‘It’s embarrassing’: Seattle man documents growing trash on streets, suggests cleanup ideas

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SEATTLE -- Cities and counties are on the front lines, picking up most of the tab to fight homelessness and everything that comes with it.

But now the state is pumping more dollars into the crisis.

One lawmaker said  the increase in funds is the biggest boost from the state to fight homelessness in close to 10 years.

But no matter how much money is pumped in, some say it's not making a noticeable dent.

All they see is trash.

“I’m not proud when people come into town,” resident Richard Paddon said.

Paddon is a third-generation Seattleite.

He says he’s frankly embarrassed of the trash piling up all over town.

“It’s embarrassing -- you think your kid is going to grow up and see this and accept that,” Paddon said.

He’s venting on social media; he created a Facebook page called “Seattle Looks Like Shit.”

Now thousands are tuning in to the mess, one picture at time.

“It’s just inexcusable. I am not bashing on the homeless because they’ve got their problems,” Paddon said.

Paddon says it’s heartbreaking to see people living in "third world" conditions and he understands the homeless crisis is too complicated to fix overnight.

“Some things are being done -- but at some point we have to step it up,” Paddon said.

You could argue the state is stepping it up.

The Legislature just approved $106 million to build affordable housing across the state.

“We can’t solve vexing problems like homelessness city by city by city; we really need a strong partnership on the state level to get it right,” said state Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle.

Macri is behind the idea of raising 'documenting recording' fees by $22 for anyone buying a house.

It will generate more than $50 million to fight homelessness in two years, with about $7 million of that coming to King County. But Macri said more is needed.

“The scale of the response has not yet matched the scale of the problem,” Macri said.

But Paddon isn’t convinced more money will solve the problem.

“We are going to shove more money at it and then next year when that isn’t enough, we will ask for more,” Paddon said.

Paddon said cities need to think outside of the box.

“You have human beings in jail that are not high risk; work off some time, outfit them,” Paddon said.

Low-risk offenders in jail could help clean up the trash around town, he said.

Paddon also believes the area under I-5 could be turned into trails for dirt bikes so it’s not left open for tents.

Unconventional ideas for an extraordinary problem.





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