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caption: Tents line South Weller Street near the intersection of 12th Avenue South on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in Seattle.
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Tents line South Weller Street near the intersection of 12th Avenue South on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Garden or a Band Aid? New anti-encampment tactic in Seattle

  • Neighbors in Seattle have put up a garden in place of a swept encampment. But the idea doesn't smell like roses to everybody in town.
  • Washington farm workers are now supposed to be provided protections from hot weather ... supposed to.
  • It's been said that Trump's revenge on GOP candidates who voted to impeach him would play out over this recent primary, and in the November election. But is it possible this "revenge" could backfire?

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for August 12, 2022.

Could Trump's revenge backfire in Washington state?

That's the question KUOW's David Hyde poses in his recent coverage of the 4th Congressional District. I've talked a lot about Washington's 3rd District, and the drama over Trump-backed Joe Kent surviving the primary election, ousting incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler (who voted to impeach Trump). But a similar story was at play in the 4th District where incumbent Republican Dan Newhouse, who also voted to impeach Trump, survived the primary over Trump-back candidates like Loren Culp.

But this dynamic among the 4th's GOP is giving Democratic candidate Doug White some hope. Basically, if the Republican vote splits, it could offer the Democrat a way to win, and in turn, prove himself to the heavily GOP district. Then again, how likely is it that this very red district will favor a Democrat just to spite Newhouse? There's more to this story here.

We may complain about stretches of hot weather in our corner of the state. But the truth is we have little room to complain when considering the people who are working outside in the heat to bring us our food.

There are new protections in Washington state for farmworkers, and others who brave hot weather. Employers are now required to provide cool water and shade to workers. When temps hit 89 or higher, workers are entitled to paid cool-down breaks every two hours. Employers are also now required to check on employees, regularly, to ensure their health and safety.

But some are saying that the new protections are not being followed and workers are being left in the scorching heat. The state's Labor and Industries Department essentially waits for a complaint to arise around the issue. Then it will look into it, and by "look into it," I mean someone from L&I will email the company and ask them to look into it. If the complaint is of high concern, L&I will send someone out. But the policy has left some farmworkers uninspired to submit a complaint in the first place. KUOW's Eilis O'Neill has the full story here.

Here's what happened at 96th and Aurora in Seattle. There was a shooting at an encampment along the street. The city responded by sweeping the encampment, and neighbors followed up by creating a garden in the camp's place to deter future tents from settling there.

KING5 reported this story this week. Neighbor Liza Javier told the TV station that the neighborhood was “absolutely terrified” and concerned about safety when the camp was there. The neighbors got a permit from the city to establish the garden, and there are now flowers growing in the camp's place. Nearby businesses say they are pleased with the development, like Sam Sebuwufu Seruwu, the manager of Auto Link Seattle. He told KING5 that seeing the flowers is "a sign of hope.”

But this story is not all roses to everyone. KUOW's Seattle Now brought in Seattle Times columnist Naomi Ishisaka and writer Geraldine DeRuiter to weigh in on this gardening tactic.

"What they are doing there is similar what business owners are doing with the eco blocks," Ishisaka said. "It's less a gardening project and more of a 'how do we block encampments or tents from showing up in our communities' .... I think there is a lot of room for empathy and compassion to go around, but obviously this is not a long-term strategy. We can't just keep blocking people from housing, wherever that might be and expect that to solve a problem ... it just puts a Band Aid on this one block, which will then be another block, and another block."

"It's sort of weird that we've weaponized gardening," DeRuiter said. "I think that is an alarming thing. Because I love community gardens and I think that they do something beautiful .... we're not solving the problem. We are just pushing a group of people around the city because we don't have a legitimate solution for them."

On that, the commenters and the neighbors may find some common ground. Javier told KING5 that Seattle needs to come up with serious, effective policy changes. And Seruwu says there is more work to be done, "because mental health is real. It just doesn't stop at 96th and Aurora.”

Check out Seattle Now's casual Friday episode here.

And read about King County's latest mental health efforts here.

AS SEEN ON KUOW

caption: The photo left shows a mural by Haruka Ostley called 'Journey to Peace' on February 5, 2020, during a media tour of the new Clark Children and Family Justice Center on Alder Street in Seattle. The photo on the right is the same hallway on April 24, 2020, after a connection on a six-inch pipe came apart and it flooded the first floor.
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The photo left shows a mural by Haruka Ostley called 'Journey to Peace' on February 5, 2020, during a media tour of the new Clark Children and Family Justice Center on Alder Street in Seattle. The photo on the right is the same hallway on April 24, 2020, after a connection on a six-inch pipe came apart and it flooded the first floor.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer and screenshot from video obtained through an open records request

The photo left shows a mural by Haruka Ostley called 'Journey to Peace' on February 5, 2020, during a media tour of the new Clark Children and Family Justice Center on Alder Street in Seattle. The photo on the right is the same hallway on April 24, 2020, after a connection on a six-inch pipe came apart and it flooded the first floor. The youth justice center has been plagued with building malfunctions ever since opening. The building leaked from so many places, jail leaders considered adding rain gear to their uniforms. Toilets wouldn’t flush. In one part of the ventilation system, bare wires. And in another, duct tape. (Megan Farmer / KUOW and video obtained through a public records request)

DID YOU KNOW?

Perhaps you know him as Paul Atreides from 1984's "Dune." Or you recognize him as Agent Dale Cooper in "Twin Peaks." Or as the mayor of Portland in "Portlandia." And maybe you know actor Kyle MacLachlan from Yakima, where he is originally from. This actor is a Washingtonian.

MacLachlan attended Yakima's Eisenhower High School where he was introduced to the stage. He further pursued acting while attending the University of Washington in Seattle where, in 1982, he graduated cum laude with a BFA in drama. In fact, his first role in film happened while he was attending UW in 1980 for "The Changeling." MachLachlan was paid $10 for being an extra.

These days, the actor's passion has expanded to an endeavor close to Washington's heart — winemaking. His Pursued By Bear label produces wine in the Walla Walla area. The name for the label was reportedly suggested by actor Fred Savage. "Pursued By Bear" comes from a stage direction in "The Winter's Tale" by Shakespeare, where actors are directed to "exit, pursued by a bear."

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