Saddened by the potential loss of a low-income neighborhood in south downtown, residents of the prestigious and historic Old North End have petitioned the city to have a new mega-homeless shelter placed in their neighborhood.
"Why should the poor take the brunt of society's ills?" asked Buck Banker, one North End resident. "We're rich, we can handle it."
But other neighbors weren't so sure. "The homeless fit in better in low-income neighborhoods," said Rich Doctor, another resident. "Besides, I just added a second sun room. I can't afford to have a homeless shelter for a neighbor."
But others in the area, in acts of unconditional generosity, have even offered up their own homes as transitional housing for homeless men, women and children.
"I've offered to have the soup kitchen run out of my 5,000-square-foot kitchen," said kind-hearted Noblesse Oblige, who organized the petition.
The petition calls for the Red Cross Headquarters on North Cascade Avenue to be converted into a shelter, while adjoining homes will be purchased for day care, transitional housing, drug rehab and job training.
In a separate and unrelated development, the city has decided to build a railroad through the neighborhood, a move that could mean the removal of two dozen Old North End homes.