NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Dozens of seniors, who attended a June 29 meeting to discuss the new Navigation Center in Little Saigon, called it a waste of time.
The community members were hoping to engage city officials. But some in attendance called the event a celebratory soft opening instead.
The Seattle Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) President-elect Joseph Lachman wrote on Facebook, “The city government lied. This was not a community meeting to address our concerns and have meaningful engagement. It was only to celebrate the opening of the Navigation Center and the steamrolling of the Vietnamese community. I am deeply disgusted with the City of Seattle’s treatment of Little Saigon in the planning of the Navigation Center.”
Attendees instead heard remarks from Daniel Malone, the executive director of Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) — which will operate the center. DESC has announced that it will begin accepting people on July 12.
The proposal to build the shelter was put on hold at the end of April, after it angered local community advocates. Local Vietnamese Americans, many of whom own business in Little Saigon, said news of the center’s opening in Little Saigon came as a surprise, and they criticized the mayor’s office for lack of communication and community outreach.
The Navigation Center Community Task Force issued a statement earlier last week questioning the decision by the City and DESC to open the Navigation Center without the community’s submission of the Response Plan, as had previously been agreed upon.
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