LYNNWOOD — Not in the neighborhood where children play.
That was the message Saturday against an opioid treatment center set to open Jan. 23 at 2322 196th St. SW in Lynnwood.
The protest organized by Safe Lynnwood, a grassroots group of parents and residents, was in front of the medical building that also houses dental offices. Speakers included several City Council members.
About 60 protesters waving signs and chanting “Protect our Kids” then marched down 24th Street West to the nearby Alderwood Boys & Girls Club.
An auto collision center separates the medical building from the ballfields adjacent to the club.
“The location is very problematic,” City Council Vice President Jim Smith told The Daily Herald. “In addition to that, this program is not to stop drug use, it’s to give them a different drug to use.”
The group mobilized at all four corners of the busy intersection at 196th Street SW and Alderwood Mall Parkway to draw more attention to their cause. Cars honked in support.
The clinic by Acadia Healthcare plans to dispense methadone, a highly regulated medication, to about 300 patients.
“We are not saying no to the people in need, it’s just the location,” said Vivian Dong, a Safe Lynnwood spokesperson. “It’s just a bad location from every single aspect. It poses a big risk to kids and the community. It doesn’t support hundreds of people coming in every day. It’s not in the center of Lynnwood. It’s not fair to the patients.”
The medical plaza has about 30 parking spaces shared by all the offices.
Parents voiced safety concerns and the Lynnwood City Council unanimously opposed the location. The public outcry came too late.
Until late December, no one on the City Council said they knew that the opioid center was set to open in January. Acadia has been working with Lynnwood’s city planning department since March 2022. Acadia finished its final inspections by Dec. 14 and received the certificate of occupancy from the city on Dec. 19.
At last Monday’s meeting, City Council President George Hurst urged people to send emails and write letters to the state Department of Health in a last-ditch effort.
At that meeting, as with the one the previous week, dozens of community members had picket signs and impassioned public comments about the proximity of children and the lack of proper infrastructure.
These concerns were voiced again Saturday.
“There could be a much better place for it that’s not next to kids. The last thing they need is a line of drug addicts waiting to get another fix,” said Bryan Smith, who lives in the neighborhood.
Proponents of the treatment center have said it’s desperately needed, part of the solution for combating a longstanding opioid crisis that has hit Snohomish County especially hard.
No proponents were observed at Saturday’s rally.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterbrown.
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