May Day, and no riots
Another May Day has come and gone peacefully in Seattle, a city that gained a bit of a reputation for sometimes-destructive acts and law enforcement’s hard crackdowns on previous markings of the workers’ day.
The march, organized by El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, began at Judkins Park at 1 p.m. and meandered down to Capitol Hill, through the downtown, circled around the Amazon Spheres then onto Seventh and Stewart where it ended with a rally at the federal courthouse. Marchers were championing immigrants’ and workers’ rights.
It is a critical time. According to Dara Lind at Vox, the Trump administration has considered ways to deny green cards to people who immigrated to the United States legally, as well as making it harder for asylum seekers to get work visas.
Visible on the sidelines were two bright red maga hats.
They were part of a group that included a man in body armor armed with a paintball gun. One whipped his hat in the air at the marchers, yelling. Police refused to let them near the marchers, causing another to complain bitterly into his YouTube feed about the “violation” of his free speech.
Sun sets, rises on Licton Springs
Licton Springs, the low-barrier tiny house village that closed in April, will get a new life as an affordable housing project if the Low Income Housing Alliance (LIHI) gets its way, continuing the work of offering low- and middle-income people safe, affordable housing.
The nonprofit housing organization plans to develop 115 affordable workforce apartments on the site of the controversial tiny house village. The village closed on April 1 after two years of operation.
According to LIHI, the village sheltered 100 people over its two years of operation. As of April 2, 49 percent of people who had lived there were in permanent housing, 37 percent were in transitional housing or shelters and 14 percent had either returned to the streets or were unaccounted for.
The Navigation Team — a blend of police officers and outreach workers — referred people to Licton Springs who struggled with substance abuse issues. Its low-barrier model allowed people to use substances discreetly. The goal of this “housing first” model was to bring people in and connect them to services and some measure of stability.
The experiment drew the ire of neighbors who blamed the village for a decrease in public safety. The Seattle Times reported in April 2018 that 9-1-1 calls within two blocks of the village had increased 30 percent when compared with the same period a year before.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Read the full May 8 - 14 issue.
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