The public speaks up about Urness House

It was standing room only in the Ballard High School Library on Monday evening for back-to-back meetings about the Nyer Urness House. Because of the public interest in the 80-unit low-income housing project for homeless men and women slated for 1753 NW 56th St, the Department of Planning and Development decided to hold an environmental review meeting. This is an unusual move for this type of project Lisa Rutzick, the project manager with the city, told the 100 plus people.

The meeting kicked off about 15 minutes behind schedule with Rick Friedhoff, the executive director of the Compass Housing Alliance (formerly Compass Center), explaining what the Urness House is and why this location works for them. “Ballard was selected because it is a residential community that is walkable. It has many amenities from grocery stores to drug stores and movie houses, coffee shops.” Friedhoff told the group. “Lots of amenities for people to enjoy.” He said the Compass Center bought the property in 2008, tore down the eyesore that was known to cause problems in the neighborhood, and began planning the development. The building will be staffed with a concierge 24 hours a day with security cameras on the outside. It will have two stories of offices used by support services to help the homeless.

During their planning phase, Compass Housing Allisance presented information to the Ballard District Council and spoke with other community members about their project, Friedhoff said. “Frankly we weren’t real aware that there was opposition,” he confessed, until design review began earlier this year.

At Monday’s meeting, three dozen people spoke during the public comment period. Although the applause seemed to be split evenly for speakers in favor of the project and against the project, the majority of the speakers that went on public record were for it. Several of the speakers just wanted more answers before making their decision.

The first speaker recalled what Friedhoff had told the group about the Urness House being in close proximity to stores. “A shopping area or a shoplifting area?” he asked, questioning the claim by Compass Housing Authority that they have not seen crime rates go up around other low-income housing properties. One of the final speakers brought a list of 911 calls made to the Compass Housing Authority’s downtown location. He said there were 30 calls last year from assault to suicide. “Protection is my big concern,” he told the group.

Another speaker who is in favor of the project said that people’s negative response to the project is because of prejudices. She referenced previous concerns about property values said, “If all you can think about is the value of your home, you need to reevaluate your values.” Another supporter of the project said, “I thoroughly welcome this house to our community,” a sentiment that was echoed in many of the public comments.

The meeting wrapped up late, causing the Design Review meeting to start late.

During the Design Review meeting, Weinstein A|U presented their proposal to the Design Review Board. The design includes a blue building with orange accents, two garage doors in the back alley on the south side of the building, bare walls on either side except for Virginia Creeper and some windows/balconies in the middle and landscaping out front. It will also have a green roof for residents to enjoy. There will be a guardrail up around the deck so people can’t easily walk to the edge of the building.

A look at the proposed parking garage for Urness House

Public concerns ranged from the number of parking spaces (12 spots), the access down the alley for deliveries and the massing.

In the end, the board gave the Urness House the green light on the design with a few recommendations and approval for four departures (see page 36 of presentation). The board recommends that the design include a seat wall out front, bicycle spots out front and use Urnes style, a Scandinavian textile art, an audience member explained, somewhere in the front lobby. (See entire .pdf design presentation here.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

73 thoughts to “The public speaks up about Urness House”

  1. Urnes style is usually expressed in carving or metalwork of some fashion. I would like to see examples of Scandanavian textile art.

  2. Well last night’s meeting has done what nothing else over the last half- century has been able to do. In spite of a lifelong passionate commitment and years of hard work and intense involvement in progressive politics from the local to national level.

    That meeting turned me from a strong, committed progressive Democrat into a Republican.

    Behind all my political involvement, I’ve always assumed, throughout my long life, that people were basically good, and that most folks had enough common sense to make the right decisions.

    Not any more.

    Maybe it’s the TV, maybe it’s something in the water, I dunno. But there is just way too much stoopid out there.

    I’m done. Surely you won’t miss me. As far as I’m concerned, Ballard can go to hell – it’s making great progress, and I’m not going to bother standing in the way any more. Enjoy the dystopia you’re making for yourselves.

  3. Sounds great! Looks like most of the negative feelings in Ballard were isolated to a few annonymous posters here, who never showed up. As usual!

    The person is right. If all you care about is property values, look at your own values.

    Another win for the good guys! :)

    Can’t wait to see it built!

  4. “The board recommends that the design include a seat wall out front, bicycle spots out front”

    Sounds great. This way the residents will have sidewalk seating to interact with the community.

    That way people can see first hand they are not the monsters some claim. It will do them some good.Why should the resturants be the only ones with sidewalk seating? Ballard belongs to us all, rich and poor.

  5. “This way the residents will have sidewalk seating to interact with the community.”

    Community? You mean all the bums coming down from the Commons and library.

    I’m sure local businesses are pysched for all these new big spenders…a new line of hobo skinny jeans at Blackbird?

  6. Sorry, ‘urness’ still sounds like something you p*ss into, which I guess is appropriate.

    So who wants to make some $ selling new “Ballard welcomes its new bum overlords” bumper stickers.

  7. Barfly. I’d like one. I also love how objective the blog’s posting is on the subject. Welcome all Seattle’s homeless to Ballard! Our children/owners/renters/victims welcome you with open arms. Come one, come all from all over King County!

  8. i find it rather funny that they list all of the comforts of home in our neighborhood such as restaurants, coffee shops, drug stores, movies and what not. how are *these* people going to afford that? are taxpayers paying for their entertainment too?

    name-nice rose colored glasses you have. where can i get a pair?

  9. Regardless of how one feels about this project, does every new building that goes up here have to like like an Eastern Bloc tenement?

    You would think they could do a little better. Ballard is beginning to look like the set of Dekalog

  10. The building sides are bare, because they expect adjacent lots to be developed in similar 8-stories behemoths.
    Zoning allows that. Recent condo / mixed-use developments have done that.
    Ballard is becoming a dense neighborhood, whether you like it or not.
    The project for affordable ‘post-homeless’ housing is not going to matter in the long run.

    A million more people will move to Seattle in the next few years.
    We need good roads, good bridges, good schools, good hospitals, and we should think of ways to make it livable.
    I for one want to live in a modern, livable, and diverse city.
    This is not the Shire anymore, you hobbits!

  11. “A million more people will move to Seattle in the next few years”

    When you start with a statement like that, the rest of your post pretty much loses all its potential cred. Seattle has a current population of about 600K.

  12. Like it or not, the “homeless business” is thriving while most “fluff businesses” have closed in the past two years. This is just one of the many new employers who support the homeless and we need to welcome them. Many more will come and so will the social services jobs, transitonal housing jobs, drug/alcohol mental health treatment jobs, medical, dental, food care and other jobs. So, before you attack the homeless influx, think and remember you may be biting the hand that feeds you and your neighbors. We all agree, we have no problem with the homeless coming. The question is how we bring the jobs as well to support them properly. Lord knows, we need good jobs here.

  13. It would be nice if they actually built new buildings in Ballard for Offices so that we could have more JOBS in Ballard and not just Appartments and Condos, and now housing for the jobless and homeless.

    Sadly too many people play the system. I personally know 2 individuals Downtown that do purposely play the system so that they can do the minimal amount of work to stay in low income house, but do as little as possible in life.

  14. This is a wonderful idea. I think that as a stop-gap measure EVERY progressive in Seattle should take in at least one of these poor souls to live in their homes while we wait for wonderful projects like this to be completed.

  15. Like it or not, we work for the homeless now in Ballard, not the other way around. May as well make the best of it and draw in service jobs taking care of their needs.

  16. “This is just one of the many new employers who support the homeless and we need to welcome them. Many more will come and so will the social services jobs, transitonal housing jobs, drug/alcohol mental health treatment jobs, medical, dental, food care and other jobs. ”

    Welcome to Ballard’s new bum-conomy?

    ” draw in service jobs taking care of their needs.”

    Those will be great paying jobs I’m sure.

  17. I lived in Ballard 1989 – 2006 and loved it – it was a great place to live and I also ended up finding a living-wage job there so no commute! However as a renter I was forced to find more affordable accomodations and for the same monthly fee of an apartment I now rent a very nice house in Shoreline. I now look at Ballard through a different angle and it seems like it’s becoming some sort of city that much of the world wants to live in. As small as it is and already dense with housing, traffic, parking, I can’t imagine more 8-story boxes going up. I can’t imagine more single-family lots becoming 3 and 4 units with 1.3 cars each – and it seems many people use their garages for anything but parking their vehicles. Market and Ballard Ave are on the up n up which is nice; Golden Gardens and Shilshole Marina are still great. But what about the quality of life? This seems to be “progress” but at what cost? There appears to be no effort in getting traffic in and out of Ballard to flow better and parking is tight (can only imagine once 14th becomes a ‘park’ so to speak). At what point is it too much?

  18. Thank you so much for using the neighborhood we work hard to afford to live in as a resort for your bums, druggies and rapists. I’m glad they can walk to the shops easily. That is why I like it too! It will be convenient when there is no nearby car or bike to steal.

    I agree with so many people on here that before you preach to those of us that pay to live here, take one of those ‘honest but down on their luck’ souls into your home.

    Additionally, I’d be surprised if there any home owners that don’t care about their property value. That building does look appropriate though as it really captures the essence of “slum”!

    Lastly, the sentence: “if you only care about.. reevaluate your values.” sound as though it was written by Sarah Palin. Hopefully I don’t have to explain whether or not that is intended as a compliment.

  19. Not a fan of this proposed ‘Urine House’. These bums don’t want help to ‘get on their feet’. They want hand-outs so they can go and buy more drugs. These same ‘poor souls’ steal from my store every week, harass employees and customers, defecate in the parking lot and shoot up behind the dumpster (leaving needles on the ground). So forgive me if I lack compassion when it comes to Ballard’s homeless.

    If you support these kinds of projects, you must not spend a lot of time dealing with these people. Try running a business with all of their junky trucks, vans and campers outside of your window, taking up all of the street. Try cleaning up after them, on a daily basis. Try explaining to your customers that the bum who lives in his truck bed means well, when he projectile vomits all over the street; or when he packs up his collection of stolen bikes to sell to a pawn shop; or when he drunkenly yells at them for money.

    It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: If you love these bums so much, and if you truly feel sorry for them, then invite them into your home. It’s sad to see miserable, terrible people living on the street, mooching our tax dollars for unemployment? You think Ballard is a better neighborhood as a Bum Haven? Okay, well, get them back on their feet, as Jesus would; take them into your home, as Jesus would; feed them your fish, as Jesus would; let them steal from your home and shoot up in your bathroom, as Jesus would.

    Lead by example, if you’re going to preach about values. Show us that the great Bum Scourge can be dealt with peacefully. Show me that they want to stop being truck-dwelling drunkards. Because, so far, I’m not impressed.

  20. Who is funding this project? Will they pay property taxes or not? Can’t see any positive benefits to the Ballard community. Sounds like a bummer to me.

  21. I just hope that if something goes wrong or someone steps out of line they deal with it right away and eject the person if need be. I hope it doesn’t end up being like the SHARE/Old Redeemers nightmare where the community had to intervene to get the Level III sex offender removed that slipped through.

    If an arsonist (like the one in Greenwood) ends up coming from there or the house is more trouble than it is worth I hope they re-evaluate the whole project and do what is necessary to either make it work or shut it down.

  22. I think it is great that we are welcoming more transients in to our neighborhood, esp. the chronically homeless ones. I’m sure this will turn them all around and they will become productive members of society.

    Yep, not sure how anyone with half a brain would think it is a bad idea to bring in more sex offenders, drug addicts, etc. into Ballard. These ar ejust por souls after all….

  23. Nobody has mentioned how close this is to our high-school. I have respect for recovering addicts and people with mental disposition who are trying to get back on their feet. I have no respect for level 1 or 2 sex offenders and am flummoxed that they are included in this project. They have lost their right to anything if you ask me.

    My daughters will be walking home from school along that block. Does anyone in their right mind think I should carry on and let them?

    This is a travesty to the neighborhood that has worked so hard to be an attractive place for young family’s to move to.

    And don’t bring politics and property values into this. I have every right to be concerned about my property values if I’ve worked my entire life to pay for a house in a safe and quiet neighborhood that I love & respect.

  24. who knew there were so many bigots and classists in ballard?
    if this meeting turned you from a ‘committed, progressive democrat’ to a republican – i’m willing to bet you were always a republican, and just lied to your friends to sound less like the douchenozzle you really are.

    seriously, folks – stop being so selfish and ignorant and maybe have a little compassion.

  25. So Mikey

    Since you’re so in love with this bum storage unit. How much money are you personally committing to the operations of it? After all, were the selfish one’s. Let us know how unselfish you are.

  26. I have no problem at all with “live and let live”. My concern is neighborhood safety, and I have a difficult time believing that Urness House will not attract people (non-residents) with criminal and/or violent history. By definition this will decrease the safety and walkability of our neighborhood. At this time Compass Housing Alliance has not addressed this valid concern except to say it is based on “fear and prejudice”. I have compassion for those who are not as fortunate as I, but why should I sacrifice my feeling of neighborhood safety for them? At this time all we are receiving from CHA and supporters of this project are platitudes and guilt-trips. CHA needs to come up with a comprehensive plan of action with SPD (in this time of budget cuts) to make sure Ballard stays safe and walkable.

  27. Somehow, I can’t visualize helping the homeless as a growth industry for Ballard. Perhaps it would be better as senior housing.

  28. TTT,
    still expressing your asinine, bigoted and uneducated views (e.g. bum storage unit)? your family must be really, really proud.

    i never said i was ‘in love’ with the CHA’s transitional housing. i support their mission, and don’t view it as a negative on our community.

    nearly 40% of CHA’s funding comes from goverment sources. since our household pay sizeable property, state and federal taxes annually, we’re already contributing.

    another 6% of their funding is derived from the United Way. when my mom passed away, we made a sizable gift to UWKC in her name.

    so in a way, we have contributed to the success of organizations like CHA and will continue to do so. people attempting to transition out of homelessness aren’t second class citizens, even though you want to treat them that way. not everyone in this world has been blessed with your incredible intelligence and success, and need a help up. are you really that disgusting of a person, that you think these people shouldn’t be helped?

    if you are concerned w/ neighborhood safety, what about the 50 registered sex offenders currently residing in the ballard area? do they not not detract from your ‘feeling of neighborhood safety’? do you required them to come up with comprehensive plans to make ballard ‘safe and walkable’? criminals and people w/ violent history already reside in ballard, to pretend they don’t and only CHA’s project will introduce it shows great ignorance to the reality of our ‘hood.

  29. Is it wrong to differentiate between a homeless person (or family) that lost their job/home and fell on hard times and a person that is a registered sex offender or just got out of prison? Thoughts?

    What is wrong with wanting to help the ‘unfortunate’ one first before those that have committed sometimes terrible crimes?

    I think community support would be much greater and words like ‘bum hotel’ wouldn’t be thrown out there if the housing stated that is was for ‘the unfortunate’ type, homeless families etc. only and that screening for sex offenders and dangerous felons would not be housed?

  30. Mike, my understanding is that this is essentially a long-term “warehousing” operation for folks with mental/disability/substance abuse issues, rather than a transition program that expects the tenants to “graduate”. Did I misunderstand?

  31. “So, before you attack the homeless influx, think and remember you may be biting the hand that feeds you and your neighbors. ”

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read in days. Man so many of you posters live in a silly feel-good dream world.

    There is absolutely no way having this center here is a positive for the neighborhood, and kudos to Kim for pointing out that none of the amenities Ballard currently enjoys are affordable to the homeless anyways.

  32. “kudos to Kim for pointing out that none of the amenities Ballard currently enjoys are affordable to the homeless anyways.”

    Phew, thank goodness, it’s already hard enough getting a seat at Bastille.

  33. “If an arsonist (like the one in Greenwood) ends up coming from there or the house is more trouble than it is worth I hope they re-evaluate the whole project and do what is necessary to either make it work or shut it down.”

    You wish. Once that center opens it will never close down no matter what crime happens there or how often, and the Ballard enablers will be treating you like the bad guy for being obnoxious enough to want to live in a safe neighborhood.

    SHARE/WHEEL said ‘trust us’ to weed out the Level II and III sex offenders and surprise, they dropped the ball or simply weren’t paying any attention in the first place.

    This will be the same.

  34. “Ballard enablers will be treating you like the bad guy for being obnoxious enough to want to live in a safe neighborhood”.

    The reason people treat you like you are obnoxious, is because these posts sound hateful and ignorant. Just move if you don’t like Ballard.

    Where were all these concerned citizens at the meeting?

    The story above says the toughest questions had to do with how many parking spaces would the building have and would this block delivery trucks who need to use the alley. Whats so threatening and dangerous about that?

    Now, all the annonymous people come forward on a blog, spewing hatred of the poor. Low income housing already exists all over Seattle and most cities. It’s fine.

    This is a private business, that does not need your permission in the first place, but out of courtesy had an open meeting. Most at the meeting were in favor of the project. It’s over and the project is being built.

    Saying hurtful things and spreading made up stories and panic about the place anonymously is not helping anyone in Ballard. It’s destructive to the neighborhood.

  35. To those of you that think this is such a great idea, ask yourself if you are willing to have a treatment facility for 80 chronic, long term alcoholics, drug addicts and Level 1 and 2 sex offenders right next to door to your own home? If you aren’t willing to have this facility located right next door to you, why do you think its a good idea to have it next door to my home or someone else’s home? Do you feel you are being charitable and compassionate by agreeing with the project? Well I do too, but I am not willing to locate this treatment facility next door to anyone’s home.

    No excuses. If you don’t want it built next to your own home you cannot in good conscience build it next door to someone else’s home.

    If you are willing to locate this facility next to your home, I suggest you call the Compass Housing Alliance and inform them of the property available for this facility.

  36. I was not spewing hatred for the homeless at all, I was simply asking for on an opinion on whether it is acceptable to differentiate between ‘an unfortunate’ guy on the street and a felon/sex offender.

    I am pretty sure if the center was labelled as a facility only for ‘unfortunate homeless’ there would be more support.

    It has nothing (in most cases) to do with income but previous records and behavior.

  37. Name-

    Would you be feeling the same way if Mars Hill were moving here and allowing people to proselytize aggressively up and down the street. I’m thinking your would probably have something to say about that and “Saying hurtful things and spreading made up stories and panic about the place anonymously is not helping anyone in Ballard. It’s destructive to the neighborhood.”

  38. Yea..

    And so do all the case workers, doctors, drug treatment counselors, social workers, office workers, security workers, maintainance people, and every other person who will have a job there. They don’t work for free.

  39. Again, all this Monday morning quarterbacking is wasting your time. The time to speak up has passed and probably would not have mattered anyway. In the real world, people don’t vote on everything that happens on private property in a major city. It’s reality. Compass center is a business, does employ people who make good salaries and is coming.

  40. Name – you seem to be the only one without a name. You are most likely a Compass employee or a Lutheran church member (whose charity is Compass House) and you have a vested interest in the treatment facility being built.

    I was at that meeting on Monday night along with what felt like half of Compass Housing Alliance’s employees. Between them and the members of various Lutheran churches bussed in by their pastors, I felt I was at a church revival. Compass did a good job of stacking the audience and they have had a lot of practice doing it. Not one of the Compass contingent speaking at the meeting said they lived in Ballard nor did MJ Kiser or did Rick Friedhoff (he lives in Laurelhurst). The church members identified with Ballard but I doubt anyone of them lived next door. This project belongs in a light commercial district, it does not belong in the heart of downtown Ballard.

    And further no “name”– the fight is not over. This was just the first meeting and the meeting was called by the City of Seattle because of the opposition that Compass Housing did not expect.

  41. I live 1 block North of this proposed structure and we already have tons of problems with the homeless. Break-ins in our building, cars vandalised in the garage and harassments on the street from the homeless. These issues don’t even touch on the frequent harassments that already occur compliments of the homeless in the Ballard Library, 1 westerly block away from this proposed building.
    I can only believe this structure will invite even more neighborhood problems and destablize a currently great urban neighborhood. Unfortunately, the homeless have heavily over run Ballard already, as they presently love to park their pick ups and vans-which they live in on the streets all over the neighborhood, and are freaky scary on the streets-day or night.
    I think Magnolia or Laurelhurst would be much, much better places for a homeless housing mid-rise!!
    Spread the joy of dealing with the homeless around, and let the city council members and the powers that be in this city have the thrill of dealing with the homeless in their neighborhoods too.
    Don’t be too selfish and put them in just a few spots. Oh, what about Washington Park, that’d be good for this project as well.
    Finally, this meeting was not publicized in Ballard at all.
    It appears that only those in favor got the “secret invitation”.
    Why was that if this is such a good deal for an unsuspecting neighborhood?

  42. Seattle doesn’t get it. We seem intent on subsidizing bum flats in our most desirable neighborhoods.

    Do like Europe would and stick this ugly building in the SODO or somewhere, not in downtown Ballard.

    Pioneer Square wonders why nobody wants to spend money there any more and then it turns out over 50% of the people “renting” there are section 8. Big mystery why your neighborhood isn’t desirable.

    This addition doesn’t help Ballard, if you think bums are pleasant go look at the bum orgies that consume most of the commons day in day out., not a pretty scene for honest progressives.

  43. This won’t last too long before a Level 3 does something to a child or woman walking with a service dog. Those, after all, are what got *these* people a residence in Ballard’s newest-building-to-be.

    This will cost too much and will eventually end up being what it really should be: a new, slightly used apartment building for rent.

  44. Hmm, alcoholics or drug addicts. We have plenty of those living in our community already, in pretty much any apartment building or given city block. I’m not sure why anybody would think an 80-unit apartment building would appreciably raise the percentage.

    If you have trouble with a specific person or persons, call the police! Duh. See somebody with an open container? There’s a law against that. See somebody assaulting passersby? There’s a law against that, too. You don’t have to suffer in silence, people. But if your only problem is that you don’t like people who look scruffy and/or unshaven and don’t seem to have a job, please get a grip.

    Better yet, volunteer at a soup kitchen some week and talk to a few people — you might learn something.

  45. Sara J-

    As stated before, police will be responding to priority calls only. What you’ve referenced ranks right next to noise nuisance. You too have a skewed view of what is going on. And there is a HUGE difference between a soup kitchen and homeless housing. HUGE!

  46. All I was saying is that if you don’t want something, go to meetings and speak up.

    If you see someone breaking the law by the library, call the police. I am sure they would be very interested in hearing your complaints and will respond quickly if an actual law is being broken. The Compass Center does not own the libary or the Commons. If you see a law broken there, call the police or report it to a librarian.

    Like the person said, having 5 o’clock shadow or a little scruff on your face while sitting in a park or using the library, is not illegal.

  47. Ugly, ugly buildings, very 1950’s style. Looks like an old hospital with orange painted on it to be what? Hip ?

    17th and SW 56th? That’s too large of a building to be right there, I don’t care who lives in it. How many parking spaces does it have? I’m tired of never being able to find a parking spot in Ballard, so now I find ways to do more shopping at Fred Meyer (which I hate, but at least Ican park). No, I am not a bus rider, nor would I do any shopping via bus even if I were.

    I’m moving soon. Can’t stand you flakes and how you’ve made Ballard be the opposite of what the Scandihoovians wanted it to be.

  48. I thought people were against building more big apartments and condos in the Ballard neighborhood. After all, several projects have fizzled leaving big empty lots.

  49. So, “name”…. are YOU going to stop by and chat with the fine residents that will live there? No, you won’t. And Sara J., there is no way you are going to have a tea with the fine gentlemen that will be living there. You will both shake in your Birkenstocks the moment you even get within 3 blocks of this building. That’s when you will pass by some of these gentlemen who will simply be lounging about while idly playing a game of chess.

  50. God forbid the Compass Center attract a few people who might want to play some chess on the outside tables. How is this ruining Ballard?

  51. I think you are confusing nice, friendly, instrument playing, real change selling street people looking for a dollar, with filthy, stabby, rapey convicted felons who are prone to behaviors that endanger the community.

  52. Are “they” going to have chess tables? lol… I was only trying to be funny yet poignant. Still, you are not saying YOU are going to play chess with them and hang out. The issue I have is not about playing chess on a nice day – it’s about the fact that people who are “recovering” are mixed into an area that has schools, businesses, etc in their close proximity. This is not a good mix, and I am starting to realize – you don’t have kids, and you are not really invested in the community – two possible reasons for your views of “oh, let’s all take care of eachother.”

    Bull. It’s one thing to increase my taxes a bit to make sure we are all covered with some sort of medical insurance. THAT I understand. But I am not understanding why this residence may be put HERE? Why in any urban area this close to schools and kids? Why do we not know of these “meetings” so we can all attend and provide voices from another angle?

  53. “The board recommends that the design include a seat wall out front, bicycle spots out front ”

    This is what the Myballard story above says about the sidewalk seating. So yes, chess is a very real possibility.

  54. Again, all I said was if you did not understand the project, you should have gone to the meeting. It wasnot kept secret and it appears that most people at the meeting understood the place is no threat and would be helpful to those who need some basic services, such as housing and a few social services. Sorry I got involved here. I should have known better. Goodbye.

  55. Name,

    Chess. right. I can’t say I have ever witnessed a homeless person engaged in this activity. Must be part of that screening process they use to make sure we get only the highest quality chronically homeless.

    Perhaps that will be one job assingments there////

  56. “This is a private business, that does not need your permission in the first place, but out of courtesy had an open meeting.”

    This “private business” as you put it collects the majority of it’s funding through tax payer dollars, look at the financial reports on the Compass website. Private or not, tax payer money is involved with the project and there is enough opposition to it that the City listened to the taxpayer’s and became invovled.

    “Ballard was selected because it is a residential community that is walkable. It has many amenities from grocery stores to drug stores and movie houses, coffee shops.”

    It’s also expensive as hell. I doubt these individuals staying at The Urness House will be shopping at the stores along old Ballard Ave. or spending their day sipping tea or coffee in one of the many local spots, or hitting a movie on a regular basis. IMO, the property was purchased back in 2008, a time when condo’s were sprouting like weeds in Ballard, Compass was going to try and sneak this building up right along with all the condo’s and not let the Public know what it was going to be used for. Uh-oh! The real estate market cooled off and so did construction in Ballard, now they have to listen to Public input.

  57. Yea this will be great for the local economy – maybe some empty store-fronts will re-open nearby! The old Ballard Camera can be Dirt Cheap Beer & Cigs, Nervous Nellie’s can be a needle exchange, and Epilogue Books can be a porta-potty!

  58. I did not get a chance to attend this meeting. And I concede I don’t know the source of Compass’ funding but here is my question:

    You want to help these troubled souls? Fine. Be my guest. But please don’t tell me it had to be this location. Aurora avenue MUST have MUCH cheaper prices on land/buildings.

    Had they built on the site of one of those William S. Burroughs hotels on Aurora instead the costs for this structure would have been much less leaving more money to put into “programs” and assistance.

    So please Compass, please don’t tell me your first priority is the well being of your future residents.

  59. I can’t believe that addicts/alcoholics and sex offenders get such a wonderful deal. Concern that they can use community services. I’m 25 years sober, one community service helped me live in a wonderful community like Ballard. I resent that isn’t being targeted for familys or persons going to school or working to improve themselve. I know the life of alcoholics. How dare you. Why don’t you put them in downtown highrise next to the court. Ballard is know longer the arm pit of Seattle. Re think your project. I’m going to fight against this with all my strength. I truly hope no child is hurt from your terrible project.

  60. Oh I met no community services helped me go to school twice, clean houses on my days off, work at a drug store with two young daughters. How dare you. Look again who needs help. My father is one of the bums in San Francisco that never cared. Do you think what your doing is going to make them care. Think again.

  61. For anyone reading this who’s not just spouting off (is there anyone?), here are my two cents’ worth. (For the record, no, I don’t live in Ballard, but I do work right next to a building just like this in another part of Seattle. Plus I like Ballard and I eat and shop and walk and visit my friends there.)

    Ballard is special, and so was Pastor Nyer Urness, who ministered to people who were down and out, down on their luck, and homeless for years in Pioneer Square and around town. I think that Urness House will uphold the finest Scandehoovian traditions of valuing simple dignity and people looking out for one another.

    Yes, Ballard is a special neighborhood — and so are the other distinctive, historical, interesting neighborhoods in Seattle where people young and old, rich and poor and in the middle live and eat and work and play.

    Yes, people are homeless in Ballard, as they are all over this city — in fact, there are about 9000 people a night who are homeless in King County. Almost 3000 of them are found sleeping outside even in the middle of winter. Why?

    Because there isn’t enough affordable housing or emergency shelter. If someone is disabled enough to get SSI benefits, there is NO WHERE in the entire U.S. where they can afford a one bedroom apartment. That’s why there are homeless military veterans.

    In the long run, it costs us money, to keep people homeless, plain and simple. Housing people and providing them with the social services and medical care they need saves money.

    And yes, I think it’s also the right thing to do. I’d rather live in a city that makes sure that people have somewhere safe to sleep at night rather than leaves them out under a bridge in the rain.

    The reason a building like Urness House gets funding from local and federal government, and from local taxpayers (yes, WE voted for the Seattle Housing Levy), is that HOUSING WORKS. It’s the best way to keep people safer & healthier, and it saves us all money. Homes like Urness House have been built in other neighborhoods around Seattle where there are also families with children and small businesses and schools, and it has worked out fine.

    This is going to be a really nice building, with trees and plants in front, and a staff person at the front desk 24/7. People will live in it, not like the empty condos. And all the people who live in it, work at it, and come to volunteer in it will be shopping in Ballard.

  62. CityGirl,

    1. As you said you don’t live in Ballard so this really is of little consequence to you.

    2. “down and out” is a very misleading way to describe addicts and sex offenders.

    3. Why not open up your home to some “down and out” folks?

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