Seattle is Dying

This was a commercial-free investigative report feature on KOMO TV Saturday evening, March 16. Eric Johnson was the Moderator, and Matt Markovich the Executive Producer. Below is an introductory letter on the show by Eric Johnson:

“Seattle Is Dying”. It's a harsh title. Someone on social media even called it a "hopeless" title. I'll admit to you that I wrestled with the name for some time. Too dramatic, I wondered? Too dark? In the end I went with it because I believe it to be true. I believe that Seattle is dying. Rotting from within.

This show, that we've been working on for several months now, is really the third in a kind of trilogy. The first was called "There But For the Grace of God..." It explored homelessness from the inside out in 2016. The second was called, "Demon at the Door." It was about the hellish existence of heroin addiction.

This one is about everyone else. It's about citizens who don't feel safe taking their families into downtown Seattle. It's about parents who won't take their children into the public parks they pay for. It's about filth and degradation all around us. And theft and crime. It's about people who don't feel protected anymore, who don't feel like their voices are being heard.

This program is not about demonizing those who are struggling with addiction and homelessness and mental illness. On the contrary. Instead, it asks the question, "Why aren't we doing more? Why don't we have the courage to intervene in lives that are, in the face of a grave sickness, reeling out of control?"

It's called, Seattle is Dying, and I believe the title to be true. But it's not a hopeless program. There are ideas and concepts in the show that could start conversations about change. I hope. Mostly, I want it to be a reminder that this is not normal. This is not the way it has to be. This is not right.

-Eric Johnson, Writer, Moderator, and Producer

-Matt Markovich, Executive Producer

As Eric Johnson said “My hope is that this program serves as one half of a conversation. The other half is you.”

Here are some samples of what I’m reading from the other half:

Thank you, Eric Johnson & KOMO. Painfully accurate and to the point. We as a City must elect a City Council that will empower the SPD to enforce the law.

Eric, your piece was outstanding. We at the Neighborhood Safety Alliance have exposed this reality for about 3 years now, and everything you said was spot on. We are dying and nobody cares. They just want more money and, as we have said for years, a home will not fix addiction, as our city “leaders” are trying to get us to believe. Thank you for exposing our homeless situation for what it is. Excellent work.

You are doing what all the media should be doing, reporting the truth. This is a drug epidemic; and calling it anything other than that is doing everyone a disservice.

INTERVENTION is absolutely necessary. We used to call it “tough love.” The option should be treatment or jail.

Right now, we are running a concentration camp without barbed wire on the streets of Seattle; and poisoning them with drugs. This borders on insanity.

What we have is a lack of political will disguised as compassion.

Seattle is a city out of control…and it’s all preventable. But if the Mayor and City Council won’t even admit the #1 problem is drugs, not homelessness, we’ll never solve anything. Drugs drive everything that’s ruining this city.

When my grandchildren have to trip over drug addicts in front of Nordstrom to see Santa it's a sad day in Seattle! I used to brag about what a beautiful clean city it was. I hope the City Council and Seattle Police Dept. open their eyes to the sorry state our beautiful city is in. Thank you thank you!!!

And the Emmy goes to Eric Johnson!!! Bravo for capturing the frustration of the citizens of Seattle!

This is a rare piece of quality investigative journalism, in my opinion.

If this doesn’t raise awareness, nothing will. Raw truth…not pretty.

Oh my gosh, this was SO WELL DONE. Thank you thank you thank you KOMO. So very depressing, but I sure hope our elected officials watch this - some excellent examples of hope for our dying city too.

Thank you, Executive Producer Matt Markovich! You have more knowledge about the addiction/homeless crisis than anyone on our current City Council. You’ve been in the encampments, seen the filth and despair. You are a much-needed voice for Seattle.

Thank you for saying so eloquently and forcefully what we have all been feeling and saying for years. I went to the UW and now live in Snohomish, I stopped enjoying going to Seattle about three years ago. Such a shame. It's shocking and heartbreaking to visit the city.

Seattle Police are under-appreciated, and their hands have been tied. This IS a drug problem and needs to be met HEAD-ON. Stop funding the "enablers" and FIX the problem. KOMO did a great job and offered a viable solution. Anything is better than the status quo!

Watched all of it. It looks like Rhode Island has the solution...not homelessness but drug addiction and required centers for one of three drug required antidotes, counseling and job centers throughout (the) state.

Rhode Island has a three-pronged plan: Enforce laws, Medication Assisted Treatment [MAT], and personal Counseling.

Surprised that close to 100% of homeless on our streets are on some form of addiction and that those arrested for stealing as adults etc. have repeated as much as 70 times and let back on streets

We need leadership that is proactive and takes care of our citizens. It is hard to live in my city with other people not following the rules of Law. Our Mayor and City Council need to open their eyes....

Excellent!! It doesn’t need to be this way. Political will must be found somewhere.

I am re-watching this this morning, and I am again disgusted by the indifference of our elected officials and those who are unelected who hold way too much power and who have made this public health and safety crisis worse.

If you have not watched this show, you should do so today. An honest look at the real problems is the first step to solving them!

Watch here.