News & Blogs Bronze Leaves Commemorate Homeless Who Die on the Streets (beautiful idea, Seattle)

Ezra Fyre

Well-known member
Aug 15, 2018
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New Orleans
A lovely heartwarming article about a beautiful tradition.

A volunteer group in Seattle is doing something beautiful for Seattle homeless. Bronze Leaves are engraved with the name and dates of homeless, who die, while living on Seattle's streets. The bronze leaves are then added to the sidewalks.

What a beautiful way to commemorate those people who are so often forgotten. ❤

I was touched by the idea, and thought I'd share the story - incase anyone else is interested.

Stay Safe! Everyone.

:::: News Link ::::

Bronze leaves on Seattle sidewalks serve as headstones for deceased homeless people
Originally published September 15, 2018 at 6:00 am Updated September 16, 2018 at 9:24 am

Sabrina Tate died in her RV at the age of 27. Five months later, her parents, Tommi Tate and Kellie Sevier of Spokane, continue to grieve. (Corinne Chin / The Seattle Times)
The leaves are paid for by donations, engraved with names and dates, and usually placed on sidewalks in Seattle near where their namesakes lived.

Vianna Davila
Scott Greenstone
Seattle Times staff reporters

Last spring, Sabrina Tate’s parents made one of the hardest journeys of their lives, driving from Spokane to Seattle to see the RV lot where their youngest daughter had lived and suddenly died of complications related to her drug use.

They spent the past five months grieving, and sharing Sabrina’s story, her struggles with addiction and homelessness. They were determined that Sabrina, 27 when she died, would not be forgotten.

This week, her parents came to Seattle again, to see a bronze leaf placed on a downtown Seattle sidewalk in memory of Sabrina.

“All I ever wanted from all this was people to know about her. I never wanted her to disappear,” said her father, Tommi Tate, who attended the ceremony with Sabrina’s mother, Kellie Sevier. “That’s what’s so wonderful about this.”

Sabrina Tate with her mother, Kellie Sevier. (Courtesy of Tommi Tate/Courtesy of Tommi Tate)
Leaves like the one memorializing Sabrina are all over the city — epoxied to the sidewalks of All Pilgrims Church in Capitol Hill; at the Mennonite Church in Lake City; at Gethsemane Lutheran, among the Amazon campus buildings. In all, 281 bronze leaves are in 15 locations around the city.

They serve as headstones for those who all too often can’t afford them. The leaves are paid for by donations, engraved with names and dates, and usually placed on sidewalks near where their namesakes lived.

The only requirement is that the remembered person was homeless in Seattle and also died in Seattle, according to Anitra Freeman, who helps run the Homeless Remembrance Project, which takes up requests for the leaves and places them.


Bronze Leaves of Remembrance installed at Ballard Commons Park are swept of debris before a ceremony to add more. The Homeless Remembrance Project places leaves with the names of homeless people who have died in Seattle. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)


The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless is funded by BECU, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Mariners, and Starbucks. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over Project Homeless content.· Find out more about Project Homeless
This week, the project placed 11 leaves in two locations, including the one for Tate in front of the Seattle Municipal court building on Fifth Avenue in downtown.

“She had goals,” said Ernestine Goston, a certified peer specialist with the Downtown Emergency Service Center and one of the outreach workers who would bring Sabrina supplies and snacks to her RV. “She just wasn’t given a chance to fulfill them.”

That’s why Goston was here, and it is the point of the Homeless Remembrance Project — to honor these people and their lost dreams.

“She was somebody,” Goston said. “And she meant something.”


Kellie Sevier is presented a leaf of remembrance in honor of her daughter Sabrina Tate on Wednesday in downtown Seattle. Tate was homeless and died in Seattle earlier this year. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

● ●

Sharp rise in deaths

The deaths of homeless people are usually remembered in sheer number, as they have risen sharply in the past four years. The King County medical examiner set a morbid record last year, identifying 169 people as homeless at the time of their death.

Delivered bright and early weekday mornings, this email provides a quick overview of top stories and need-to-know news.

As the numbers rise and the leaves pile up, filling up Seattle’s sidewalks and parks, the Homeless Remembrance Project must keep identifying new sites around the city.

On Sunday, the group placed seven leaves at Ballard Commons Park. There are now 56 leaves there, and two of them, placed next to each other, were for Roxy Baker and Greg Nichols. They were a husband and wife from Kent who died in the same summer, on the same property, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ballard, across the park. Nichols died from heart disease; Baker died of cancer, under the eaves out front.

The memorial services are honest. Nichols could be a “pain in the patootie,” the Rev. Britt Olson said as she led the service, but his wife Baker loved him, and she lasted only a month and a half after he passed.

Beside her stood Freeman, who comes to all of these dedications, whether she knew the deceased or not. Freeman helped start this project in the early 2000s, after working her own way out of homelessness.

At the time, the only place homeless peoples’ deaths were mentioned was in the crime blotter in newspapers — often saying “transient found dead,” with no names or details about who the person was.


Jody Grage, holding her dog, Sweet Pea, joins others in prayer during a ceremony Sunday at Ballard Commons Park, one of the areas where the Homeless Remembrance Project installs bronze leaves with the names of homeless people who have passed away. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

Freeman and other activists started organizing vigils, calling themselves Women in Black, and gathering in downtown Seattle to speak the names of those who died and to hand out fliers.

But the ritual, Freeman realized quickly, was too ephemeral. Thus, the bronze leaves.

In design, they’ve fallen from the bronze Tree of Life sculpture in Victor Steinbrueck Park, north of Pike Place Market. It was dedicated in 2012 because of efforts from Freeman and others in the Homeless Remembrance Project.

It’s been a frustrating year for Freeman and many of her fellow advocates. After decades of work by activists, more people are sleeping outside than ever before. Every month, she goes through the medical examiner’s death reports, finding more and more homeless people who have died outside or by violence.

“I could not survive this year if not for the vigils and leaf dedications,” Freeman said.
And it’s not just a reminder for Freeman and Tate’s family, and the others who loved the homeless who have deceased. It’s a reminder to Seattle, they say, to not forget the people who died outside.

“There’s always going to be something of Sabrina here in Seattle,” Tommi Tate said. “She’s always going to be there as a visual reminder to anyone that’s in these buildings that there’s always more that we can do.”

Correction: The original post had an incorrect spelling for Kellie Sevier.
Related | Parents of homeless woman who died in RV speak out about Seattle ‘safe zone’

Kellie Sevier and Tommi Tate of Spokane visit Seattle’s last sanctioned lot for vehicle dwellers. Their daughter Sabrina Tate, 27, died in her RV. “It changed how I view homelessness,” Sevier said. (Bettina Hansen & Corinne Chin / The Seattle Times)
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Ezra Fyre

Well-known member
Aug 15, 2018
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New Orleans
I guess it's good a handful of folks linked to otherwise anonymous deceased street-people get some acknowledgement in the form of a marker for their loss; I'm reminded of the gag pick-up line 'May I buy you a drink or would you rather have the money?' Call me cynical, but heartwarming as it is it seems kind of pointless?

I like the idea of brass leaves decorating the sidewalks - artistic, pretty... Also, having lost a number of my street friends - i like the idea of a marker where they CHOSE to live vs. where someone decided to bury them.
EssaY for example - lived and loved in Spokane. Family is ass end of Montana. So when he died, his super christian mother wrote a "returned to jesus" obituary and has him burried in a Montana churchyard with angels on his headstone... Ie - exactly everything he would hate - Yes, her son, I get that... But a leaf on a sidewalk in Spokane, He was here & is worth remembering. It would give his friends & lovers a marker to visit, and pour beers on. Something solid that says, Yes! He existed - without a 10 hr car trip they can't make, to visit everything he hated and fled/escaped from.

... I still think it's beautiful...


Make America Freight Again
Staff member
Dec 12, 2014
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This is beautiful. I think it is WAY more important to the families of these lost folks, as far as recognizing their loved ones as more than just "another street person"

Shit like this always makes me think about what my mom would have to go thru, if I died out on the road....she worries so much about me. I try to tell her that it's fine, but damn. I run into sketchy shit ERRY DAY.

All Who Wander

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
Dec 21, 2017
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Pismo Beach
Huge waste of money. Rather than bronze leaves for the dead, how bout free meds for the sick, food, warming rooms, etc keep the people still alive... alive . Forget the dead... their dead... they dont care.


Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
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On 2 wheels
It's disgusting to think that 4 of the world's wealthiest men started their businesses in Seattle and call Seattle home, yet don't donate nearly enough money to help those that are less fortunate. Of course, I'm sure they only see the homeless from the windows of their chauffered cars. Something is really ass backwards in that town. It used to be a beautiful place, now it seems sterile and full of people that are cubicle drones staring at computer screens all day.

I agree about help the living, to me the bronze leaves represent the city's failure to help those that need it. Too little, too late.


Well-known member
Oct 16, 2015
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Delmarva (Talbot County MD)
Huge waste of money. Rather than bronze leaves for the dead, how bout free meds for the sick, food, warming rooms, etc keep the people still alive... alive . Forget the dead... their dead... they dont care.

all facts - unfortunately it seems the people who have the power and money are too stupid to recognize it could be good to care for others.. baby steps i suppose

"think about how stupid the average person is and then realize half of people are more stupid than that"

again unfortunately some of those who wield the diamond encrusted checkbooks belong to this demographic
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