Displaced & then replaced: By Therese Lulf

The many faces of the Pidgin Picket (pic. Tami Starlight)
The many faces of the Pidgin Picket (pic. Tami Starlight)

We, the displaced, and about to be displaced, are wondering what happened to some of our neighbours.

We feel totally disconnected from some of them, and for all we know, they could have been beaten, become sick from exposure, or locked up.  We visit Pigeon Park for some companionship, and also in the hope to hear some news about our evicted, now lost friends.Our visits with one another in that little park are important to us, as we have very tiny rooms if we have one at all. Other than that we could be using a shelter, which as everyone knows, is not a home.

Lately, we are wondering how long this little meeting place will be here for us. Repeated visits by the police, who want to move us along, are occurring.  We are anticipating the separations in the benches, to prevent any of us from reclining.  And, as all restrictive exercises of this nature, it will escalate.  We are quite prepared to hear something of this nature:

“Don’t sit down at all.  Get up and step over here, where I can disrespect you.”

Replacement of a group of people, vulnerable as people addicted to drugs and alcohol are, can be very swift.  Most of the work was already done for the gentrifiers.  The existing dislike, and discrimination against this group made it easy to move in and deliver the final blow.

Money floating around by the developers can provide astounding glitzy and slick transformations, all of them with the invisible sign:  Stay out. There may be a pretty fountain, and a fence, yes we will see fences, with an ornate gate, and new benches.  This will be pleasing to the eye for the people across the street, the Condo owners, at 21 doors.  While they are willing to allow some extreme contrasts, like a homeless person in the doorway of Rainier Provisions, it is an absolute NO to an eyesore that Pigeon Park presents to them when looking out of their windows and coming into the street.  After all, they have plans, and we are not included!

When everyone on this planet needs a home, why are the most vulnerable of our neighbors excluded?

Is this not a most insidious form of violence? We know you know that!

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