Seattle to turn P-Patches into disaster hubs

by: Essex Porter Updated:

SEATTLE —

Thousands of dollars in taxpayer money will go to give some of Seattle's P-Patches a new role. 

The community gardens are being turned into emergency hubs for the next disaster. Its idea is to stock the tool sheds with emergency supplies.

"What will be located in the emergency hub are things like pop-up tents, hand-crank radio, flashlights and other supplies so that there are supplies available for the neighborhood," said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.

McGinn spoke to neighbors at the Angel Morgan P-Patch in South Seattle. It's one of eight to 12 P-Patches in South Seattle that will be turned into emergency hubs at a cost of $35,000.

But is turning gardens into emergency hubs the best way to spend scarce emergency preparedness dollars?  The mayor believes it is, "because in a major earthquake it may be days before help can reach every neighborhood. People really do have to take care of themselves for the first three days," he said.

The city will train neighbors how to use the emergency supplies. Translators will help those who aren't fluent in English be ready when disaster strikes.

"I think the way it will work is that people will head down to the P-Patch, and we'll know each other and we'll already have had our training," said Marcella Pendergrass.

Pendergrass helped to create the Angel Morgan P-Patch and said her experience in the 1989 San Francisco earthquake taught her the value of community.

"What you need at that time is you need to know who your neighbors are and you need to know where to go," said Pendergrass.

Other P-Patches the city is considering as emergency hubs include, 29, Brandon Street, Orchard, Hillman City, John C. Little, Judkins, Leo Street, Lucky Garden, Maa nyei lai ndelc, New Holly Youth and New Holly Market Garden, Oxbow Park, Power, Rockery, Snoqualmie at Rainier Vista and Thistle.