The City of Everett acknowledges it needs a second methadone clinic. The question is where it should be located.
Kristie McBride works hard to make her brand new coffee shop a success. She opened Sirens Market and Coffee House in Everett's downtown business district just six weeks ago. McBride now worries an unwanted element is keeping customers away.
"I see it daily," she said. "I've had to deal with homeless and addicts in the building next door, and I continue to pick up needles."
Like much of Washington, Everett is in the the clutches of a heroin epidemic.
More than 800 people use the one methadone clinic operating in the city's south end every day, with 250 more on a wait list.
Therapeutic Health Services (THS) runs that clinic and wants to open up another one – right next door to McBride's coffee shop.
She fears it would be a step backward for the city.
"This area is really improving," said McBride. "There's businesspeople coming here. There's people living in this area wanting to walk downtown Everett. It would be sad for people to have to avoid certain areas."
THS Chief Clinical Officer Patricia Edmond-Quinn says it's better to have people safely and discreetly using methadone inside a facility than shooting heroin on the street.
She believes the clinic should be located downtown at the corner of Rucker Avenue and Pacific Avenue for many reasons. It has parking. It is on the bus line. Mostly, however, it's where most of the users are.
"It wouldn't do very much good to put one way out somewhere where people have no way to get to the clinic," said Edmond-Quinn. "The result would be more deaths."
The city would have to grant special permission to THS to open the facility. The Downtown Everett Association, which represents local businesses, wants the city to wait at least 90 days before making a decision so that all those who would be impacted can have a chance to be heard.
As for McBride, she volunteers with addicts at her church and understands both sides of the situation.
She simply hopes the business of defeating addiction doesn't keep her business from succeeding.