Spend $800,000 to improve alleys? Frankly, I’ve never heard of such a ludicrous idea!
I’ve lived in many areas of the United States, and have never seen a city this size with so many transients. As someone else mentioned, it’s almost like you’ve put a huge welcome sign out for every bum in the Northwest. The more you provide, the more will come.
I came from a town of 200,000 in the Midwest, the homeless and/or battered women/children were provided a safe place to sleep and helped to get back on their feet. The men were strongly encouraged to move on.
I moved here eight years ago, have enjoyed our downtown area and generally take visitors there. However I’ve seen the number of homeless men increase 10-fold and seldom feel safe going downtown after dark. These men are sprawled all over the sidewalks, the stench radiating from some of them is horrid and I’ve found feces, urine, used condoms and who knows what else in places I walk. It’s disgusting.
This means restaurants, theaters, and stores are losing my money. I also have neighbors who avoid downtown Olympia like the plague.
Show me a city that has a healthy, vibrant, successful downtown area enjoyed by residents and visitors alike — and I guarantee you it’s a city with laws against loitering, which they enforce. If you move forward with decorating these alleys, you’ll simply be wasting our tax dollars and providing a lovely area for these people to continue with their unlawful activities.