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Do Better, Arcata

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On Saturday morning, I helped with the PacOut Green Team's effort to clean up the Arcata Marsh. Many folks showed up and we filled a huge dumpster in just 90 minutes. Godwit Days visitors to the marsh next week will now have a neater view through their binoculars.

However, on my walk home after that land clean-up, I came across a man in front of the Arcata Playhouse as musicians were unloading their instruments from a truck for a rehearsal inside. I asked if he needed help. He said he needed a shower and clean clothes. He was filthy in his own feces after living outside and was desperate to get clean. I called more than a dozen people to find out where he could get the help on a Saturday morning, which he most definitely wanted and needed. Nothing seemed to be open for him in Arcata.

Finally, I contacted a person of power and authority who, on a day off, helped connect me to someone who would open up The Annex and let this young man shower. It took more than two hours to find the resource in Arcata to help this sad and despondent person who grew up in Arcata. When the young man and I got to The Annex, we discovered that a person we both knew had been found dead at the door to The Annex on Saturday morning. Another older man with a walker had also died on the streets. Anyone have any ideas how to make Arcata function better for the unhoused and vulnerable? This "progressive" community needs to clean up its act soon, before there is more suffering and death.

Joanne McGarry, Arcata


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