Kudos to Jonathan Martin at the Seattle Times for one of the fastest turn-arounds in the history of print journalism. We spoke this morning a little after 10 a.m., and by 2:30 today, Seattle crews trashed nearly everything, homeless advocates complain, was up on their website. In a moment of elegant understatement, Seattle Parks Department spokesman Dewey Potter said, "It's fair to say we have some improvements to make."
Here's the entire warehouse inventory for the last two months of sweeps, which she released to the press today.
Leather jacket, beige shorts, brown duffel bag, scissors, 2 pair socks, blanket, assorted hygeine products, radio, quilt, green Novara mountain bike, purpe Shimano mountain bike, 2 Real change vendor IDs, tripod, Portastudio sound mixer board, sleeping bag, pillow, 760 pumpmaster pellet gun. Schwinn mountain bike (retrieved), small hand tools, retrieved. shovel, flashlight, saw, catfood 7 cans.How sparsely random. It's a Dadaist poem.
This represents the whole of what was saved from six different area sweeps, one of which, alone, yielded twenty-one tons of "debris."
The article is filled with lovely quotes, but the one that made me inappropriately scream out loud was the following, in which Potter follows standard City procedure by referring the the urine-soaked essential nature of homeless people.
Potter said about five duffel bags of belongs were bagged and tagged by date during the recent cleanup. But a crew chief in charge of determining what was salvageable "found they were so contaminated with urine she had to back away and the bags were tossed," said Potter.Let's think about this a moment. Twenty-one tons of stuff got tossed during this sweep, or "clean-up," as the City prefers, so they chose to select out five urine-soaked duffel bags for storage? The "had to back away" part is a great image. After that, I suppose, there was nothing left to do but douse the bio-hazard bags with gasoline and light them on fire.
I remember Potter from the public hearing on the new protocols last February, where sixty-five people lined up to trash the protocols and no one spoke in their favor. She was the one with the stricken expression.
I guess she got over it.
Above, in honor of peeing homeless people everywhere, is Danny Barnes with his epic Pee Pee the Sailor. Below, in honor of our craven Mayor, is a cartoon that recently appeared in the Queen Anne and Magnolia News.