I’m too revolted on too many levels to write coherently this morning. The new regional authority, with Constantine and Harrell, are planning to build a multimillion dollar homeless alleviation complex–an RV parking lot for fifty and another fifty tiny houses plus a shelter for 500 with social services on under seven acres behind Dearborn Street. There was no consultation with the ID, nor advance warning. The only information given to the community is a May press release from Bruce Harrell. 

This is what has enraged the CID, since it would never have happened in any other downtown-adjacent neighborhoods. There were no community hearings, no requests for input from residents, nor any environmental impact studies on the effect that at least 600 new residents might have upon local businesses and the community’s quality of life. 

There are over 1000 aging people in the CID, many of them who would find it quite possibly fatal to live anywhere else. They use their neighborhood in a way that other residents of wealthier areas don’t. They walk to buy food, go to the doctor, make a trip to the post office or to a bank. The CID is close to self-sustaining. I know because when I lived there, I had little reason to go beyond its boundaries except to visit family and friends.

After the rally, my friend Lei Ann and I walked through the park, past a man who lounged under one of the pieces of exercise equipment that were once used solely by adult exercisers. His can of beer was close at hand, as it is for many a lounging gentleman at the close of a summer’s day. I couldn’t observe him as carefully as I would have liked because I was much too busy avoiding human excrement on the pathway. Two men sitting at the little tables watched our shoulder bags approach in a way that was clearly predatory and as we walked down a staircase that let us take an empty path, Lei Ann shuddered. “The man behind us is urinating. Do they think this is their toilet?”

I walked to the rally and when I went through Pioneer Square I was stunned by its recovered loveliness. A year ago it was filled with tents and people who were obviously mentally ill. Now they’re gone and the CID is paying the price for their relocation. The community will only survive if we all support it. Please do.