Homeless tent in Seattle. (J. Warne)
After radio KIRO The Gee and Ursula Show This week shared their stories of visiting downtown Seattle, especially in regards to the homelessness crisis, they heard from a local business owner who said “it has never been so bad.”
Mark McCann owns Butler parkingwhich operates garages offering valet parking and self parking and has been operating since 1987.
“When I started in 1987, the biggest problems we had was that there were pay centers where people would come to collect their wages, and some of my garages were next to them and the lines were quite long. and people are sometimes a little disrespectful, ”he said. “There were many, I don’t know, people who tried to take checks or money from those who cashed their checks. … Everyone was always moving. Everyone has always treated us with great respect and, to be honest, it hasn’t affected our business in any way. “
McCann says tents are the biggest problem right now. He says the alley behind his business used to be full of tents on both sides.
“I saw the fires … that I sent pictures to the city council, just saying, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on,’” he said.
McCann says he had to call the fire department to put out the fire too.
“They stole things from our sites. Not even that long ago, a couple of our metal trash cans, somebody used bolt cutters – I have no idea where they got them – but to cut open the trash cans, ”he said. “And then I walked down the alley and found them in one of the tent villages, and they used it, one, for rubbish, I think that’s okay. And they used the other as a fire pit. “
“And so I grabbed the parking attendant and asked her if she could help me take out the trash cans and return them. And she did it, ”added McCann.
He says that the people who took the cans didn’t say anything when he picked them up, but they no longer leave trash cans at their factories.
“The graffiti is done at least once or twice a week, not only there, but at Pioneers’ Square,” McCann said. “I have a garage right between Washington DC and Yesler, on 3rd Avenue, right outside the courthouse with a million tents. … Just nobody cares. They just don’t do anything about it. They had
enough time to try and fix it. And the city council seems to be just spinning the wheels, or maybe playing with its constituents and the people who shout the loudest. “
McCann says his business was pretty strong before COVID-19 broke out.
“But when we did lose clients, almost always someone would say, ‘Hey, you know, I can’t walk anymore.’ Before, right next to us, in Pioneer Square, there was something like a tent city … right on Washington DC between 2nd and 3rd avenues. “
McCann once accidentally found a live reporter there, who said that the city does nothing with the tents. He says it affected his business because people had to walk by to get to their office. After about a week or two, he said, city officials dismantled the tents in the area.
“They found $ 60,000 in cash, a bunch of drugs. So, you know, I wasn’t making it up, ”he said. “And business improved for a while. Things went uphill. We didn’t lose people that often. ”
“It was a real struggle, especially right now in front of the courthouse, because many of our clients are jurors, judges and lawyers,” McCann said. “They’ve closed the 3rd Avenue entrance right now, which I don’t mind because I understand. But I don’t understand why they can’t put this park in order now. And by the way, in the spring, in the summer it was empty. So everyone had a place to live before, and then they suddenly decided to just put up all their tents there. “
McCann says he tried to contact the city councilors but received only one response.
“They just don’t listen,” he said. “… I really don’t need to tell them anything, right? All they have to do is walk out the door, see the problem and find a way to fix it. “
Listen to the show “Gee and Ursula” on weekdays from 9 to 12 o’clock on radio “KIRO”, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to podcast here…