City Council Approves Berkshire Low Barrier Site 6-0.

November 9, 2016

Everett, Everett Government

low barrier

The favored site is on Berkshire behind the Peking Duck and Jiffy Lube east of Evergreen Way.

The Everett City Council held its vote on the preferred location for Everett’s first low barrier housing site Wednesday night.

Before the agenda item was heard, councilmember Scott Bader recused himself as his employer is Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle which oversees Catholic Community Services who would oversee the facility. The Everett City attorney said for the record that Bader had no actual legal conflict but was recusing himself to remove any perception of conflict of interest.

Prior to the public testimony Everett May Ray Stephanson said. “I would not put this in any neighborhood if I thought it would be bad for the area.” Stephanson also said he was putting together a “Stakeholder Committee” drawn from the four neighborhoods in the area of the facility made up of homeowners, business owners, residents and others to address concerns about the facility and also work on improvements to the four neighborhoods.

Councilmember Cassie Franklin spoke about the facility and how people need to view it as a simple apartment but not as a treatment facility. She said it is not a drop in treatment or service center.

The first speaker during the public comment portion presented to the city council a petition with 150 signatures he says were from the neighborhood residents and property owners that were opposed to the facility at its location.

Another nearby resident spoke of arming herself and having to deal daily with people stealing from her store and shooting heroin in the restrooms. She said she doesn’t feel safe with this coming in.

One homeowner with a house across from the proposed site said “I just heard from three people in support of this, none of whom live in our neighborhood…I hear talk of vulnerable people but we are vulnerable too.”

Others spoke of feeling they had no actual voice in the matter and said they felt deceived by the city.

Some people spoke in support of the low barrier housing project citing religious and social outreach as their reasons in favor. Others were professionals who deal with the homeless population daily.

By the count, out of the 21 people who spoke during the public comment portion 13 were in favor of the site as proposed and 8 were against.

When the public comment period wrapped up members of the Everett City Council addressed the issue.

Cassie Franklin – The safety net we currently have has failed so many of our people on the streets. That is why we need this type of housing. The main thing this population needs is a grocery store and a bus.

Brenda Stonecipher – Visited Patrick Place in Seattle – felt like a college dorm, strict check-in and check-out, 24 hour service – keep track of residents – felt like an inclusive community. Went around community and spoke with neighbors who were positive about the facility. I made up my mind Friday and became sold on it.

Judy Tuohy – Visited Patrick Place in Seattle – Very understated, nothing to make you think this was a facility serving the most vulnerable. Drug dealers do not come to the facility. Majority are not drug addicts, that is the smallest portion of the residents. We’re in this for the long haul to insure any negative impacts dealt with.

Paul Roberts – My mind was not made up about this site. Communication piece needs to be improved and that is happening. The Public Safety piece key is the supervision provided by the facility. I am convinced this is being done. Policy piece requires a model that does not fit neatly into a little box.

Jeff Moore – Thanked Mayor for aggressively moving forward on the Community Streets Initiative.

Scott Murphy – Visited Francis Place facility in Bellingham on Monday. Toured all floors and vacant unit, met with landlord and others and checked out the lease and house rules that are together are 27 pages long. They make it clear that illegal activity is not tolerated. I’m very comfortable Catholic Community Services will do a good job for us. I did not make up my mind until after I walked through the facility and saw it for myself.

The vote for the resolution was unanimous. Now the process moves onto the environment review.

You can see the City of Everett website devoted to the low barrier housing plan here.

You can see the story did about Patrick Place in Seattle here.

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