[Hpn] ALERT: Seattle targets street drinkers on gentrifying Skid Row FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 31 Aug 2000 11:53:00 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Aug 22, 2000


SEATTLE (AP) _ The city is cracking down on public intoxication
along the original Skid Road, inspiration for the Skid Row label
applied to down-and-out urban areas.

City Council voted unanimously Monday to declare Pioneer Square
an ``alcohol impact area,'' allowing the State Liquor Control Board
to tighten restrictions on stores, restaurants and taverns that
sell alcohol for off-premises consumption.

Businesses in the increasingly gentrified area initially will be
asked to voluntarily halt sales of cheap malt liquor and fortified
wine after midnight. The board could make the ban mandatory. It
already bars sales there of beverages containing at least 14
percent alcohol.

``It probably is not going to get people to stop drinking, but
it may get people to seek treatment,'' said council member Jan
Drago, who lives in the affected area.

The area was the site of the city's first sawmill. Logs cut on
the steep slopes rising from Puget Sound were slid down a chute of
greased timbers _ the skid road.

In the early 20th century, after the sawmill was gone and
respectable businesses had moved away, Skid Road came to denote any
cheesy, rundown urban area frequented by drunks and transients. In
other parts of the country, the name was changed to Skid Row.

But after 1970, when the Pioneer Square Historic Preservation
District was established, developers restored the 1890s Romanesque
Revival brick buildings and the area became known for nightclubs,
restaurants, art galleries and bookstores.

Still, many old Skid Road denizens remain.

Some shopkeepers are skeptical about the liquor restrictions,
noting that there are plenty of stores selling cheap booze within
the public transit system's free downtown ride zone.

And Louis Hur, who helps run the Saveway Market in Pioneer
Square, noted the presence of missions serving the homeless,
alcoholics and drug addicts.

``My concern is that as long as the missions are around here,
the problem is going to always happen around here,'' Hur said.

AP-CS-08-22-00 1102EDT
Received  Id AP10023598A9939A on Aug 22 2000 10:02


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