This blog could be a rant over what has happened to Main Street Ballard. Alas, things were bad for months when the homeless encampment grew and grew in the commons and around the library. I don’t know how long that went on but it WAS shocking. when I happened upon it. Then a big HOORAY was heard not so long ago when I heard that the Commons had been cleared and an alternative site had been found for these unfortunate people. Yes – NIMBY !! Yesterday I saw that the Commons was enclosed by a big fence. And the area around the Library appear ed to be clear.
I proceeded to my bank across the street. What was going on?? The Bank door was propped open and a Security Guard from some agency was guarding the entrance. Well I negotiated my entry and conducted my banking business as planned. I exited (the private security guard was now standing inside looking at his cell phone). I proceeded to head down toward the main intersection of 54th and 22nd, gingerly avoiding 2 disturbed men. Buildings to the left and right were empty and some were boarded up. Not a good scene. Even Starbucks at the main junction was closed and being emptied. Alas! What was the name of that wonderful landmark restaurant that used to be there?
On I went, turning right headed for the Bookstore – The Secret Garden. I was a bit early at 10:45. I thought they opened at 10 but no now 11 A.M. seems to be the norm. En route I noticed that the U.S. Mail Box did not look inviting. – it wasn’t locked up but ……..graffiti etc. Anyhow I decided to get a coffee across the street from the defunct Starbucks. That went well until I needed to provide proof of vaccination in order to sit down and consume my coffee. Oh. I knew I had it with me so I stepped aside and conducted an exhaustive search – yes I had it! I sat down and a few minutes passed when I became aware of a person standing near my table and he……..no it was a female……try to get her very baggy overalls on. This went on for some minutes – eventually I saw her being evicted from the coffee shop.
Returning to the Secret Garden, I passed several more individuals who made me feel uncomfortable. Oh dear. I talked with one of the staff at The Secret Garden about the state of affairs on Main Street Ballard. She said that in the big sweep of the Commons most of the people had been accommodated elsewhere but a few had refused to leave. Alas. What do I say? What can be done about the few remaining disturbed people?? What is the answer? What are the social parameters?
I love shopping intThe Secret Garden and I hope they survive here in Ballard. And I include Annie’s as well. But my oh my. I left that area as quickly as I could and didn’t even dare walk by the Library.