Venture past the bowl’s edge

By Laura Daniali | Jun 26, 2014

Edmonds City Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas has been giving tours along the Edmonds’ stretch of Highway 99 in an effort to draw attention and awareness to the need for improvements and affordable housing in this area.

“The recession really tipped over the balance of what Hwy. 99 looks like,” Fraley-Monillas said.

She said the Burlington Coat Factory property at 24111 Hwy. 99 is a “great example of how the neighborhood changed from quiet home living to this.”

By this, Fraley-Monillas referred to the backside of the store that has not been maintained, encampments located in woods directly behind the store, and the vacant building that used to house Mick Finster’s Pub & Grill.

She said there are homeless and transient people going in and out of the abandoned building and using it for shelter.

Fraley-Monillas is concerned about the safety of the neighborhood and the property crimes, trespassing and car prowls that occur in this area.

“This is my home,” she said. “I don’t pass through on the way to the fruit stand; I live here.”

She has had various items stolen from her yard, and wouldn’t even leave a rake out. At one point, the gas cap was taken from her motorhome.

“It’s part of living along the corridor,” Fraley-Monillas said. “I’ve had all kinds of things stolen.”

Sgt. Mark Marsh of the Edmonds Police Department said there have been transients who have burglarized residences in the area, but shoplifting from Burlington and Safeway is far more prevalent.

He said officers do not make many arrests for trespassing or camping in the woods, because the property owners have to cooperate during prosecution.

The owners typically only want the trespassers removed, and do not want to be involved any further.

“One of our day shift sergeants has been working with the property owner of the Burlington Coat Factory property to have it cleaned up so that it is not a haven for transient people to camp at,” Marsh said. “I don’t know where they are in the process, but I do know he has had talks with him."

The current property owner is Robert Siew.

Fraley-Monillas said there are opportunities along Hwy. 99 for the development of affordable housing and a “vibrant” community.

She said in addition to people living in the makeshift encampments, there are families and seniors living in the motels and trailer parks along the highway, because that’s what they can afford.

“They don’t live there by choice,” she said. “They live there because they can afford it.”

She pointed out that one of the motels charges a weekly rate of $29. It draws people who cannot afford to pay first and last month’s rent, and have no other choice, she said.

“This makes a great argument for affordable housing where people don’t have to live in hotels,” Fraley-Monillas said.

“It screams: ‘Build me something,’” she said.

Shane Hope, the City’ Development Director, said she was surprised to see several places that have “serious needs for safe and affordable housing.”

Hope decided to take the tour because she sees Hwy. 99 as an important part of Edmonds in need of attention.

“I also know that this area’s future is a high priority for the City Council,” Hope said. “Within the next several months, I plan to propose a planned action process for the Hwy. 99 area that builds on past work, and identifies more clearly ways to achieve both good development and a healthy environment.

“The area should be considered in the future as a vibrant, convenient, walkable and safe neighborhood—part of the whole healthy mix that makes up Edmonds.”

The City of Edmonds’ portion of Hwy. 99 extends north of 205th Street to 212th Street S.W.

Editor’s note: This is the first piece in an ongoing series. Watch for related stories in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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