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Police target Seattle's empty "Citadel" warehouse, now notorious for raves

Still image courtesy of Anzamarch (Junko)
A still from a video shot March 4, 2011 at Citadel, in South Seattle. Seattle police are cracking down on scenes such as this one.

Clean it up or close it down – that's the choice for the new owner of a vacant property in South Seattle that's become notorious for noisy raves. 

Police have declared The Citadel a chronic nuisance. The boxy warehouse building was turned into a music venue by owner Steve Rauf, who says the dance parties have brought in much-needed revenue.

Rauf tells King-5 News reporter Elisa Hahn, he feels like he's being blamed for crimes that occur off his property.

"I think they're giving into public pressure, and I don't really think it's founded," Rauff says.

He hopes to eventually develop the property into apartments, like he's already done across the street. There's also a longer-term intiative underway to open a multi-cultural public market in the space.

In the meantime, Rauff has to find a way to keep it afloat.

But neighbors complain the raves are fuelled by dangerous drug use and are bringing bad scenes and crime to residential streets nearby.

As told to Sara Jean Green, writing in today's Seattle Times, long-time South Seattle resident Ron Momoda has called 911 more times than he can count and has spent sleepless nights listening to the thumping bass of rave music.

Momoda's stepped over puddles of urine and vomit, nudged awake teenagers passed out on sidewalks, and spotted discarded underwear among the liquor bottles and beer cans that have littered the streets of South Seattle's Othello neighborhood, Green writes.

According to the Seattle Times, the owner has canceled the rave that was planned for this Saturday night.

Here's a video of a recent performance at the Citadel.  Is it a dangerous rave?

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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