'Welcome to Tweakerville': Everett sign draws crowd, but owner says it's for a purpose

EVERETT, Wash. -- If you've driven down Smith Avenue in Everett in the past few days, chances are you spotted it.

A sign that reads "Welcome to Tweakerville, Everett WA," in bright letters.

Understandably, the sign has gotten a lot of attention.

A post on My Everett News was shared more than 2,000 times. The owner of the sign, Gary Watts, said he has to turn it off during business hours because too many people were stopping to take selfies.

People either love or hate the sign, Watts said. Either way, he's accomplishing his goal of drawing attention to crime and drugs in Everett, and pushing people to think before the upcoming primary election on Aug. 1.

"The sign expresses the frustration of many in Everett," Watts said. "Crime comes from theft to support drug habits. Tweakers. Everett is Tweakerville."

Watts said Everett has made some aggressive moves toward fixing the problems of homelessness, drug addiction and mental health plaguing the area. But not enough is being done to protect businesses and residents on an everyday basis.

"We feel no safer today anywhere in Everett than we did two or three years ago when we first encountered the problems," Watts said.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said he knows the opioid epidemic has impacted thousands, and police will continue to work with business owners like Watts to solve the issue.

From Police Chief Dan Templeman:

"While I can certainly understand the frustrations of all our city residents and business owners who have been impacted by the opioid epidemic, I choose to remain focused on finding solutions that will positively impact this crisis that has affected nearly every community across the country. The police department and the city will continue to work with our community partners, explore innovative programs and dedicate resources to this area of the city in an effort to reduce the negative impacts felt by the business community."

Q13 News is following this story and it will be updated shortly.