One method to deal with problems is to relocate them. I like to think of myself as a master at it, figuratively speaking.
For instance, in 1991 I quit smoking. I was successful at that for more than four straight years. I attribute all my success during that period to the clever technique of replacing my two-pack-a-day habit with a two-six-pack-a-day beer habit. It worked like magic until the idea hit me, hey, why can’t I have it all?
That’s relocating a problem figuratively. But governments are swell at relocating problems literally.
Remember that great solution we found for our problem of how to live in the same country as its original inhabitants? Where we put them various places other than where we found them? What was before the reservations was bad, because they were just wherever. What was after the reservations was good, because they were in an officially good place.
So the city thinks it has a problem with campers along the Interstate 5 greenbelt. As far as I know there are no city officials currently living there. Nevertheless they take the “problem” of it as their own. So what do they now propose to do about this problem of theirs? Move it to a city established camp at Royal Brougham Street and Airport Way.
You see, if the city builds the camp, it’s not a “problem” anymore. It’s good!
The new solution-camp will differ from the old problem-camp, in part because it will have portable toilets and garbage collection provided by the city. Why those amenities couldn’t have been provided at the problem-camp, turning it into a solution-camp on the spot, I don’t know. Maybe they took the name “The Jungle” to mean that you needed machetes to reach it, or had to get there swinging from vine to vine like Tarzan.
The new camp will need a new name. We can’t call it The Jungle, of course, but I don’t think The New Jungle, or Jungle-Lite would be appropriate either. Some other suggestions: Solutionville, Murrayville, Eleventh Year Town (in reference to what became of the Ten Year Plan), SoDo Flat Heights, This-camp-is-better-than-your Camp, or Camp Biscuit (because I like the word “biscuit.”)
Meanwhile, the Seattle Police Department would very much like it if the city would help pay for a new three-story police station that would be one of the most expensive police stations ever built in the United States. It would be really cool, because it would be like a military bunker, and they could lock themselves in it and no one could come in and look around unless they belonged to the club.
Clearly, a problem needs solving here. The current North Precinct isn’t an invincible fortress against invasions by Mongolian hordes and Visigoths. It lacks crenelated turrets. It’s not designed to make it easy to pour boiling oil on your unwelcome visitors. It could be destroyed by Howitzers. This situation can’t be allowed to continue.
We have here an emergency shortage of safe police housing.
The police station we have already is a problem-station. What we need is a solution-station that has the solution things. Those things cost money, but it will be worth it to have solved these very urgent problems.
But aren’t we forgetting something? Unless I’m mistaken, the idea is for the new station to be in the same, or roughly the same, place that the old station has been. Why don’t we relocate the problem?
Instead of housing our at-risk police officers in expensive new quarters in a new building, why don’t we put them clear out in Shoreline where they’ll be safe? Since when have Visigoths attacked anyone in Richmond Highlands?
Don’t get me wrong, I actually am in favor of having a nice quiet retreat for the police. Somewhere they can be safe among their own kind, playing pinochle or gin rummy or whatever they play when they want to be jolly. Able to shoot guns to their hearts’ content. Not having to worry that a citizen might walk up on them unexpectedly and demand to know what they’re up to.
But wouldn’t they be happier if they were moved completely away from us? Wouldn’t a lot of us be happier if that happened?