Employees and Customers Become “Insensitive” to the Woes of Downtown Seattle

After a difficult year and a half for many businesses, some have barely had the chance to finally reopen. On Third Avenue in downtown Seattle, there’s a store called Piroshky Piroshky, and Olga Sagan is the owner. She reopened this place on Monday of this week.

Within three hours of opening their doors, Sagan says they saw a few drug deals, someone exposing himself and a knife clash with police.

“I don’t think this is anything new in downtown Seattle. I think this has been a problem for a long time, ”she said. “… It was a very busy morning for us. “

Sadly, Sagan says she wasn’t surprised.

“When we opened three years ago, we knew where we were opening,” she said of Third Avenue.

But three years ago, she explains that there has been a big effort to help the homeless living in the neighborhood and to clean the streets of the city center.

“There was a lot of hope in the air for downtown services,” she said. “So I think that’s why we opened there, and it’s just sad to see that three years later we’re in a worse state than three years ago when we were listening to promises of change. “

Now Sagan describes how they have two sets of clients. There are those who can work from home or have some flexibility and no longer feel safe coming to downtown Seattle. Then there are those – and Sagan sees himself as part of this group – who are almost oblivious to these issues.

“It’s a little scary to see this numbness in a way,” she said. “And what we saw on Monday morning, like I said, again, is nothing new there. It just so happens that this is our opening day,… we were telling a story about how we reopen, and we had to lay it out a bit further, and remind everyone that we are still struggling with it. the same issues we dealt with many years ago, COVID or not. Personally, I don’t think it’s COVID. “

Sagan has contacted board member Andrew Lewis in the past, but he eventually spoke to him after KIRO 7 TV aired a story about the reopening of its Third Avenue store.

“I was happy to see him reach out because all we want to do is just ask a few questions,” she said. “What’s the plan? What can we do as a business community or as a business owner besides opening doors, providing services, providing food, what else can we do? “Because what we feel is we’re doing our job. We don’t want to point fingers, but we also want to say,” Hey, let’s all do our part here. “

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She hopes there can be more consistency in the future.

Sagan recalls that after the shootings on Third and Pine in January 2020, the mayor came out and met everyone, promising that there would be an increased presence and police services to help improve the safety of the neighborhood.

“And we all know what happened a few months later and where we are now,” Sagan said, referring to the pandemic that followed. “So I think consistency and long-term planning is something that’s lacking so far, and maybe that can be changed at some point.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.