By Sage Bitter

 

If you frequent the Ravenna Neighborhood, it’s likely you know Larry. Mainly because Larry is not the kind of guy who lets you walk by without a greeting. Or, if you don’t seem to be in a hurry, an update on the weather. Larry Jorgenson as he tells it, was “Born in Renton, 1953.” Displaying his second most used catch phrase after his greeting “Hi! I’m Larry!”. By splitting his time at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center where he has a monopoly over the bench by the door, and in the center of Ravenna Park at a bench by the wading pool, Larry welcomes as many people as he can each day.

Larry has a cognitive disability, but it in no way changes how he has tirelessly fulfilled his duty to “greet the people” in Seattle for about the past thirty years. Since that time, he’s become a beloved fixture in the Roosevelt and Ravenna community. As Tom Ewings, from the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center said, “Larry knows people from when they were kids, and now they have their own kids”.  Ewings also mentioned that having someone with a disability, like Larry, in the neighborhood, bridges a gap; leading to a more inclusive and positive community. Larry is a television weather aficionado, as well as a basketball enthusiast and an 80s pop/rock listener. And when he offers his routine cheerful greeting with a smile and s a wave, it’s hard to resist the urge to smile back in return. Larry makes people feel welcome wherever they are, from the lobby of the community center waiting to drop off their kids at daycare, to the forested ravine. When asked why he addresses each person that comes by, Larry said, “It makes me happy.” There couldn’t be a better reason than that.

Larry has made his mark on the neighborhood, and Ewings said on the days he’s not at his bench, the question he is asked most often is, “Where’s Larry?”.

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