Two Years After Outreach-Nudge-Push, Issues Remain On Everett’s Smith Street

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A truck in the no parking area and graffiti on the trash can. Photo taken 7/18/17

In February of 2015 the City of Everett began a policy of Outreach-Nudge-Push to clean up the area between 3600 and 3800 Smith Avenue near the Everett Gospel Mission. We reported on that effort and you can see that story here. Upgraded lighting, fencing and most recently no parking stripes in the two blocks have all been tried but business owners tell the problems remain.

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The owner of Z-Sport has seen the neighborhood change for the worse over the past decade and says in spite of city efforts over the past two years things are not better.

Gary Watts, owner of Z Sport at 36th and Smith told two years ago that his employees all had concealed weapons permits and that business at his shop was down due to customers fears of coming into the neighborhood. Last week we sat down with Watts for a follow-up. “I’ve supported the various initiatives the city has come up with but people tell me they feel no safer now than they did two years ago,” said Watts. “My business, my customers, my employees are hassled daily.”

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This photo taken Tuesday night 7/18/17 shows a car in the no parking area with an exchange between someone on the sidewalk and someone in the car.

Watts says recently he had more than 20 people trample his flowerbeds because some of the people hanging in the neighborhood wanted to give flowers to their friends. Customers who drop off their vehicles have had them broken into and Watts now uses a towing service instead of drop offs. Armed employees are now at the shop 24 hours-a-day.

Last Wednesday Watts addressed the Everett City Council and said he was fed up with the lack of progress. He told the council he conducted a survey of his customers and it overwhelmingly showed people feeling unsafe around his shop. Watts isn’t the only business owner in the area having issues. spoke with several members of the Smith Avenue Stakeholders group who say things are no better with trespassing, theft, vandalism and drug use and sales still prevalent in the area. Owners are bringing in extra fencing and security cameras but say its a rougher crowd lately and there is little improvement.

In a quick view of the Everett Police Department Community Crime Map there were 144 crimes resulting in a police response from April 1, 2016 – June 30, 2016 and 112 crimes resulting in a police response from April 1, 2017 – June 30, 2017 in the 500 foot area around 3711 Smith street. That’s more than one police response every single day in one 500 foot area of the City of Everett.


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