OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Mike Volz, owner of Spoon Auto Parts, blames backlash from his stance against a proposed homeless shelter.
Nearly $4,000 in damages has been caused by someone using a sling shot to shoot rocks through 10 different windows.
“This is the reason a lot of business owners don’t speak out in town because it happens all the time,” said Volz, who is also running for Olympia City Council.
“I’m sorry that business owner feels like he’s being targeted, but I can’t imagine that being true,” said Selena Kilmoyer, Interfaith Works Board Member.
Interfaith works, along with a coalition of other faith-based organizations, wants to build a shelter with few rules that could house up to 40 men and women. Alcohol, drugs and pets would all be allowed. The only restrictions are someone that’s violent or a danger to others.
With the threat of the shelter being located near schools and children, some city leaders oppose the proposed shelter.
“It could be a sex offender, it could be a criminal, it could be a drug addict, there is that fear factor of the unknown,” said Karen Rogers, city councilmember
Three previous sites have been shot down by groups like “Concerned Eastside Neighbors.” A spokesperson says she too was threatened by shelter supporters at a recent picnic.
“Screaming obscenities at us, callus us names, saying that they wish that our child becomes a heroin addict and contracts HIV, just horrible things,” said Jessica Archer.
Volz thinks the same people are responsible.
“There’s a very good chance it was them,” said Volz.
“It’s not acceptable and I’m sure the Olympia Police could prove there’s no substantial proof,” said Kilmoyer.
According to Olympia Police, 17 incidents of vandalism have been reported this month. But, no evidence suggests its retaliation.
Kilmoyer expects criticism for the proposed shelter no matter where it goes. With at least 237 unsheltered people roaming the streets in Thurston County, she says hopes a solution can be found soon.
“If we can get to the root of those serious issues, we would not be in the predicament of just trying to shelter,” she said.
Insurance won’t cover his vandalism, but Volz says he’s not worried about price, it’s a matter of principle.
“I’m not backing down,” he said.
Shelter organizers have city and county money set aside to start up operations, but opponents point out, not the money to maintain it.
It was slated to open this fall, but with no site yet, that will likely be pushed back.