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More than 100 homeless Seattleites died last year. These bronze leaves remember them

The next time you walk by Third Avenue and James Street in downtown Seattle, you might notice a cluster of bronze leaves on the street.

They bear the names of some of the homeless people who have died over the last 15 years.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, a small group of people gathered to add 10 more leaves to the 22 that already exist on that sidewalk.

Catherine Walter, who goes by the name “Beach ball,” put down a leaf for her friend Randy. She said they knew each for 17 years.

“He talked to anybody,” she said, “I just miss him.”

To date, the Homeless Remembrance Project has placed 256 bronze leaves in 14 different locations throughout the city.

“For many of them, this is the only memorial marker they will ever have; no cemetery plot, no gravestone,” Reverend Pat Simpson, with the Homeless Remembrance Project, said. “This gives a lasting remembrance to their lives and it gives a place for their friends and loved ones to come and remember them.”

The number of homeless deaths went up last year, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s office. In 2017, 169 homeless people died — an increase of 32 over 2016.

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