Magazine article Insight on the News

Seattle Puts Walls around `Skid Row'. (Nation in Brief)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Seattle Puts Walls around `Skid Row'. (Nation in Brief)

Article excerpt

"Mostly older men, they panhandle on Pine Street, act belligerent in Belltown and pass out on Pioneer Square." With that little snapshot of the situation, Stuart Eskenazi of the Seattle Times introduces a story on how the city of Seattle intends to deal with chronic drunks, a group of around 500 stray people who cause problems for others in the downtown area. Historically, Seattle was the home of "Skid Row"--a chute used during the logging era to skid logs from the bluff to the waterfront. The name acquired enduring social significance because drunks in the hard-drinking frontier town crawled under the massive wooden structure to sleep it off.

But now the Emerald City is going to try a very different approach to getting today's bums off the street. With combined federal, state, county and city funds, a four-story apartment building is being constructed to provide a fairly unconventional, though potentially popular, shelter. Residents may drink to their livers' content in their own apartments, and they may invite guests to join in the festivities.

Residents of the project will get two meals a day, medical and psychological help if sought and free rent for at least three months. …

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