Invest in fairgrounds for homeless campers | Letter to the editor

Posted 4/22/21

To those who are impatient to evict the homeless campers at the fairgrounds: Take a breath. 

Consider these facts:

1. Every camper evicted from the fairgrounds is a camper who has to sleep …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Invest in fairgrounds for homeless campers | Letter to the editor


To those who are impatient to evict the homeless campers at the fairgrounds: Take a breath. 

Consider these facts:

1. Every camper evicted from the fairgrounds is a camper who has to sleep somewhere else. That means every nook and cranny around town – the beach, waterfront, downtown next to businesses, public parks, green spaces, private land, parking lots, lawns, brush patches. Tents will proliferate in the public spaces.

2. Police and city service time devoted to this population will increase dramatically.

3. Access to social services will be tougher for campers. Issues like despair, mental health, poverty, hunger, addiction, will go unaddressed.

4. There will be few facilities for the hygiene and health needs for these people, including garbage removal.

5. Since shelterless people have to carry everything they own on their backs when forced to move, support agencies will be overwhelmed, and campers will be forced into conditions of continuing desperation just to meet their most basic needs.

6. To be forced to move is a serious trauma. This population already suffers a disproportionate burden of trauma, according to social psychologists. Eviction would inflict simple unnecessary cruelty on vulnerable people. In winter, it could mean deaths.

The fairground’s location has costs and troubles. It also has advantages and benefits for the campers and, in balance, for this whole community. 

Until a better location is found, we should invest in keeping the site open. For the longer term, investment should focus on lifting folks out of despair, into housing, and removing obstacles that keep them from lifting themselves.

Douglas Edelstein


32 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Advocatus Diaboli

To thise who insist the homeless campers must be allowed to stay at the Fairgrounds:

Consider These Facts:

1.) People have worked hard their entire lives and made huge sacrifices in order to move to a quiet isolated location in order to raise their children, work their careers, and some to retire after a lifetime of service. These oeople are enduring fairgrounds squatters threatening them, harrassing them, following them, as well as squatters urinating and defecating on their properties. These homeowners deserve protection from these rogue citizens who are not capable and/or are not willing to participate in society in ways that respect the boundaries of others.

2.) Police and city service time is already increased dramatically because of the presence of these people at the campground. To the point where the police already say there is no way they can police the area adequately. Which is how the likes of OLYCap became briefly involved as observers/"security". Under that system. A PERSON DIED. Died face down in the mud aline, mind you. The fairgrounds are not safe for those swuatting there, they aren't safe for people who want to use the fairgrounds for camping or even, you know, FAIRS, and most of all, the situation with the squatters is making the area around the fairgrounds unsafe to homeowners and their families.

3.) What about access to help for people who worked all their lives for their homes, but now feel frightened to even go out of their homes at night? What about their despair? What about their having to clean up human fecal matter, left at their homes in spite? What of their mental health? What of the family who saves for years to go camping, who look forward to once again camping at the fairgrounds, but after they've driven for days and finally arrive in PT, they find a stinking situation of crime, addiction and filth awaiting them, with nowhere else to go because everything is booked for the next 2 years. What of their work? Their money? Their 2,000 mile drive? Too bad for them, sucks to be a hard-working planner and want a quiet vacation at the campgrounds? They don't get to do what they pushed themselves hard to save, so they could do something for their kids and their own mental health?

4.) So, now every neighbor, person trying to take a walk in the area, and person just trying to enjoy the faigrounds, is responsible for the trash and human waste the squatters are creating? Plenty of people without homes, find ways to clean themselves and their clothing. They find ways to use a restroom and didpose of their trash. Plenty of unsheltered relatives take care of their business with dignity and grace, even in the midst of horrors. But the majority of the ppl squatting the fairgrounds aren't the type to be bothered to be responsible for the trash they create. Plenty of ppl with addictions find ways to not defecate in other peoples' yards and driveways. These people need more than housing. They need 24 hour babysitters-- because they will not simply do the most basic tasks to live in a collective human society. When they are given housing, they trash the housing and make life hell for their neighbors. They are telling all of you in a million ways that they are neither capable nor willing to take responsibility for even the most basic tasks related to their existence in society. You keep pretending like permanent housing is all they need. They need to be in assisted living hospitals with traned personnel to babysit them 24 hours a day. You're gonna build them permanent housing, and groups like this group are going to trash that housing in 6 months, and ruin the lives of their neighbors, just like they are doing to the neighborhoods right now.

5.) Support staff are already overwhelmed and exhausted by these people. These people demand the right to act violently, demand the right to steal in order to maintain their addictions; they demand to do as they please, when they please, how they please. Many of the squatters are cruel, abusive, violent people who are hell-bent on destroying whatever they can, whenever they can. They destroy the insides of the buses, they destroy the faigrounds. They destroy things everywhere they go. They abuse the staff who attempt to put even the smallest boundaries or behavior rquirements on them. They are people not capable of living in society. They are also not capable of living in permanent housing. They will destroy that as well.

6.) To be forced to move is serious trauma? What about the homeowners nearby who literally worked their entire lives so they could purchase a quiet home, and now they've got violent addicts threatening them and ****ing in their driveways? What about all the fairgrounds and mental health staff who have exhausted themselves and put their own lives and health in danger trying to assist these people, only to bet met with more violent threats and abuse?

The people squatting at the faigrounds are not a ragtag band of good people out looking for work, like the movie Nomadland. The people squatting yhe fairgrounds are not retirees fallen on hard times. They are people with serious egregious mental health issues which translate into behavioral health issues. They are not going to be helped by permanent housing with outpatient babysitting for the day. They are not capable of keeping their personal areas clean and sanitary. They are not even capable of keeping their bodies clean and sanitary. They are dealing with addictions which can never be solved outside of a 24 hour inpatient setting that goes on indefinitely, maybe forever. These people need to live in assisted-living facilities specifically for those with lifelong addictions, and problems with antisocial behavior and violence. The best thing that could ever happen is that every single person who makes excuses for these peoples' behaviors, has to go out and live one month at that campground. Your tune will change, believe me.

Wednesday, April 28

YES! Could not have said it better.

Wednesday, April 28
A Neighbor

Doug Edelstein, take off the rose colored glasses and move into one of the houses surrounding the Fairgrounds. Better yet, spend a month living there. It would be one thing if the campers made any effort at all to be good neighbors and respectful to the people living with them and surrounding them. They don't, even after repeated pleas to please cooperate. Your generalizations without specific solutions are like an echo in the deep well, and about as meaningful. Unless you are part of the solution, stop advocating for something that isn't serving the community. I agree with the first comment.

Wednesday, April 28
Justin Hale

Advocatus D. is right on, if you build it they will come.

Thursday, April 29
David Thielk

Advocatus Diaboli wrote "1.) People have worked hard their entire lives and made huge sacrifices in order to move to a quiet isolated location in order to raise their children, work their careers, and some to retire after a lifetime of service. "

First of all, get some courage and use your real name. The fact that you won't own up to your words says, at least to me, a great deal about you. Perhaps you won't use your real name because you might be embarrassed to face your clients, your neighbors, or your colleagues after speaking out on this issue. Grow up. If you can't look someone in the eye, and identify yourself, you have no business telling them where to go. My second response is do you actually think that simply because you worked hard all of your life and made huge sacrifices that you are entitled to marginalize or push out others from Port Townsend who don't have the same credentials that you do?

I don't. It is a pity that your sense of entitlement clouds your sense of compassion. I, like you, have a long history of working hard, making sacrifices, etc. Only, I did not come to Port TOwnsend thinking that I deserved a "paradise." Port Townsend IS where I worked hard and made sacrifices. The community has not always moved in the direction I would have hoped. But, this is who we are, homeless, retired, or otherwise. And, for the record, I continue to work hard to make Port Townsend a better place for everyone, homeless or not, even in my retirement.

Thirdly, homelessness is a global problem. It is directly linked to the rise of (false) economic paradigms that we can't seem to let go of. To blame homelessness on mental health is, in my opinion, a cop out. True, many homeless humans are challenged with mental health. But it is economic systems we embrace that put access to safe living spaces (for the homeless) beyond reach. If you insist on embracing these economic paradigms, at the very least, you have to offer solutions to homelessness, and get over your own and your projected sense of other's entitlement.

Lastly, I have never felt afraid anywhere in Port Townsend. I don't feel afraid at the fairground or anywhere else.And, I go to their frequently. I engage with people wherever i go. Perhaps you would prefer to handle this whole situation by putting a gate at the entrance of Port Townsend, and checking to see that everyone entering was able to "participate in society" before letting them in. If that is your solution, which it appears would meet your needs, I would suggest that you find a nice gated community somewhere. Finding the right gated community might be a way to align your sense of entitlement with your environment.

I am reasonably happy here in Port Townsend. But there is one thing that would drive me out, even at my age. What would drive me out is if your diatribe on the fairgrounds and the homeless became the common and accepted culture here.

Friday, April 30
Advocatus Diaboli

Mr Thielk

I have a right to use whichever name I please. It has been discussed thoroughly in these comments sections, why it is advantageous and necessary for communities to include anonymous commenting. Get over yourself.

Clearly you are not someone who has had to live or work with these people. You talk about entitlement? The fact that you don't feel unsafe anywhere says a hell of a lot more about you than it does about anyone else. You apparently have no idea how many females have been knocked in the head and their belongings stolen by people like the ones staying out at the fairgrounds right now. Homeless people, especially women, are in constant and unrelenting danger from the kind of people who are squatting at the campground. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you yourself as a white male feel safe wherever you go.

This has nothing to do with whether or not I have any compassion. My statement was and is, that these people need to be in halfway houses with professional babysitters because they are absolutely in capable of participating in society in a way that is not harmful to themselves and others. What would you do with them? Throw them in jail? You all like to pretend that everyone in this society is just a person who needs to be loved and then everything will be OK. That is not the whole truth. There are people in this society who have no wish whatsoever to participate in it. There are people in this society, who have no desire whatsoever to provide for their own needs. All they want is to be drunk or high and have someone do everything for them. You may not like to believe this, but it is true. People who have had to live and work with the people who are squatting out at the campgrounds will tell you that these people have a serious mental problems which lead to serious behavioral problems. They need to be in halfway houses.

As you may recall, in the Reagan years all the halfway houses were closed down because they weren't profitable enough, and the people were turned out into the streets to deal with life on their own. That is why we have homeless people in campgrounds. That, and the economic fall out of what happened in the Reagan years. People like Justin Hhale and his ilk never like to admit that the Reagan administration policies are a big part, to this day, of our homeless problem.

You can throw all the little tantrums you want about how callous and uncompassionate you think my viewpoint is, but trust me when I tell you, you have no idea what is going on out at the fairgrounds. You have no idea what goes on with the homeless population in this town. You have no idea how many people have been threatened by members of that particular homeless population. You have a right to your opinions, but I do not want to see any more behavioral health personnel or housing personnel have to deal with their lives being threatened by these violent sociopaths while people like you look the other way.

Friday, April 30
Marge Samuelson

David Thielk has more compassion for his fellow humans that most people. This letter sounds like we should just run them out of town, like people did in the 1600s. Many people are just one paycheck away from homelessness. One case at a time, don't lump everyone into the same group. They are individuals and each have their own story. Empathy, it's what's missing from your letter.

Friday, April 30
Advocatus Diaboli

Marge, your problem is that you lack basic reading comprehension. Drive them out of town? That is not what I am talking about, at all. My solution would be that the most wealthy in the society should pay the same tax rate as everyone else. And part of those taxes should be used to fund halfway houses with trained professionals to look out after these people all day long because they are neither capable nor willing to take care of themselves in a way that is safe for themselves and the rest of society. How is that not compassionate? Did you miss the fact that a young woman died face down in the mud by herself out there? And no one helped her?And who sold her the drugs that killed her? You think what's going on out there is compassionate? You have sociopathic violent men out there with other folks who are asking for help and getting help. What you don't understand is there is an element at the core of who is at the campground, who are nothing but society destroyers. You and others in this town like to look the other way and call that compassion. But what you are creating is an absolute hell-hole scenario for people who really are just down on their luck, trying to sleep in their cars, so they can get to the next job and the next apartment. The people squatting at the campground are the type of people who would steal from their other homeless countrymen. Who would do harm to their other homeless countrymen.

You all like to put your little yard signs out in your yards and pretend like you are so good and you are so sanctimonious in this comment section. But you have no idea the people you are allowing to behave as they please, while they do harm to those who are actually suffering and needing help. What you are doing is not compassionate. What you are doing is self-serving and self righteous but it does nothing for the homeless.

Friday, April 30
Mike Murray

Commentary using a pseudonym has an honorable history going back deep into our nation's history and I don't think we should read much into choosing this over using one's real name. Whether one feels comfortable using their real name has more to do with one's occupation and the situation of one's family. As a retiree, writing locally, I don't perceive much risk in using my name, but recognize this may not be true for everyone in every circumstance.

Regarding the Fairgrounds situation, I'd ask: Is it likely that clustering people with behavioral or substance abuse problems will lead to more antisocial actions than would result from these folks being dispersed throughout the community? Thinking of "Lord of the Flies" and dog packs, the answer seem obvious to me, but I'd like to see actual data. Granted, it's easier to deliver "services" to these folks if they're all clustered, but that's only part of the picture.

Friday, April 30
Advocatus Diaboli


The solution of course, has many layers and components.

If you were to spread these people throughout the community each one of them would still need a caretaker to be with them 24 hours a day seven days a week. These are people who are incapable of caring for themselves, as well as those who are pathologically unwilling to do so. There are some with severe mental illnesses who refused to take medication for those illnesses. While that is their right in our society, that does not change the fact that they are dangerous to themselves and others. Whether or not they take medication they will still need caretakers to be with them every moment. We need to have a group homes and halfway homes, re-opened.

However, to do that, we are going to have to pay mental health care workers more money for the work they do. Instead, since the Reagan years, addiction and mental illness have been turned into the recovery industry and behavioral health. This was because during the Reagan years it was demanded that every single human body in this society would generate profit for someone, somewhere. Unfortunately, people with mental and behavioral issues this severe are going to take more from society than they give to it. It is going to cost our society money to take care of them. I personally am OK with that and I understand it. However, as a whole society, we have not gotten yet to a point where we are willing to undo the effect of the 1980s when it was decided that profit was more important than human beings.

The problem is that where ever you place these people with these severe disabilities, they are going to cause terrible problems unless they have 24 hours a day seven days a week caretakers with them. When they are placed in low income housing, they bring problems into that housing, such as hoarding, alcoholism, substance abuse, inability to maintain personal hygiene, inability to maintain cleanliness of their living space, and they tend to destroy any area where they live. They constantly express aggression through distraction. There can be no healthy working community of people, when these people are placed in low income housing, next to those who are disabled and elderly. It creates an absolute nightmare for everyone who lives in that situation.

What we need for these people, is specific housing in a group setting, where people are paid around the clock to watch after them because they cannot and will not watch after themselves. We have a situation in this community where our mental health care and housing workers are grossly underpaid, and they are being expected to manage situations that are severe and without solution. Specifically, there are people squatting at the campgrounds who make constant threats against the lives of people who are trying to serve our community in their capacity as mental and behavioral healthcare workers and who are trying their best to help others in the homeless community who are sincere in their queries for assistance.

It's not just the case of a few bad apples. It's the fact that our society has completely abandoned the mental health care system that was in place in the 1980s. That mental health care system needed work, that is true. But the Reagan administration and the neo-liberal everything-for-profit mentality that has pervaded in our society since then, has resulted in the fact that there are no mental healthcare group homes anymore. There are legions of people in these United States, who are living on the streets of this nation and they need to be in group homes for their own safety and the safety of society. They simply are not capable of living in low income housing on their own. Permanent low income housing is not the solution to this problem. The homeless people who are squatting at the campground need to be in group homes. These are people with severe mental disabilities which become severe behavioral disabilities.

However, we have a problem in this specific community, where people in charge of low income housing and who are working in the mental health community, or demanding that the most egregious of these squatters, have no rules or restrictions put on them whatsoever. That is the crux of the problem at this particular time in this particular place. This is not only my opinion. This has been reported to the public in newsprint in this community. The biggest problem facing those who are trying to solve the solution at the campgrounds, is a person involved with low income housing, who refuses to have any restrictions or limitations placed on those squatting at the campgrounds.

Yes, we need group homes re-opened. But before that, we need people in this community to understand that there is a severe and egregious problem going on at the fairgrounds. Candy-coating it makes it worse, not better.

Friday, April 30
Mike Murray

Advocatus Diaboli, I agree today's problem goes back to Reagan (with help from Thomas Szasz, et. al). Social planning often confuses those needing temporary help, those needing protection, those needing permanent maintenance and those for whom treatment should not be optional. I remember Seattle many years ago when housing was built for the elderly and disabled, and then well intentioned souls decided drug addiction was a disability -- the infusion of younger, predatory addicts created major problems for the elderly and the physically disabled.

Friday, April 30
Advocatus Diaboli

You got it, Mike. You just described perfectly what has happened to low income housing in Port Townsend and throughout the country.

Furthermore, it seems there are those in this community who, despite reporting on the issue, still do not understand what is happening at the campground at the fairgrounds.

The police were being called to that area regularly. Neighbors were reporting disgusting antisocial behavior from denizens of the campground. Which included defecation in the driveways of the citizens, in a time of global pandemic. The reports also included threats to the citizens, by the denizens of the campgrounds. The police were called, the police arrived, and ultimately the police could do nothing Because occupation of the campground at the fairgrounds is not dependent on ANYTHING at all. There are no rules of behavior for the people out there. Therefore, regardless of how they act, they can still continue to squat at the campgrounds. Let that sink in a minute.

OlyCAP suggested that a person be in the area to help cut down on the violence and abuse of other homeless campers. Either the first night or one of the first nights the observer was out there, a person died. A young woman, overdosed, face down in the mud, alone. After that, OkyCAP stated that because of liability issues, they could not be responsible for trying to police the area because no behavior would elicit an evection from the campgrounds. Which basically meant there was no purpose in having one stay out there, because there was no way the most violent and abusers could be asked to leave.

The police and OlyCAP both agreed that unless there were rules in place which would result in evection, there was no point in trying to police the area due to liability issues and the issue that the policing was totally without recourse to the community.

There was one woman involved with low income housing who refused to allow for any restrictions to be put on the campers at the fairgrounds. The woman said this was because her husband was prevented from entering a shelter because he was active in his addiction, and he later died under a bridge.

So now, we are at an impasse in this city. Because a man died under a bridge in a state far away in a time long past, another young woman just died face down in the mud alone at the campground at the fairgrounds in Port Townsend. How many more lives will be destroyed and abandoned, because one person stands in the way of any restrictions being put on the campers at the fairgrounds? That is the bottom line of the current problem in PT.

All of this has been reported to the public in the press. Every last bit. And so, there are those who yes, would love to run these people right out of town. There are those who would love to take advantage in the name of religion and say these people only need religion, not mental health, not housing. There are those who just want to build low income housing and force all the elderly and disabled to live with people with severe mental disabilities and severe substance abuse addictions. But nobody wants to pay any more taxes, and nobody wants to admit that there are people in every society who are going to need more help than they can ever give back and that's just how it is. One thing for sure is that all the moral posturing and platitudes have helped absolutely nothing. At this juncture the self-righteous posturing is actually making the situation worse. How many more people have to die? How many more elderly and disabled lives will be abandoned to hell hole low income housing where they are afraid to leave their apartments because of the filth and horror that goes on outside their doors? That's not compassion. That's not a solution. That's sweeping human lives under a rug of illusion, just so the most violent and mentally ill of our society never have to have any rules inflicted upon them.

Friday, April 30
Advocatus Diaboli


Friday, April 30
Diaboli Diaboli

Related to homeless/transitional housing:

If there are any actual investigative reporters in the area... 'anybody got an explanation of why Susan & Gary Keister were recently seen taking advantage of some sweet PTPD "No Parking" signs for their personal private use whilst touring the Hastings Bldg. downtown??? Is Bayside setting up in the Hastings Bldg? Ya'll always so quick to report when a business owner downtown passes gas or breaks a fingernail, but NOTHING about the Keisters skulking about downtown, using PTPD traffic signs for private enterprise, and touring the Hastings Bldg like they just bought the place? Let's have some actual reporting, shall we?!

Friday, April 30
David Thielk

Mr. Diabioli,

I have been expressing my opinion in this community for almost 35 years. Directly to city council, county commissioners and to the Leader (both in hard copy and in these online pages). I kept a Port Townsend blog for a short period of time, expressing opinions about city leadership, including the police department. I have expressed my opinions on everything from housing, climate change, taxes, transportation , school levies, and beyond. I have worded in two school districts, freely expressing my concerns and perspectives to school boards, administration, and parents when necessary. I have never used a fake name. I suppose I have paid a price for that. And I am guessing there have been times when I paid a price that I wasn't even aware of. But, that is who I am; who I choose to be. I think in the big picture, taking that approach has given me far more than it has taken away. But, suit yourself. If you are unwilling to pay the price of using your real name, then use a pseudonym. But, in using a fake name, you at least lose any credibility with me.

Regarding the privilege of being a white male. I think you are wrong about that. I spent my first 21 years in Detroit, living there at a time when it was considered the murder capital of the country. In my neighborhood, there were periods of frequent break ins and muggings. I attended high school during a period of forced busing, and relatively intense racial tensions. Not only did I have experiences with other humans in which I was hurt, but I was on occasion, the victim of police harassment. In neighborhoods adjacent to mine houses were sometimes torched for the insurance money. So, yes, I repeat, I feel pretty safe in Port Townsend, I have ridden my bicycle through the fairgrounds as well as Kah Tai late at night because that was the shortist route to get to where I was going. IT is all relative. I guess what I am saying is that there is perceived risk, and there is actual risk. I acknowledge that there is crime in Port Townsend. But, compared to my early experiences, the actual risk is quite low. And, sadly, your letter pushes the perceived risk concept way beyond the actual risks of living and enjoying life here in Port Townsend. In other words, your language is alarmist and extreme with respect to reality.

Thirdly you stereo type and generalize around a specific demographic, and in your later posts (with Mike) you offer solutions to this dilemma that reek of condescension and have the effect of dehumanizing the demographic at the fairgrounds.

Your words: because they will not simply do the most basic tasks to live in a collective human society. ("they" referring to no one in particular ut to everyone in general)

Your words" "These people demand the right to act violently, demand the right to steal in order to maintain their addictions; they demand to do as they please, when they please, how they please. Many of the squatters are cruel, abusive, violent people who are hell-bent on destroying whatever they can, whenever they can. They destroy the insides of the buses, they destroy the faigrounds. They destroy things everywhere they go. ("they referring to no one in particular, but to everyone in general).

Your words "They are not capable of keeping their personal areas clean and sanitary. They are not even capable of keeping their bodies clean and sanitary." ("they referring to no one in particular, but to everyone in general).

Your words "these people need to be in halfway houses with professional babysitters because they are absolutely in capable of participating in society." ("they referring to no one in particular, but to everyone in general")

Your words " have to deal with their lives being threatened by these violent sociopaths while people like you look the other way." ("these" referring to no one in particular, but to everyone in general).

Your words "When they are placed in low income housing, they bring problems into that housing, such as hoarding, alcoholism, substance abuse, inability to maintain personal hygiene, inability to maintain cleanliness of their living space, and they tend to destroy any area where they live. " ("They" referring to no one in particular, but to everyone in general).)

I never said that I thought leaving the camp at the fairgrounds was the best solution. What I was responding to was your vast stereotyping, condescension, and alarmist diatribe. That kind of dehumanizing diatribe, and the hate that it generates in others who may read it, actually makes the problem worse. I think a huge part of this problem, both here in Port Townsend, is the dehumanizing rhetoric that emanates from people such as yourself.

Friday, April 30
Mr. Mister

I'll say this for you, Thielk: hell of an ego. Way to make it all about you. Gee, i wonder why nothing gets solved, here. Self-absorbed old white men and neo-liberal white women have made the same mess ya'll always makw when you move in. And then throw howling tantrums when you get called out. Toxic positivity in diapers and Birks.

Friday, April 30
Fanny Brennan

I assume Thielk is an example of the Tolerant Left? All virtue signals until his argument is destroyed, and then lookout! Gloves are off! Clearly mister "Oh, I am hours from home cycling all by myself in the middle of nowhere and a tree falls on me so then I get rescued and have lots of healthcare and make everything all about me always" while young working familues can't afford food, says everyhting I need to know about ENTITLEMENT. He wants to talk about dehumanizing rhetoric? While everything about him screams old white man, he still misses the point that there are good and decent people who are homeless and struggling to survive in this town, who are being harmed by violent sociopathic criminals while self absorbed fools like himself look the other way. And to top it all off, he attacks the messangers and is STILL too arrogant and willfully ignorant to hear the message. Oh, but let's brag about how long we've been here, while we also go around self righteously proclaiming the name of the tribe on whose land we all live. Yall really something around here.

Friday, April 30
David Thielk

My argument was destroyed? Which argument was that?

Friday, April 30
Advocatus Diaboli

Mr Thielk

With all due damn respect, you are out of your realm, here.

You have not ridden on our buses with these violent people. You have not been threatened by them. You have not lived in low income housing on the peninsula. That much is all crystal clear.

Talk to the people who clean out the hoarded filth when these people are evicted from their apartments. Talk to the civil servants, many of whom are female, who are constantly threatened by these men; men who, by the way, actually do carry deadly weapons and use them. Regularly.

Go back and read the news stories about the woman who repeatedly asked a man not to smoke in their non-smoking subsidized housing, and was rewarded by being shot at.

Look beneath the carefully manicured illusion (lie) that the good liberals of port townsend are kind to the poor. You're not. You treat the poor like criminals. Except for when they actually are criminals. Then you let them do whatever they want, because it's just too hard to make the adult decision to set any boundaries at all on them, and enforce those boundaries. Easier to just wring hands, destroy lives and hope, and let the criminals be your pet token martyrs while they steal, threaten, and kill their way through their addictions, making life miserable for every other homeless, disabled and elderly person who has literally nowhere else to go. You are throwing sheep to the wolves in the misguided and wrong-headed mirage you call "compassion".

Talk to the police and navigators who are called to low income housing when one of the meth heads thinks his neighbors are lizards and is threatening the police with the gun he's been waving around for hours. Then read the sad outcome when one of these guys actually kills himself or someone trying to help him or just someone who looked at him wrong or got in his way. Talk to our bus drivers. Talk to people who actually live or have lived in low income housing. You do not know what you are talking about, because if you did, you would know that every last thing I have said and am saying, is true. Verifiable from several vantage points; except your particular vantage pount of your entitled head in the sand.

More people in PT have died at the hands of these mentally ill substance abusers than have died from Covid.

You will demand everyone wear a mask, but then turn right around and demand that no rules or restrictions be put upon violent sociopaths who work the system and laugh about it. Your inaction creates compounding misery. But hey, you have good healthcare, a cushy home and good moral standing right, Captain America?

You, Mr Thielk accuse me of being dramatic and judgemental and hyperbolic, but every single thing i am saying can be verified by police reports and documentation from mental healthcare workers, as well as by news reports and by employees and volunteers who work in low income housing and mental healthcare.

All across this peninsula, society is being ravaged by mental illness and drug addiction. But you in your sheltered life think because you don't see it, it doesn't exist. You attack anyone who has suffered or is suffering because of these derelict people and their enablers.

If you truly care, Mr Thielk, i strongly suggest you stop attacking people who are speaking their own truths, just because they do not live and die by their carefully manicured white male patriarchal identity. No one really cares who you are or what you've done in the past. We care that there are frightened people in total financial ruin who are being forced to endure filth, violence and horror, because people like you make excuses for monstrous behaviour, due to self-righteous self-serving so-called virtue. Your words are useless to the hungry; your inaction is devastating and deadly for those just trying to survive in the violent underbelly of homelessness, while you virtue-signal and preen your high moral tailfeathers.

Saturday, May 1
Justin Hale

"because you worked hard all of your life and made huge sacrifices that you are entitled to marginalize or push out others from Port Townsend who don't have the same credentials that you do? ".....Dam right David, I worked hard to afford a nice house in a nice neighborhood, if one day a bunch of homeless people decided to set-up camp in a vacant lot next to my house I'd feel entitled to call the police and get them out. If I find someone camping on my property without my permission that's trespassing, we have laws against that. If I wanted to create a campground on my property I'd have to jump through all kinds of hoops before the city/county/state would allow it, and if I wanted to charge for those campsites that's even more licenses and permits, but according to your thinking, the City/County should have the right to plop down a homeless camp in my neighborhood and use my tax dollars to support it. By the way David how many homeless have you taken in?

Maybe it is time for you to move to Seattle where they put up with nonsense like CHAZ/CHOP zones.

Saturday, May 1
Marge Samuelson

When you make a bunch of sweeping statements please be kind enough to give a source for your information.

Citing or documenting the sources used in your comments serves many purposes: for one it gives proper credit to who you received the information from, and it allows those reading to locate your source and decide for themselves if it should be taken as fact.

Saturday, May 1
Barb Dwyer

No, Marge, I see people posting very specific information, not sweeping statements. As well, they have told you where to go to verify the info. A link to another very eye opening story in the Leader was shared. Just how spoon-fed do you wish to be, Marge? If you care enough about the situation, please also use The Google Machine, as my grandkids say.

Here are the names people you could speak with, though, if you prefer eye to eye or ear to ear:

Terry Berge: Campground host at the fairgrounds.

Judson Haynes: PT Police Navigator. If you doubt any

of these reports of behaviors at the campgrounds, he would be a good person to talk to about your doubts.

It is public information that could be verified by the police department, that several bicycles from town were stolen and had been taken to the campground at the fairgrounds to be dismantled and parted out. No word on if any of those bicycles were able to be returned to the people from whom they were stolen.

The cash box at the campground was broken into. The cashbox from a nearby farm was broken into and the contents stolen. These things are in police records. There have been items stolen from houses in the neighborhoods surrounding the campground. There have been police reports about that as well. There have been people from the camp, found trespassing in resident backyards as well as watching residents in their own homes, through their windows aka stalking/voyeurism. All of this is documented. If you doubt it, call the police department and ask them.

The police log also includes calls to the campground because someone had built a fire and was standing in the middle of it. A later call involved one of the squatters seriously endangering a disabled person in a wheelchair, by setting their RV on fire. That particular story I believe was carried by two newspapers in the area, including this one.

There have been countless assaults, fist fights, screaming, yelling, and squatters following residents of the neighborhoods when they go for walks in the morning. Harrassing local residents, even following them into Cappys Trails. Again, documented by police reports.

As for other so-called "sweeping statements" people are allegedly making, I wonder how you imagine newspaper commenters would be able to provide you internet links to their personal experiences. ???

My husband and I for a short while in our younger days, owned and ran a professional cleaning business. We saw, the results firsthand of what happens when hoarders and seriously mentally ill people die in or are forced to leave an apartment or home where they have been living. If it is true that in this city there are elderly and disabled people having to live in close proximity to that sort of behavior, filth, and ravaging mental illness, I daresay we should all be ashamed of ourselves for making our most truly vulnerable citizens live in that sort of hopeless chaos and squalor.

I will continue to look into these matters, as I think we all should be looking into them. And I do wish our newspaper here locally would focus more on these types of issues and less on the endless rah rah cheering for local businesses. We know our local businesses downtown very well, thank you. 'Tis why we drive to Silverdale once a month for supplies.

Saturday, May 1
Mike Murray

Marge, in addition to the Leader link provided by the devil's advocate, for additional background, you might want to read the earlier,71315 and

Sunday, May 2
Marge Samuelson

Just wanted to know about where you were getting your information. Police Reports in the Leader? or Police reports from the police? Sometimes you have to be careful where you get your information, that was all I was saying. Many women have been homeless, including myself, fortunately I had family & friends to help me out until I could get back on my feet. A lot of people judged me, even people who knew me. No, I have never had a homeless person camping on my property but I have donated money to organizations that give them a hand up, because I know they are better able to give help to those who have no support.

Sunday, May 2
steve adoré

since bayside was so involved in trying to make the campgrounds a permanent site, 'am very curious about the connection between gary/susan keister recently touring the hastings building, and what is going on at the fairgrounds. are there backroom handshakes and backslaps going on, to turn the hastings building into another of keister's private-profit from non-profit type shell-game schemes like he's been imprisoned for, in the past? does anyone with any leadership capacity whatsoever, actually exist in this city government? there is no iversight on anything at all, it seems.

Sunday, May 2

Reading some of these comments blow me away . Have any of you ever been homeless , jobless or unable to meet your daily needs as a human? How about wondering where your going to get your next meal? Next shower? Have you ever been in a mental crisis? Addicted to drugs or Alcohol?

No one wants to talk about a realistic solution here . Yes I seen where a half way house with 24 hour care for the rest of their life’s was mentioned that’s completely unrealistic.

Everyone’s story is different and everyone’s Solution is different! What one person may need to get better and be able to meet their daily needs will more then likely look different then the next.

Sometimes all a person needs is someone to care and for the people that need more then that

Their are Professionals that know how to treat all these different things that could have possibly caused this but the answer is not to lock someone up and throw away the key . They are humans just like the rest of us and they all deserve a chance at recovery!


1041 days clean

Ps if any of you met me today I’m positive you would never even think that just 1040 days ago , I was going threw every single thing I listed at the top of this ... homeless , addicted , mental health crisis , dirty and hungry!

Friday, May 7

Hi Smiley,

Congratulations on spending today clean and sober. That is so awesome for you and for everyone who loves you.

The thing is, what is being discussed here is not whether or not to throw away the key when someone is addicted to something or someone, and homeless. The problem being discussed here is specifically that there is no oversight and no rules being enforced at the campgrounds at the fairgrounds.

I honestly don't see anywhere in any of these comments where people are being uncompassionate and unfair. All they are asking is that people who refused to be in recovery, have some basic rules enforced on them. The same kind of rules that everyone else lives with in society, so we can live in a civil society. That is literally all that is being discussed here. There is nothing cruel or unseemly about simply asking that people, any people, anywhere, abide by a few important and necessary rules for people living in groups. Many of those rules are things like basic sanitation and hygiene. They are the same rules that groups of people living in tribes far from what white people call civilization. Basic guidance for hygiene and sanitation are forms of caring for one another.

What I find kind of funny and ironic is that many of the people who are screaming about poor hygiene and sanitation at the fairgrounds are the same ones who refuse to wear masks. Here's a question. If we will argue that the homeless and addicted must abide by basic rules for civilized society due to concern for the safety of others, why is it not also favorable to enforce basic guidance for personal hygiene related to covering one's mouth to protect others from ones out-breath? How is that different from guidance for sanitation and hygiene at the fairgrounds?

Congratulations again on your sobriety. Only 1 to 2% of people who enter current traditional (religious "higher power" based) recovery ever stay with it and are able to complete their lives, sober. Thank you for working so hard on yourself. You truly do have much to smile about.

5 days ago

Correction: 5-10% of people get and stay sober with "higher power" rehab.



5 days ago
douglas edelstein

We should try to agree on a set of facts before further bashing each other on the head about this, or continuing to name-call the campers at the Fairgrounds. The National Alliance to End Homelessness (URL too long to list here) has a wealth of statistics that characterize the national homeless problem much better and more credibly than I can. Also consult the National Law Center for Homeless People ( for grounding in general issues of law regarding impoverished and homeless people.

Mr. Devil's Advocate, you will find that if you do the honest research, you are mistaken to characterize homeless people as harshly as you do. There is a certain percentage who have mental health and addiction issues, to be sure. But your generalizations are otherwise inapplicable to the individuals that make up this population. Each has their own story. For you to say they are incapable of taking care of themselves is absurd; the work they must do to survive without shelter, food, facilities, etc. is much greater than the efforts it takes to stay alive if you have all these resources. The adaptations I have seen are often quite ingenious in fact, and a tribute to human resilience and adaptability.

You also use a lot of dehumanizing names to describe them. "Denizens," for example. When I read your comments about these people requiring round-the-clock supervision because they are "incapable" of self-improvement, I was reminded by your comments of the apologists for slavery in this country, when they described the African Americans held as slaves; these slave-owners claimed the people were "better off" under slavery and "incapable" of living decent lives without the strict rules of the plantation. Your comments were not as heinous as that, of course, but your assumption that the condition of homelessness is proof somehow that a person is "incapable" of living a decent life certainly rang that alarm bell. And your dehumanizing name-calling really degrades your arguments. Will you say the same thing after June 30 when the eviction moratorium expires, and dozens more people, including families with children, are cast into homelessness because of the pandemic?

Solutions to homelessness start with the conviction that every human being deserves adequate shelter; that it is a human right. Nationally, you will find that the most effective and long-lasting approach has been a "housing first" program, where people gain access to a stable, subsidized, decent place to live. That doesn't mean "housing only," however; it means that once housed, other services like addiction treatment, behavioral health services, and other resources are vastly more effective when the client has a stable place to live. Many other good things accrue from that as well: people can apply for jobs, reconnect with family, pursue education and training, get health care, and generally achieve the tools everyone needs to bring themselves out of the poverty that has condemned them to this traumatic experience.

We also fundamentally disagree on other issues. But for the time being, I urge everyone on this thread to research the facts about homelessness and the people it affects. You will see that Jefferson County's experience with the issue fits right into the national phenomenon, with the exception that our housing crunch is much worse than the average in the rest of the country. After researching the issue I figure we can argue based more on reality rather than false generalizations -- and you, Mister Devil's Advocate, can see, I hope, the residents of the Fairgrounds as the complex individuals they are.

5 days ago
Advocatus Diaboli

It's amazing to me how little actual reading comprehension there is, apparently, even amongst the so-called educated, in this town.

What's more irritating even then the fact that people at this point are willfully missing the point, is that when there are no actual solutions being presented to the problem at hand, then the real mudslinging turns to... "I don't like your tone! I don't like the word you used. I don't like what I think you mean behind what you said. I don't like the way you present your ideas."

And yet, there is no solution, still, to the problem where there are no enforced behavioral rules at the campgrounds, and no recourse for antisocial, violent, and destructive behaviors, to the people of this city.

When any person, homeless or otherwise, attempts to join any human community, there are rules by which that person must abide in order to continue to be part of that community. Even the most staunch anarchist, have guidelines, recourse, and basic behavioral guidelines for the communal living spaces and activities in which they are involved. And yet, people in this town continue to argue that the persons at the campground must have no rules whatsoever enforced upon them. Literally no one else in this society lives that way.

Why grown adults are arguing that a group of people must have no limitations or restrictions placed on their lives whatsoever, is laughable.

As far as the words are use. Typically, are use a word like "denizen", because I would never normally use it in my every day life. That way, when all of you big brains are trying to figure out who I am based on what words are used, you're S.O.L. Try not to be so obsessed with how other people talk to you, and be a little more obsessed about what actually makes human societies work. Maybe not so much ego, and a little more actual person to person investigation regarding the facts at hand.

On the issue of homelessness in the entire nation and specifically in the state of Washington, KNKX has an excellent podcast on the issue which I definitely recommend to everyone who posted and is reading this thread. It's called "Outsiders".

As for me not seeing homeless people as individuals, well, that's a bit of a joke. Much of what I have been saying is spoken from behind eyes who have seen all of this first person. Some of the biggest problem-creators are the well-meaning people who refuse to enforce any kind of behavioral restrictions on people living in situations like the campground at the fairgrounds. any group of human beings living in that kind of proximity to one another, need some very concrete rules of behavior for a foundation before any kind of working healthy community can be forged. That is literally all people are asking for regarding what is happening at the campgrounds. Why is that so hard for some of you to hear? Peoples' lives and well-being depend on you having the fortitude to demand that basic rules of safety and hygiene are being observed. Most of you understand this on a very visceral level. It's part of the reason you put on a mask when you go into public. And yet, you refuse to ask that same basic level of decency from the people at the campgrounds. You say it's all about caring for one another and seeing people as individuals, yet, a young woman is still dead today, who died out there, facedown, in the mud, alone, from a drug overdose. Even *that* does not inspire you to ask for the most basic rules of human society be to be enforced at the campgrounds. How many more people have to die beneath the tutelage of your so-called concern, before there are just even the most basic rules of human communal living, being enforced out there?

4 days ago
Meanwhile back at the ranch

"It's amazing to me how little actual reading comprehension there is, apparently, even amongst the so-called educated, in this town".

I was thinking this exact thought. What one finds is that too often, as a matter of course in political arguments, is that those who can't follow straight line arguments distort yours, and answer what you did not say.

Homelessness is politics, or the end result of it.

"They" in this case as originally spoken of by Advocatus Diaboliwas specifically a sub group who threatens everyone from near by residents to other homeless. Please re read. You may not be as bright as you think. I mean believe you are.

If I were judging this debate Advocatus Diaboli kicked ass.

The answers, always, do not rest in large systems, which become corrupted due to the poor "thought comprehension" of larger and larger groups. Many commenters here have lived lives as components of "the system" and have no idea of any other form of existence. Individually, my life outside the system has allowed for me to provide 3 moderate income homes for others, one a bit subsidized for individuals I know who in my reality have made poor life decisions. And protect old growth forest. I could do more with some mitigated land use if the County allowed it.

Someone commenting here could have done similar but did the house in the suburbs thing and took no chances.

Be a renegade. Meet someone at the campground and provide space on your land if you have space, with the absolute understanding that to disrespect this act of compassion and hope is to be set free into the chaos at the fairgrounds or similar. Individually we all have the answers, those attached to systems looking to systems to repair things have false hope.

This goes to all things Port Townsend. And in larger and larger systems.

Being in Seattle when Regan abandoned the mentally ill, I saw them pour into the streets. Everything, always will come down to you, and the end result of participating in a very flawed system for what looked like security, that denies its own tendency of poorly doing things. Your job security had strings attached. Payback time.

Perhaps a start is a new ordinance

Thanks to those doing their best, homeless, homeowners, and those who are called to assist as they can.

Work on your reading comprehension. Even if it rocks your world view.

Meanwhile back at the ranch

The full thought "Perhaps a new ordinance..." was not fully copied. It was that perhaps, and I say perhaps knowing the fallout, is that perhaps a new ordinance that defecating in a public place or space has a mandatory sentence of time to ones self to defecate in your own small space, courtesy of the County. Of course that comes down to funding police and space to house those needing defecation cause and effect enlightenment. And so on. It is a small sub group. Not in any manner all of "them".