Reclaiming the trail

After attack on Everett walkway, one woman makes safety her quest

By KATE REARDON

Herald Writer

EVERETT — Paulene Watson is not about to give up.

"I just want the community to pull together," she said. "We’re going to stand up and band together."

Three weeks ago a man attacked a 14-year-old girl on the city’s Interurban Trail near 112th Street SE.

On Friday she and others made thousands of copies of a flier displaying a police sketch of the person who attacked the girl in hopes somebody will be able to give police information to lead to an arrest.

The girl has been recovering at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Watson, who doesn’t personally know the girl, began a crusade to clean up the trail and make the community feel more at ease.

"There’s somebody somewhere who knows him," she said. "The other thing is this lets people know: Not in our backyard. We’re going to take control of this."

Fliers were passed out at grocery stores, businesses and to anyone who would take one. Watson said some have even been delivered to homeless shelters in Seattle.

Watson said she talked to several people who are now afraid to walk on the trail.

Police have described the attacker as a white man, 40 to 50 years old, about 6-foot-1, 160 to 180 pounds, with a light complexion.

His hair, a dirty blond fading to gray, was long and stringy, and he had a couple of days’ growth of beard.

He appeared unbathed, and had bad breath, and he wore a long-sleeved red plaid shirt with a T-shirt underneath, blue jeans with a hole in the left knee and dark-colored athletic shoes.

He also has a blue cross tattooed on the skin of his left hand between the index finger and thumb, police have said.

Detectives have asked anyone with information about the incident to call the Everett Police Department tip line at 425-257-8450c.

Watson hopes to also get clearance to organize a volunteer group for a cleanup along the Interurban Trail in November.

"If everybody sat back and said, ‘I’m too afraid to do anything,’ we’ve lost," Watson said. "I want everybody to know it’s OK to stand up. I can’t do it by myself."

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