UNDER THE BRIDGE: Early-morning RV fire ruled accidental; area to be closed ‘to all camping’

(UPDATED 12:56 PM with city’s plan to accelerate clearing the under-bridge area)


(WSB photos)

11:08 AM: Will this morning’s fire in the unsanctioned RV camp under the West Seattle Bridge accelerate planning to clear it? That’s one of the questions we have asked city reps in the aftermath of the fire. We were not at the scene during the 4 am fire – TV was – but have since gone for a closeup look and also to check the nearby area in the aftermath of last week’s sweep/cleanup. Above are the two RVs that burned. Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb tells WSB no injuries were reported, and the fire was accidental: “Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and occurred when owner/occupant attempted to start the engine for warming purposes and it caught on fire.” This area is just west of East Marginal, under the bridge west of the Highway 99 overpass.

Those SDOT trucks were there during our stop but it did not appear to be related to the fire’s aftermath; SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah didn’t have information on what they were doing but said that the fire left the bridge with “superficial surface damage; the engineer thoroughly inspected and deemed it safe for travel.” Meantime, with a week passing since the recent sweep of tent campers nearby, we took a look at that area too, walking the path for a distance. It’s empty:

This sign warns would-be campers that it’s an “emphasis area,” as reported here last week:

Meantime, we’ll add updates later when we get answers to our questions about what’ll be done in this area in the future. This isn’t the first fire in an RV under the bridge; in January 2016, a man died of smoke inhalation in an RV fire near 1st and Spokane, a few blocks east of this morning’s fire scene.

12:56 PM: Here’s what the city says it’s doing – moving to “close the area to all camping.” An excerpt:

… While closing the area to all camping will take a bit more time, we are now addressing the immediate hazard where the fire occurred early this morning.

The Navigation Team has been there all morning, doing individualized outreach and offering alternative shelter. For today, we are focusing on removing the two burned-out RVs, which will first require moving other RVs and tents in that immediate vicinity to create a safe work zone. The Navigation Team is assisting with moving people a safe distance for that to occur.

Over the next 10 days, the area under the western end of the Spokane Street Viaduct will be cleared of all people and structures and a work zone perimeter will be established to allow SDOT and Seattle City Light to perform repair and maintenance unrelated to today’s fire. Outreach will continue up to that point to work with the individuals living there and find them alternative shelter.

We are beginning to assess the working condition of the RVs and other vehicles all along the Spokane Street as we work to close the area to all camping. Outreach will lead the engagement with any individuals living in tents or RVs.

In general, the City has been focusing its efforts to address the homelessness crisis 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 has been finding success with many individuals, finding solutions that fit their needs and helping move them into safer living situations. Other City crews are addressing the trash related to encampments and illegal dumping in general around the city. This work will continue.

Camping under low bridge structures presents a hazard for this essential infrastructure. In addition to other efforts to mitigate the impacts of the homelessness crisis, including working to move people into alternative shelter and cleaning trash, we will be assessing these low-bridge structures around the city and will prioritize efforts to address immediate hazards.

As we did with the previous cleanup in the area, we will check in on this one in the days ahead, too.

117 Replies to "UNDER THE BRIDGE: Early-morning RV fire ruled accidental; area to be closed 'to all camping'"

  • WestseattleMom April 6, 2017 (11:29 am)

    I can’t believe this.  What is the Mayor of Seattle doing !  Stop letting these people camp out under bridges with RV’s that could destroy the entire West Seattle Bridge like Atlanta.  Homeless people took out the entire freeway.   Can we please use some common sense!  

    • Pedro April 6, 2017 (11:38 am)

      Common sense is surprisingly uncommon with our elected officials.

      I think our mayor finally got a sense as to the lack of public sentiment for his homeless plan, as evidenced by his pulling the property tax idea (and notwithstanding his attempt to save face with the sales tax proposal).

      There is a lack of honesty in owning up to the fact that a large portion of the homeless population at issue -those in the unsanctioned camps and under the bridges – are not the hard working people down on their luck portrayed by our officials; but rather those who will not follow the rules and are thus shut out of or not willing to try the available avenues of redress. 

       

       

      • B.W. April 6, 2017 (11:10 pm)

        Amen Pedro

    • WSB April 6, 2017 (11:41 am)

      Today, we have posed that question directly to the mayor’s office and others.

      • WsEd April 6, 2017 (1:42 pm)

        You may want to ask him what the contingency plans are if a fire under a bridge causes a collapse or serious damage to the roadway like the one set by the homeless guy in Atlanta under I-85.  This is a serious hazard, not just an unsightly problem to be brushed under the rug.  West Seattle traffic would be so awesome if this happened.

    • JanS April 6, 2017 (2:57 pm)

      did you read the article? It says the area will be cleared and no camping allowed.

    • Katie Stefanovich April 6, 2017 (4:23 pm)

      Well since ‘these people’ need to be chased off yet another spot how about you offer up your backyard for the urban campers? We had nicklesville which was a great place with structure and rules but that was needlessly closed. So how about all you nimbys who complain about every single spot the homeless try to go offer up your back yard. 

  • Pedro April 6, 2017 (11:33 am)

    Let’s get real folks – we need to clear this whole area out – NOW.

    We don’t need more fires, drugs, rapes, and theft; and certainly don’t need this area to become more of a magnet for the same.

     There are more than enough resources available for people who want help and will follow the rules. For those who won’t – I don’t have much sympathy, and they can wallow in their filth somewhere else. 

     

  • Jason April 6, 2017 (11:50 am)

     The mayor and the council need to get the police and the navigation teams down there immediately to clear out this area.  As we saw in Atlanta, these RVs pose a VERY REAL AND IMMEDIATE threat to public safety and critical infrastructure. 

    The navigation teams can help folks who want to utilize resources to get help.  As for those who don’t want the help, give em the boot.  Their inability or choice to not deal with their issues should not put the rest of us at risk. 

    Time for the city to think about the 100000+ TAXPAYERS AND CITIZENS first rather than a few squatters who either decline help or won’t play by the rules.    

    • sleepernw April 6, 2017 (1:10 pm)

      Thank you great post 

    • JC April 6, 2017 (1:56 pm)

      Well stated!!!

    • JanS April 6, 2017 (3:01 pm)

      give ’em the boot to where? Heaven forbid you ever become one of the statistics.

  • West Seattle Hipster April 6, 2017 (11:50 am)

    Thank you WSB for your excellent coverage of the area under the bridge.  You always seem a day or so ahead of other local media.

    Enough is enough Murray.  Do your job, stop pandering to your special interest groups.

    • WSB April 6, 2017 (12:55 pm)

      WSH, I wish we’d been there early today but better a few hours late than never – the fire response level on the 911 log at the time didn’t look so huge. Anyway, updating the story now – the city’s official response is in. – Tracy

  • Old Friend April 6, 2017 (11:51 am)

    I would urge ws community to email or contact the newly assigned CPT officer for the Georgetown/SODO neighborhoods.

     

    Officer Mark Gallegos

    South Precinct

    Community Policing Team

    Dsk 206-233-1543

    mark.gallegos@seattle.gov

    • Soccer1 April 6, 2017 (1:14 pm)

      Thank you for posting this info. 

  • Peter April 6, 2017 (12:52 pm)

    So much fear monger if and hatred of homeless in these comments. You people make me sick. 

    • Amy April 6, 2017 (1:07 pm)

      Yes! Thank you Peter. The area under the WS Bridge is in bad shape, but let’s also remember two more people lost their homes in this fire.

      • Chrissy April 11, 2017 (3:13 pm)

        Yes two people did lose their homes. I was one of those people. My boyfriend was just trying to help me and our Chihuahua Alice get warm. Shame on all of u to just assume things about the homeless…try walking just a foot in our shoes. You have no idea what it took to get those rvs..we lost everything we had

        • Sea-grown K April 11, 2017 (4:16 pm)

          I’m sorry to hear you lost your home, Chrissy. I am late to this thread, so I may be too late, but: can I start a collection for you, maybe some clothes, food, and household goods? If I can help, let me know and I’ll dm you to find out what you need and a drop-off site that is convenient for you.

    • Jason April 6, 2017 (1:10 pm)

      You make me sick Peter because you’re afraid to accept the reality that some people can’t or won’t help themselves but they’re glad to remain a danger to the rest of us.  Do you really want a bridge to fall because we allowed people to camp under it?  See Atlanta. 

      Sorry dude, sometimes you need the stick to make the carrot more enticing. 

    • sleepernw April 6, 2017 (1:11 pm)

      I guess you want what happened in Atlanta ????

      • WSB April 6, 2017 (1:26 pm)

        To clarify the Atlanta references, a man is accused of arson in that case, allegedly having deliberately set a chair on fire after smoking drugs, and the fire spread to a pile of construction material – reportedly plastic tubing/piping – that someone had allowed to be stored under the freeway structure. If you are looking for the newest, most accurate information, we recommend the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. What I’ve been looking around for is information comparing the construction of our bridge to the one that was seriously damaged there. I asked SDOT today and they would not comment. – TR

    • Soccer1 April 6, 2017 (1:22 pm)

      I read the comments, and I don’t think there is hatred towards the homeless.  There comes a point where recklessness can cause harm to the public, and that is what I am getting from people’s posts.  I have a lot of compassion for the homeless, those suffering from all kinds of mental illness, drug use, etc, BUT…..we do need to try to prevent certain things from happening and causing harm to others.  I think it is a very fair argument for residents to want those rv’s in a safer spot, so if a fire DOES occur in one or several, they are not putting others in danger, or bridges etc.  And, as well as keeping those residents in the rv’s safe as well.  Under bridge fires have shut down I-5 in the past, and we are lucky nothing worse happened besides a bad traffic jam.  I agree that the city needs to get the rv’s into open spaces, not under structures, and they need to act fast.  Atlanta was lucky no one was killed by the fire below their bridge/highway. I think if the city approaches the issue with compassion and care for all citizens then it is fair. 

      • JanS April 6, 2017 (3:06 pm)

        you do realize that not all homeless persons are drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals, and mentally ill. Some of your neighbors are  or have been homeless, because of illness that , for instance, prevented them from working, and lost the ability to pay rent. Please don’t generalize. Some of us are even  closer than you imagine to that situation. 

        • Soccer1 April 6, 2017 (6:57 pm)

          I wasn’t generalizing! I was stating I have compassion for all people. Good God.

    • BC April 6, 2017 (1:34 pm)

      Give it a rest – if you read the article you’ll see all were offered shelter and if they don’t want to accept help that puts them in a legal location that doesn’t endanger the rest of us that’s their problem. Quit being an enabler.

      • Advocate D April 6, 2017 (3:30 pm)

        You read they had an intake processed. Whatever resources are available are shared. Do understand there has to be housing available for it to be offered, which there is none.

        that information is valid for 30 days then another intake needs to  be completed.

        That’s  not refusal of services, just acceptance there is nothing to accept.

    • melissa April 6, 2017 (1:47 pm)

      Thank you, Peter. My thoughts exactly. I just read an article about a man, housed and employed, who lost house and savings after emergency open-heart surgery, most of which was not covered by insurance. He ended up living on Seattle streets in an rv. So many people are in similar circumstances. Do people honestly not see the connection between the skyrocketing cost of housing in Seattle and the increase in the homeless population?  

      • Wswshome April 7, 2017 (3:19 am)

        Melissa,

        That’s why moving to another city with cheaper housing is just common sense.

    • Double Dub Resident April 6, 2017 (3:45 pm)

      Peter give it a rest or offer room and board if you want. Let’s stop pretending that the majority of the homeless people are just down on their luck. 

       The majority of them have made continual poor life choices and have burned their bridges with friends and family to the point of alienation. 

       Talk with police officers that used to have to deal with the Jungle for example and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them will tell you it was dangerous. 

      Look at Murray’s Triangle that was just recently cleared out and Q13fox stated that ALL of them were offered services with the majority refusing the offer. 

      You know what makes me sick Peter? Is that these moronic leaders are putting drug addicts and homeless above the welfare of our children. Roxhill Elementary have had serious issues with the homeless and drug addicts finding dirty needles on school property and the city counsel’s solution to this was heck just let them pitch a tent which would most likely form an encampment in our public parks legally! The same parks I take my daughter!!! Go look at the rat infested encampments and you’d be delusional to think that very same thing wouldn’t happen to our parks. 

      Hey, but good news!! There’s a new encampment that just opened up where you can be high and drunk in. Cause as the lady on the news said, well those other legal encampments put too many restrictions on the people. 

      • Steve April 6, 2017 (5:59 pm)

        Well said!

  • M April 6, 2017 (12:57 pm)

    It might not have been an intentional fire but it certainly isn’t accidental. It’s simply gross negligence by the RV owner and city to have allowed this to happen. It’s pure dumb luck that no one was injured or killed. Not to mention the environmental impact of it all. 

  • old timer April 6, 2017 (1:01 pm)

    “Give them the boot” sounds tough, sounds effective, but they are already “booted”.

    Where do you think they will go?  

    Jail?

    That’s even more expensive than whatever other options the City can offer, and how many until the jails are full?

    No, they will just keep moving around, from place to place, and this is in a time when the City is enjoying good employment.  Wait until the bust hits Boomtown.

    BTW, “More than enough resources” – does anyone know exactly what the City has to offer to say, one of those RV dwellers?

    What could the City do today, right now, to alleviate their situation for a place to stay tonight?

    And tomorrow morning, what then?

    Just what exactly does the City offer to a tent or RV dweller?

    I have no solutions here, but certainly aware  it is a deeply complex problem.

    Just do a mid-day ride on the 21 to downtown to see a small bit up really close.

    There are systemic problems requiring more than sweeping up to resolve.

    • West Seattle Hipster April 6, 2017 (1:35 pm)

      Perhaps other cities might offer these folks what they are looking for?

      • JanS April 6, 2017 (3:10 pm)

        Perhaps other cities already have their hands full with their own homeless problem. Seattle isn’t unique to the phenomenon.

        • West Seattle Hipster April 6, 2017 (6:26 pm)

          Perhaps another city (more affordable) might be a better option for illegal campers.  I’d love to live in San Francisco or Medina, but I can’t afford it.   

          • JoshB April 6, 2017 (8:12 pm)

            You sure love to tell others to move away if they are met with any housing affordability issues or, in this case, homelessness.  The “I’d like to live in (insert random expensive city), but can’t afford it” is particularly lame and ridiculous.  All of it just reeks of the “I’ve got mine” arrogance that a number of commenters, including yourself, suffer from.

          • Double Dub Resident April 7, 2017 (12:59 am)

            Oh is that it Josh? You have no idea what people here donate both material and time to people in need. For example, my wife and I have volunteered for food can drives. My wife makes care packages of toothpaste /toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shaving cream, etc. for people in need. I buy the Real Change paper whenever I can  to try and help those trying to help themselves. We make sure to donate our young daughtervs things when she outgrows or no longer need them, even though we could actually sell them and make money off of them, so that people in need can get them. We donate regularly to Children’s Hospital to help what we can. 

            So this idea of I got mine, screw you is BS. It is much more than that, but since you’re on this over simplicitic reasoning. Unfortunately when encampments pop up in /near neighborhoods petty crime goes up. Look at Highland area with Nickelsville and Magnolia when RV’s started “camping” as examples. So maybe it’s I worked hard for mine and you can’t have mine just because you want mine. 

          • Wswshome April 7, 2017 (3:31 am)

            Is it so wrong to have earned our stay? Is it so wrong to assume one should do what should be done when you can’t afford to live somewhere any longer? It is what it is and it’s safer for the community for them to find cheaper housing elsewhere. It’s just what you do.

  • Evsite April 6, 2017 (1:04 pm)

    Approximately one month ago there was another RV fire beneath the bridge, just east of the 99 overpass. It occurred during the morning commute.

  • anonyme April 6, 2017 (1:16 pm)

    The problems may be systemic, but I agree with Pedro.  There’s been far too much carrot, and not enough stick.  It’s time to issue some ultimatums: for those who sincerely want a way out of homelessness, get with the program (or into one).  If not, get OUT.

    There also needs to be an immediate freeze placed on programs that buy bus tickets for transients and ships them off to tolerant Meccas like Seattle.  I think that any municipality caught doing so should be made to bear any and all costs relating to their ‘exports’.

    • Jethro Marx April 6, 2017 (7:10 pm)

      Anonyou, you’re tripping over your faulty logic: If they won’t accept help on your terms/pull themselves up by their bootstraps then we ship them off somewhere else; if some community with similar ideas tries to ship them here (a phantom menace, incidentally) then we’ll put a “freeze” on them and make Mexico pay for it. Wait, I’m sorry, now I’m conflating the various crazy voices around me. It’s really easy to suggest solutions that amount to, “we’ll put a stop to it, darn it!” but have neither the wisdom nor authority to do so. I’ve never been big on the constitution and all, but what you propose is unconstitutional, also. Good luck!

    • Wswshome April 7, 2017 (3:36 am)

      I agree, why should we have to foot their negligence? This is not good for public safety .

  • M April 6, 2017 (1:30 pm)

    I bicycled 2 days this week.  Although the bike path underneath the bridge was cleared, there was a person who put up his “pup” tent on the west side of the lower bridge where the bike path intersects up to Delridge or down to the Alki trail.  The guy was either on something or mentally ill or both.  He scared me when I rode by as he was yelling.  I saw a police officer by Magnolia and he told me to call and get it documented. When I rode home that day, I didn’t see the guy.  I thought, if I see him again, I would call it in.  The next morning, I rode that area again.  I was happy to see his tent gone, although garbage was left there.  Either the emphasis patrol saw him or someone else reported it.  The police need to stay focused in keeping the camping out.  If people started camping where this guy was the other day, what alternative do cyclists and pedestrians have in that area if we are too scared to ride in our neighborhood? To stay safer, if there were campers there, I would have to go back to downtown to take the water taxi to get safely back to West Seattle.  Where are our rights for being able to feel safe in our neighborhoods?   If these people don’t want help, they can no longer put the rest of us at risk.  I tried to sympathize with these people who are down on their luck, but this is out of control, especially if they refuse help.

    • Wswshome April 7, 2017 (3:38 am)

      My point exactly 

  • sunnyday April 6, 2017 (1:34 pm)

    I hate to break this to you Pedro, there are rapes, drugs and theft, well, right here in West Seattle and many other places in Seattle from people who are not homeless. Yes, this is a real problem and I certainly don’t have any answers but I would never refer to them as ‘these people’ or assume you can just clear it out NOW. Many homeless people have mental disorders that prevent them from getting help or realizing that they even need it. We have a sucky mayor (in my opinion) but you still can’t just go clean the places out and think it’s over with.  So as Jason said,  “Their inability or choice to not deal with their issues should not put the rest of us at risk” if there is a true inability due to mental incapacity it’s not like they want to put people at risk..jeez people have a heart!! 

    • Double Dub Resident April 6, 2017 (5:16 pm)

      I hate to break it to you Sunnydale, but if you speak to the police officers who have dealt with homeless encampments as I have, you’ll find that all that you mentioned is at a much higher rate than in the general population, so to use that as some kind of rationalization is ridiculous. 

  • Sna April 6, 2017 (1:49 pm)

    I find it a little symbolic that the burnt RV has out of state plates… 

  • sunnyday April 6, 2017 (1:55 pm)

    M..get what documented? Yelling and garbage?? I’m sorry you don’t feel safe, but there have been assaults, muggings etc., on California Ave at night,  Living in a densely populated city and feeling safe. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, no matter where. Safety is not a given right, no matter where you live! It would be nice, but that’s not how things work.   

    • Jim April 6, 2017 (3:23 pm)

      >>>Safety is not a given right, no matter where you live!<<<   Huh?

      Safety certainly should be the goal.  And all obstacles in the way of that should be reduced.

      • Double Dub Resident April 7, 2017 (1:07 am)

        Besides, The United Nations General Assembly seems to think that safety is a right. 

        Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”

    • M April 6, 2017 (4:36 pm)

      Sunnyday.  He was yelling at me for no reason.  Not just a normal yelling.  Very loud and threatening, but not coherent.  I didn’t want to be the second cyclist in 3 weeks to be assaulted!  So yes, that would justify calling the police if I felt threatened and I did feel threatened.  Thankfully, he moved on.

  • momosmom April 6, 2017 (1:56 pm)

     

     

     I know this  doesn’t seem like a lot but the other day we came to work to find this, Homeless must had been doing their Spring Cleaning??? And a few weeks back we came into a pile of…well lets just say it wasn’t the neighbors dog who left us a present behind the dumpster.

    I am embarrassed, disgusted and ashamed to say I live in Seattle.  

     

     

     

     

     

    • WSB April 6, 2017 (2:15 pm)

      Which reminds me that I forgot to include this photo in our update on the under-bridge area. This is new since we followed up on last week’s cleanup. It is just east of where the fire happened today, along westbound Spokane just west of East Marginal.

      • North of Admiral April 6, 2017 (3:05 pm)

        I saw them working on this trash collection site on Friday. I spent a good deal of time in the area Friday evening, videoing the area and observing the campers. I saw the RVs that burned. There was a group of people under the hood of one of them. It was quite the scene down there, especially as it got later in the night. Saw at least 2 fires burning.

        • JoshB April 6, 2017 (4:26 pm)

          Are you stalking these people? Creepy!

          • West Seattle Hipster April 7, 2017 (7:10 am)

            Strange assumption.  That is a public space that thousands of people drive, bike, and walk past daily.

          • JoshB April 7, 2017 (9:30 am)

            This person isn’t biking, driving, or walking by.  They are videoing and “observing” people for hours at a time(based on the comment).  It is creepy!

          • West Seattle Hipster April 7, 2017 (11:10 am)

            As opposed to dumping human waste on the street?  I find that a bit more “creepy”.

  • Lola April 6, 2017 (2:22 pm)

    SNA,  Good eye on the out of state plates, they are coming in droves for their handout’s from our Mayor and his cronies.  I love how WSDOT jumps into action only when social media gets a hold of a story.  I hope Mr. Mayor re-thinks his plan in letting all of the homeless take up residence again under these bridges and over-passes.

    Good work WSB we can always count on you to get the stories out.

    Thank you

  • Pedro April 6, 2017 (2:56 pm)

    “Many homeless people have mental disorders that prevent them from getting help or realizing that they even need it.”

     Agreed – and they should be off the street; not allowed to create and live in filth on the side of the road and create a hazard to themselves and others. Treatment options are out there, whether voluntary or by commitment.

    And while we are being honest, many homeless people are drunks and druggies, whether by choice or addiction, or just plain lazy. And they too should not be allowed to create and live in filth on the side of the road. 

     The reality is that there are options available; but the groups you see under the bridge will not agree to follow the rules required to take advantage of them.  

     

     

  • Gene April 6, 2017 (3:03 pm)

    About darn time! Don’t know if it could have happened there- with a bigger fire perhaps- but that fire under the freeway in Atlanta & the resulting damage/ cost of repair & traffic mess should be a wake up call

  • Ted April 6, 2017 (3:08 pm)

    Ridiculous and time to vote out mayor and city council

    Please all the bleeding hearts crying about homes burnt and where will these people go. I’ve been a progressive my whole life and support causes with $ and I have ZERO respect for people who hang around all day doing their drugs and can’t find an honest day’s work anywhere.

    Here’s my idea – for everyone that plays the guilt game when some delinquent does another stupid thing – get your ass down there and drive them to a job site or out of state. Plenty of jobs picking fruit. Heck drive all those wonderful campers where there is work. Charity days are over. Bleeding hearts buy their gas for them.

    • WsEd April 6, 2017 (4:31 pm)

      The gas brigade,

      Free gas, enough to get you to the next state line.

  • Enforce the law equally April 6, 2017 (3:30 pm)

     If I had a nice RV and I parked it anywhere that isn’t a designated campground, fired up my 4KW generator, strung up my outdoor lights, and set up my camping chairs, awning and acted like I was going to camp, it’d be a matter of days before I was asked to move or cited for trespassing.    If I drive around for more than a certain amount of time, living in WA with out of state plates I am cited (provided I have an up to date address and a WA drivers license.    That’s how laws work.  Or at least that is how laws work for most of us.    I’m disgusted by this  on so many levels.  The finger pointing at people who want it cleaned up and the people moved because they care about our city is getting old.   When people continue to tell me that i’m the problem because I don’t want to drive, bike or walk through filth in my city, I am not the problem.   This is out of hand.  Don’t let this become normal.  Don’t berate people who want it fixed and label them as insensitive to homelessness.   It’s not that easy.  We can hate filth and still have empathy.   Please ask our city to enforce its laws and if people don’t want to follow them, they need to leave.  These laws are to protect society.  All of us.    If we let them continue to slide, that degrades the quality of life for everyone.  And then we turn on each other like we are now.  

    • WS Taxpayer April 6, 2017 (3:53 pm)

      AMEN.

    • Md April 6, 2017 (5:28 pm)

      Couldn’t agree more!!! 

    • Jim April 6, 2017 (5:43 pm)

        >>>Please ask our city to enforce its laws and if people don’t want to follow them, they need to leave.  These laws are to protect society.  All of us.<<<

      We’ve approved of our Mayor and Governor choosing which laws they want to enforce, and which they don’t.  The law is no longer “the law” when we do that.

    • Kadoo April 6, 2017 (10:54 pm)

      Amen. 

    • Wswshome April 7, 2017 (3:50 am)

      WELL SAID!!!

    • aml April 7, 2017 (8:50 am)

      Well said Enforce the law equally!!! 

    • BG April 7, 2017 (2:05 pm)

      My feelings exactly. It seems that the law only applies here to responsible people. If you are not a responsible person , then you are exempt. I teach my kids to obey the law, but they can clearly see that you don’t really have to. We are sliding down a slippery slope by allowing all of this illegal activity to go unchecked.

  • Archie April 6, 2017 (3:32 pm)

    I see the regular apologists who would love to hide the entire problem behind a single flash of their “good-hearted person just down on their luck” hallmark card.

     This is a serious civic issue that affects all of us.  You treat it like just another opportunity to signal how virtuous you all are.  Get off your high horse and participate in the solution.

    • WsEd April 6, 2017 (3:58 pm)

      Totally agree Archie,

      I used to have a job decades ago on the waterfront and dealt with homeless folks all the time. Using the down on their luck card by apologists is defeatist and really shows a lack of awareness and compassion for the community that is encroached upon and the homeless population as well.  You get out of humanity exactly what you expect from it, and if you don’t expect much that is what you will get, not much. 

  • rpo April 6, 2017 (4:05 pm)

    Maybe everyone getting cleared out from under the bridge will allow City Light to fix the street lights that do not work on the upper bridge.  I counted again last night between 99 and the Admiral exit.  34 lights were out.  It was probably 1/3 of the lights in total.  Ridiculous.

    • WSB April 6, 2017 (4:11 pm)

      There were street lights actually on, on the high bridge over the East Marginal/Spokane area while we were there in the 9 am vicinity – noticed them this morning. Anyway, we’ll check on the lights’ status with SCL tomorrow. They did not associate the high-bridge lights with the low-bridge problem but we’ll ask specifically. – TR

      • Dave April 6, 2017 (5:11 pm)

        There are 7 still out when heading westbound WS bridge from the bottom of the hill to Walking On Logs. Out at least 6 months. Reported to SCL. 

        • bolo April 7, 2017 (2:10 pm)

          “Reported to SCL.”
          Good luck with that. I have reported it several times. It’s actually been more than 6 months.

  • Seattlite April 6, 2017 (4:42 pm)

    What is wrong with Seattle’s mayor that he cannot do his job for the citizens of Seattle and King County?   Ed’s job is to keep the citizens of Seattle and King County safe.  Is the mayor keeping you safe?

    • West Seattle Hipster April 6, 2017 (5:07 pm)

      I have the feeling that Murray might be occupied with other matters of a personal nature  in the immediate future………….

      • Getaclue April 7, 2017 (1:00 pm)

        Such as?

  • sw April 6, 2017 (4:46 pm)

    Protecting our infrastructure does not equate to a lack of compassion.  

    Suppose the fire this morning damaged the bridge to the point of needing emergency repair.  The funds to make the fix would need to come from somewhere, possibly from health & human services.  The city has to be able to function in order to be in a position to provide help to those in need.

    • Dave April 6, 2017 (5:09 pm)

      Yes, imagine if the bridge would have caught fire like in Atlanta. We’s be SOL for the next 6 months at least.

  • rico April 6, 2017 (4:52 pm)

     The post from 3:30, repeated below with paragraphs added, is post of the year in my opinion for this out of hand issue, well written and factual.

    ENFORCE THE LAW EQUALLY wrote;

    If I had a nice RV and I parked it anywhere that isn’t a designated campground, fired up my 4KW generator, strung up my outdoor lights, and set up my camping chairs, awning and acted like I was going to camp, it’d be a matter of days before I was asked to move or cited for trespassing.   

    If I drive around for more than a certain amount of time, living in WA with out of state plates I am cited (provided I have an up to date address and a WA drivers license.   

    That’s how laws work.  Or at least that is how laws work for most of us.   

    I’m disgusted by this  on so many levels. 

    The finger pointing at people who want it cleaned up and the people moved because they care about our city is getting old.  

    When people continue to tell me that i’m the problem because I don’t want to drive, bike or walk through filth in my city, I am not the problem.   This is out of hand.  Don’t let this become normal.  Don’t berate people who want it fixed and label them as insensitive to homelessness.   It’s not that easy.  We can hate filth and still have empathy.   Please ask our city to enforce its laws and if people don’t want to follow them, they need to leave.  These laws are to protect society.  All of us.    If we let them continue to slide, that degrades the quality of life for everyone.  And then we turn on each other like we are now.  

    • Steve April 6, 2017 (7:33 pm)

      Well said.  

  • Dave April 6, 2017 (5:22 pm)

    Whether the fire in ATL was caused by homeless or not, a fire is a fire and it can damage a bridge no matter how it is set. The city needs to be proactive, especially knowing RVs have caught fire in the past. Clearing outdoor camping last week but letting RVs stay is irresponsible at best.

  • flimflam April 6, 2017 (5:36 pm)

    the city is being far too reactionary and has no spine – woman attacked on the bike path? jump to action. RV fire? jump to action. most average people can see these potential problems as they are, why can’t the city? why wait until the worst case scenario to  actually enforce the law and clear out a camp?

     

    the city is letting everyone down – the tax payers especially. the homeless aren’t helped either by letting them camp anywhere, ignore any laws they choose, and continually resist services. just because I don’t want “encampments” everywhere and anywhere doesn’t make me nimby, a heartless republican, etc – it isn’t hard to see that the city’s position on this is untenable at the very least. 

  • Sunuva April 6, 2017 (7:45 pm)

    This needs to stop. These RV “campers” are breaking the law and causing a danger to our community, and our infrastructure. There are services available to help them get off the street. To suggest that we should allow this because they have no other options is enabling them. Just NO. Camping in an RV under the bridge is not a solution when you are facing hard times. It is exploiting loopholes in the law and causing a danger to our community. Get help or get out.

  • Sunnyday April 6, 2017 (8:27 pm)

    Jim, I do agree with you, safety should be a goal, but meanwhile back in reality… there’s not enough police to make it completely safe at all times. And it’s not just homeless people who are committing crimes. All I’ve read is, this needs to stop, they need to go, move them to another state. There is not enough resources for homeless who are mentally impaired. I think we can all agree something needs to be done and most likely none of us, including myself have a clue as to how to do it…especially our mayor who should know. Double Dub resident, not sure what you meant,but you mentioned Sunnydale so maybe your comment wasn’t for me anyway??

  • New Thinking Needed April 6, 2017 (8:58 pm)

    Pedro for mayor!!!

    I will send you my democracy vouchers if you run!!

  • wb April 6, 2017 (9:17 pm)

    It should be noted that prices have skyrocketed in the Puget Sound area leaving even the more well-heeled reeling, believing that home ownership or alternatively a decent rental is out of reach.

    In fact, note the sponsors of this blog:

    • $2,029 -to $2,039/mo Whittaker for a one bedroom rental.
    • West Seattle Realty
    • Beautifully Maintained | Genesee Hill Neighborhood Listed for $545,950
    • Contractor’s Special | Puget Ridge Neighborhood listed for  $425,000
    • Springline  $2,100/mo for 1 bedroom.

    Seattle is under rapid, dynamic change  never seen before.  And it’s becoming unaffordable. Bootstraps or no, some will be left behind–and camping.  

    • Eric1 April 7, 2017 (12:03 am)

      Ahh yes, someone brings up the cost of housing in Seattle.  The cost of housing is NOT the cause of the homeless problem in Seattle.   Before some of you get pissy about that statement, 60% of the people in Seattle were not born here.  People move to here because their job skills probably better fit the city of Seattle’s economy better than their old city.  Strangely, for the thousands of people who move here, thousands of people move OUT of Seattle to cities that offer them a better return on their job skills.  When the cost of living in a particular city exceeds what people are willing to pay you in wages or another city offers a better deal, it is time to move. There is no “right” to live in any city.

      .

      I left my hometown city 25 years ago to come to Seattle. I left behind friends, family and the comfort of a familiar place. I took a $9 an hour temporary job because it was clear I wasn’t going to own a home there.  I could have pouted in my hometown until I got that $25 an hour job from the job fairy but I’d probably be homeless now if I hadn’t moved. I would have loved to stay there but at the time, housing in Seattle was affordable even on those kind of wages so I moved here.  I am sure that there are cities and towns where two people on federal minimum wage could still get a roof over their head today. It might not be as nice, but  Seattle just isn’t that place. 

      .

      I realize that we don’t treat mental illness or disabilities  correctly and we should take care of those that legitimately need help.  The industrious have opportunities to take training to actually get a living wage job in Seattle.  Drug addicts should be offered treatment or be put in jail to sober up. Lazy people should be harassed until they decide that the next town/city/state over is a better place to live.  This is a nation of immigrants who likely left a crappy country with little more than the shirt on their backs making the ultimate move.  They pulled themselves up by the bootstraps. If you aren’t willing to move to a place where your job skills will get you a roof over your head, you are just making excuses.

      .

       The number of homeless may seem large (4505 persons in 2016) but they represent less than 1% of the 685,000 people who live in Seattle.  Seattle seems to work for the other 99% of the population that sucks it up and does what it takes to live in the city (domestic partner, roommate, family, etc…).    There is no way that the other 99% of the people all get paid 100K+ per year (or even 50K a year) and are therefore living here fat and happy.    So don’t feel bad for the >>1% that isn’t willing to suck it up.

  • Rich April 7, 2017 (3:04 am)

    Hey everyone. Look at the garbage all over Seattle. Stop yelling at one another over politics. Let’s focus on community and civic pride. It’s embarrassing. 

  • Lola April 7, 2017 (5:47 am)

    WSB,  I know that they are focusing on the area where the lights are out and the recent RV fire, do you know if they spoke of closing any camping under any part of the whole bridge?  From WS to about 4th or 5th Ave?  I was just wondering because of recent events and when you think of how many un-kempt RV’S are under the bridges that it would be dangerous now for people like me who use this bridge everyday.

    I do not know what the solution is for these people, but to now become a hazzard to everyone around them something needs to be done.  We need to make Seattle safe for everyone not just the homeless.

    Thank you WSB for your hard work and efforts to keep us informed on these important issues.

    • WSB April 7, 2017 (7:47 am)

      Lola – I asked the city’s Julie Moore for a few more specifics about the exact location, as they referred to the “Spokane Street Viaduct,” which technically is the part east of 99. Hoping to get that info today.

  • Question Authority April 7, 2017 (1:15 pm)

    The emphasis will now be focused on, or rather under “all” elevated roadway structures.  If you want to see what’s coming to WS go look under the South end of the Ballard bridge, the 12′ high posts are in and the temporary fence for now. The heavy duty mesh is due in a few weeks because SDOT is sick of the mess, risk to infrastructure and impact to workers trying to keep it all maintained for our driving pleasure.  A version closer to see is under the East bound on ramp by Nucor, it’s long overdue and I am ecstatic about it finally happening.  Just happen to live outside, it won’t be on City right of way much longer.

    • wetone April 7, 2017 (2:57 pm)

         Once again city takes easy road by fencing areas off. This action does little about problem, just moves people, tents, motorhomes and all issues related to new locations. To destroy with human waste and garbage as is happing now. Until Seattle starts enforcing current laws nothing will change, just more polluted areas through out Seattle.    

      • Question Authority April 7, 2017 (4:12 pm)

        Oh well, but this step of choking off areas for the good of public safety is at least some progress.  Clowntown and it’s eventual new location(s) needs to be rained on to help cleanse the filth it accumulates.

  • natinstl April 7, 2017 (3:47 pm)

    I saw this article posted the other day about a man that had to stay in his car for three years due to medical debt, some may find his perspective interesting.

    http://kuow.org/post/i-lived-my-car-ballard-three-years

    While I do agree that some of these individuals don’t want the help or are so addicted to drugs they can’t even get to the stage of asking for help, it’s stories like these that remind you that it could be anyone of us.  

  • Salal April 7, 2017 (5:30 pm)

     What about the RV’s along harbor ave? It would be nice to see those go…there jutting out into the road. The ones by 7-11 have been there a while. 

  • Sunuva April 7, 2017 (6:23 pm)

    These RVs are all over the place. I am glad that people are finally getting fed up, but concerned we are just focusing on this one area when this is a big problem affecting the entire city. They are EVERYWHERE. For example, there are a couple of RVs on the north side of Westwood Village that have been there for a COUPLE OF YEARS! I was recently talking on the phone to a family member from Atlanta and he mentioned that was one of the things that stood out to him when visiting us in 2015. This is crazy! All of these RV campers across the city need to go! The law needs to be enforced! “Lazy Days” (as the spare tire cover on one of those RVs says) are OVER!

  • Sunnyday April 7, 2017 (8:16 pm)

    Natinstl thank you for posting that, I hope everyone reads that.

  • miws April 7, 2017 (10:05 pm)

    Yes, thank you Natinstl,   for sharing that. 

    Mike

  • Momosmom April 8, 2017 (6:44 pm)

    I have an idea…why doesn’t the DOC have inmates go out and do litter/garbage clean-up at all these homeless camps occupied and or empty ones??? 

  • Momosmom April 9, 2017 (4:39 am)

    WSHipster…”Waste of tax payer money” yes it is and that’s why I thought it’d be good for inmates to do the “dirty” work for free since they’re incarcerated and not doing anything anyways. 

    Oh well it was just a thought.

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