🏠 ‘You never know who you’re standing next to’

🏠 ‘You never know who you’re standing next to’

MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS. From bottom left: Rellik, D.j. Martinez, Amanda Richer, ayom ament, and Mark.
(📸: Ana Sofia Knauf, ayom ament)


To answer Brian’s question, we got to know some incredible people who’ve been through things most of us can only imagine. D.j. Martinez crashed on friends’ couches after a break-up and losing his job. ayom ament lost their job and found themselves looking for help at the same place they worked as a crisis counselor. Mindy Woods dropped her son off at school and, without him knowing, spent the day in her car making countless calls to housing services. Confronting homelessness looks real different when you know what it’s like, and if you have a few minutes today, we’d love for you to hear more from your currently and formerly homeless neighbors at theevergrey.com. For now, here’s a short sample of what they said they’d tell …

Business owners have been vocal about their frustrations about tents and waste near their stores. Some of our neighbors said they didn’t like the trash either and spoke to the toll being homeless can take on one’s sense of self.

  • Mark, a veteran who’s been living in a vehicle for “decades”: “Once you’ve been thrown away, why do you care? … When you start tossing people — multi-generations tossed away — they have no care for this country. [People living on the street will] eat a thing, they throw it right down. You give them something, it’s good for 10 minutes and then they walk away and leave it because was just a piece of garbage. … They know you look at them like garbage so they don’t really give a s***.”
  • D.j. Martinez, who couch-surfed for more than a year: “If you don’t want to see syringes [or] that kind of stuff, then you don’t want to see what’s happening in the world. If you don’t want to see that stuff, then you should be actively doing something about it and it’s not hiding it under the rug or sweeping it — literally sweeping it — away. … Come up with some solutions that help rather than ignore.”

Some homeowners and renters have voiced their anger about tents, trash, and drug paraphernalia near their homes. Several folks had a lot to say about this question — more on that here.

  • Mindy Woods, who lost her housing twice and lived in her car: “People are always shocked when they see my face or I’ll say, ‘You never know who you’re standing next to, who is literally trying to figure out where are we going to park the car in a safe spot tonight.”
  • Amanda Richer, who lived homeless for nearly two years in Seattle: When someone living unsheltered is given housing, “people have a hard time because they look at it as ‘free’ instead of a human right. What I hear a lot is ‘I have to pay for … housing, food, shelter. Why does someone else get it free?’ What we forget is that everyone has a right to those baseline commodities. If you want more than that, work for it, but we’re at a point in human history where we can provide those things for people.”

Seattle has been in a state of homeless emergency for more than three years and in 2018, the city’s expected to spend about $78 million to address homelessness. Many of the people we interviewed wanted local leaders to get a better understanding of what it’s like to navigate city resources when you have few of your own.

  • Ryan, who’s lived unsheltered on and off for 25 years: “It’s next to impossible to get a place to live. I’m not too [eager] to get on the [housing] list because [the wait] is like anywhere from three to five years.”
  • Badb Morrigan, who’s couch-surfed for more than 10 years: “Honestly, the one thing that can change homelessness is putting a stop to the hoarding of wealth and resources and that has to be done with taxes. Raise taxes for rich people, raise taxes for Jeff Bezos, raise taxes for companies.”
  • ayom ament, who was intermittently homeless for about two years: “Listen to homeless people. Bring people who have experienced homelessness to the discussion before making policies. This happens a lot with trans folks, with disabled folks. People are constantly making decisions for people in which they have no experience.”

We just happened to meet some of these folks; others, you introduced us to. Thanks, Peggy Holman, Egg Lady,” and Annalee Schafranek for introducing us to some of our neighbors — and thank you for asking great questions.

You can learn more about their individual stories and listen to them speak in their own voices in a series of audiograms we posted here, and they’re seriously worth a listen.

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‘An undercurrent of unwelcome.’ This summer, Jasmine Iona Brown, a Tacoma art and photography teacher, posted photo decals of her son, Jaymin, reading or playing the saxophone or guitar around Seattle. But she didn’t anticipate the reaction her work, titled “Black Teen Wearing Hoodie,” might get in two predominantly white neighborhoods, Seattle Times columnist Tyrone Beason writes. Vandals ripped the head off one piece displayed outside of the Photographic Center Northwest, and other decals showed Jaymin’s arm and Afro cut off or featured graffiti making it look like he’d been eaten. Although Jaymin said the vandalism didn’t bother him, Jasmine said the reaction to her art made her worry how the world will view her son as a young black man. (The Seattle Times)

Tired of crowded hiking trails? There’s an app for that in the works. Researchers around the U.S., including some at University of Washington, have been looking at your (publicly posted) hiking pics on social media and Flickr to gather all kinds of data. Before you get creeped out, Outside Magazine reports that, researchers are interested in crowdsourcing park data to help make your hikes better — like notifying you if a popular trail is overcrowded, needs maintenance, or if wildlife around you is being impacted by climate change. ⛰ (Outside Magazine)

‘Without a people, there isn’t a river.’ James Rasmussen remembers fishing in the Duwamish River with his father when he was a kid and being told local wildlife was part of his family. But dangerous chemicals and industrial waste have been dumped there for more than a century, ruining the river ecosystem. As an adult, James has worked as a consultant for the Environmental Protection Agency and advocated for laws to fight pollution in the river, including getting the Duwamish designated as a superfund site in 2001 to get federal money to clean it up. Since then, James and other researchers say the river is beginning to recover — but that it’s critical we learn the Duwamish River’s history to make sure it stays healthy. 🐟 (KUOW)

Wand a drink? There’s a “wizard pub” — a.k.a. a cocktail bar that also sells handmade wands — slotted to open in Ballard’s flatiron building next year. The owners drew some comment section ire last week when MyNorthwest linked to a video featuring the pub owners describing themselves as European wand-makers who’ve “synthesized our magics with native North American magics.” When commenters criticized the pub for allegedly co-opting indigenous culture, Solomon Balch, whom Eater reported as being affiliated with the pub, said that “mythos, sensitively expressed, belongs to the world” and that they would “discuss plans with the First Peoples, themselves.” (Eater Seattle, MyNorthwest)


Things to do


🍷  TODAY: Learn the tasty differences between wines from the Evergreen State and Mexico’s wine country at the MEXAM Northwest Festival (Capitol Hill)

📅  TOMORROW: Learn to master your calendar — and master your business — at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)

✊  Wednesday, Sept. 5: Hear some real talk about confidence building from a queer woman of color in tech at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)

🎉  Saturday, Sept. 8 – Sunday, Sept. 9: See large-scale art installations, peruse a street fair, and learn how design affects our lives at Seattle Design Fest (Pioneer Square)




🏀  Cheer on Seattle Storm at the playoffs (Queen Anne)
🍺  Ask a scientist your questions about climate change over beers (Ballard)
💡  Learn how Afghan girls’ schools are helping prevent early marriage (Downtown)
💡  Hear from local researchers how they’re changing access to healthcare (Queen Anne)


🎟  Be part of a “mass mind-reading” and meet a mentalist (Belltown)
🎨  Splatter paint on a canvas while hanging out with cats — UPDATED, thanks for the catch, Dora Heideman! (Wallingford)
💪  Learn how to make your work calendar your friend at this Evergrey partner event (Pioneer Square)
💡  Hear your neighbors’ poetry, essays, and prose at the social justice library (Beacon Hill)


🎨  Cheer on local makers at the Mayor Jenny Durkan’s arts awards (Queen Anne)
🎮  Play unreleased games and meet their developers ahead of PAX West (Redmond)
👋  Meet up with fellow young LGBTQ+ professionals (Belltown)


🍴  Make a picnic out of fruit harvested from all across Seattle (Othello)
🎟  Cheer on performers at a video game-themed drag night (Belltown)
🎶  Practice your head-banging at Bumbershoot — through Sept. 2 (Queen Anne)
🎨  Watch breakdancing and hear spoken word at a youth arts block party (West Seattle)
🎮  Hear from a puzzlemaster and play board games on top of Columbia Tower (Downtown)


🍿  Watch short films, documentaries, and audience-favored flicks — through Sept. 2 (Queen Anne)
🎶  Sway to music by Seattle’s Totally Relaxed Ukulele Musicians at the locks (Ballard)
🏞  We aren’t kitten you — bring your cats to the park (Capitol Hill)


🎈  Take the kids — big and little — to play indie games (Downtown)
💃  Hit the dance floor in honor of Queen Beyoncé’s birthday (Capitol Hill)
🎶  Hum along to Baroque, classical, and contemporary flute tunes (Ballard)
🍿  Bring the fam to a super film festival of Marvel movies — through Sept. 6 (Queen Anne)
🍴  Nom on pie and see local art at the Blackberry Festival — through Sept. 3 (Bremerton)

Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership. Is an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.


The creative folks behind hilariously delightful/inappropriate/gross game, Cards Against Humanity, wants to get you involved in making their next deck.

Have some ideas to kick up the game a notch? Send them your best ideas for 15 white cards and five black cards by August 31st. They even have some handy tips for writing cards “that don’t blow.” 🙃

“If your cards are solid, you’ll join our pool of remote contributors and make $40 an hour writing poop jokes as needed — which is ‘sometimes,'” the Cards Against Humanity crew wrote on their site. Get all the details here.

Stay witty, Seattle. We’ll see ya tomorrow. — The Evergrey

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