A modest proposal that solves many city woes

OlympiaAugust 23, 2013 

Olympia has a full plate: tight budgets, Capitol Lake, businesses leaving, homelessness, helicopters, shoreline. Perhaps we should not think of these as separate issues but should use our budget resources in a unified way.

Let’s combine the location of a low-barrier homeless shelter (everybody apparently wants one, just not anywhere close to them) with dredging Capitol Lake. Let’s use the sediment in Capital Lake to build an island in Budd Inlet, move the mistake on the lake there, and offer it as a homeless shelter. Put it in the mud flats away from objecting neighborhoods or businesses.

Ensure the building is 55 feet back from the shore and allow a marsh to grow to hide the inevitable piles of heroin needles and aerosol cans while simultaneously giving the ecology folks something to admire.

Sure, it is more than the 40 beds asked for now, but like a well-kept bird feeder, once we open this human feeder it will attract a lot more than we expected, so we’re going to need the extra space.

We can support helicopter training by having them insert undisciplined homeless on the building and then drop supplies.

Everybody wins. The homeless who are too rowdy to stay elsewhere have a place they won’t be hassled and a building to paint. Regular citizens don’t have to face panhandlers, graffiti, and vandalism. Isthmus park opens by a pretty lake and the ducks get a marsh.

And if the oceans rise 20 feet, the whole problem may just wash away.

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