Will Opera Disperse Crackheads?

Another Belltown establishment is betting on it.

In last year's Best of Seattle® issue, we wrote about the Royal Crest condominiums' attempt to shoo Belltown street denizens from its courtyard by piping opera out onto Third Avenue around the clock. Well, it's not just those fussy condo owners who are taking out the big fat-lady guns. The well-meaning folks at the Low-Income Housing Institute (LIHI), a few blocks north on First Avenue, have also had enough: Last week they attached speakers to the side of their building and began pumping opera into the parking lot next to them.The lot's "a little recessed," points out LIHI office assistant Aaron Long (meaning it sinks below street level). "It's been a place where people congregate. Cars have been broken into. Sometimes people are just passed out there, or they're hiding between cars—we assume because they're smoking crack."LIHI owns the parking lot, which its staff uses during the day. At night it becomes a pay lot, managed by Seattle parking giant Diamond. It was at Diamond's suggestion that LIHI started the culture war; Long says the music hasn't been playing long enough to know if it will be an effective deterrent.

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