Capitol Hill residents complain about ‘open-air heroin' use

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

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SEATTLE - We spotted Brandon Campbell playing his guitar outside his Capitol Hill apartment, near the alley where neighbors say they have seen heroin addicts shooting up.

"If we go out front," said Campbell, "That's where I've seen more needles."

Campbell says he has seen evidence of it in his own yard.

"In this can," he said, pointing to a tin can on his porch.  "We had a bunch, probably not there anymore, but we had probably six or eight."

Six or eight of what he suspects are "heroin" needles.

"I don't want to step on a needle," said Campbell. "You know I walk around here and do my gardening in my bare feet.  And it's something you think about."

Photos taken in the alley beside the Hyatt House Apartments on Harrison Street East two months ago, show how much worse it can get.  A man was photographed as he overdosed on heroin.

Linda Burns, who has lived on Capitol Hill for 25 years, says the addicts like it in the alley because it is secluded.

"It's bad enough that they're OD'ing," said Burns.  "But it's worse when they're leaving their needles all over the place."

But when KIRO 7 asked whether she and her partner, John Lellelid, ever call Seattle police:

"You report them," said Lellelid.   "They come, take them to Harborview (Medical Center) and they get released after so many days apparently. And they go back on the street.  So the police, 'Oh, yeah, he's been in and out, who knows how many times.' "

Perhaps the man who overdosed in the alley is one of them.  He was seen back in the neighborhood the next day, high on heroin once again.

That's why the Hyatt House manager said he wants to put a fence around his dumpsters.

He hopes to do what no one else seems able to: keep heroin and its addicts out.