I am writing to protest the deplorable situation at 12th and Jackson in Seattle’s Little Saigon business district.
Most of us have, no doubt, witnessed the loiterers, pushers and users, sellers of questionable goods, and unbelievable filth and garbage.
This area has a King County Metro bus stop, but you wouldn’t know it because it has been co-opted by so much unfortunate street activity.
Not only Metro patrons but the small businesses right here—the herbal shop plus the businesses in the Ding Hao Plaza—are being adversely affected. The small business plaza across the street had to erect a security fence to discourage drug sales and garbage proliferation.
Pedestrians are also being thwarted—the sidewalks are crowded, full of litter and overflowing garbage dumpsters, and the Metro stop is otherwise unusable.
It is also completely dark at night here. How are Metro transit customers supposed to use this stop at night?
I lay the blame for this situation with the DESC Navigation Center around the corner at 606 12th Avenue South.
I am told that small businesses adjacent to the Navigation Center have complained of theft, vandalism, and unlawful campers.
I suspect that the people who are using the Center are being drawn to and involved in this activity at 12th and Jackson.
A King County sheriff told me that the Chinese noodle shop in the Ding Hao Plaza was buying stolen meat and the money was being used to buy or push drugs at this corner.
I suspected no good would come out of the City’s Navigation Center. I remember going to community meetings where neighbors and parents (there is a school near the Center) met out of great concern—founded on the lack of trust and belief in the competence or commitment by the City—not just to install a temporary low barrier shelter but to ensure it really worked. Looks like our concerns were amply justified.
Regardless of whether or not the Navigation Center is the source of the problems at 12th and Jackson, the City and the County/Metro must take immediate action to rectify the intolerable situation. This area is a serious problem, which is impacting people and businesses in Little Saigon and ultimately the Chinatown-International District (CID) .
I call on City Councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Tammy Morales, and County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay to give this deplorable situation their immediate attention and action.
It has often occurred to me that the CID and Little Saigon are easy targets for politically unpopular social experiments. No other neighborhood would take them but when they fail, the people responsible for putting them here in the CID (the City) are suddenly indifferent and unresponsive.
We can see that for a long time, dating back to previous administrations, the City has not cared for nor about the International District and does not to this day.
The problems are not just at 12th and Jackson—the problems are also growing violence involving shootings and property damage. Tents are appearing again on Jackson under the freeway, along with garbage. There is graffiti all over many buildings. There is no street cleaning service as there is in downtown.
This historic neglect and inaction by the City amounts to outright racism and I protest.
Part of this area is a Historic Neighborhood of immigrants, but you would never know it in spite of the Councilmembers’ “socially progressive” rhetoric about protecting (recent) immigrants.
It’s time for the City, the County, and Metro to act in good faith and fix the problems here for the businesses, bus patrons, pedestrians, and seniors who are being intimidated and forced out of their neighborhood.
— Patricia Fong