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As fentanyl crisis wreaks havoc on blue city, mayor fights for more food trucks


Daily Caller News Foundation

As downtown Seattle struggles with an ongoing fentanyl crisis, Democratic Mayor Bruce Harrell’s downtown revitalization plan emphasizes cleaning services and an expansion of food trucks, according to local outlet KOMO News.

Local business leaders have stressed the need for the city to crack down on drug possession downtown, but while the plan included the opening of an alternative crisis care clinic next year, it did not directly address the issue of fentanyl use, according to KOMO News. The plan will, however, waive fees for food truck operators, expand lighting and cleaning services and update several zoning regulations.

“The first goal of the mayor’s Downtown Activation Plan is to make Downtown a safe and welcoming place for everyone,” the mayor’s office said in a written statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “To that end, the mayor issued an Executive Order on fentanyl and synthetic drugs focused on arresting dealers and traffickers when we announced the Downtown Activation Plan in April. As part of that Executive Order, the mayor also convened a work group which is developing a revised ordinance to address public consumption of drug use.”

The executive order prioritizes efforts to stop the sale of narcotics in partnership with law enforcement. It also promotes voluntary participation in rehab programs by rewarding participants with gift cards and expands services available for those who overdose on drugs.

Harrell’s office is developing a revised ordinance on fentanyl because the city council refused to implement the initial ordinance, blocking legislation that would have allowed the city attorney to prosecute drug possession and public drug use cases.

Several local businesspeople complained in late April that drug-fueled vandalism and break-ins were making the area feel unsafe and affecting their businesses.

“I think we’re all kind of sick of what’s been happening. We’re tired of being scared in our city and being able to walk the streets and not worry what this person is going to do because they are so far gone and they have been allowed to do this on the streets without consequence. So, we’ve got to have some consequence,” a local barbershop owner told KOMO News.

The editorial board of the Seattle Times recently accused Harrell of dragging his feet on hiring more police officers after the city council cut officers in recent years.

The Downtown Activation Plan includes a push for higher density in downtown buildings, including legislation that would allow taller buildings, make it easier to turn offices into residential spaces and incentivize residential buildings to offer childcare and education services, according to KOMO.

Fentanyl overdoses were responsible for more than half of the record-breaking 310 homeless deaths in Seattle in 2021, and in January the King County Medical Examiner’s office ran out of room to house dead bodies as a result of a spike in fentanyl overdoses. The Seattle police confiscated more than 1 million fentanyl pills from January to April 2023.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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