Mike Volz is beside himself. The windows of his Chrysler restoration shop, MVP Mopars at the corner of State Avenue and Cherry Street, have been cracked on five occasions since Labor Day weekend, and he thinks it’s retaliation for a political position.
Volz is running for Olympia City Council and, not long before the vandalism, he took a position against a proposed low-barrier homeless shelter. The shelter, to be called The People’s House, would house people on the streets that many shelters won’t, including sex offenders, drug users and felons.
Volz said his building keeps getting hit when nearby buildings don’t, and it has totaled about $3,000 in damage.
“I love this place,” he said. “I really just wish this wouldn’t happen. I wish you could just have an open dialogue without people who disagree with you destroying your business.”
Interfaith Works, a nonprofit group of faith communities, is trying to find a location for the shelter, but has met opposition downtown and in the Eastside neighborhood. The group recently dropped its consideration of a shelter at 1011 10th Ave. SE after neighbors organized against it.
Meg Martin, shelter director for Interfaith Works, said “in no way does The People’s House shelter or any group affiliated with that project condone, endorse or support vandalism or property damage of any sort.”
Martin referred other questions to the Olympia Police Department.
Police spokeswoman Laura Wohl said there is no evidence Volz’s building is being targeted just because of his viewpoint on an issue, but “he does have a disproportionate amount of (targets).”
From Sept. 1 to Friday, police counted 13 incidences of vandalism downtown, not including graffiti.
“So his were five out of the 13,” she said.
In addition, none of the other acts of vandalism seem to have involved a BB gun or small projectile, which were used in the MVP Mopars cases, Wohl said. The crimes occurred during the overnight hours.
Wohl said downtown vandalism comes in waves, and usually reflects who is in the area at a given time. Alcohol use is a factor, she said.
The location might also be to blame.
“We have the occasional spree of people, especially along State and Fourth, doing essentially drive-bys with BB guns.”
Volz said he has encountered vandalism in the past, but nothing like this. “And it definitely keeps people out of the public forum, keeps people from speaking their mind,” he said.
He said he’s against the shelter because “people have to live by some very basic rules to get along, and this is serving the people that want to live outside of those laws.”
Volz is opposing Councilwoman Julie Hankins in the November election. Hankins could not be reached for comment Friday.
Volz said that in his campaigning, he is hearing that 4 of 5 people are against the shelter. “It’s everywhere through the city,” he said.Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 firstname.lastname@example.org @MattBatcheldor