Frustration Marks Everett Low Barrier Housing Meeting

October 4, 2016

Everett, Everett Government


The Mayor made some brief welcoming remarks but didn’t stay to hear from the audience.


About a hundred people were in attendance.


Multiple locations around Everett were considered and rejected


There were many passionate pleas for the city to reconsider the location.


Police Chief Dan Templeman tells the crowd the city can’t arrest its way out of the problem.

Frustration was the most common emotion at tonight’s meeting on low barrier housing.

Around a hundred people filled the cafeteria at Evergreen Middle School to hear representatives from the City of Everett and Catholic Community Services talk about the facility planned for Berkshire and Evergreen Way in central Everett.

Containing 10 studios and 60 one bedroom units, the secure facility will house people selected from not just Everett but throughout Snohomish County.

People who are experiencing homelessness, considered most vulnerable and who cost the most in public safety, healthcare and social service dollars would be housed in the facility which is billed as secure and with service providers on location.

Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson spoke briefly at the beginning of the meeting talking about how 12 years ago the homeless issue wasn’t even on his radar but that over the past three years he’s made a 180 degree turn.

“The overriding issue is poverty,” Stephanson said. “All of you need to get the facts on low barrier housing.”

Shortly after that the Mayor left the meeting without announcement. That led to frustration from many in attendance.

A city spokesperson told that the Mayor had a prior commitment scheduled long in advance and had only planned to give welcoming remarks.

Hil Kaman, director of public health and safety for Everett showed a video and made a brief presentation on the need for low barrier housing summing it up as follows, “If a person does not have a safe place to go at the end of the day all of the other pieces (help and assistance) won’t work.”

He then went on to highlight the search of Everett for a location for the first low barrier housing project and stated that the city had looked at between 30 – 40 locations before deciding on the Berkshire Drive property. At that point many in the crowd interrupted, expressing frustration that they weren’t told of the potential use for that property ahead of time. Kaman told them that no matter where in the city it would be placed there would be individuals who wouldn’t want it in their neighborhood.

At times the meeting got loud with people interrupting presenters and each other. There were calls for an advisory vote, or for the facility to be build at the site of the now defunct courthouse project at Wall and Rockefeller.

At one point someone shouted, “This is a done deal, isn’t it?” The response…”The city is planning on this facility here.”

You could hear it in the tone of voice on both sides…Frustration.

About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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19 Responses to “Frustration Marks Everett Low Barrier Housing Meeting”

  1. JAYMEE Says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for being honest in this report. I also wanted to express my deep concerns about this matter. My family has owned a home in the Madison Neighborhood since 1954. I was born in 1970 and have lived in this home most of my life. I can remember all the trees and the trails we once had just past the school that were removed to build homes. In the last 5 years it has done nothing but be destroyed per all he drug users that now frequent the area. Crime has risen sharply. We now have a drug dispensary at the bottom of the hill and all small convenience stores have began selling drug para. Its really sad that we cant even send our children to the corner store without them seeing these things openly displayed on the counters. We have lost all faith of our local government and have also seen a sharp decrease in our home/property value over these 5 years. Who gave the green light to allow all this in one neighborhood that used to be one of the safest places to live in the city? Why are we not placing this facility away from schools as we have several in this area as well?? Time for someone to step in that knows the area and has lived here for more then 40 years. Stop letting these politicians that don’t even live here make the decisions. Clean up our streets before there is no turning back.

  2. Aaron Powell Says:

    I was there to witness the Mayor headed for the hills. Is there a Website against Low barrier housing? One where we can find out where the Mayor is and we can show up with signs Lets take the issues to him.

  3. Jo Says:

    It will only be a secure facility if the residents are locked in and everyone else is locked out, and the keys are thrown away and the locks welded shut.

  4. Wa-fix Says:

    BE SURE TO VOTE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE INCUMBENTS OUT!!!! They won’t listen to the real concerns, but they won’t have a choice when they’re fired.

  5. Concerned Citizen Says:

    Politically, I can’t figure out why the mayor is pursuing this. Attracting more homeless to Everett is a lose-lose as it adds to city expenses while contributing nothing to the tax base (in fact I would argue that it actually reduces the tax base as many of us who still live in Everett are electing to make our purchases elsewhere). I live in Everett bought have not bought groceries or gas in the city in a couple years now. Just too many drugged out weirdos owning our streets. Marysville, Lake Stevens, Snohomish, Mukilteo offer a safer shopping experience.

    This Economics 101. Make something free and people will consume more of it. Offer free housing and you will attract more homeless to the city. It’s pretty simple.

    • Robert Says:

      I’m right there with you. We do all our shopping in Mill Creek even though it’s further from our home due to all the homeless patrons at the Everett grocery stores. Plus this way when my kid uses a public restroom I don’t have to explain why each stall has a sharps disposal container.

    • Ray Says:

      “Politically, I can’t figure out why the mayor is pursuing this.” Follow the money $$$.

      • Concerned Citizen Says:

        Educate me. I honestly can’t see how importing more homeless into Everett benefits the city or mayor. What money trail do you speak of?

      • skankhunt42 Says:

        It doesn’t benefit the mayor or the city? Is that why the city was able to hire people specifically for addressing homelessness at a pretty decent wage? The city gets funding for things like this- and the bigger deal you make of it (we need housing, lots of it because the problem is THAT bad) they will be provided more money. The recipients of said housing will also turn to vote for whoever was providing them free stuff. They don’t mind- they’re getting free food, house, cell phone, and spending money. More bums = More federal money to combat it- unsuccessfully.

        Just because the Mayor of Everett doesn’t seem like that large of a role to be corrupt compared to national levels- local politics are just as corrupt, if not more- than national politics. Look at the lack of backbone, and the way people bend to pressure.

        Of course it’s about money.

  6. twincedars Says:

    ‘Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson spoke briefly at the beginning of the meeting talking about how 12 years ago the homeless issue wasn’t even on his radar but that over the past three years he’s made a 180 degree turn.’

    And I believe him. He’s just doing and saying what his handlers at the Bill Gates Foundation tell him to do and say. They already have stacked the Seattle City Council with their “Democratic Socialist” front people and are continuing their “outreach” into Snohomish County.

    • Ray Says:

      What happens in Seattle doesn’t stay in Seattle. Money buys power and power likes money. GO HAWKS!!!!

  7. Mike N Says:

    Here are the major takeaways from that meeting last night:

    1. The mayor’s voice was the ONLY voice in that room that mattered.
    2. They finally admitted that the stats showing neighborhood “improvements” where these types of facilities are located are in mixed-use neighborhoods consisting mainly of apartments and condominiums.
    3. They also admitted that they knew in advance that there would be opposition to wherever they placed it, so neighbors concerns were purposely not considered.
    4. This is just the first of many low-barrier projects that they plan to install in the city of Everett.

    Many of the close-by neighbors stated that their houses were now up for sale, or would be shortly. They felt they needed to leave now, before the property values drop too sharply.
    It was utterly astounding just how out of touch our city government is, when they unanimously favor gifting housing to the vagrant population over the needs and desires of their hard working, tax paying constituency. It makes me sick to my stomach that these people are “representing” us.
    We need a clean sweep of ALL the incumbents at the next election.

    • Tony Says:

      Your kidding right? This is why they were elected… Cities to our North and South all have anti loitering and panhandling ordinances… Why not us? Our housing prices have just started to increase in a positive way after a 7 year slump. Time for us to take charge of our areas of this city… Oh wait, we can’t do that the city council doesn’t live in that part of town. None of them do. Honestly, I might even run, maybe we can take back this city, but we need half the seats to do it… who is with me?

      • Concerned Citizen Says:

        loitering/panhanding/petty theft are problems in all corners of the city…north Everett is pretty bad too. The problem is less about where the councilmembers live and more about their lack of political willpower to do anything about it. Paul Roberts keeps talking about how he is scared that the ACLU will sue the city if they pass anti-panhadeling laws. Well, if they sue us, they’ll be suing our neighboring cities too that seem to have the guts to address the problem. Next time you’re in Mville, check out the anti-panhandling signs on state st….and guess what the panhandlers are mostly gone.

  8. anon Says:

    That jerk didn’t even stay to hear what concerns and comments his city has to say about his ideas.
    What a phony!

    • Ray Says:

      Hey now! They should be grateful he let them attend another boondoggle.

    • Bourne Says:

      Hizzonor should receive an endorsement from Nike. The way he runs away from the constituents is approaching Olympic caliber.

  9. Bourne Says:

    “If a person does not have a safe place to go at the end of the day all of the other pieces (help and assistance) won’t work.”

    How about a safe place for the taxpayer to go after a long 12 hour day of actually working?

    I see Mayor Ray cut and ran again when the pressure was put on. A good leader would have stayed and truthfully answered any questions.

    • Concerned Citizen Says:

      Well stated. What about us suckers who actually work for a living and are trying to raise a family in this city? Do we have a right to go out in public and feel safe?