Seattle and King County have deserted Little Saigon


Little Saigon is the Seattle neighborhood the government has forgotten.

Walking in its streets is a visceral experience of neglect. Centered a few blocks around 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street, Little Saigon is beset with overflowing trash cans, trash, dirty sidewalks, and open-air drug trafficking.

It is unacceptable that the city of Seattle and King County, which oversee several Metro bus stops in the area, have allowed conditions to deteriorate to this level. The fact that Little Saigon is an ethnically diverse, low-income community in Seattle’s progressive neighborhood makes improvements all the more urgent.

On November 28, Seattle Times food writer Tan Vinh noted that two top restaurants in the area, Hue Ky Mi Gia and Seven Stars Pepper Szechwan Restaurant, may soon close as the area becomes increasingly dangerous. It is a miracle that they are still in business.

Piles of plastic hangers dot the sidewalk, evidence of stolen items quickly sold. Outside the Ding How Center, the mall where Hue Ky Mi Gia and Seven Stars are located, drugs are openly traded for cash as people sell everything from hand lotion to steaks.

Aggravated assaults reported in the Chinatown International District (Seattle Police Dashboard statistics are for the entire neighborhood, not Little Saigon) fell from 112 in 2019 to 131 in the first 11 months of This year. Reported burglaries increased from 143 to 173 during the same period. In October, two people were gunned down around noon near the 1200 block of South Jackson Street after an argument over a bottle of whiskey.

Minh Đức Phạm Nguyá»…n, executive director of Helping Link, a social service agency dedicated to the Vietnamese community, said his office had been broken into and computers and other equipment stolen several times. She doesn’t bother to call the police anymore. The agents never come, she said, and the dispatch tells her to go online and fill out a form.

Last year, Nguyen wrote to Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Director Dow Constantine asking for help. In a letter signed by nine local restaurants and other local businesses and nonprofits, she called for more law enforcement and garbage removal, especially needle cleaning.

Nguyen said she never got a response.

“Neighborhood businesses have abandoned city leaders. We can’t even use the sidewalks. It’s not that far from City Hall, but no one has paid attention to it, ”she said. Helping Link is less than a mile from the Mayor’s Office and Council Members.

Hurry up.

As the owner of Seven Stars Restaurant in Vinh said, “I don’t see things changing in a building that is essentially a slum.”

Seattle is facing the collapse of one of its neighborhood business districts. City and county officials need to act quickly to help with consistent garbage disposal. Instead of occasional police patrolling, cops must set up a mobile enclosure on site. Same with public health – Seattle and King County and a mobile medical van. King Metro County Police need to do more than watch for the chaos.

Mayor Durkan and the Constantine County executive represent this district. The same goes for Seattle council members Kshama Sawant and Tammy Morales and county council member Girmay Zahilay. To all: it’s up to you.


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