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Brian R
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 4:23 pm 
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AE, you hit the nail on the head. The rampant, in-the-open homeless situation this last decade or so is largely a west-coast phenomenon--and tied to a certain brand of political thought that does not share the same liberal pragmatism found in New England states. Are there homeless back east? Of course--but the tolerance of drugs, crime, deplorable sanitation, and utter contempt for the concerns of ordinary, tax-paying citizens typically doesn't follow.

Where are we going? Montana, most likely. We've spent a good deal of time there the past two years. But pretty much anywhere is on the table that isn't CA OR or WA.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 4:44 pm 
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Brian R wrote:
The rampant, in-the-open homeless situation this last decade or so is largely a west-coast phenomenon--and tied to a certain brand of political thought that does not share the same liberal pragmatism found in New England states. Are there homeless back east? Of course--but the tolerance of drugs, crime, deplorable sanitation, and utter contempt for the concerns of ordinary, tax-paying citizens typically doesn't follow.

Brian, I don't know enough to say with confidence that it has to do with political POVs.  Worth a sane discussion perhaps, but you know, it's one of those topics ( guns.gif  ) we try to stay away from here.  As some posters in this thread from eastern WA have said, they have this problem too, and the demographics of eastern WA are a lot more like Idaho & Montana than the coastal states. If you want to discuss further, PM me.

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treeswarper
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 4:52 pm 
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The little town I lived in (Wisconsin) seemed like going back in time.  They were building a new jail at the time, much larger than they had because the thought was that meth was on the way and they wanted to have a drug treatment program going when it did.  I don't know if meth ever made it there.  It, and the surrounding area were quite nice. However, I paid a lot more in property taxes and WI had income taxes to boot.  There also was an extra layer of government--the Township.  I'd never heard of such a thing. 

Signs were not shot up out in the woods and people skied ONE WAY on the trail system like the rules said.  There was a "Chalet" at the cross country ski area where you could build a fire and warm up--firewood provided and nothing was vandalized.   It was shocking for this westerner to encounter this.  Was it the Finlander/Scandihoovian way of doing things?  Kids riding bikes around town helmetless with no adults present and going fishing?   It was going back in time. 

I sometimes think about returning there.  The property taxes are still up there compared to here, but maybe it is worth it, if the meth never got there.

The only homeless person was a man who came up to Wisconsin after it warmed up and camped in the woods.  I talked to him.  He was clean and was at the laundromat doing his laundry.  He was clean and neat.   He got around on the local bus system and was retired but saved money by camping in the woods.  In the winter, he would go to Florida and do the same.

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altasnob
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 5:00 pm 
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I lived in Seattle from 09 to 15 in N Beacon Hill. Not the worst neighborhood in Seattle, but not the best. Walked or biked daily down to my job in Pioneer Square, with views of the main homeless areas of Seattle (the Jungle, Dearborne, next to the courthouse on 3rd Ave). Moved to Tacoma in 15. I don't have stats but seems like way more homeless in Seattle than Tacoma, even though Seattle is a way wealthier city. Homelessness in Tacoma has seemed to get worse every year since I moved here, but still seems less than Seattle.

Based on my anecdotal observations, other than Seattle and Tacoma, the rest of King and Pierce Counties do everything they can to get rid of their homeless. So the homeless for the entire county migrate to Seattle and Tacoma, which concentrates the problem.

High housing costs on the west coast definitely plays a factor. Sure, lots of people make a lot of money here. But if you work at Taco Bell in Buffalo you have a chance to be able to afford a place. Not true in the West Coast cities.
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Chief Joseph
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 5:32 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
Lots of people heading fer Idatucky.  There was quite a news article on how there is a major migration there from Collyfonia.  Idatucky's having some Covid problems right now and resorted to a plea of Wear a Mask to Protect Veterans.  Dunno how that worked.  Badly, I bet.

And most Idahoans are not happy about the Californicators moving in, property taxes go up and in a worst case scenario, the state might eventually turn Blue.


Brian R wrote:
AE, you hit the nail on the head. The rampant, in-the-open homeless situation this last decade or so is largely a west-coast phenomenon--and tied to a certain brand of political thought that does not share the same liberal pragmatism found in New England states. Are there homeless back east? Of course--but the tolerance of drugs, crime, deplorable sanitation, and utter contempt for the concerns of ordinary, tax-paying citizens typically doesn't follow.

Where are we going? Montana, most likely. We've spent a good deal of time there the past two years. But pretty much anywhere is on the table that isn't CA OR or WA.

The climate might have something to do with it as well, much better to be homeless in CA than on the east coast, although not sure how much the homeless relocate.

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FiveNines
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 5:38 pm 
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Anne.  I don't understand a lot of your post.

Why can't we look at climate stats between Buffalo and Seattle for homeless?

Jan temps in Buffalo:  31F / 19F
Jan temps in Seattle: 45F / 36F

Seattle seems uncomfortably livable outside 24/7.  Buffalo seems like literally freezing to death.  Freezing to death is no joke.
https://www.weather-us.com/en/new-york-usa/buffalo-weather-january
https://www.weather-us.com/en/washington-usa/seattle-weather-january

I also don't know what poverty rate means?  For example, is poverty rate a national stat, or a local stat?  What about cost of living?  A poor person in Seattle could earn or have significantly more money than a poor person in Buffalo.  It is certainly much cheaper to own (and probably rent?) a place to live in Buffalo.

Median home price Buffalo:  116,033
Median home price Seattle:  713,508

Someone who could buy a home in Buffalo without a mortgage may not even qualify for a mortgage in Seattle.  Disparity in property values means disparity in property taxes too, even if tax rates were the same.  Seattle stays expensive even once you've paid off.  I did not look up rental prices, but I'd guess similar splits between cities.
https://www.zillow.com/buffalo-ny/home-values/
https://www.zillow.com/seattle-wa/home-values/

Finally, folks have been leaving Buffalo for years.  While at the same time they've been migrating to Seattle.

Population Buffalo
1950, 580,000
2019, 261,310

Population Seattle
1950, 466,000
2019, 745,000

As many people have left Buffalo in the last 70 years as have moved to Seattle.  I'll guess this difference grows significantly larger if you compare metropolitan areas instead of city limits?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo,_New_York
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Seattle

In Buffalo it's possible to freeze to death outside, it's much easier to rent or buy and maintain a home, and it is a much less desirable place to live.  Seattle is a more competitive market for home owners or renters.  These all seem like important causes to a difference in homeless rates between cities.
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Chief Joseph
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 5:42 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
The little town I lived in (Wisconsin) seemed like going back in time.  They were building a new jail at the time, much larger than they had because the thought was that meth was on the way and they wanted to have a drug treatment program going when it did.  I don't know if meth ever made it there.  It, and the surrounding area were quite nice. However, I paid a lot more in property taxes and WI had income taxes to boot.  There also was an extra layer of government--the Township.  I'd never heard of such a thing. 

Signs were not shot up out in the woods and people skied ONE WAY on the trail system like the rules said.  There was a "Chalet" at the cross country ski area where you could build a fire and warm up--firewood provided and nothing was vandalized.   It was shocking for this westerner to encounter this.  Was it the Finlander/Scandihoovian way of doing things?  Kids riding bikes around town helmetless with no adults present and going fishing?   It was going back in time. 

I sometimes think about returning there.  The property taxes are still up there compared to here, but maybe it is worth it, if the meth never got there.

The only homeless person was a man who came up to Wisconsin after it warmed up and camped in the woods.  I talked to him.  He was clean and was at the laundromat doing his laundry.  He was clean and neat.   He got around on the local bus system and was retired but saved money by camping in the woods.  In the winter, he would go to Florida and do the same.

That's what a lot of people fail to consider concerning the homeless, that being that some people actually prefer to live that way, they are comfortable doing so and have a decent life. Some young homeless people are like through hikers or backpackers, they go about their business during the day while carrying all (or most) of their belongings on their back and at the end of the day set up camp again. If they want to relocate, they can hitch hike or do odds jobs to earn money to relocate.

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Brian R
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 6:35 pm 
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Chief Joseph wrote:
And most Idahoans are not happy about the Californicators moving in, property taxes go up and in a worst case scenario, the state might eventually turn Blue.

Mandatory rehab is the only solution to the homeless problem. Followed by enforcement of existing laws. Housing is a distant third.

Hopefully our conservative votes and modest living will be more welcomed in Montana or wherever. But who knows. They're certainly not welcome here any more. We really liked it when WA was a purple state.
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 6:54 pm 
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FiveNines wrote:
Anne.  I don't understand a lot of your post.

Well, you glossed over this part:

Anne Elk wrote:
My gut feeling about the differences is that Seattle once had a certain amount of economic "equilibrium" (that Buffalo still has) that enabled more people with marginal incomes to remain housed, and the hyper-rapid influx of high-paying tech jobs and concomitant "land rush" here forced a huge number of people into homelessness in a relatively short period of time.

What I meant by "economic equilibrium" was that the cost of living in Buffalo was both stable and significantly more in line with local income levels, whereas in the Seattle area, the COL delta over the last decade or more around here resembles the current daily covid curves in hot zones.

The initial figures I cited were from this table, federal figures, I believe: https://www.neoch.org/top-poorest-cities-in-us

The decrease in Buffalo's population has a lot to do with better job opportunities elsewhere (although Tesla has a plant there, and Amazon was poised to set up a warehouse in the area). Not sure if the climate is relevant to the homeless issue, unless you're suggesting that people really down on their luck in Buffalo have migrated to warmer climates so they can live outside.

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Ski
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 7:36 pm 
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We can keep trying to drag politics into this discussion, but I am not convinced that the root of the problem lies in whether those running municipal, county, or state governments are Democrats or Republicans.
In the case of Seattle, it seems more that from the top down, office-holders are more concerned about being "liked" than they are tackling difficult tasks.
In the case of Tacoma (which has every bit as much a problem as does Seattle, altasnob - you're just not seeing it) it's that we continue to elect incompetents to both the city and county governments - those that might be up to the task have better sense than to try to tangle with a deeply entrenched local government that is more concerned about preserving the status quo and maintaining their positions of (perceived) power than actually working to solve problems.

I did finally get a response back from a member of the Burien city government:

Brian J. Wilson, Burien City Manager, in an email of 11/13/20 @ 09:39 PST wrote:
To Whom it May Concern:

The City of Burien has been challenged given available resources to address the issues surrounding our parks and open spaces; including the Salmon Creek Ravine.

The City has been addressing the needs of our parks and open space with a significant percentage of our resources dedicated to this effort.  We are currently establishing a plan to regularly address the Salmon Creek Ravine with a contractor and intermittent city staff; including pricing to support bi-weekly litter and garbage cleanups of the ravine alongside City of Burien PaRCS (Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services) staff.  This area is complicated by poor soils making it difficult to access with vehicles, especially during the winter months.

It should be noted the City of Burien leads with services in a coordinated approach with police, human service providers, and City staff to ensure people experiencing homelessness are offered assistance.

Please advise if you have questions regarding the Salmon Creek Ravine or the services provided here in the City of Burien.

Brian J. Wilson
City Manager

It might be appropriate to note that it took two communications to all members of the Burien city government - the last one of which was a bit more direct and not nearly as diplomatic as the first - to receive a response from them.
The catalyst for my communicating with Burien's city government was an incident where my girlfriend was threatened with being shot by a homeless man in the Salmon Creek Ravine.

I suppose I should note as well my communications with members of the city and county governments of Tacoma and Pierce County echoed the message from Mr. Wilson: that of being "challenged" by lack of resources.
Considering that the property taxes here have increased significantly every year for the last several years, I am a bit puzzled by that.

As I noted in a P/M to Brian R, both my mother and sister have already sold their homes (in Fircrest and University Place, respectively) and moved out of the area, primarily to escape the ever-increasing property taxes here.
I am in the process of slowly downsizing here as well for the same reasons.
To the question of "where to?" the answer is "away from here".

But then, maybe that's what our local leaders want.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Chief Joseph
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 7:46 pm 
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Ski wrote:
I suppose I should note as well my communications with members of the city and county governments of Tacoma and Pierce County echoed the message from Mr. Wilson: that of being "challenged" by lack of resources.
Considering that the property taxes here have increased significantly every year for the last several years, I am a bit puzzled by that.

I as well, where does the money go? I know a lot of it goes to fund schools... On the news tonight there was a report of "underground business" being conducted in homeless encampments, selling items in a flea market type atmosphere, which is not legal without a permit. Homeless people also admitted that they sell drugs as well as smart phones, bicycles, etc. A good portion of which are likely stolen. The SPD spokesperson said that due to reduced funding to the department, they don't have the resources to investigate of fight small property crimes so...

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Ski
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PostFri Nov 13, 2020 7:51 pm 
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^ I cannot answer that question and I'm not even going to try - all I could offer would be speculative anecdotal stuff, none of which would get the the root of the issue.

I do know that the lion's share of Pierce County's tax revenue goes into the bottomless pit of "public safety": police, fire, courts, jails, and all that.
But that makes it even more baffling.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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