving down the street *to somewhere else*, but I'm not thrilled with the idea that they'll be bringing it in instead. I can't see that lonely single night desk clerk getting up and breaking up a fight in the parking lot next door because the neighborhood is sleeping.

    Also, I think that if it were true low-income housing units, where people are expected to prove they make $X and so can afford $Y for rent, this wouldn't be a concern. Instead, this is a homeless shelter. If they make a little money from begging on the street, that's “low income” to these people. I don't think these are really the same hard-working, down-on-their-luck folks that “low income housing” implies.

  24. Umm… Dah! Missed the point. But the fact that public funding seems to be the way this is being financed may have been a way to leverage changes in the project.

  25. Slow down dave you're getting too excited from your own self adulation. They way you supporters applaud this idea makes one wonder a) do you have a stake in this? b) you are blinded by your dreams of utopia. How you could think this is beneficial to the community and that it won't attract more miscreants is mind boggling. Apparently you don't have kids?? One wonders just what you would object to in your own neighborhood… hmmm, probably a church.

  26. Let's put them in Laurelhurst where there aren't drug dealers! They are so busy fighting the Children's hospital expansion maybe they won't notice. Lisa, reread your post. See any flaws?

  27. To those that live nearby, it may not be as bad as you think. The people that are doing drugs and drinking in public, fighting and causing the problems you talk about will not be the ones that apply nor get accepted into the building. The bums, criminals and derilects you mention do not want to live where they have to follow rules or go to programs. So luckily for you they will be roaming the streets like they do now, not living next door.

  28. I did, and I looked for opportunities to do something, but alas, the only place to do it was a meeting about the design. It's not about shirking responsibility. It's about being given a reasonable opportunity to take responsibility. I'm always willing to stand up for what I believe in, but what to do when I don't have any idea that there's something I may have something to say about until it's too late to say something?

    I'm fairly certain that back “many months ago” that you mention, no one was notified that there was an opportunity to say “we don't want this in on our street.” Was there an opportunity to do that?

  29. How can you possibly believe that? There are plenty of condos and apartment buildings nearby where people are expected to follow rules like paying bills, rent or mortgages, and keeping the buildings in a reasonable condition, and yet there are “bums, criminals and derilects” all over–next door, out front, sitting in lots. Are you implying that simply the presence of this building would deter people from causing a ruckus or loitering? Silliness.

  30. I think he's saying those aren't the people that will LIVE there. I'm sure some of that is true, but the whole “mentally ill” part makes me wary. How will they be mentally ill? Will they be violent offenders? Will they be paranoid schizophrenics? Or will they just have some issues with depression and need a little Prozac? Will there be rules about drinking? What about visitors? For instance, will there be some reasonable assurance there will be no prostitution? Or what about relationships? If two residents, or a resident and a non-resident have a relationship that goes bad, will the neighborhood suffer their discourse?

    The parking situation concerns me, too. Many homeless people LIVE in their cars. Will they be expected to sell or give up their cars if they live there? Will they not be allowed to live there if they have a car to live in? Or will we be expected to live with these cars parked along the street? Parking is already limited on this block, especially since it's the first block of unpaid parking in the area.

  31. How can you miss the POINT!!!!! Read slowly. It won't necessarily bring more trouble making criminals to the area, living next to the nimby's. The ones that are here already will not want to live at compass so they won't be housed 'next door' by a sanctioning organization. They will continue the lifestyle they have now, drinking and drugs on your sidewalk. They would be there whether Compass came or not. You kind of proved some people's point by your knee jerk comment without really reading what I wrote. I don't think I can explain any better.

  32. parking is already limited in many neighborhoods thanks to the developments of 12 condo's crammed onto one small lot with garages and driveways too tight for anything other than a stroller. Or the new buildings with lower parking stall requirements pushing residents to park on the street. So the parking argument doesn't get much sympathy.

  33. First off, it will no longer be free parking on that block, surely you realize that.

    Secondly, my home-owning neighbor partakes of prostitution, drinks and has the occasional loud discourse with the wife (she doesn't like the hookers). I don't think the homeless can afford hookers like his Microsoftie self can. And believe me, his hookers aren't homeless.

    I know, I know, I am not making much of a point. Thet iny point I want to make is don't assume all of those negative homeless stereotypes. There are some homeless folks who actually need a hand, a place to live to get back on their feet……….

  34. From the looks of all the comments, it looks like everybody is an expert on city planning. Everyone here must either be an economist, planner, or architect, right?

  35. I live a block away from this proposed building. I grew up in Ballard and have lived here all of my life, with the exception of 4 years when I was going to college out of town.

    I'll admit, I don't have kids, and I rent an apartment, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like I have a stake in this neighborhood. This is my hometown, I don't want to see it go downhill.

    That “eyesore” that was torn down to make way for this building was the home of some friends of mine in elementary school when I was going to Adams. I used to hang out at that house. It wasn't a very nice building back then either, but that was ok. I wasn't going to not hang out with my friends just because they didn't live in a nice house.

    I have the same attitude about my hometown today. I'm not going to avoid places in Ballard just because there are some buildings that aren't that nice. There is a real homeless problem in this city, and trying to push it off to some other neighborhood so you can live in a little Utopian bubble isn't helping solve the problem. If you want to live in a Utopian bubble where there are no homeless people, you will have to move elsewhere.

  36. The naivety of some of the people here is laughable. When the homeless degenerates are spread out there is a minimal amount of trouble. Put 80 of them under one roof and what is going to happen. These people don't live a normal life, they roam fro place to place. So this is great, lets give them a home base so they can spend their days roaming close by it drinking high gravity logger and doing drugs.

    These are people who have made messes of their lives, they will have zero respect for our community. All this will create is more crime, more pollution, more drug use, more fights and more problems overall.

    One or two roaches may be undesirable, but 80 is an infestation.

  37. Public Intoxication- Crime
    Open Container- Crime
    Illegally Purchasing Drugs- Crime
    Loitering- Crime
    Public Disturbance- Crime

    There is a difference between telling the truth and being a bigot. Even if 75% of these people are the “down on their luck” type you are trying to sell us that's 20 additional degenerates smack in the middle of our community.

    Question for you Motorrad, we will have 80 of these losers crammed into one place, how do you think they are going to spend their days?

  38. Nice to see a thoughtful reply to an admittedly harsh comment. This stuff is not easy and takes a vigilant eye and work. Waiting for the design meeting is too late. Whether it would have been possible to change events at an earlier juncture is up for debate. The truth is that there are people that have agenda's they want to keep hidden. These agendas affect the citizens. They have to be exposed BEFORE it is too late. It takes research and vigilance and time and then community action to uncover then publicize issues. There used to be investigative journalists that filled this role. Not any more and 'they' use it to their advantage. “They” count on the fact that they can keep things under wraps until it is too late. So no easy solution it seems.

  39. Two new Ballard bumpersticker ideas, please vote for your favorite:

    “Welcome to Bum-llard!”


    “Ballard Welcomes Our New Bum Overlords”

  40. Plenty of folks have mental health issues or alcohol issues. The only difference is these folks also are eligible for low-income housing. I fail to see how this is different from all the new people brought in by the huge condo projects all around downtown Ballard.

  41. Typical City of Seattle ramming something down your throat without involving you, much less giving you any notice of what they are going to do. Where is Mayor McGinn, the people's advocate on this stuff?

    Why does this kind of housing deserve prime real estate in the core of Ballard? Working people live in condos in Tukwila because they can't afford Ballard, but hey, if you are a homeless drunk or drug abuser, let the Seattle taxpayer subsidize your worthless self right smack in the middle of everything. Why don't working low income people *without* drug and alcohol issues get priority here? I could see that.

  42. You are an idiot.

    To compare people living in and buying $400,000 condos to the homeless people that plague our community is a stretch of absurd proportions.

  43. First off, it doesn't matter if parking will no longer be free. The fact that it's limited IS a problem, regardless of whether it's also a problem elsewhere. If they build smart, they can build parking lots underneath the building.

    Although your neighbor's illegal and disturbing behavior are not to be commended or condoned, I can't say that this addresses the issue. The truth is, there are far less homeowners that are disturbing their neighbors with this type of behavior (prostitution, drug dealing, issues with mental health that affect the neighbors), than those that are not homeowners in Ballard. Keep in mind, the issues I mention are not assumptions, but actual observations from this exact block. I think if you lived here, you'd have a different point of view.

    Certainly, I'm not saying that all homeless are these kinds of folks, and once again, I'm all for this type of building/solution. I just don't want it on my block. I want it in an industrial area where kids and dogs and happy taxpayers are not living.

  44. Do you know how residents will be picked for this building? Do you know anything about Compass or who will be on staff throughout the day. If so, please share what you know.

    Or are you just freaking out and freaking everyone out with a lot of conjecture. If you're upset why don't you contact Compass and get some answers to your questions and post them here – then perhaps have a conversation rooted in reality and not the apocalypse you are afraid of. Maybe you'll find out all of your fears are true – but at least you'll know what to really fight against rather than all this smoke you're spreading.

  45. call me when those condos come down to reasonable prices, like under $200k for a 1 bedroom. Until then I'm perfectly happy saving my money by renting an equivalent apartment for under $1,500/month.

    But that is a whole other topic…

  46. Well publicized?
    “Mike Yamaguchi, the owner of the Landmark Apartments and whose building will border the new Compass Center Ballard, said neither he nor any of the landowners nearby were given any notice about the construction of the housing. “

  47. haha… I have witnessed Ballard become “plaqued” over the last decade with people buying $400,000 condos. It just depends on your definition of “plaugued” :)

  48. maybe because the people that live in Tukwila can afford cars to drive to work? The people that will be moving into this house don't have the means to live in the suburbs. They need to live where they can work.

  49. Mike Yamaguchi seems to think that having more square feet per resident would eliminate all crime. We should just pass an ordinance that makes it illegal for anyone to live in any dwelling less than 3000 Sq feet and without a waterfront view within King County thus ensuring a Utopian Society for all.

  50. As someone who is very involved with St. Alphonsus Parish and Parish School I find it difficult to believe that this Melissa Hyatt is representing the school as she claims. The Parish and Parish School are very good at communicating with the Parish community regarding matters such as this and where they stand. To date I have not received any sort of official statement on the matter from the Parish or the School. And, in general, if a stance is to be taken it would come from either the Parish Priest or the school Principal.

  51. Dave, this is an interesting viewpoint. From the perspective of a long long long time Ballard resident who moved to escape the Yuppies who moved in during the condo craze I can somewhat see your perspective.

    However, your assertion that people 'will have to move elsewhere' to avoid changes in the neighborhood is just bogus. When I was a renter I had the same loftiness about relocating because moving was simple. As an owner (not in Ballard anymore) I can tell you that trying to relocate anywhere in a downturn economy is next to impossible. Home (and condo) owners have a much bigger steak in the neighborhood because, well they are stuck (effectively trapped) there for the foreseeable future.

    Try to imagine that you're already underwater on some dwelling nearby to the point where you cannot move. Once your put yourself in that mindset you'll quickly understand why many people who live nearby are concerned about a building that will further erode their home values and keep them from being able to 'move elsewhere' as easily as you can.

  52. Ballard is the new Downtown Seattle anyway. Honestly, it started looking more like it in 2008 when I moved out. If you want a preview of Ballard 2015, just go hang out at 3rd & Pike or 2nd & Stewart.

  53. What's wrong with saying “Not in my back yard”? (I had to look up NIMBY, btw). Y'all make it sound like it's a bad thing not to want it in my back yard. I'm all for providing solutions, and even welcome a solution in Ballard, but there are far better suited places than my back yard for THIS particular kind of solution.

  54. You're an idiot. I own a condo. Jerk.

    Making assumptions about me without knowing jack just shows that you're one of the jerks that judges the less fortunate without knowing anything about them either. Thanks for backing up my statements with firsthand proof of ignorance.

  55. stupid renters. Everyone in Ballard should be forced to buy an condo so they are stuck here for the long term, right? That way everyone will care more about their home value going down a few percentage points as a result of a non-profit building a home for the homeless near their house, than the homeless actually being able to have a roof over their head.

    in case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic…

  56. You should move to a place where there are no Ballard yuppies plaguing you! :D There are some nice places around 3rd & Cherry and 3nd & Pike downtown!

  57. So Ballard isn't a suburb anymore because it has high rise condos squished into three city blocks? Live where they can work? Where is that? There is no more industry in Ballard where anyone can work.

  58. My point and the point of the NIMBY “slogan” is that everybody says they want to find solutions to homelessness and provide low-income housing, but when something is actually getting done to address the problem people don't want it where they live. It's the property owners decision to do what he wants. Not yours. If the city gave the permits and the zoning is correct, I don't see anything wrong with the development.

    I live on the same block as the Ballard Food Bank. People park in front of my house and there are people that are not in the best circumstances at the bus stops. But I don't make a fuss about. That's all.

  59. Maybe you should move so that you don't take the property value hit? Then me and the bums can have a party at your old place for cheap!

    Jesus man, how are you so certain that these will be “bad” people that negatively impact the community? That seems so ignorant to me. Have you met any of the locals? I've met tons of them just walking around over the years and they're all really nice people. Do you judge people based on race too, or is it just social status?

  60. OK, so you're saying that because you don't mind it in your back yard, we shouldn't mind it in ours? Fine, then I propose they put this in your back yard instead. That way, they'd be next to their food source, too, and everyone would be happy. That would solve everything. Right?

    The fact that the city approved the permits and zoning doesn't mean that we had a chance to have our say. And I don't think it's cool that just because the property owner decided they wanted to do it in that spot, and the city blindly approved it, then it's A-OK. We should have had an opportunity to say “not in my back yard.”

  61. The reason the city approved the development is because it meets the current laws. There are so many good developments that get shot down because residents think they no better than people that do this sort of thing for a living and have done studies and research going into their projects.

    Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. Don't act like you know better, just because you don't want this thing next to you. It's a good, lawful development that is beneficial to our society. Maybe if you gave people that will use the development a chance to get on their feet, you might not be so repelled by them.

  62. There are numerous studies detailing the number of homeless or low income people you can house in one building without substantively changing the neighborhood. Usually those studies settle around 10 people. In other words, 8-10 small housing units scattered throughout the city are far superior to one large project – both for the residents of those units and their neighbors. I wholly support fighting this large development.

    The city of Seattle consistently insists on doing exactly the wrong thing – regardless of what history teaches us – or what the experts have found works best. Frankly, I'm tired of it.

  63. You can't have parking at the bum-otel! We want green bums only in Sustainable Ballard. We need to keep our bums' carbon footprints down! Now!

  64. This is to Dave.
    You are WRONG, this is not the corner where the old crack house was located. It is across the street from it, where there are law and medical offices which are still standing and functioning!!!!!! it is the NW CORNER AND NOT SW CORNER OF 56th, DAVE.
    I know this as I currently live in the building that will stare into the new Compass Center from the back side on 57th street . So I will be ultimately moving and I believe a lot of other tenants will be driven away as well.

    It would be an entirely different matter if the project were to be built where Dave thought as that would be much more respectful to the current residents of the neighborhood as that corner is already vacant. Rumor has it that the reason that it is the land on the NW corner of 56th is that it was a sweet heart deal for the landowners, who I understand to be the lawyers who are currently there and who had some city hall connections. Don't know that to be accurate, but it is the rumor, never the less.
    By the way, Ms. Hyatt, this was meeting was not at all well publicized, as no one in my building was notified of the meeting last night. Had to read about its occurance here.
    I think the city is trying to pull a fast one, they might have notified Ms. Hyatt, but her school is not right next to theproject so they might very well want her to attend and then play on her sympathies.
    It's gotta be tough to place these people in housing but the city has not been exactly honest, and it certainly has not been respectful of current residents. By the way, my building is a very nice, newer apt. building with many ammenities and with market rate rent. Do I really want to sit on my deck and look into the windows of a very sad project where people suffer from serious health and psychological issues will be struggliing to cope. I think not, I also do not think other middle and upper middle class people do either.
    Put it on the SW corner of 56th and you'll find that it would be a win-win for the city and the neighborhood. You've already knocked down the abondoned crack house there and the commercial building where the printer used to be is currently for sale.
    Buy it and go there Compass Corner!!!

  65. Tom, you're mistaken. That is precisely the location they're discussing. Look at the pretty little picture in this and and previous articles. This is slated to go right next to the Fedex-Kinko's parking lot, where the old halfway house was located (which you refer to as a crackhouse), as referenced here:

    I know that I did get some notice about something going in where you're saying, but I was pretty sure they proposed a regular apartment/condo building. I could be mistaken, but I remember thinking, “oh, ok” instead of the “wtf?!” I thought when I got notification about this homeless shelter masquerading as low-income housing.

    I'm glad that you'll be relieved to hear this, but I live next door to the actual location, and I'm not thrilled.

  66. Ummm, did you see where snoopy is trying to make the same old tired libertarian argument and I answered it in simplistic hyperbole because that's the only thing libertarians can understand?

  67. Just because it was approved doesn't mean that it was well-thought-out or done considering studies and what is best for the neighborhood. I'm skeptical that any decisions of this nature are made in such a manner.

    I'm certainly not saying that I know better. I'm simply saying that because my neighborhood is being affected, my neighbors and I should have been given an opportunity to have our voices heard on the matter BEFORE it was approved. If I were out-voted, I'd have no problem with it because at least we had an opportunity to be heard. But we were not given the opportunity at all, and that's what I take umbrage with.

    Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's right.

  68. I have so many thoughts swirling around my head on this one, I just had to comment.

    The people that object to this project are the same people who constantly complain about the homeless problem in Ballard. Clearly, there is no pleasing some people.

    So many complain about the homeless problem, but provide no real solutions, aside from…”get them out of here and out of my sight.”

    We need to be realistic as a community, come together and help those that can get back on their feet. Maybe when we have really tried to help our homeless, we’ll get a real gauge on those that can’t be helped or don’t want to be helped. We have a golden opportunity here to be an example for the rest of the city and maybe even the nation on how to manage our homeless.

    I challenge all of you who have been complaining about the homeless to become involved in some way in this project. We all have talents, time or even positive suggestions that can help serve this community better than complaining on this blog. Let’s provide resources to the new Compass tenants to help with services they might need such as job training, college courses, technical training and life skills. Maybe be a mentor to someone who didn’t have the best example of a parent while growing up or offer to work out with someone in the gym who has never known any other way to release and let down aside from the bottle or a hit of crack? How about offering someone ideas on how to stretch their food budget by cooking for maybe the first time in a long while? Cooking classes? Opening a bank account for the first time? Managing money? How to apply for assistance if needed? Vocational services/training?

    Ballard has a huge homeless problem. Let’s stop crying about it and combine our own individual talents to help others. Once we do that as a community and have truly helped those that want it, then we can do our real homeless count. I for one plan to call Compass to find out how I can be of service. I hope others will too.

    Welcome Compass! Ballard needs you and more like you!!!

  69. For all the folks who complaining about the new project I encourage you to tour one of Compass Center's facilities. This will not be an unsupervised crazy place. Compass has 24 staff and enforces its own rules. I've volunteered with Compass Center in a variety of ways for over 12 years and I know them to be very responsible, capable and concerned. I've always felt safe and comfortable at their facilities. The one time I was present when a client was acting badly I was impressed with how the staff handled the situation. The other hundreds of times I've been at their facilities the clients have been courteous and appreciative of the services they receive. Before you decide that this new residence is a bad thing, check out what a well respected organization Compass is.

  70. I have so many thoughts swirling around my head on this one, I just had to comment.

    The people that object to this project are the same people who constantly complain about the homeless problem in Ballard. Clearly, there is no pleasing some people.

    So many complain about the homeless problem, but provide no real solutions, aside from…”get them out of here and out of my sight.”

    We need to be realistic as a community, come together and help those that can get back on their feet. Maybe when we have really tried to help our homeless, we’ll get a real gauge on those that can’t be helped or don’t want to be helped. We have a golden opportunity here to be an example for the rest of the city and maybe even the nation on how to manage our homeless.

    I challenge all of you who have been complaining about the homeless to become involved in some way in this project. We all have talents, time or even positive suggestions that can help serve this community better than complaining on this blog. Let’s provide resources to the new Compass tenants to help with services they might need such as job training, college courses, technical training and life skills. Maybe be a mentor to someone who didn’t have the best example of a parent while growing up or offer to work out with someone in the gym who has never known any other way to release and let down aside from the bottle or a hit of crack? How about offering someone ideas on how to stretch their food budget by cooking for maybe the first time in a long while? Cooking classes? Opening a bank account for the first time? Managing money? How to apply for assistance if needed? Vocational services/training?

    Ballard has a huge homeless problem. Let’s stop crying about it and combine our own individual talents to help others. Once we do that as a community and have truly helped those that want it, then we can do our real homeless count. I for one plan to call Compass to find out how I can be of service. I hope others will too.

    Welcome Compass! Ballard needs you and more like you!!!

  71. Oops I meant to say 24 hour staff. Also, just go look at Compass facilities in Pioneer Square, Shoreline or the Cascade neighborhood. they're not sad buildings.

  72. Stacy- I don't really care what happens inside their doors, it's the fact there is going to be a concentration of 80 scumbags in a concentrated area who don't have jobs and will have nothing to do but roam around all day and nignt, getting drunk and causing a ruckus.

    We have the usual 5-7 suspect currently here in our neighborhood, now thanks to this project we will have 80 of them roaming around, this place isn't a prison, these people will not be spending all their time in their rooms, they will be slumming around drinking High Gravity and making us all feel unsafe.

  73. how discouraging…we all tried to stop homeless being set up in a church, especially when they were not screened as sex offenders in a neighborhood filled with families and children..what happened? A sex offender was nabbed…how mny times can it be communicated that a small dense community like Ballard is not the right place for these endeavours?? Why don't we as tax payers,and residents have any say in this??? What rights or voice do we have?

  74. They said at the meeting that there is no requirement for parking on site due to the way the area is zoned.

    The parking being provided will be for staff.

    The location is a good one due to its proximity to public transportation. They don't expect that many if any residents will have cars.

    Incidentally, they welcome volunteers especially if you can cook. They serve one meal a day to the residents in the community dining room. Its a good way to get to know the residents and hopefully to dispel some of the fear that is so evident on this blog.

  75. “Why is it suddenly Ballard's responsibility to solve the world's problem, alone?”

    It's not.

    Homeless people live in all parts of Seattle. The issue is a symptom of the kind of society we live in.

    Unless I missed it, the only 'solution' that's been presented here is to move somewhere else.

  76. I support Compass Health and have worked with them in Snohomish county. I don't understand why so many people are crazed into thinking that sex offenders have no place in our city. If you are worried about someone sexually abusing your kid I would look a little closer. Most abuse is reported by a family member or close neighbor. A very small percentage is from strangers. We all have that “Stranger Danger” idea of thinking but that is the smallest of percentage. Sex abusers need to create trust and fear and take a lot of time before they attack a child kid. I'm not saying their are no fast attackers out there but your judgments lack knowledge.

    There are also clean and sober housing all over the neighborhood as well as post prison housing. They are all your neighbors and are spread out all over the city.

    These forms of housing have rules to follow. If the rules are not followed there is consequences including loss of housing and so on.

    I am excited to have Compass housing in Ballard. There will be staff support for all the residence. This approach to me is greater then having the mentally ill and homeless spread out all over the streets of our city.

    No matter how you view it this will save on tax dollars.

  77. sd – the people are homeless *because* they've got major issues, such as mental illness or drug addiction, to the point that they are so disfunctional they ended up on the street. It certainly seems reasonable to be concerned that such people might negatively impact the community.

  78. Name's right, Tom. The Compass Center property is on the south side of NW56th St, next to the Kinko's parking lot. The building you're talking about on the north side of NW56th St was proposed to be all rental apartments, but AFAIK they don't yet have financing, as they are privately-funded unlike the Compass Center.

  79. If you think we just have 5-7 homeless people in the neighborhood right now, you just aren't paying attention or looking. There are at least 15-20 panhandlers that I know of and another 30-40 people who are living out of cars or under bridges and in bushes.

  80. I live two blocks away and I have supported compass center financially in the past, I intend to support them financially in the future, and I am in favor of this project.

  81. Not weighing in either way on the Compass Center, but to clarify… The shelter at the church was unsupervised and had no screening process. That was the issue there.
    The Compass Center is not only supervised but has counseling with the intent of helping the “clients” become self sustainable and no longer homeless. SHARE was the organization that was sheltering at the church had no such aim or ambition.

  82. I have so many thoughts swirling around my head on this one, I just had to comment.

    The people that object to this project are the same people who constantly complain about the homeless problem in Ballard. Clearly, there is no pleasing some people.

    So many complain about the homeless problem, but provide no real solutions, aside from…”get them out of here and out of my sight.”

    We need to be realistic as a community, come together and help those that can get back on their feet. Maybe when we have really tried to help our homeless, we'll get a real gauge on those that can't be helped or don't want to be helped. We have a golden opportunity here to be an example for the rest of the city and maybe even the nation on how to manage our homeless.

    I challenge all of you who have been complaining about the homeless to become involved in some way in this project. We all have talents, time or even positive suggestions that can help serve this community better than complaining on this blog. Let's provide resources to the new Compass tenants to help with services they might need such as job training, college courses, technical training and life skills. Maybe be a mentor to someone who didn't have the best example of a parent while growing up or offer to work out with someone in the gym who has never known any other way to release and let down aside from the bottle or a hit of crack? How about offering someone ideas on how to stretch their food budget by cooking for maybe the first time in a long while? Cooking classes? Opening a bank account for the first time? Managing money? How to apply for assistance if needed? Vocational services/training?

    Ballard has a huge homeless problem. Let's stop crying about it and combine our own individual talents to help others. Once we do that as a community and have truly helped those that want it, then we can do our real homeless count. I for one plan to call Compass to find out how I can be of service. I hope others will too.

    Welcome Compass! Ballard needs you and more like you!!!

  83. You have a point. I'm glad to see an intelligent response. I forgot while I was writing that how hard it would be for homeowners to move away, especially if they are underwater.

    My main point still stands however. Residents of Ballard have to face reality and realize that they can't live in a little bubble where everyone in their neighborhood is as well off as they are. The fact that they are more concerned about their home values than housing the homeless seems very selfish to me. Hopefully they will realize that people of different social status are not scary, and won't ruin their neighborhood.

    Their kids won't be in any more significant danger with the addition of low income apartment building nearby. Instead their kids will grow up with a bit more knowledge of all of the different kinds of people out there, from the very poor to the very rich. From personal experience, I think that growing up in Ballard, with the diversity of social statuses all around me, gave me a much more educated view of the world I live in than some people I know that grew up on Mercer Island or the Eastside. Those people have this view that they NEED to have a luxury car, large home, designer clothes, etc. in order to survive, and I feel sorry for them.

  84. No – they are NOT “all spread out over the city” as you say. That is a lie.

    Ballard has become the city's new dumping ground for the homeless, for bums (not the same thing), for vagrants and sleazebags. Ballard gets a disproportionate measure of all the city's undesirables,

    THAT'S why everybody is so pissed off about it. Go take a look at all the other neighborhoods. They haven't been turned in the dumping ground. Only Ballard.

  85. And this mentality is EXACTLY what is destroying Ballard. The morons who think that it's Ballard's responsibility to solve all the problems of the world.

    Yes, Ballard has a huge homeless problem. Because of this mentality.


  86. You are another moron.

    When I see a group of drunk degenerates in a vacant lot at 3 in the afternoon I see a group of people who have no desire to help themselves so why should I help them?

    I work hard to earn a good living for my family and have made the right decisions in my life, why should these locusts be mine or anyone else s problem?

  87. In my opinion Ballard stopped being a suburb in 1907. Seattle has designated Ballard as one of their “Hub Urban Villages” meaning that the zoning goal is to have nearly equal amounts of job and residents in Ballard. It may not be there yet, but that is the direction it is headed in.

  88. ballardpilot, Its not just a Ballard issue, It's is all over. I work in health education and my target demographic is the injection drug users. I walk the streets everyday working with people who live on the streets.

    Ballard is not a dumping ground for homeless. But there are trends on the streets and word gets out that there are safer areas to live around ie, hide outs, camps, police and such. When police make move ins on target areas the homeless move elsewhere. The city doesn't dump them in different areas of the city. What purpose does that serve?

    It's the same way with prostitution on Aurora, Police will chase out sex workers out of the south end and they just move to the north side to conduct business. The police didn't move them there, the sex workers are able to continue bussiness.

    This is getting off topic.

    So since you say they were “dumped here” it's then a great idea to get them into housing and give them some dignity they deserve, education, medication, counseling and help break diseases of poverty.
    Then you won't see them on the streets anymore and you have one less thing to complain about.

    I have a story about dignity, I was talking to a man who had his a large chunk of his ear missing. I asked him what had happen. He said it was very common. He lives on the street and it gets really cold. He was intoxicated to try and stay warm. He fell asleep and during the night had no idea that while his ears were so cold a rodent had come through his camp and ate away at his ear.

    I would invite anyone to make a couple PB&J sandwiches and greet some people on the streets with an offering. The stories of their lives will open your heart and warm their belly.

    “To be inspired is to be in spirit with others”

  89. From Article above, paragraph 5, last sentence: She added that the money comes from a combination of public sources: the state, the county and the city.

  90. I can appreciate concerns for safety, but you are stating your assumption as a fact. The only fact here is that you do not know why these people are homeless. Much less, you cannot classify a group as a whole and say “this is why these people are this way”. Everyone has their own story and reason why they are the way they are and just because someone is homeless does not automatically make them a threat to society. All I'm saying is not to judge things you don't know anything about, and many people on this forum seem completely ok with that. You really think you can make a blanket statement about a group?

  91. I'm pretty sure the industry wants to keep their district industrial. Ask them about the Burke. Plus I don't think these homeless folks looking for housing don't want to live next to a factory anymore than you or I. They want to live next door to people, like us.

    A solution that pleases everyone would be fantastic. In the meantime, I agree about building a parking lot underneath the building. I personally think all parking lots should be well underground.

  92. So let's see. These folks are homeless, which means right now they're sleeping, peeeing and fucking in the streets. And there are people who think it's bad to get them inside, with showers and bathrooms? Amazing. Of course this is good for the community. Please try to think.


  93. That is a really ignorant statement. There are people that lose jobs and have mortgage or other issues that end up homeless. Hell, a divorce can put people out on the street.

  94. I think a lot of the comments here reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of who homeless people are. As should be obvious, they are PEOPLE who do not currently have a permanent place to live.

    The current economy has demonstrated that most of us are a lot closer to being homeless than we would like. For example, I am a well-educated professional and a homeowner, but if I suffer a major illness or separate from my partner, I could very easily be homeless within a few months. I would be the same well-educated professional, but instead of my house I would live in my car on the street. Or in a shelter. Or on a friend's couch. So how exactly does this make me an unworthy person?

    Instead of vilifying people who lack resources, let's provide them with those resources. If you don't want to live in a community that cares for its members, please move somewhere else.

  95. I love it when someone responds to a well thought out sincere comment with hysterical bigoted hyperbole. Why not get off your lazy judgmental butt and see for yourself like she says. Won't take much time.

  96. What! I completely agree with you – I am just hearing about this for the first time. I would definitely do something about this like showing up to meeting if I only knew. I never received anything in the mail notifying us that this was going to be applied for and built. No way should this be built here. This is a family neighborhood – so I guess Medina, Blue Ridge and all those neighborhoods would not mind having one of these projects built next door. Why not continue building in Belltown where they already have the low income psyche and drug rehab centers. Not here!

  97. Go try and live in Belltown and have a neighborhood feel. You get very tired of people asking you to help them with their crack pipe. This is the reason we moved to Ballard was for diversity and a safe family neighborhood in the city. Go to the website of Compass where they post their true target tenant. It is not the down on luck professional but mentally ill, alcoholic or drug addicted homeless. Just amazes me that Seattle thinks in order to have a diverse neighborhood you have to live next door to people shooting up and scaring your children. oh also do they have a Compass on Queen Anne or Magnolia?

  98. Sara J. You are the one who doesn't understand the Ballard homeless people. They are not down on their luck. They are degenerate drunks and druggies who have no interest in bettering themselves. Putting 80 of the in one place is a disastrous idea and has the potential to ruin the community. There are already groups who hang out on every other corner, now lets bring in 80 more with nothing but time on their hands. Fail.

  99. I want to live at Compass!
    I drink alcohol and am mentally unstable sometimes.
    How can I get in there? I know… I'll binge drink for a month then check myself into rehab. This will be great, I'll be able to stay in Ballard and I'll save $675 in rent each month!

  100. The difference is that I PAY for the right to choose where I live. If you want something for nothing, you don't really get the choice.

  101. Damned bleeding hearts. You feel free to give your time and money to these folks. I'm already giving my money via my taxes. I don't want to be around them, which is why I don't want them next door. I don't have a problem with the center, I have a problem with it being in my nice neighborhood that I pay to live in. I don't want mentally ill and drug and alcohol addicted folks walking around on my street because they live there, too. If you feel like you need to pass out sandwiches or offer career advice to these folks, go for it. But don't tell me what to do with my hard earned free time–yes, I WORK for a living. That means I work to earn the right to live in a safe and pleasant environment. I don't want to share it with the bums that lose their ears because they're too drunk to realize they've lost it to rats. I don't want to share it with people who can't get off the rock. If I wanted to share my neighborhood with those folks, I'd be living on 3rd and Pine. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that I think I should have a say in whether or not this place goes in next door.

  102. Everything ballardbell said AND, to Tim, it's not that I don't want to get them off the streets with showers and bathrooms. It's that I don't want it NEXT DOOR. I want it in some area that is not fit for families. If you're taking a hand-out of a free room and shower, you can live where no one wants to live. Seems like a fair deal to me.

  103. I think this comment is ridiculous and I think it's ridiculous that two people “liked” it. These are 80 people with no jobs, no accountability to society, and both mental health issues and drug/alcohol addictions. I think it's reasonable to anticipate some issues of violence or disturbance with regard to this building. It's definitely going to bring the property value of Mike's building down, which is an apartment building, and the quality of residents he'll be able to put in there will go down, too. Yeah, that's really great for the neighborhood. I think his complaint that no one was notified until it was too late is perfectly reasonable.

  104. No, I don't believe that was the point he was trying to make. I did not see any reference in the article to “having more square feet per resident would eliminate all crime.”

    The point is the same one the majority of the posts here are saying: Having a large concentration of clientele of this type (mildly put) will greatly affect the neighborhood. Even if you don't agree, the neighboring residents should be able to have their say, one way or another.

  105. In response to “Do you know how residents will be picked for this building” – This is directly from the “Ballard News-Tribune” at:

    “Compass Housing Alliance will develop a screening process for residents using input from the city and the neighborhood, Friedhoff said. Whether or not sex offenders are allowed in Compass Center Ballard will depend on negotiations with the Seattle Housing Authority, he said.”

  106. There is no reassurance that there will be no sex offenders. Repeating a reply post from above:

    This is directly from the “Ballard News-Tribune” at:

    “Compass Housing Alliance will develop a screening process for residents using input from the city and the neighborhood, Friedhoff said. Whether or not sex offenders are allowed in Compass Center Ballard will depend on negotiations with the Seattle Housing Authority, he said.”

  107. I'd say the same thing if it was right next door.

    I've talked with people who live next to other Compass facilities and I'm convinced that it will be a benefit to all of us.

  108. Hey Dave,
    Until you have some skin in the game – I do not think you really have a voice in this – since it does not effect you in anyway. No children and no investment – what the heck do you have to lose. If you want this in your neighborhood go live in Belltown and let me know how fun it is when you are walking around with your dog or children and a drunk throws up in front of them. Oh wait that would have to be a friends children and dog because you do not have anything. Have fun – until then I can not put any weight in your opinion.

  109. Hey if we follow your logic – then I guess Bush was an expert on Iraq and War and we should not question what our officials determine is right for us.

  110. If you look at Seattle demographics, Seattle as a whole is not fit for families compared to other cities. I'm a little surprised that anyone thinks that 56th is fit for families right now. It wouldn't be in my top 10 list.

    Every project has people saying exactly what you are saying. NIMBY. Sure, fine, do it, but NOT IN MY BACK YARD. Every project. It doesn't matter if you try to build it 10 miles outside of Yakima, people will still say the exact same thing you are. It doesn't matter if it is a bike lane or a state prison. Nobody wants their back yard to change.

    It has a nice acronym because it happens on every single project that anyone ever tries to do.

    For as much as a few people are opposing this project, go talk to Shoreline who screams to high heaven that they are being used as a dumping ground for people needing social services. We couldn't even build this in the desolate middle of Wyoming without people complaining that it should be built somewhere else.

    We have homeless here. We need services here.

  111. BallardBell,
    So you are saying that I don't get to have a voice regarding what goes on in my neighborhood because I'm just a “renter”? You are saying that the fact that when I was house hunting in 2005 and realized that the real estate market was in a bubble and would soon collapse, means I have lost my voting rights? I'm sorry that I made the smart decision and didn't buy real estate in the most overinflated real estate market in American history, but I don't see how that translates to me losing my right to have a voice about my neighborhood. I thought the days of classifying renters as second class citizens ended when the real estate market collapsed in 2008, but I guess not.

    Also, I'm sorry that you have this illusion that the core of Ballard is some small suburban neighborhood like Blue Ridge or Magnolia, rather than the big city like it really is. It was back in the mid-90s when Seattle designated Ballard as a “Hub Urban Village”. Places like Blue Ridge, Magnolia, This means Ballard has been zoned to become a dense city center, much like Belltown, for over a decade now. I'm sorry you didn't realize that before you bought your home here. If you would have bought a house west or 28th and/or north or 65th (outside of the Ballard Urban Village boundaries), you wouldn't have to deal with the homeless. It sounds like you had a really bad real estate agent who didn't explain this to you, and I'm sorry for that.

    You can read all about urban villages for yourself at:

  112. Sorry forgot to finish a sentance… My reply should say:

    “It was back in the mid-90s when Seattle designated Ballard as a “Hub Urban Village”. Places like Blue Ridge & Magnolia never got this designation. This means Ballard has been zoned to become a dense city center, much like Belltown, for over a decade now.”

  113. If you have concerns regarding the Compass project, the best avenue to go through is the Ballard District Council. You can put all the comments and concerns you posted below, into e-mails directed to:

    For more information or to share your ideas about projects and issues contact:
    Ballard District Council staff Rob Mattson at 684-4051

    or any member of the Council’s Executive Committee:

    Jennifer Macuiba, President, 781-1878,
    Andy MacDonald, VP, 297-3231,
    Catherine Weatbrook, 782-2774,
    Dennis Galvin, 706-7663,

  114. Off topic of Compass – Where are these jobs in Ballard that you speak of? The boutiques and restaurants? It's not like there's a bunch of offices in Ballard. Who do you know that lives in Ballard and works in Ballard? I know one and their office is moving soon. The rest commute downtown or the East side.

  115. The parking is an important issue. This building may be around for a lot longer than it is homeless housing. To be able to re-purpose it they designers should have the foresight to build in more parking.

  116. I had been under the impression that it was going to be temporary housing for women. Then it was apparently going to be low-income housing. Now I hear it's housing for the homeless. The building's main purpose has changed a bit over the past months. I guess some might feel differently about a building in a semi-residential area housing women or low-income folks than the usual suspects that we see drinking on the sidewalks and peeing on fences by our homes. Then again, maybe this will help with the outdoor toilet issues around this part of Ballard?

  117. A mother of a childhood friend of mine worked (and still does I believe) at Trident Seafoods, still headquartered on Shilshole Ave along the ship canal. She moved north to the Shoreline area for a quieter neighborhood and cheaper cost of housing. I think Trident has hundreds of employees at their Ballard headquarters.

    A sibling of another childhood friend works at QFC on 24th. I know she still works there and I believe she lives in Ballard. I'm pretty sure a QFC of that size would have at least 100 employees.

    A friend of mine is a teacher at Ballard High School, who has a faculty and staff in the hundreds. She lives in Wallingford.

    There are many other large employers:
    Sweedish Hospital – Ballard employs over 10,000 people I believe, along with all of the small independent medical/dental offices surrounding it and supported by it which creates hundreds if not thousands more jobs.

    Everyone in the Ballard Building, including the Ballard News Tribune, the corporate offices of Town and Country Markets (owners of Ballard Market, Greenwood Market, etc) along with at least a dozen other businesses (try typing 2208 Northwest Market Street Seattle, WA 98107 into google maps to see a list of them)

    Adding up all that I've listed here probably accounts for nearly 15,000 jobs listed in Ballard.

  118. Once again, I'm not saying it shouldn't be here in Ballard. I'm saying it shouldn't be in the area where people pay to live. Sure, this block has gone downhill quite a bit, especially with the decrepit abandoned house two lots down, and this lot that was already suffering some before it was vacated. But the point I'm trying to make is that we shouldn't scrap the block entirely by deciding that it's already crappy, so let's just make it worse. There are people–hard working, upstanding people–that OWN lovely homes on this street, in addition to hard working, upstanding people that rent in Mike's building next door. Should they just decide that now, in a down market, they should pick up and move because this block has designated unfit for families and is only good for homeless shelters and abandoned businesses? That seems wrong to me. Am I the only one?

    It seems to me that the least desirable place to live should be the place for a homeless shelter. This means that a place that no families or taxpayers live. Make it uncomfortable to live there, so they're more motivated to make it so they can afford to live in a nice place. Why should I pay my hard earned money on mortgage that allows me to live in the heart of Ballard, walking distance to all the amenities, while these homeless folks do nothing and get the same benefits?

  119. The city doesn't decide where to “dump” homeless people. The homeless people decide where they want to go and then go there.
    Some neighborhoods make a bigger fuss and chase them out or otherwise make it uncomfortable for the homeless, while other ones have things like industrial areas that are less likely to make a fuss. Ballard has industrial areas, some little undeveloped patches to camp out in, and easy access to a panhandling clientele.

  120. I respect that, Michael, and I encourage my neighbors to weigh in on this topic at the public meeting to discuss this building going in. I think that when we all have our opportunity to have a say, there will be not just you, but other people who agree that this is a good location for such a project/solution. I'm also sure that there will be plenty of folks like me that believe that this is not a good location for this project.

    Oh, wait, we DON'T have a meeting to discuss this. We never did have that opportunity. Hmm. What's wrong with this picture?

    Get it?

  121. Sounds like your pushing for segregation. Should we force poor people to use run-down bathrooms and crappy sections of public buses, reserving nice bathrooms and nice sections of buses only for richer people, so that poor people can look on in envy and be motivated to work hard to try and bridge the gap towards becoming middle class? We had that situation in early 20th century with racial segregation and I thought we decided as a society that it wasn't a good idea.

    I think you are forgetting that these units they are planning are not very nice living quarters to begin with. They are cramming 16 “efficiency studio units” onto each floor of less than 8000 square feet. This means that the average unit size is going to be less than 500 square feet. They won't have a bedroom, just a big room with a bathroom attached to it. Its probably about the equivalent of your living room.

    You pay a mortgage so you can have your nice kitchen with granite counter tops & stainless steel appliances. A living room to accommodate a large flat screen tv with a surround sound audio system. A bedroom with walk-in closets to accommodate your vast wardrobe for any situation. A very comfortable bathroom, with maybe a jetted tub. A condo building with your own private parking spot for your nice car along with building amenities such as a pool, private deck, fitness center, etc. I don't know if you have all of that, but I can guarantee you the residents of this building will not have ANY of that. They are definitely not getting “the same benefits”.

  122. Damned conservative cranks! Okay, all snark aside, let's look at the issue here.
    We have a problem with drunks, addicts, and other homeless people wandering the streets of Ballard. You don't like it. I don't like it. So what can we do? Since we don't live in a totalitarian state where we can round 'em up, we are left with only two real options:
    1. Ignore the problem.
    2. Offer some help to these people to try to make them contributing members of society.
    If we follow option 1, we'll have the same or more homeless on the street.
    If we follow option 2, and do it right, we'll have fewer homeless.
    Sounds like option 2 is the better choice. The only problem is just like most beneficial services like a fire station, a hospital, or a sewage treatment plant, we all demand one, just not next door to us. I don't want to hear sirens blasting all the time unless they're coming to save me of course.

  123. I live about a block away from the fire station and hear sirens all the time, and it doesn't bother me. I wouldn't choose to live next to the railroad tracks or a sewage treatment plant or a city dump. If the city wants to fund a homeless shelter, put it there, where no one wants to live. All the more reason for them to get on their feet so they can afford to choose to live in a nicer location.

  124. Just to clarify, their average square footage is 275, while mine is just under double that. However, I pay for my location. What are the three rules of real estate? Exactly.

    If the poor can't afford bus fare, they don't get to ride the bus. If they pay the same fare I do, they get the same ride I do. That's fair. Why should they get the same ride for free?

  125. Thanks for bringing this article to my attention. It's going to take me a few hours to go through all these comments, so forgive me if I don't say anything more now. BTW, better contact info for me is 779-0731, I'd be happy to talk to anyone about the issue.

  126. If otherwise normally-functioning people lose jobs, have divorces, and so forth, they have resources/relatives/friends to draw upon so they are not out on the street. Thus, the fact that the people this center will serve are out on the street by definition means that they do not have ANY such resources, and thus are not otherwise normally-functioning people.
    A single event does not make one homeless.

  127. sd – My only assumption (and one I think is hard to argue with) is that normally functioning members of society do not end up on the street because of a single event. Multiple things (i.e. “major issues”) must be happening in their lives to have caused them to lose all family/friends/savings/other resources. Two common “major issues” that cause this are mental illness and extreme drug addiction. I'd welcome your input on additional major issues that might be at play.

  128. Option 3: Make it less comfortable for these people to continue their chosen lifestyle, thus encouraging them to become contributing members of society.

    Seems to me that a combination of Options 2 and 3 is the way to go. Raising a child with a carrot-only approach doesn't work.

  129. Dave, the key difference is not poor vs rich, but those accepting charity vs those providing it. “Beggars can't be choosers”.

  130. I see this as a chance for us to control our homeless problem and get help for those that really want it. I'm going to get slammed for this, but I think we could use more low income housing in Ballard. Right now there is very little in the way of agencies that help the homeless or low income in Ballard. Yet there are tons of people around that appear to need help. Seems to me these people are not going away and maybe if the help is here, more people can get back on their feet. At any rate, if we had some viable choices for assistance in our area, we might more easily define those that are choosing the street life style and work to move the trouble makers out. I'm sure many of the people some of you think are hopeless might jump at the chance to restart their lives. I've talked to some of our homeless and many are just so beaten down they don't even try anymore, thus the addiction issue. This project might just give some people enough hope to turn things around. I say we give Compass a chance and back them 100%.

  131. Have you thought about giving these people a chance? Have you never made a mistake? This might be a chance for some residents there to turn their lives around.In my mind this is good news for our neighborhood. Someone with some answers to the problem. I'm sure Compass will demand accountablity. Most of this type of housing outlines sobriety as a rule, as well as a no tolerance for violence. I don't think Compass is setting up a free hotel for the addicted, child rapers and the mentally deranged. Research Compass and the programs they offer before you spout off with your uneducated comments. My dad used to say “Don't give me a problem without giving me an answer” Ballard needs some answers to the homeless issue. I see Compass as a start to our answers. I'm a lifelong resident and I back this project 100%.

  132. It's not just “Ballards” responsibility. It's all of us or it should be. People are people, no matter their class or financial statement.

  133. Did you bother reading the rest of the thread before you spouted off with your reply? Many comments list possible solutions. My comment was referring ONLY to the justification of Mike's comments at the meeting.

  134. I don't see anyone commenting that they don't think that a program or solution to assist homeless folks that want to get back on their feet is a bad idea. In fact, I saw not one comment that directly stated that we should not have something like this in Ballard. Most of the complaints I've seen have been about its location, mostly related to property value or personal safety.

    First off, I agree with you. I think that what Compass Center wants to do is a good idea. I'd like to see it put in somewhere else, but I'm glad my tax dollars are funding programs like this.

    I also agree that there ought to be more low-income housing options. When I say this, I mean REAL low-income housing options, not homeless shelters calling themselves low-income housing. Especially in an abysmal economy, I think that a lot of regular hard-working folks could get back on their feet and off their friends' or families' sofas if they had an affordable solution.

    I may be wrong here, but I'm fairly certain no one is saying that programs to help the homeless problem are a bad thing. I think the concern here is with this particular homeless shelter's location.

    Please correct me if I've got it wrong, people.

  135. I definitely agree with you that the grievances were displayed at the wrong venue. The Design Review Board was doing something Early Design Guidance where the developer brings preliminary plans and gets architectural design guidance.… says it better than me. The board is all volunteers.

    It seems like may be a better venue would be through the Dept Planning Development. Where it looks like land use issues can be influenced… On the right side of the page are some good links on “How to comment on proposed applications,” “Tips for making effective comments,” “Appeal a decision.”

    Honestly, I don't know how I would feel about this project if it were to be next to me, but I think if I felt as bad about it as some people who commented above and below, I would make reasoned arguments in the right places.

  136. Name – dude get a grip. I think you and kim are on the same side of the fence here. Also, get an imagination, Name is kinda boring. :)

  137. helping homeless people who want a home is a good thing. knowingly exposing my family to potentially dangerous individuals is not. i've met and known homeless people. i've met and known mentally ill people (and their families). i've found the two are not synonymous but certainly intertwined. the majority of these folks i've known are very nice, not at all dangerous and i'm better for having known them. the fact remains that mental illness left untreated can become a real danger both for the individual and those around him/her. the fact remains that substance abuse (criminal for now) increases the likelihood for additional criminal acts. i'm really just interested to know how compass plans to help these folks without endangering the community that hopes to support them.

  138. spg is on track… helping others is a concept that should not be that difficult to embrace… helping others when it's convenient is nice but doing so when it involves personal investment is a mark of character

  139. This is the last thing I have to say to Dave:

    When arguing with a fool never lower yourself to his level, as he will always win by experience.

    Author Unkown

  140. I give up. I am very surprised at the “I'm better than you” attitudes in Ballard and I think it's a shame. I'll continue to judge people based on their actions, and you can continue judge people because they don't have as much family/friends/savings/other resources as you do. I just don't agree that someone's wealth has any correlation with whether they are a good person, or a positive/negative impact on the community.

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