Fairmount Ravine cleanup: Record turnout; 4 encampments found

Photos by Nick Adams, on assignment for WSB
Report by Fairmount Ravine resident John Lang, special to WSB

Blue skies and warm weather greeted a record-number 39 volunteers for the 21st annual Fairmount Ravine cleanup.

Thank you to all the ambitious hard-working neighbors who participated Saturday morning.

It was great to see so many new faces this year, especially those who live adjacent to the ravine.

There have been homeless people periodically camping in this area and that was the case Saturday.

Seattle Police quickly responded and politely moved 5 individuals and their property away so the ambitious community of workers could clean up trash.

Needless to say, there was so much trash that it filled two full-size pickups (thanks, Randy and Tim!)

We discovered four encampments, three in the woods and one under the bridge. Two were within 50’ of a residence.

Three were cleaned up and the fourth will need to be addressed in the near future, as the work crew ran out of energy. The bridge provides an attractive dry cover and all campsites provide relatively obscurity.

Unsupervised homeless camps are an absolute mess of garbage, discarded clothing and other water-soaked articles, and without any latrine provisions. These are very difficult to clean up considering the steepness of the hillsides.

We encountered widespread evidence of drug use, which is also a concern.

That aside, it is gratifying to see the result of everyone’s hard work and their willingness to make West Seattle a great place to live.

Special thanks to Sarah Schieron, Zatz Bagels, and Metropolitan Market for their generous contributions of sustenance in support of this community event.

EDITOR’S POSTSCRIPT: Even before we published this, an area resident e-mailed to say she was so grateful to the neighborhood volunteers she saw out working yesterday, but, she added, she is seeing transients back under the bridge today and “throwing trash in the ravine”; she asked, “Is there anything we can do?” Contacting the SPD Community Police Team is one suggestion; a CPT officer had mentioned at a recent community-group meeting that there had been some encampment abatement elsewhere.

21 Replies to "Fairmount Ravine cleanup: Record turnout; 4 encampments found"

  • Me March 10, 2013 (3:17 pm)

    There are probably waaaay more than that in Riverview Park. All the people kicked out of Nickelsville for not following the rules just move kitty corner from there.

  • sagafoo March 10, 2013 (3:40 pm)

    As a Community the only way to stop this is to have Subsidised housing for the poor. People HAVE to LIVE somehwere, and as a society we do not allow them to move to the country, build a hut, and hunt…so we Must provide Housing for the poor. as far as drugs, youd be on drugs too if you had to sleep under a bridge just to stay dry. Im a voter.taxpayer, and seattle naitive, and as a society we (seattle) are far more progressive than the rest of the country. We need to Build low income housing and have rent control in Seattle. Seattle is the greatest city in the world to live in!

  • WTF March 10, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    I know! How about we THANK the volunteers for being such wonderful examples of community.
    Thank you again for your hard work work.
    Your efforts aren’t lost on us…well most of us.

  • SLS March 10, 2013 (5:21 pm)

    Great to see one of my neighbors in the group! Thanks to everyone for the great work! I plan to participate in a future event.

  • Kslote March 10, 2013 (5:32 pm)

    I want to thank my neighbors who made this event possible. Cleaning out the ravine and removing invasive species made for a fun, rewarding (albeit sweaty) morning. …and it’s events like this that bring the harsh reality of homelessness to light.

  • NE March 10, 2013 (5:43 pm)

    THANK YOU to all of the volunteers who spent their sunny Saturday working in our community!!

  • Guy March 10, 2013 (7:16 pm)

    Great job volunteers!! Everything/anything helps!!

  • Alex March 10, 2013 (7:47 pm)

    Where’s Fairmount Ravine? Forgive me, but even living in west Seattle my whole life, I’ve never heard of this. Neither has google maps.

    • WSB March 10, 2013 (7:57 pm)

      The ravine that runs from just west of the east side of Hiawatha, along Fairmount Avenue down to Harbor Avenue. Under the Admiral Way Bridge, whose underside and supports are in many of our photos.
      P.S. As mentioned in our coverage of this event last year, you can see a wider shot of the ravine in the Cause & Effect video “Happiness Is Alien” starting at 1:15 (other West Seattle settings too, including Alki, and I just plain love the song):

  • anti-obstruction March 10, 2013 (7:48 pm)

    sagafoo, your big heart and compassion are life-affirming and great to hear–so many have deep contempt for the poor and disenfranchised, and no concept of “There but for the grace of god go I”.
    I acknowledge that some come to their bad situations through bad choices and a sense of entitlement.
    The modern-day Robber Barons never suffer from their bad (moral) choices and sense of entitlement, yet we all pay to prop them up, too.
    I’d rather help a thousand poor freeloaders than even a single rich one.

  • Starkisn't March 10, 2013 (7:56 pm)

    Want to come clean my place up next weekend?

  • West Freattle March 10, 2013 (10:28 pm)

    “As a Community the only way to stop this is to have Subsidised housing for the poor.”

    Horsesh*t. These people would never be eligible to housing: drunks, addicts and professional ne’er-do-wells.

  • West Freattle March 10, 2013 (10:28 pm)

    “There but for the grace of god go I”

    Yeah, there’s that plus not getting hammered every night.

    “I’d rather help a thousand poor freeloaders than even a single rich one.”

    Really? How many do you have at your place? Can I bet it’s less than 1?

  • anti-obstruction March 10, 2013 (11:04 pm)

    Wow, you sure told ME…

  • toodles March 11, 2013 (1:45 am)

    hope none of you guys have to climb up a hill to find shelter from the rain and sleep in a semi safe place under a bridge. it looks like now that everyone knows where their hidoeuts are.

  • wetone March 11, 2013 (9:53 am)

    Does anyone keep track in the surrounding areas to see if crimes home,car,property,shoplifting go down when they clean these type of areas up. I think there might be alittle change for the good.

  • Carol O. March 11, 2013 (10:32 am)

    It would be nice if there were police assigned just for dealing with the homeless in the city of Seattle. A special team that would include support from social workers and volunteers, to provide referrals for addiction problems, mental health help, and information on available shelters.

  • Sean March 11, 2013 (10:41 am)

    Child size mattress and stuffed animal, so sad. :'(

  • cinder March 11, 2013 (10:54 am)

    Not having a safe place to call home for any reason is inexcusable, so is spreading your garbage in a public place, in this day and age of instant data exchange there has to be away to help our fellow man ,woman, child in need. If a few can come together to clean up a hill side just think what many could do for each other.

  • CMT March 11, 2013 (11:41 am)

    Sean – that was the first thing I noticed too – the stuffed animal. :( Incredibly sad. Regardless of whether the adults have bad luck or have made bad choices, the fact there are children that are having to sleep outside like this is heartbreaking.

  • Sean March 11, 2013 (4:19 pm)

    CMT – Yeah, I’ve found that I’ve become much more sensitive to that kind of thing since having a first child recently. Makes it easier to empathize, more real.

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