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Rats, Moldy Food, and a Dearth of Staff: Community Demands Better Conditions, Options at Othello Safeway

by Carolyn Bick


The last time Michelle Timson visited the Othello Safeway was when the novel coronavirus pandemic first broke out.

“I won’t go to the Othello Safeway. It’s way too crowded. There’s no social distancing at all being enforced from what I have seen from the one time that I went,” Timson said.

But the lack of social distancing was just the rotting cherry on top of a fermenting sundae for Timson. Like many of her fellow Othellians, the South Seattle resident had had enough of the store, which many in the neighborhood have complained about for years, citing everything from rotting produce, expired packaged food and rat sightings to an overworked, understaffed employee base and an unsafe parking lot. Because of this, Timson and more than 1,500 others have signed a petition started by local activist and 37th District legislative candidate Chukundi Salisbury calling for better store conditions.

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