//
you're reading...
Social Issues

Seattle Underground Homeless


Seattle Underground Bar

Are homeless people living in undeveloped parts of Seattle’s abandoned underground city? From speaking with some of the locals, it would seem that, unpleasant as it is, some homeless do actually live in the underground city.

I did the tou, and later talked to the tour guide away from the group. I noticed large holes in the walls, where there were large spaces. These spaces were full of rubble, but still seemed navigable. They also were obviously not frequented by the tours, as they looked too dangerous.

Yes, the tour guide replied to my question. There were some homeless living in some parts of the underground. But he said it was rare, as the places were unventilated, and reeked of rat droppings and other such aromatic delights. The air was virtually unbreathable in most undeveloped parts of the underground city.

My curiosity got the better of me. It was the last week of June, so it was still light until 10.00 pm. I decided to go walkabout, and try to find out. I asked one of the guys in Pioneer Square, which is the oldest part of the city, and where the underground tours are conducted. He was suspicious of me, as I had expected. Eventually, he explained the sense of it to me.

The old city that burnt down and was rebuilt covered 64 city blocks. The tour and the redeveloped underground shops cover far less than that. Yes, he said, there are places where people get in to sleep. He mentioned an old warehouse a mile or two south, on the water, where there was supposedly a hole in the wall to the underground.

He also said there were quite a few other places he had heard of, but he had no intention of going down there, as he considered it unsafe. I wasn’t sure if he meant the structures, or the people willing to risk the unsteadiness of the abandoned buildings.

While I was talking to this guy, three police cars pulled up, and the police officer asked me if the guy was annoying me. I said no, and they moved to the next homeless guy. These guys weren’t doing anything, just hanging around talking. Yet the police seemed intent on moving them on.

I was a little perturbed, as police have not had such powers in Australia until recent attempts in Queensland to introduce “move on” legislation aimed at the homeless. I hoped this was not the way Australia was going to go as well.

The guy I was talking to told me this was common in Pioneer Square, and “…you just gotta go with it”. He also told me about Freeway Park being a place many people went to sleep, but again, “…the cops hassle you there, too.”

He told me that there were about 7,000 homeless people in Seattle, which is apparently a fair estimate, given that figures on homelessness are often difficult to compile. Often, the homeless know more about the homelessness numbers than the so-called experts who are supposed to deal with the problem.

A few other guys joined in, and reiterated what he had said about the underground, but said it was best to stay away. They also told me of some of the other efforts that are going on in the city. One that I was particularly interested in finding out more about was Seattle Housing And Resource Effort (SHARE), which I later found runs 14 shelters with about 300 beds. An interesting initiative is the two tent cities they run, one in Seattle and the other in suburban King County. Both tent cities are open 24/7.

SHARE also have a severe weather shelter for women only, that operates in the harsh winters Seattle has to endure. The guys who were with me told me how people died from the cold living on the streets. There were never enough places in the shelter (seems like the same problem just about everywhere, but more pronounced in extreme climates like Seattle).

The first guy told me that, if I needed somewhere to sleep, he could show me where the tent city was. I thanked him, and was touched by his willingness to help a complete stranger. Especially considering the circumstances he himself was in.

He also claimed that some of the guys could pick the locks, or even broke the locks, to get down the storm water drains, and then into the underground.

The official line from government sources (at least, when I called them) is that there are no homeless living in the underground. Unofficially, though, some of the sources told me they believed there were.

That made sense. I have seen people in many cities living in unused underground railway tunnels and similar things. So there seems all likelihood that people are living in the underground city of Seattle as well. I hope one day to know for sure.

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Seattle Underground Homeless

  1. Australians are becoming very powerful … their laws already in place in Seattle … hahahaha
    Or you have a Seattle in Australia? 🙂

    Posted by Dugutigui | February 29, 2012, 23:54
  2. We have a similar problem in Chicago; downtown there are some places with two or three levels of roads built on top of each other, and the heat exhaust vents from buildings are down on those levels. A lot of homeless live down there, and some call these places the ‘cardboard condos’… We also have a problem with homeless cold weather exposure, and a homeless man just recently died from it. It’s a big problem here too. What’s interesting is that the former Mayor Daley promised to eliminate homelessness by 2010, and yet when Chicago lost the bid for the Olympics he basically forgot about that promise and we didn’t hear much more about it…

    Posted by lakeeffectblog | March 1, 2012, 02:51
  3. Many cities try to clean up there homelessness problem when it comes to the Olympics, or other international events, but then ignore it again afterward.

    Posted by Craig Hill | March 1, 2012, 06:52

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: The Underground Homeless | The Homeless Quandary - August 14, 2019

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 17,663 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

Chinese drones now almost a daily appearance over Taiwan

The Chinese military has intensified its drone incursions into the skies above Taiwan with almost daily flights of combat and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) TB-001 drone was spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto boundary between the island and China’s […]

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India says disengagement along disputed area with China to be completed by September 12

India’s foreign ministry said on Friday that disengagement along a disputed border area with China will be completed by Sept. 12. Both countries began disengaging from the Gogra-Hot Springs border area in the western Himalayas on Thursday, over two years after clashes at the frontier strained diplomatic ties. The disengagement comes ahead of a meeting […]

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

How to make EVs without China’s supply chain

Two electrifying moves in recent weeks have the potential to ignite electric vehicle demand in the United States. First, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding federal tax rebates for EV purchases. Then California approved rules to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. The Inflation Reduction Act extends the Obama-era EV tax […]

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

Anti-India forces: Techniques and agendas exposed

In the post-cold war era, India has moved from a policy of non-alignment to a policy of multi-alignment. This means that India has friendly relations with almost all-powerful and developing nations. Today India is carving out a unique path for itself. Such an approach provides prominence and exposes India to the harmful behind-curtain activities by […]

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s Kinmen serves as a reminder of China’s aggression

Taiwan’s frontline island of Kinmen was once again in the headlines when President Tsai Ing-wen paid tribute this week to the soldiers and civilians who “operated in solidarity and safeguarded Taiwan” 64 years ago. On Aug. 23, 1958 mainland Chinese troops attacked Kinmen in a key battle that marked the beginning of the Second Taiwan […]

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

Terrorism: The glue that holds China and Pakistan together 

The father of communism, Karl Marx, once famously said — “We have no compassion, and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror”. This statement summarises how terrorism and communism go hand in hand. Maoist China alone destroyed between 44.5 to 72 million lives. During […]

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

‘New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer

China is attempting to establish a “new normal” across the Taiwan Strait, eroding self-ruled Taiwan’s territorial control and increasing the threat of a strike with each military sortie, officials and analysts say. Beijing has ramped up military maneuvers in the 110-mile (180-kilometer) wide stretch of water that separates Taiwan from mainland China — and the […]

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

A great fire destroyed Rome for six days in the summer of AD 64. Famous Roman historian of that time, Tacitus, recorded that 70 percent of the city was destroyed and half of the city’s residents were displaced. Roman ruler Nero was accused of being indifferent, ineffective, and careless. The end result of this neglect […]

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

Once China achieves its professed goal of establishing control over Taiwan, a process of “re-education” of the island’s population would follow, according to China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye. The ambassador was speaking on French television channel BFM TV on Wednesday night, when he said a majority of the Taiwanese population actually wanted to be […]

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s present state confirms the famous statement: “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.” Sri Lankans have been repeating the mistakes of choosing the politicians Rajapaksas again and again. It is confirmed that there were unaccounted payments that the Chinese were liberal with during project negotiations with the island nation. They were paid […]

%d bloggers like this: