As a resident living in downtown Everett, I’m very concerned to learn that Everett’s Planning Commission may recommend a methadone clinic in the central business district. I’ve watched restaurants and retail shops in my neighborhood turn over repeatedly. I’ve seen vacant buildings stay empty. I’ve had neighbors leave because they don’t feel safe anymore. Downtown seems to be a place that’s always on the verge of turning the corner, but never quite gets there.
When my wife and I moved downtown several years ago, we were excited to be part of Everett’s urban renewal. We walked to dinner at night. We frequented shops. We enjoyed being out and about in our neighborhood. Regretfully, it’s different now. We haven’t felt as safe, and as a result, we walk less, shop less, and dine out less. We still hold out hope that downtown Everett is on the recovery path, but the Planning Commission’s new direction makes us question that now.
At full capacity, the proposed methadone clinic may bring up to 850 recovering addicts to downtown almost every day. Will this help as much as 850 new customers, visitors, residents, employees and business owners? Some may believe it’s possible to have both, but that’s just wishful thinking given current problems on the street and slow economic progress. If Everett is serious about turning around its downtown, the focus needs to be on attracting new businesses, housing, and amenities – not adding another drug rehabilitation clinic.