LYNNWOOD — Civil unrest in Snohomish County is taking different forms these days, sometimes just miles apart.
The streets around Alderwood mall were closed again Tuesday afternoon as a preemptive measure against looting. As a result, Costco, Target and some other nearby stores closed early for the second afternoon in a row.
Across I-5 at roughly the same time, a peaceful, student-led protest wound its way through the Mill Creek Town Center.
Finding an outlet for protest while protecting people and property is a challenge being faced in communities across the country.
Lynnwood took a cautious approach Tuesday.
“Due to ongoing threats from yesterday and new information today, the roads are being closed,” police spokesperson Joanna Small said Tuesday. “Reports from citizens and social media are constantly changing. It seems like a lot of different people are trying to rally a lot of different groups.”
Some people were for peaceful protests and others for physical destruction, she said.
“I’m just here for the looting,” a teen reportedly told Lynnwood police Monday.
Monday afternoon, Lynnwood police closed streets leading to the mall and stood guard at mall entrances due to threats of possible looting, which has erupted nationwide in reaction to the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota. Police also stopped everyone from entering mall property on foot. About 100 people, mostly teens, showed up in small groups.
The city issued a 5 p.m. curfew Monday to prevent large groups from returning. Clusters of teenagers on the sidewalks near the mall left the area Monday when police announced over bullhorns, “5 p.m. curfew. Go home.”
The city did not implement a curfew Tuesday.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted criminal mischief Monday after getting into an altercation with a business owner, and a sledgehammer, spray paint, heavy gloves and other items were found in his backpack.
Another woman in her 20s who’d come to protest was observed shouting obscenities at a patrolman, who listened graciously.
Bryanna Araujo, 16, carried a sign rolled up in her backpack as she hiked to the mall from a distant parking lot Monday. She learned of the gathering through social media and wanted to join others to show support for Floyd.
“The injustices going on are completely wrong,” she said. “We’ve been trying to have a protest around here, because some haven’t been able to get to downtown Seattle.”
Macy’s, Nordstrom and other stores boarded up windows and doors, as did some nearby businesses such as the Shane Co. jewelry store. The mall has been closed since March, though some stores have been offering curbside pickup.
“We are going to play it by ear, depending on the incoming intel. We may pull it down earlier, it depends on what we’re faced with during the course of the day,” police Cmdr. Sean Doty said Tuesday about the street barricades.
A few miles away, approximately 200 protesters packed the intersection of 164th Street and the Bothell-Everett Highway in Mill Creek. The group, which was primarily young adults, held signs and shouted chants which received approving honks from passing drivers.
“We are peaceful. We are just using our voices, instead of destroying things and we are getting some reactions for sure,” Olivia Craven, an organizer of the protest, said.
The group then marched north past the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office South Precinct and the Mill Creek Police Department continuing along Main Street of the Mill Creek Town Center before returning to the corner of 164th Street and Bothell-Everett Highway where they remained for hours.
According to attendees, the rally was organized as a peaceful event through social media.
Lindsey Washington, who attended the protest with her 15-year-old daughter, commended the city police for allowing the group to get its message out and the young organizers for stepping up to the moment.
“This is amazing, it makes me feel like there is some hope,” Washington said. “This is the next generation that is going to vote and it makes me feel good to see how many people are coming out to support this.”