Squatters, looters wreck longtime Capitol Hill club Neighbours during COVID-19 closure

SEATTLE — Longtime LGBTQ+ nightclub Neighbours could be forced to close permanently after a wave of break-ins. Squatters and looters left the iconic Capitol Hill business wrecked and stripped of nearly everything valuable during the current COVID-19-forced closure.

“Hard to say if they’re just breaking in to just steal the items or if they’re actually sleeping in there,” said longtime Neighbours performer Roxxanne Mclerran, who’s known professionally as Roxy Doll. “But we have found bedding, clothing; human waste is everywhere. Needles.”

Mclerran, who’s in touch with the owner, told KIRO 7 she was “floored” by the extent of the damage. She’s reached out to the community to help Neighbours with repairs and has spent many hours cleaning up the trashed building.

“The police have been here numerous times,” said Mclerran. “They really refuse to do anything but tell them to get out.”

Mclerran said the club’s cameras, computers, lights, sound system and alcohol were among the items stolen in the break-ins that started in July when the building was looted during a demonstration in Capitol Hill that turned destructive.

“That’s how it started and even after (the damaged door) was secured, they ended up finding other ways into the building,” said Mclerran. “Even cutting holes through the wall to get through the freezer to get into the building; through the roof, through all the emergency exits.”

She showed KIRO 7 the damage that spans every floor of Neighbours, including the security system, walls, wiring, piping, furniture and ceilings as well as a destroyed ATM and safe. Food had been made in the kitchen, human waste was found in bottles and there was a small fire pit inside one of the rooms.

“Anything worth value in the building is gone,” said Mclerran, who told KIRO 7 the owner had hit a wall with one of their insurance companies. “(The insurance company) actually discontinued the insurance once the claim was made.”

Windows facing Broadway were painted over to conceal what was happening during the break-ins that spanned several months.

Mclerran hopes the damage to the club will be repaired and eventually able to reopen once COVID-19 restrictions ease.

“Straight, gay, bi, transgender, people that have no label; it’s about everybody here and you could feel comfortable and you could feel safe,” said Mclerran. “It is very iconic.”