An Everett business owner has started a YouTube broadcast and a Facebook page to live-stream video of homeless people across the street from his business. (YouTube)

An Everett business owner has started a YouTube broadcast and a Facebook page to live-stream video of homeless people across the street from his business. (YouTube)

An Everett street scene — live, via ‘Tweakers’ video cam

EVERETT — An Everett business owner ratcheted up his campaign to draw attention to homelessness, illegal drug use and criminal activity in the city.

Last week, Gary Watts posted a “Welcome to Tweakerville” message on his computerized reader board at one of the entrances to Everett.

This week, Watts started Everett Tweakers cam, live-streaming video on YouTube, of the homeless people hanging out across the street from his business, Z Sport Automotive on Smith Avenue. He’s also set up a Facebook page, North Everett Tweaker Cam.

“Shedding light on what’s really going on,” said Chuck Watts, the son of the owner. “It’s one thing to read about it and hear about it, it’s another thing when you actually see it.”

Gary Watts plans to add a high-resolution camera with the capability to zoom in on the street scene. He is still working on internet capacity.

“It’s good enough that you can count freckles on people’s face,” Watts said. “You can watch the prostitutes and the addicts sticking needles in their arms.”

The City of Everett is working on innovative solutions for positive change for “our entire city, including those on the streets,” said Meghan Pembroke, the city’s spokeswoman, in an email.

“Everett is not unique in facing challenges on our streets, and we understand the frustrations of business owners and residents. City resources and departments are also greatly impacted by these challenges,” she wrote.

“These are complex issues, and there’s not one approach alone that will solve them. With the help of our community and our skilled service providers in Everett, we are making progress through programs like our Safe Streets work crew, Everett Police’s Community Outreach and Enforcement Team, CHART and our supportive housing efforts.”

At one time early Friday afternoon on the YouTube channel, 140 people were concurrently watching about a dozen people under makeshift tents across the street from Z Sport at 3532 Smith Ave. Watts also owns Z Sport Euro at 3829 Broadway.

The Smith Avenue business is near the Everett Gospel Mission. Gary Watts said the area started drawing more homeless people after the recession. There was a large cleanup a couple of years ago, but crime and other problems continue to this day.

Watts plans to do more to highlight the problems. He’s purchased a 13-passenger van. In a couple of weeks, he’ll invite neighborhood associations, service and social clubs and senior centers to tour the area along Smith Avenue.

“Anybody who would like to see what Tweakerville is and what’s really going on, we would be happy to show them — with a guide,” Gary Watts said.

He’s also planning to allow other business owners in the Smith Avenue area to transmit their video feeds onto the Facebook page and YouTube channel. He said he would provide the technical know-how.

“I’m doing nothing I haven’t done all of my life,” Gary Watts said. “My ambition is to change the world. If I can’t change the big world, I want to change the little world I live in.”

Chuck Watts said they checked with the police about whether they could film — and live stream — the street corner. They didn’t tell the people that they were being live streamed online.

“We have no legal reason to talk to anybody about cameras on private property,” Chuck Watts said. “We can put cameras on our property wherever we want.”

While the initial sign attracted a lot of media attention, Chuck Watts said he’s been pleased with the messages and hand-written letters that his father has received.

“It’s overwhelmingly supported by the good citizens of the country,” Chuck Watts said. “People who want to be involved in society.”

Jim Davis: 425-339-3097;; @HBJnews.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Everett man dies after being hit by car in Island County

Jacob Weigert was running across State Route 20 toward a bus stop when he was hit Wednesday morning.

Lynnwood police shoot at man during pursuit

The man is wanted on multiple warrants, including one for attempted murder, according to police. No one was hurt.

The “Village of Hope,” a tiny home community including 17 shelters, is set to open on Mission Hill Road in Tulalip in September. (Tulalip Tribes)
Tulalip Tribes to open tiny home village with 17 shelters

It’s called the Village of Hope. Monthly culture nights will feature classes in Lushootseed and “Tulalip cooking.”

Man shot at Everett apartment

The man in his 30s was shot Sunday night. No arrests had been made.

Arlington Public Works employees use The Big Sidewalk Sucker to lift a concrete panel from the sidewalk. The device saves the city some money and time to level ground below the concrete. (Arlington Public Works)
This thing sucks and helps repair sidewalks in Arlington

Public works crews can remove heavy concrete panels from sidewalks, so the ground underneath can be restored.

United Way of Snohomish County CEO Craig Chambers at their headquarters on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New CEO expected to reinvigorate United Way of Snohomish County

The nonprofit lost staff and funding during the pandemic. Craig Chambers wants to turn things around.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Red-hot housing market cools, a bit, in Snohomish County

The amount of housing inventory is rising. Demand is slowing. Higher mortgage rates are a cause.

John McKeon stands in front of a mobile headquarters vehicle while discussing the funding needs of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the search and rescue headquarters in Snohomish, Washington. McKeon said a priority for the group is to find money for new covered parking for a number of vehicles that do not have a garage to be parked in. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue wants rescuing

They’re asking for nearly $1 million in federal recovery dollars, but funding has been hard to come by.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Most Read