Seattle small business owners want city leaders' pledge of support

A letter sent to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan aims to garner support and help for the city's struggling small businesses. A 23-page "pledge" was sent to the Seattle leaders on Monday. Hundreds of business owners signed onto the pledge and they hope Seattle city leaders do the same. 

The "Seattle Small Business Pledge" asks for city leadership to support small businesses by addressing a list of expectations.

In the document, it listed two core principles for leaders to consider, including implementation of safety measures to ensure clean, safe, welcoming, and vibrant business districts and ensuring employees and customers can frequent storefronts without encountering violent or destructive behavior.

Some people who signed the pledge spoke during Monday's public comment period before the council meeting. 

"If people are going to come back into our neighborhoods, if they're going to shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and use our services, they must feel safe," said Mark Crawford of the U-District Partnership. 

The document also asks city leaders to act on two immediate actions. Number one, they want councilmembers to visit each of the neighborhoods for a socially distant tour to get a better understanding of the public safety and COVID-19 related challenges owners to face, and second, they want them to sign and participate in their pledge.

According to the Alliance For Pioneer Square, business owners expressed to them a need for more mental health resources for people on the street.

"There's a lot of reporting that employees are feeling unsafe going to and from the businesses themselves, as well as an inability to access the businesses and the services they to have to offer in Seattle," said Lisa Howard, the alliance's executive director.

Many businesses hope the city is proactive to provide those resources but also not leave small business owners fending for themselves. 

"In seven years of operating, I've personally been assaulted twice. Female members of my staff have also been assaulted. We've had more than 15 burglaries. I've called the police, I'd say more than 500 times. We've had thousands of heroin needles, thousands of pounds of garbage, human waste and harassment," said Brian Solazzi, owner of Humble Pie Pizzaria in the central district.

The pledge also asks the council to ensure that public spaces are free of garbage, and hazardous waste. It also calls for the immediate removal of people threatening the safety of employees and customers and small businesses want a seat at the table when it comes to the city's public safety planning.

Q13 reached out to the city council for comment. No official comment was released as of Monday night.