AFTER THE CLEANUP: Trash-cleanup results; RV camp’s future; path-light repairs

Two more updates related to the Spokane Street cleanup, now that we’ve arrived at the end of the week. We had asked city spokesperson Julie Moore for some stats and “what’s next,” and here’s that information:

Over the two-day cleanup all along Spokane Street (trash pickup and encampment removal from near the bike trail), the City removed approximately 108 tons of trash and debris. As I described in my earlier email, the area along the bike trail where tents were removed on Wednesday will be an emphasis area and once posted, the City will remove new tents that may try to locate there.

While we are considering options for moving the RVs from that location, we do not have an immediate timeline for doing so. In general, the City is focusing efforts on working with individuals in tent encampments, especially the ones with the greatest public health and safety concerns for the individuals and the surrounding community. The Navigation Team is connecting with those individuals to find solutions that fit their needs and will help move them into safer living situations. Other City crews are addressing the trash related to encampments and illegal dumping in general around the city.

In the meantime, some of the individuals living in the RVs have been collecting trash in bags and setting it out for pickup. The City is amenable to working with them to continue the effort to manage their own trash as we work on a longer-term plan for moving people to alternative shelter or housing situations.

And here’s an update on the path lights that had been out for months near the scene of last week’s attack on a bicyclist, from Scott Thomsen at Seattle City Light:

Our crews have repaired nine of the lights under the West Seattle Bridge. Six remain out. Repairing those requires creating clearance around ground vaults where RVs are currently parked. We’re working with Finance and Administrative Services on a plan for when and how that can be done. That work can be accomplished without moving all the RVs.

We’ve also been asking him about the lights that are out on the high bridge, since some commenters wondered about those – Thomsen’s update on that: “We continue to work with SDOT to restore the lights on top of the bridge; that work could be done in about a week.”

56 Replies to "AFTER THE CLEANUP: Trash-cleanup results; RV camp's future; path-light repairs"

  • West Seattle Hipster March 31, 2017 (6:47 pm)

    108 tons of trash removed!?!?  In a city that likes to think it is so eco-friendly, that is disgraceful. 

    • KT March 31, 2017 (7:06 pm)

      How is that even possible?  

      • TheKing March 31, 2017 (8:52 pm)

        Seriously….the city dump is around $32 for a 400lb load. The math is staggering. 

      • Tsurly April 1, 2017 (9:22 am)

        I rode through there when they we doing the work. It looked to me like they were removing several inches of surface soil along with the trash. That could easily account for the 108 tons.

    • Mark April 1, 2017 (12:14 pm)

      Seriously.  I commute on my bike along there and called the Mayor’s office multiple times over the last month to ask that it get cleaned up.  I was told that I should vote for the new homeless tax if I wanted it cleaned up.

      Remember, this is our “environmental” mayor that went to a climate change breakfast two years ago and to thundering applause announced his permit rejection on Terminal 5.  Many say that that breakfast cost taxpayers over a million dollars to litigate, and lose, his pandering position to cloak himself as an “environmentalist.”

      The fact is this mayor has, and continues to, rule over and approve an environmental rape of our great City of epic proportions.

  • sbre March 31, 2017 (6:59 pm)

    How can the Average Joe or Jane fathom what 108 tons looks like?!!

    Who can give a comparison? 

    • Nigel April 1, 2017 (2:57 am)

      How can the average person understand this amount of garbage? Simple, walk through it every day. Report it every day and have nothing done about it every day and then realize your property taxes have doubled. 

    • CandrewB April 1, 2017 (9:30 am)

      Picture it like a 108 tons of TNT. Wait, that still doesn’t help. 

      • LikeAGoodNeighbor April 2, 2017 (1:25 pm)

        108tons – think the weight of three (3) passenger train cars.

  • KT March 31, 2017 (7:08 pm)

    Our crews have repaired nine of the lights under the West Seattle Bridge. Six remain out. Repairing those requires creating clearance around ground vaults where RVs are currently parked. 

    Well, tell them to move it!  Seattle needs a reality check.  Enough of this!

    • Kadoo March 31, 2017 (9:39 pm)


  • 98126res March 31, 2017 (7:29 pm)

    Everyone should drive down there to see this for themselves.  The area adjacent to where they bulldozed trash, is now basically an “RV City”.  It’s huge, like a circle of wagons in the old west!  Not just a scattering of RV’s… and both RV’s and tents and a few beds are set up under the bridge all the way to I-5.  No immediate plan to deal with rv’s for now?  Many in tents now in an rv…  This looks bad.

    • TheKing April 1, 2017 (10:50 am)

      It could easily turn into a situation Atlanta is dealing with now where the freeway collapsed from the fire underneath. Several years ago an RV caught fire below I-99 just north of the West Seattle bridge. Thanks to the response of the fire dept. nothing huge came of it. 

  • fiz March 31, 2017 (7:56 pm)

    I want the City to come pick up my trash for free too.  How do I accomplish that?   Do I just pile it up in my neighborhood and ignore it?   Or do I bag it, and drive by and throw it out by the RV campers?    

    • WSB March 31, 2017 (8:22 pm)

      That’s apparently what some people did, and what some people continue to do in neighborhoods nowhere near encampments (just ask the people near Sanislo Elementary, for one). Do you NOT want the city to clean up trash in some of these areas? While the larger issue of where unsheltered people should go remains unresolved and continues to be debated, the fact is that they’re human, like those of us who are housed, and they’re going to generate trash and bodily waste.

  • Steve March 31, 2017 (8:26 pm)

    Did they separate the food waste from the trash?  The city will fine you if you don’t separate!

    • WSB March 31, 2017 (8:30 pm)

      Actually, no, they won’t. That was dropped months ago.

      • Steve March 31, 2017 (9:07 pm)

        Thanks Tracy!  I just hope they also rule the first qualified applicant rental ordinance is unconstitutional as well!  108 tons!  They should dump it in front of city hall!  

        • WSB March 31, 2017 (9:14 pm)

          Re: the math, I just looked at the city budget. The program that includes “increased service levels of illegal dumping” – and again, that’s more than situations like this, it’s the people who throw mattresses in alleys, etc. – has an annual budget of almost $2 million.

          The page number is 421 but it’s apparently the seventh page of the SPU section. I don’t have the wherewithal tonight to go look up previous years and compare, but the numbers are all out there somewhere.

  • Seares March 31, 2017 (8:57 pm)

    Our neighbors were cited last week with a warning for mixing trash and recyclables?! A notice was left on their trash bin.

    • WSB March 31, 2017 (9:08 pm)

      Were they fined?

      • KM March 31, 2017 (9:11 pm)

        I wasn’t fined with my warning (over weight limit), and others who received notices were not fined as well, at lease in our neighborhood of West Seattle and over in Rainier Valley.

        They might be cracking down on limits that many ignore or forget (including us!), and are leaving warning notes.

        • Double Dub Resident April 1, 2017 (4:22 am)

          I was fined 8 dollars quite a few times in a row until I looked at my bill closer and noticed they were fining me for having the wrong lid on my container. This was a few years ago when we had actual garbage cans and the garbage guys kept shoving the lid down into the can after emptying it until one day it cracked in half, so I had another lid laying around and used that one. They finally credited me when I explained it was their fault I was using a different lid. 

          They’ll try to find a way to nickel and dime the taxpaying citizen of course

  • RealityMan March 31, 2017 (9:51 pm)

    Time for new leadership in the council and the mayor’s office.    Seattle is drawing in hundreds of homeless people since they can do what ever they want!  

    • M.H. April 2, 2017 (7:31 pm)

      Agree!  The Mayor needs to go!!!!!  Our city is going downhill, crime is going up, taxes are going up, safety and cleanliness are on a fast decline.  

  • M March 31, 2017 (10:22 pm)

    The city needs to get serious about preventing am Atlanta freeway disaster on the West Seattle bridge. Clear it out now Murray to protect all residents of West Seattle! 

  • Neighbor March 31, 2017 (11:17 pm)

    Who is the supervisor for the cleanup? The path area under the east side of the lower Spokane St bridge did have the mud removed but they left a pool of standing muddy water to ride through. What kind of job is this!!!?!

    • WSB April 1, 2017 (2:31 am)

      SDOT would be responsible for the path being usable – 206-684-ROAD.

  • flimflam April 1, 2017 (2:15 am)

    so the RV’s are in the way, preventing all the lights to be fixed, yet the city won’t make them move? that is an awful non-solution.

    • Double Dub Resident April 1, 2017 (8:53 am)

      It’s even worse than that. The police team that is dealing with clearing the homeless camps have been told by the higher ups that they cannot forcibly move the people or arrest them if they decide they don’t want to go. 

      Case in point, the other day when they were clearing an encampment by the stadiums, one woman decided she didn’t want to leave her tent and so there was a “stand off” in which an 8 person team and a Sargeant had to call in “back up” to help deal with the situation, with the two officers called in asking why they were there, as there wasn’t much they could do either. 

      Luckily they were finally able to talk her into leaving, but if she had decided to stay who knows what would have come of it. 

      Our moronic “leaders” are enabling all of this. And the wanna be activist,  cop hating socialist, Sawant is one of the worst of them.  

  • shannon April 1, 2017 (7:20 am)

    Interesting that anyone whose car is parked illegally or even a recovered stolen vehicle in the city limits of Seattle parked legally is automatically impounded against the owner’s wishes yet Seattle lets RV’s park illegally there for months and months and even now after the clean up are allowed to stay there because they don’t know what to do with them.  You can bet if my car was illegally parked there and blocking the city’s ability to change a street light, my car would be towed at my expense. 

    If the city is going to try to improve this situation they should at least rent garbage dumpsters and have garbage service for the homeless encampments so never again is there ever 108 tons of garbage on our streets

    • WSB April 1, 2017 (10:37 am)

      If you read the update above, that’s what they’re saying in the third paragraph, basically. As for stolen cars, most are not impounded when found … after years of listening to the precinct frequencies, I can tell you that when the dispatcher confirms to the officer that the vehicle is stolen, it’s usually “no on impound.” These are the official rules:—primary-investigation/15190—auto-theft-and-recovery-

      7. Officers Will Impound Recovered Vehicles Only in Certain Instances

      If the Communications Section cannot contact the owner or the owner cannot respond, officers will only impound recovered vehicles originally reported stolen in Seattle if:

      – The owner authorized the impound,

      – The vehicle poses an immediate hazard, or

      – It is illegally parked as described in SMC 11.30.040.

      If none of the above applies, officers may leave the vehicle legally parked with a business card left in the vehicle.

      Officers may also release the vehicle to another person specified by the owner.

      P.S. The Southwest Precinct has towed some RVs – we have reported this in multiple community-meeting stories recently. The area of the “RV camp” near the scene of all this is not in the SW Precinct.

      • shannon April 1, 2017 (11:29 am)

        Your update only says that  

         “Our crews have repaired nine of the lights under the West Seattle Bridge. Six remain out. Repairing those requires creating clearance around ground vaults where RVs are currently parked. We’re working with Finance and Administrative Services on a plan for when and how that can be done. That work can be accomplished without moving all the RVs. 


        If those RV’s belonged to any other citizen’s they would be towed already.   There would be no discussions with Finance and Admin Services about a plan.  The plan would be have them towed by Lincoln Towing immediately.

        As for your quoting SOP for Seattle PD…..  That is for Seattle PD recoveries of Seattle PD stolens.  There are more “official rules ” for when Seattle PD recovers another agencies’ stolen and that is they are an automatic impound.  I work for another agency and have first hand knowledge of this.  So to quote another section of Seattle PD SOP. 


        15.190 – Auto Theft and Recovery

        Effective Date: 07/13/16

        This policy applies to reporting auto thefts and recovering stolen vehicles.


        9. Impound Vehicles Stolen Outside the City and Complete a New General Offense Report

        Immediately impound vehicles recovered in the city reported stolen outside the city. Obtain a new GO number for the Tow/Impound Record.

        If a new crime is investigated with the recovery of an outside stolen, use the same GO number for the crime, recovery and impound. 


        The fact is because Seattle doesn’t know how to fix the problem  of the homeless and the garbage they leave strewn about, they allow the laws to be broken by the homeless with no consequences expect those being borne by the people who live here with them.  Everyday tax paying citizens would never get away with this behavior.



        • WSB April 1, 2017 (11:33 am)

          I am referring to the paragraph about trash:

          In the meantime, some of the individuals living in the RVs have been collecting trash in bags and setting it out for pickup. The City is amenable to working with them to continue the effort to manage their own trash as we work on a longer-term plan for moving people to alternative shelter or housing situations.

  • Sunuva April 1, 2017 (10:54 am)

    I just don’t get it. Tow and impound these RVs ASAP. This is not acceptable. My car got towed a few years ago from the street directly in front of my house while I was gone for 4 days visiting family. These RVs are parked illegally for months and the city doesn’t know what to do with them. It just doesn’t add up. Tow and impound, stop enabling this behavior. Allowing this to continue is not helping these people get the help they need to get off the street and is creating a dangerous situation in our community. Enough is enough.

  • W. Brewer April 1, 2017 (11:06 am)

    Look at the Atlanta freeway fire and the damage that it did.  Move or bulldoze the damn RVs before we have a repeat of Atlanta here. Can you imagine what would happen  if we lost all or some portion of the West Seattle Bridge.  Right now the area, even after the tent removal setback, looks like  an accident ready to happen.

  • Kravitz April 1, 2017 (11:09 am)

    Oh. My. God. My blood pressure just went up 10x higher by reading this and all the comments. Yes, the homeless are human beings and generate bodily waste and trash just like those of us that are fortunate to have homes. It is a horrible situation, but it is becoming harder for me personally to show compassion and empathy towards a group that has such a lack of care for the space in which they are residing. Normal garbage and human waste is one thing… discarded mattresses, couches, broken chairs and other items that are hauled around and dragged/left from place to place is simply a disregard for everyone and the planet. 

    In the Junction, take Mary, the woman that has a large cart with her possessions and moves from space to space throughout the day. She is respectful, dignified, and kind – she utilizes the public resources that are available and I’ve not once seen her carelessly toss out waste or other items when she relocates. She’s made choices not accept help, which is her decision – but her decision is not impacting the rest of the community because she actually cares about this community, just like this community cares about her. 

    This city has gone so far south in it’s inability to deal with difficult problems and simply band-aid huge issues that continue to get worse here, and all over Seattle. When a recent friend was in town and asked me about the tents and garbage he saw along the highways, I was embarrassed to call this place home. I’ve lived here for 40 years, and I’m just about at the end of my rope. This is not sustainable. Our city officials are failing miserably, and we are paying their salaries while barely scraping by ourselves. It’s sickening. </rant>

    • S April 1, 2017 (11:45 am)

      I’m sorry but her decision to not accept help is impacting the community.  Explain why it doesn’t impact us and I might agree with you, but tell then it doesn’t help it hurts.   

    • Double Dub Resident April 1, 2017 (11:50 am)

      Oh don’t worry, cause our failed fearless leader is going to ask seattle home owners to fork  over some more money so they can throw over 100 million dollars at the problem and Abba cadabra presto chango , it will all be fixed

  • wetone April 1, 2017 (11:54 am)

    So my take on all this after all the “hoopla” and promises from Mayor Patchwork Murray  is nothings changing, status quo. More human waste/garbage to be dumped where the protected class wants no matter what cost and damages to taxpayers  He got his airtime showing the great job he’s doing here and that’s it.   “WINNER”  Something’s really wrong in his thinking process. Cases like this no amount of money or number of people Murray hires will fix will cure issue. 

       Should be interesting to see how Murray is going to pay for all the cost overruns on tunnel project now state says Seattle is responsible for. Expect just another tax increase and tunnel usage fees to be higher than originally said . Murray’s  pyramid scheme can’t last much longer before it starts collapsing.    

    • Colleen Doherty April 2, 2017 (12:44 pm)

      Ed Murray is too busy spending our money on 50 blocks of new sidewalks, bike lane    and self-aggrandizement to think clearly.

      His first priority should be Seattle City Light that has “estimated” (guessing) our bills for years. They told me they don’t have enough meter readers. Of course, that makes sense!

      This city is being run by arrogant idiots.

      NO MORE. Starting at the top let’s clean out the dirty nest. 


  • 22blades April 1, 2017 (12:05 pm)

    I understand they have rights like everyone, but they also have responsibilities like everyone to make society function. If I park 3 feet from a corner of an intersection, I will be towed after a time so Firetrucks can navigate our streets. If there is an electrical fire in one of those vaults, will it take a committee to access this piece of infrastructure? I don’t think RV shelters are the answer to many of our/their problems. Dignity? Yes, but not the expense of public health or safety. To critics of my words; you’re absolutely right. I just don’t understand…

    Last year I saw a foam sofa that was lit on fire under Spokane Street. It was a spectacular, toxic plume that unnecessarily tied up our emergency services and put people’s health at risk. Again, I just don’t understand.

    • West Seattle Hipster April 1, 2017 (1:06 pm)

      Agreed.  Those choosing to live the homeless lifestyle should not be immune to accountability for their criminal behavior.

  • bolo April 1, 2017 (12:20 pm)

    “We continue to work with SDOT to restore the lights on top of the bridge; that work could be done in about a week.”

    Does anyone know the reason those lights were out for so long? Were they part of the circuit that was inaccessable because of the campers?

  • Burned out April 1, 2017 (10:25 pm)

    When the city does utility work on my street, they put up those Red No Parking sandwich board signs with the dates posted.  If we park there, we are towed.  Simple as that.  A few Illegally parked RVs can most certainly be towed for utility work.  That utility work is for life safety for citizens.   This is nuts.  I have empathy for the homeless to a point, but it’s getting harder every day when the filth destroys how I feel about my city.  It may sound cold hearted but I am burned out on the issue now.  Enforce the damn law.  Oh and  I want to also attend a baseball game now and then  by catching the bus home from 4th Ave & Royal Brougham without witnessing a heroin deal going down…and fearing for my personal safety.    Is that too much to ask?

    • Double Dub Resident April 2, 2017 (6:50 am)

      It is too much to ask because our moronic leaders have not only put the homeless ‘ needs ahead of tax paying citizens, but also their needs ahead of the children. 

       While the moron Sawant gets sheeple to chant bumper sticker slogans like “sweep trash, not people”, all the while she can go back to her neighborhood where she’s not affected by all this, schools like Roxhill Elementary are dealing with finding dirty needles and such on school property and these idiot council members actually came up with the brilliant idea of letting the homeless legally “camp” in the very parks that parents take their children. 

      They just recently cleaned out the encampment on Airport Way (aka Murray’s Triangle) and they had to excavate the ground 6 inches deep because of the filth. So no your safety is not their priority

  • sgs April 2, 2017 (5:26 pm)

    An interview by WSB with Lisa Herbold addressing this current situation would be interesting…….Having her react also to the comments here.   

  • Rico April 3, 2017 (2:48 pm)

    Call em what you want, I call them neighbors with legitimate concerns.

  • Blinkyjoe April 3, 2017 (3:29 pm)

    AAAAANNNNDDDD that didn’t take long. Tent on the nice, newly-raked soil on the north side of the bike path just east of the fishing pier. I emailed Assistant SPD Chief Steve Wilske and let him know. I suggest we all do likewise.

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