Outreach & Reaching Out
by Kirby LindsayThe June 28th Board Meeting of the Fremont Neighborhood Council (FNC) leaped to the heart of residential concerns, with only a few short announcements as preamble. Tim Durkan, of the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, announced a community meeting on July 1st meant to address concerns over the tragic fire in West Fremont on June 12th, and allow representatives from the Fire Department a chance to explain what happened, and what can be done to prevent future tragedies. Linda Clifton announced the re-design of the art for the mural on the 46th Street underpass has passed approval, and painting will begin soon, perhaps by July 7th as originally planned.
On Motel Matters
The Seattle City Attorney had been invited to attend this meeting, but a conflict had required he send his Chief of Staff, Darby DuComb. She began with distribution of handouts on the City of Seattle Customer Service Bureau, a resource for information as well as a place to register complaints, that can be reached at 206/684- CITY (2489) or by their web page.
More than half-a-dozen residents came to this meeting to hear about progress in resolving on-going criminal activity going on in and around a few motels on Aurora Avenue North (between 38th and 50th Avenues North.) DuComb had brought with her information she reportedly collected from Ed McKenna, the latest status reports on four of the problem motels.
Two of the establishments have foreclosures scheduled to occur within 60 days. These are the Italia and Isabella, DuComb reported, and she said that the City of Seattle Office of Housing has expressed an interest in acquiring the properties. They would look at converting them into low income/medium income market rate housing. As to two other properties, investigations continue. An ordinance, to shut down businesses found to be chronic locations for criminal behavior, requires proof of on-going problems.
The best solution, DuComb explained, is to call 9-1-1 whenever criminal behavior is spotted. DuComb also recommended writing letters, finding respectable buyers for the properties, and “be noisy,” to effect a change.
Neighbors gave feedback, expressing frustration with the length of time it has taken to get very little response to these problems. One person described frustration at the lack of police activity, even with calls to 9-1-1. Some discussed the potential to re-zone the area for mixed-use buildings with apartments or condos and retail/office users. The interest of the Office of Housing – to convert the buildings – generated comment on how this “could institutionalize the problem.” Another neighbor responded, “we do not want to see more facilities in this neighborhood that attract the same usage.”
Motions and Munificence
From this discussion, the FNC Board went on to consider other matters including a letter to support the Community Psychiatric Clinic (CPC). At the May meeting, the FNC heard a presentation on transfer of ownership of the Keystone Campus to CPC. FNC President Norma Jones read a draft letter of support for the transfer which described the CPC as ‘responsible neighbors,’ and mentioned their valuable services to the 84 persons that live on the campus. A motion to have Jones sign and send the letter was approved unanimously by the Board.
A donation, to help the survivors and family of the victims of the June 12th Fremont fire, came up for discussion – with the only real debate being about the amount. A motion to make a donation of $1000 – to the Seattle Children’s Fire Fund at Bank of America – passed unanimously.
Finally, President Jones described a nighttime disturbance ordinance being considered by Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, as recommended by the Nightlife Advisory Board. His committee will consider the ordinance on July 14th, which would address those people who make excessive noise or fight on city streets after exiting a club and/or bar. A letter of support for the ordinance, drafted by Stephanie Pure and for review by e-mail by the Board, was approved unanimously.
Much more discussion, and information, came up during the meeting. The best way to hear it all would be to attend a meeting. In July, on the 26th, a representative from METRO is expected – to discuss possible removal of electric trolley buses, and lines. Meetings take place at 7p on the 4th Monday of each month at History House, 790 North 34th Street. See you there.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.