The Real Change Advocacy team protested a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new pavilion in Occidental Park, which has become an outpost for unsheltered people.
At the event, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced this was a sign of Seattle’s progress in emerging from the pandemic. The pavilion was a $2.2 million revitalization effort funded by business groups. Housing advocates question this expenditure and use of space while an increasing number of people live outside in Pioneer Square.
Roughly 50 people from the Downtown Seattle Association, Seattle Parks Foundation and other sponsors gathered for the ceremony. James Sido of the Downtown Association said it was held to open the pavilion to the community, not to exclude anyone. Sido said the goal is never to keep people out of parks but to encourage activity and use of these spaces.
Coffee, cookies and live music was offered and paid for by the Downtown Association, who invited children from Mary’s Place to attend. The children played on a nearby play structure where an unsheltered person was huddled up.
Samira George covers real people living real lives in the Puget Sound. Follow her on Twitter @samirakgeorge.
Read more of the June 16-22, 2021 issue.