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Originally published August 2, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Page modified August 3, 2011 at 7:52 AM

Neighbors with a reason to celebrate 'Night Out'

It took countless 911 calls, two police raids and more than a dozen sworn affidavits from fed-up neighbors to finally rid the Pritchard Beach neighborhood of a notorious drug house.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes This happened to a friend of mine in his neighborhood - known drug dealer actively... Read more
quotes I bet the house would be good practice for the fire department. Read more
quotes Congratulations on a well fought fight. Your Pritchard Beach neighborhood is a... Read more

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It took countless 911 calls, two police raids and more than a dozen sworn affidavits from fed-up neighbors to finally rid the Pritchard Beach neighborhood of a notorious drug house.

On Tuesday evening, as part of the 28th annual "National Night Out," residents of the Southeast Seattle neighborhood overlooking Pritchard Beach gathered on their street to celebrate the power of neighbors united in a single cause.

"This house should have been closed down 20 years ago," said Jesse Jones, 73, who lived across the street from the drug house and was at the front lines for witnessing the incessant drug traffic and criminal activity centered at his neighbor's place. "It's about time."

With the boarded-up light-blue home at 8433 55th Ave. S. as a backdrop, residents saluted the effort that drove out the unwanted neighbors, 38 of whom called the property home, who had transformed their middle-class neighborhood into a crime-plagued street for years. At that same time, the residents offered thanks to Seattle police and the Seattle City Attorney's Office.

In a rarely used move, the city of Seattle used its drug-abatement authority in June to shutter the 41-year drug operation run out of felon Sharon Louise Stone's two-story home. This after appeals by neighbors, who had closely documented the comings and goings of residents of the home and even distributed "BOLO" — "be on the lookout" — alerts for felons known to frequent the home.

The city's abatement of the property is only good for one year, and neighbors say that isn't enough. They're trying to get Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes to permanently seize Stone's property.

Neale Frothingham, 44, who heads the neighborhood Block Watch, is leading that charge. He has lived a block and a half from Stone's home for nine years and says the influx of drug traffic has made his life a nightmare.

The city had barred Stone from the home once before, in 1992, but that abatement also lasted for only a year. Once Stone returned, according to neighbors and the city, so did the constant drug traffic, prostitutes, burglaries, car prowls and the resulting detritus of needles, used condoms and overdosed addicts, said Frothingham.

People trampled through his property en route to the drug house, scaring his wife and two children, ages 10 and 13. Since trying to get Stone evicted from her house, Frothingham had to take out restraining orders on two of the residents of the house after they threatened to kill him, he said.

Jim Anderson, who lives three houses north of the drug house, said that naked prostitutes would urinate in his well-manicured back lawn, leaving a trail of used condoms and needles scattered around his flower garden.

Anderson said that the gravel alley behind Stone's house was like a "drive-thru" with a nonstop stream of cars and drug addicts going to and from the house day and night.

Frothingham and his neighbors decided they had had enough. He organized a neighborhood petition to urge Holmes to again boot Stone and the home's other occupants — the city estimated there were as many as 38 — from the neighborhood. In a short time 120 people signed the petition.

"People were literally lined up on my front door waiting to sign," he said.

At the Night Out event, Frothingham introduced Holmes, saying "Mr. City Attorney, tear down this house!"

Holmes told residents to "stay tuned" as to what was to be done with the house, noting that it was a desirable piece of property, but promised that "the house will never revert back to what it was."

"No neighborhood should have to experience this," he said.

Police have twice served narcotics warrants at the home since 2008. Both times police found drugs in Stone's bedroom, according to the city. Police also had confidential informants buy drugs from occupants of the home.

In June, King County Superior Court granted the city of Seattle's request to close down the house for one year.

But Frothingham says neighbors fear the house will continue to be a revolving door of criminal activity, if the house isn't seized permanently.

"In the past, most of the drug houses were operating out of rental units. So if you close it down for a year, they'll go set up shop somewhere else, so that gets them to move along," said Frothingham. "But when you have an owner of the house who is the chief perpetrator ... not so much."

According to the city, Stone, 71, bought the property in 1970. In her 41 years in the Pritchard Beach neighborhood she has been convicted of drug dealing, burglary, felon in possession of a firearm, and welfare fraud, according to court records.

She is currently charged with two counts of drug dealing for allegedly dealing crack cocaine last August.

Amy Harris: 206-464-2212 or aharris@seattletimes.com

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

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