West Seattle, Washington
Highland Park Elementary students will NOT lose their volunteer reading tutors after all, thanks to community contributors plus one generous ongoing supporter of the Reading Partners program. Here’s the update from Dina Johnson, the volunteer tutor and community advocate who has been working for more than a month to get the word out:
Just received this from Linda Givler, admin of the “Save Highland Park Reading partners” GoFundMe Page:
The GoFundMe campaign to save the Reading Partners program at Highland Park Elementary School has ended. The page will be left up for a few days to allow everyone to see the latest update.
Together we were able to raise $12,787 in 30 days. I think that is amazing, even though it is short of the $30,000 necessary to continue the program.
ALL IS NOT LOST. An ongoing supporter of the RP program in Seattle, who has chosen to stay anonymous, has designated their annual contribution to make up the difference and allow the Highland Park Reading Partners program to continue this coming school year.
We are very, very fortunate that a Reading Partners supporter has stepped up to help save our Reading Partners program at Highland Park. I know you will all be as excited as I am to continue helping our wonderful little readers next school year.
This was truly a group effort. Thanks to everyone…
Now it is time to celebrate.
(Dina’s P.S.) I’m giddy with delight (and amazement!) We proved that people CARE about schoolchildren in our little corner of Seattle!
Last year, the first-ever Festival Centroamericano filled Westcrest Park in Highland Park with a daylong celebration of Central American culture (WSB coverage here). We just got word it’s coming back for a second year. The announcement:
The second annual Festival Centroamericano event is dedicated to learning and sharing the culture of Central America. The festival brings together, from neighborhoods throughout Seattle, people who are from, or have friends and family from, the seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama).
Embracing our Central American heritage and culture to a community that is not well exposed to it can also offer a great opportunity to learn something new especially with the different ethnic groups (Indigenous, African, Mestizo, Latino) that are involved in the festival. The organization unites the different ethnic groups from each of the Central American countries to exchange cultures and learn from one another.
The Festival Centroamericano will be a family-oriented and free for the public event, therefore, everyone is welcome to experience a Central American community at Westcrest Park, 9000 8th Ave SW, on August 27 of 2017 from 12 AM to 7 PM. The festival will have live performances and vendors providing food, art, information, and other great services!
From the inbox:
I came across two commercial type lawn mowers ‘stashed’ in a remote area off the beaten path area below Highland Park in a spot they shouldn’t be. My concern is they might be stolen from some commercial landscaper or gardener and that’s how they make their living. I have the two brand names on the mowers for proof if someone is missing their equipment. These do not belong where I found them.. that’s for sure!
A police report has been filed, and we’re awaiting the number.
Here’s something heroic you can do right here, right now: Help save the reading-tutor program at Highland Park Elementary. Here’s the latest from Dina Johnson, the volunteer leading the effort:
Update for Save Highland Park Reading Partners. We are at $8,462 of $30k goal!
Donations have been steadily accumulating, many $50 or $100. I update on the Facebook page daily. Someone named Wendy Rush just donated $500 today! I don’t know her, but MANY THANKS to Wendy!
I’m feeling very heartened. Was disappointed by last week’s Summer Book Swap – LOTS of book donations, but almost no one came by to browse. Was it the 95-degree heat that day? Many people missed a chance to get wonderful free books for their kids. Luckily, a 9-year-old girl did grab a complete boxed set of the Little House books. But the complete boxed set of Narnia books was unclaimed…
Thank you to the book donors, though – credit at the used bookstore means RP can add to the student library for all the schools.
If we make $10,000 or more I will be so gratified that people care, although it wouldn’t be enough to save Reading Partners this year. (A hard-working Volunteer Coordinator needs to be hired to make everything run smoothly for the volunteer program.)
In that case, the donations will be refunded. THANKS to 99 generous donors so far!! I’m sure someone will be eager to claim the 100th spot of honor!
You can do that – or maybe even be the 101st or 102nd or beyond, if you don’t see this until later tonight, or Sunday, or … – just go here.
(UPDATED FRIDAY AFTERNOON with letter-writing info for roundabout support)
DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Yun Pitre visited – she’s an 11-year city employee who was formerly a Neighborhood District Coordinator, now a Community Engagement Coordinator, one of four working with community groups around the city. She’s assigned to Districts 1 and 2. (That’s City Council districts, as in 7 of them, rather than the old not-numbered neighborhood districts, of which West Seattle had two.) “We’re still your liaisons to city government,” she affirmed, when asked what her role now means. HPAC co-chair Michele Witzki said she hopes the department will offer added resources. “One of the reasons they broke everything up was for equity – and now not only are we getting (fewer resources), but it seems we’re competing with some of the other (disadvantaged) neighborhoods that have (greater) needs.”
That short video by Dina Johnson tells the story of how supporters are hoping to save the Reading Partners one-on-one-tutoring program at Highland Park Elementary. We first mentioned it here last weekend; their next event is a book swap tomorrow (Sunday, June 25th) afternoon at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden). It’s free – bring books, for kids and/or adults! – and also a chance to find out more about the program and how volunteers are trying to save it. Their main fundraiser is a GoFundMe page that has now passed $6,000 but has a long way to go to the $30,000 needed by July 15th to keep the program from being dropped at HPES.
Students at Highland Park Elementary are getting an early start on beating the heat. Today – second-to-last day of school – is Field Day, and PE teacher Chellie LaFayette tells us that means bonus outdoor fun.
The younger students’ Field Day fun was earlier this morning, and the older kids will be out this afternoon.
P.S. Highland Park kids work hard in the classroom too, but as reported here last weekend, are facing the loss of a reading-tutor program – this Sunday brings a chance for you to help.
The one-on-one Reading Partners tutoring program is in danger at Highland Park Elementary, according to volunteer tutor Dina Johnson, who’s organizing a campaign to save it. “All the tutors wish to continue. We have established a close rapport with students and watched them progress. We know this is one of the under-performing schools in Seattle. Over 50% of the kids aren’t reading at grade level. So we decided to try raising the funds – $30,000. Deadline is July 15th.” They’ve set up a crowdfunding page here; there’ll also be a free Summer Book Swap event 1 pm June 25th at Highland Park Improvement Club – (updated) details here. And look for Dina at the Westwood Village Street Fair Saturday, with a table in front of Giannoni’s Pizza on the south side of the center.
That’s the new Snack Shack for West Seattle Baseball, and you’re invited to the Pee-Wee Fields at Riverview Playfield this Saturday to celebrate it, and to watch championship games. We heard about this from Megan Varner, a WS Baseball board member who has run the Snack Shack for the past three years. She explains, “We finally got a new Snack Shack after 15+ years, through large donations and fundraising!” They’re still adding the finishing touches – “literally … down to the final minute” to get ready for Saturday: “A lot of local sponsors donated time and work to pull this off. Great community effort.”
The “grand reopening” will start around 11 am Saturday, with a ribboncutting planned at 11:45 am, followed by the Pinto and Mustang season championship games starting at 1 pm. Megan says, “It will be a day filled with food, games, and baseball!”
P.S. Megan says special thanks goes to: “Eric Moe of JEM Contractors and Mark Hubbard of Grindline Skate Parks did all concrete work. Big thanks to O’Neill Plumbing for their help, and our many sponsors this season, as well as several WS families who went above and beyond to support this effort.”
As mentioned in our West Seattle Thursday highlights this morning, Highland Park Elementary School‘s playground project has a dine-out fundraiser continuing this evening at Zippy’s Giant Burgers in White Center (open until 9 at 9614 14th SW). We recently asked the HPE PTA how the project is going, since the city mentioned some grant money had been awarded. Here’s the update from PTA vice president Connie Wolf:
After three years of work on our playground project, we are ready to break through the asphalt. Construction drawings from the Pomegranate Center along with funding from the Neighborhood Matching Fund’s Community Partnership Fund and King County Youth Sports Facilities Grant have us set to build Phase 1 of our new playground.
This phase will include installation of a net climber, hill slides, a boulder scramble, an ADA ramp, and a new welcoming community entryway. Two key principles of the design are a natural landscape that encourages imaginative play for our children and a welcoming place for our school and neighborhood.
In order to ensure the funds on hand will cover all of the construction work, we had to pull certain elements out of our base bid. Gateway artwork, landscaping, and a seat wall are pieces of this phase that we are currently fundraising for.
Phase 1 should be completed this fall, and then we will begin working toward the second half of the project which will include more play equipment: a tree deck, log steps, and boulder stacks.
You can support the HPE playground project by participating in our dine outs (thank you Proletariat Pizza, Zippy’s Giant Burgers, Chipotle, and Mioposto), attending our fall playground celebration (currently being planned), and volunteering in our work parties (more info on that to come).
Thank you to everyone who has helped to create this incredible play space for our children.
Meet Stannis. He’s the 10-week-old Newfoundland puppy who’s just joined the family of Dutchboy Coffee proprietor Jenni Watkins, and today he’s making his public debut at the stand in Highland Park.
When the stand opened in January, we introduced you to its namesake – Dutchboy the Newfoundland. Heartbreakingly, he died a few months ago. While no beloved pet can ever be replaced, there’s room in the heart to love again, and so here’s Stannis of Court Royal. You can stop by and say hi until 1 pm today; he’ll make other periodic appearances. And any time this month, there’s something else special to see at The Dutchboy:
The stand has been featuring local artists, and Jenni’s husband Todd Watkins created the photography that’s on display this month – you can admire it from the ordering window while you’re getting your coffee. The Dutchboy is on the northeast corner of 16th and Holden.
6:47 PM: Seattle Fire is calling out a “full response” for a possible house fire in the 9000 block of 12th SW [map].
6:50 PM: The response is already being downsized.
7:02 PM: Our crew reports that while there’s some smoke, there’s no sign of fire, and the SFD units there haven’t even rolled out the hoses. Photo added above.
7:28 PM: Firefighters tell us they traced the smoke to a kiln that was in use. No fire, no injuries; they’re ventilating so the resident can go back inside.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
New hope that the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout will get designed and built – that was the big news during last night’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk, which brought Mayor Murray and an armada of city reps to the neighborhood. Most prominent among them, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who got to announce the roundabout breakthrough in her own neighborhood, when the 4th of 6 preplanned stops took walkers to the top of the HP Way hill: $200,000 to turn the “concept” you see above into a buildable design.
First, Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki recounted the long history of the intersection’s troubles:
There’s WSB coverage for all those incidents she mentioned – including the flipped-car-gas-leak incident in March 2016. We’ve also covered the years of HP trying to get the ~$2 million roundabout beyond “conceptual design” stage, efforts that left residents skeptical in advance of last night’s walk. Meantime, here’s Councilmember Herbold announcing the design funding, and SDOT’s Jim Curtin talking about a meeting with one group that could help the city get the money to build it:
Transportation was a big topic during the walk. A short distance west along busy SW Holden, site of preplanned stops #2 and #3, Alan Robertson had talked about the side-street speeding problem caused by people trying to dodge its backups:
SDOT says it’s working on more safety features – the 11th/Holden flashing-beacon crosswalk was just a start – including a raised crosswalk on Myrtle.
SDOT’s walk presence included a briefly fiery pothole-fixing demonstration:
Pothole demo during Find It Fix It Walk / fiery! pic.twitter.com/QD3CI4vDMn
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 26, 2017
Part of the purpose of the FIFI Walks is to tout the city’s app of the same name, which you can use to report problems including potholes (those can be reported via the city website, too). But the concerns and requests in Highland Park are much bigger, too – as are the aspirations and community-initiated work that’s already been going on for years. The first stop on the walk was Riverview Playfield, where Paul West talked about trail work and plans in the nearby West Duwamish Greenbelt as well as needs at the playfield itself.
You can find out more about the ongoing West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails work by going here. Also at Riverview, the city recapped the good news that we reported earlier this week – the arson-damaged restroom/storage building will be fixed and reopened this year – starting with roof work in July.
As with many of West Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods, Highland Park has stairways in need of TLC, and the one at 14th and Holden was stop #5. Then the group continued down Holden to the final stop, the former substation on the southwest corner of 16th and Holden. Its future remains in question – City Light intends to sell it; the community has asked that it be rezoned to allow commercial development, to enhance Highland Park’s business district – a nearby entrepreneur, Jenni Watkins of Dutchboy Coffee on the southeast corner, spoke briefly about the joys and challenges of running a small business:
Also at the final stop, Brennon Staley of the Office of Planning and Community Development, talking about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) as well as site-specific information:
Mayor Murray picked up the growth/zoning topic:
He also closed out the walk there by declaring it to be the most positive one of the 23 that have happened so far (two others were in West Seattle – North Delridge in 2015, Westwood/Roxhill last year).
The event began with a mini-resource fair in the patio and parking-lot areas outside Highland Park Improvement Club, whose scrappy history was recounted by Julie Schickling:
The welcomes also included words of praise for Highland Park neighborhood advocates from Councilmember Herbold, who, as mentioned, is a neighbor:
The mayor gave opening remarks there too, explaining the purpose of the FIFI Walks, and introduced the highest-ranking city reps on hand, as well as giving shoutouts to the walk’s organizers:
Will there be a fourth Find It, Fix It Walk in West Seattle next year? Depends on which of the 21 mayoral candidates succeeds Murray, and whether they decide to continue the program. In the meantime, participants from this one have a group photo as a souvenir, taken near the site of the aforementioned roundabout announcement:
(We’ll substitute the official city photo if and when we get it. Seattle Channel was along for the walk, too, and we’ll be watching for their report.)
P.S. One more group view – we recorded this at the Riverview stop:
P.P.S. While at HPIC before the walk, we talked with some city reps about non-HP events/projects of interest – watch for those stories soon!
Among the city officials in Highland Park for tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk was George Scarola, director of homelessness. We took the opportunity to ask him if anything had changed regarding the city’s non-prioritization of the unauthorized RV camp that started setting up off 2nd SW between Highland Park Way and West Marginal Way two weeks ago. He told us the city in fact had just posted a warning there today that those on the state-owned site will have to clear out by June 1st. While, Scarola said, they understand that the campers are trying to set up a self-managed community, the site is just not suitable for camping, and the state has other plans for it.
6:54 PM: After gathering at Highland Park Improvement Club, community members and city officials are headed to Riverview Playfield, first scheduled stop on tonight’s Find It, Fix It Walk. See the route here and join along the way! We’ll be updating on Twitter with a full report here later.
7:58 PM: 2nd to last stop – the 14th/Holden stairway.
8:20 PM: The mayor, who left the spotlight to others most of the way, concluded the walk by declaring it the most positive one he had been on. Details, photos, video
later on Friday morning!
Some promising news about one of the stops set for Thursday night’s Find It, Fix It Walk in Highland Park. It’s the long-closed, arson-damaged restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield. As we’ve reported previously, community members are concerned that the building has yet to be fixed and reopened, almost a year after last year’s arson -and at one point were told that it might be up to six years before repairs could be funded. But Christina Hirsch of Seattle Parks tells WSB that funding for repair and restoration has been secured. Hirsch told WSB’s Randall Hauk that the Seattle Park District has approved $202,000 for the work.
Parks will now work with city purchasing and contracting on details for the management of the project. Though there is no set deadline yet for completion of repairs, Hirsch says the hope is to finish by the end of the year. She adds that the schedule and scope of the project will be posted on the Riverview Playfield webpage as it becomes available. Meantime, portable restrooms will remain in place at the much-used fields until the permanent facility.
P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, the route, starting place, and other information about Thursday night’s walk – starting at 6:30 pm from Highland Park Improvement Club (where you can gather starting an hour before that) – is here.
One week before the city’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk – first announced, casually, more than three months ago – the starting point, starting time, and route map have just been made public. Click the image above for a full-size PDF of the plan. The walk will start at Highland Park Improvement Club (1116 SW Holden) at 6:30 pm, but you’re invited to HPIC as early as 5:30 pm for refreshments and mingling. The stops planned with community leaders are listed on the map and include some of Highland Park’s key unresolved issues, including traffic at Highland Park Way/Holden, this winter’s major mudslide down the HP Way hill, the unrepaired, arson-damaged restroom at Riverview Playfield, side-street speeding, and more. Meantime, from today’s route announcement, a few notes from the city Department of Neighborhoods:
Participants can use the Find It, Fix It mobile app on the walk. This smartphone app offers mobile users one more way to report selected issues to the City. Make sure to download the app before the walk.
In partnership with Cities of Service, the City will offer up to $3,000 in grants for community-led projects to each 2017 Find It, Fix It Walk neighborhood. The Highland Park Community Project Grant Application is available at seattle.gov/finditfixit until June 8. If you have an idea for a project in Highland Park please apply today!
Something new for one of our area’s liveliest community facilities! The photos and report are from Dina Lydia Johnson:
The 98-year-old Highland Park Improvement Club, a neighborhood gathering place, finally has permanent signage! This is something we’ve been wanting and needing for many years.
The design was developed by committee: Kay Kirkpatrick (photo above), Dina Johnson (photo below), Julie Schickling, and Nicole Mazza over the past year or more.
The new signage graces the area of the facade where the “eyebrow” fell last year. Meantime, more scenes from the installation, featuring HPIC trustees Blair Johnson and Billy Markham:
Dina adds, “It’s done just in time to be wildly celebrated at the Club’s annual festive wine-tasting fundraiser Highland Park Uncorked, this Saturday, May 20th. Thanks to ALL!” Find out more about Uncorked (with sponsors including WSB) on the HPIC website.
Highland Park’s Find It, Fix It Walk is now a week and a half away – the evening of Thursday, May 25th – but there’s a lot left to plan, and Tuesday’s your chance to help do that. Just be at Highland Park Elementary (1012 SW Trenton), 6:30 pm (May 16th). The walk’s start time and route still have to be set, and while there’s already a long list of potential topics, it’s not too late to add your idea, and help shape which stops/topics are chosen. The proposed starting spots for the FIFI Walk, for example, are either Riverview Playfield or Highland Park Improvement Club, and this post on the Highland Park Action Committee website lists the potential stops/topics discussed so far.
So far, it looks like the city does not plan any immediate action about the new, unauthorized RV camp in east West Seattle. We checked back there late today, one day after getting word it was setting up on vacant state-owned land toward the east end of the original 2008 “Nickelsville” encampment site, off 2nd SW between West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW. We were told five more RVs had arrived today, bringing the total there to about 15, and that some government entity had dropped off trash bags for them to use. Their status, they said, remains unclear.
This morning, we had updated our original story with information from Julie Moore, a spokesperson for the city’s homelessness-related efforts. She had told us the Navigation Team was out at the site assessing the situation. This afternoon, she reiterated that the city had not directed campers there, and that it’s a site WSDOT intends to use this summer as “the staging area for the critical I-5 resurfacing project.” She also reiterated that if any of these RVs’ owners were told to move, it was a parking-enforcement issue, not a camp sweep.
That said, Moore added:
While the site is not authorized for camping, nor is it an appropriate place to do so due to WSDOT’s use and activity there, the City prioritizes encampment removals based on several issues, including health and safety. The City has been focusing its efforts on mitigating the most hazardous encampments, particularly those:
Where individuals are sleeping outside in tents.
In locations that are physically unsafe for the individual or surrounding community (e.g., along busy roads, ledges, sidewalks).
That have become so large that trash, hazardous structures and negative behavior become too problematic.
Where there is a public health threat to the campers or surrounding community.
With those priorities in mind, the City is spending the next two weeks focusing on addressing the extensive illegal encampments along I-90/Rainier Avenue/Dearborn Street. More on those efforts, including the outreach efforts underway since May 1, can be found (here).
While a WSDOT rep was looped into our e-mail exchange with Moore, we have no direct comment from the state yet on whether they will allow the vehicle campers to stay on the site. We did ask a camper how they entered it; they said the chain-link fencing at the entrance was not locked, and had numerous openings. Both the state- and city-owned sections of the site were ringed with chain-link fencing after the last encampment there was evicted in 2013.
(If you can’t spare 3 minutes, the stop-sign-running is particularly prolific in the final minute-plus)
That video was recorded in November at 17th SW and SW Trenton by area resident Darryll Wolf. He sent it to various city reps then – and sent it again yesterday, after a close call. This time, we were on the CC list. His e-mail:
Dear SDOT, SPD, and Councilmember Herbold,
(Thursday) morning, as I was running to catch the bus to work at 7:53 am, a driver accelerated into and through the intersection at SW Trenton Street and 17th Ave SW, refusing to stop at the stop sign while I was in the lane! She did this as I was in front of her car, forcing me to run backward to avoid being hit. I’ve reported rampant violations at this intersection before and was even hit by one car (hit and run) and nearly hit by several others in the past several months. I shared this 3-minute video in this same email thread in November showing fully 85% of drivers fail to stop or yield right of way at this clearly signed intersection.
The incident this morning felt like a deliberate attempt by the driver to threaten or injure me with her car. I am very worried about my own safety as well as the safety of my family and neighbors who live, work, and play along the 17th Ave SW greenway.
In 2016, the Seattle Greenways project team created this new sanctioned pedestrian and bicycle greenway on 17th Ave SW north of SW Henderson Street and then placed stop signs at each of the east-west intersections along the greenway where no stop signs had ever existed for likely near 100 years. But they and SDOT failed to do any awareness campaign or enforcement follow-up to ensure the safety of those who use the greenway. I am disappointed that after having reported the frequent violations and one known hit and run at 17th and Trenton in the past few months to SPD, CPT, and the Greenways project team, we have only seen about an hour of SPD enforcement at this intersection with no ticketing for violations, and the Greenways team and SDOT have been a complete no-show here.
I have been documenting the continued pattern of violations at the 17th and Trenton intersection since last November and will continue to report this problem to SPD. I have reported similar incidents of speeding and aggressive or threatening driving through school crossing zones, and the general failure to yield to pedestrians along 16th Ave SW, and along SW Trenton Street from Delridge to 16th Ave SW. But I have seen zero SPD presence in those areas during rush hour and have never seen a single person ticketed for this blatant and common recklessness.
As the increased densification under HALA upzoning increase car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic in our area, it is my hope that SPD, SDOT, and the City will take this seriously and do real traffic calming, enforcement, and ticketing before we see people killed by reckless drivers. Throughout the area from 16th Ave SW to SW Delridge, between Holden and Roxbury, there are many children and public transit users who are vulnerable to death and disfigurement by reckless drivers every day. And these drivers must be shown that traffic laws are not optional and that drivers cannot threaten and maim pedstrians with their cars with impunity. We need your help to send this message!
I look forward to hearing from SPD, CPT, SDOT, and the City in the near term on how each of you plan to address this very real public safety issue in our area. I am happy to discuss this in person or over a phone call if it will result in quick action.
From the list to whom Wolff sent the video, the first response (at least, the first to the entire CC list including us) was from Councilmember Herbold:
I watched your video and I’m aghast that of a dozen cars going through that intersection over the 3 minutes you filmed, only two cars made a complete stop at the stop sign. By the way of this message, I’m asking that Chief Davis consider an enforcement at this intersection. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of pedestrian safety.
As mentioned here Thursday morning, SPD’s Traffic Unit chief, Capt. Eric Sano, is the scheduled guest for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council next Tuesday (7 pm May 16th), so if you have neighborhood concerns, it’s a good time to bring them up.
FIRST REPORT, 5:53 PM THURSDAY: Just yards from where the city almost set up an “RV safe lot” last year before scrapping the idea, an unofficial RV camp is taking shape right now. We just visited the site on the east end of the land twice inhabited by the tent camp that called itself “Nickelsville,” after finding out about the RVs’ move via e-mail sent to us and other media outlets. That e-mail said that the RVs headed this way after “Seattle Police provided a 3-day notice to random RVs [in industrial areas of SODO] that their RVs and vehicles – and personal belongings inside them – would be towed and impounded today, 5/11/17.”
The site is state-owned; we counted about 10 RVs during our short visit to find out what was happening. A camper named Rebecca told us more are expected, and that police and state troopers were at the site earlier. The vehicles are parked just inside a gate off 2nd Avenue SW, between Highland Park Way SW and W. Marginal Way SW (south of the marker on this map).
The city’s proposed “safe lot” – a plan officially scrapped in March 2016 – would have been to the west along West Marginal, on a paved lot adjacent to the city-owned encampment site that was cleared three years ago. The announcement of the new unofficial camp notes, “The City of Seattle’s 2016 plan to assist homeless people living in RVs has largely been abandoned. This is an independent effort to find a safe site.” We won’t be able to find out anything from SPD or WSP until tomorrow.
ADDED 9:18 AM FRIDAY: We just heard back from Julie Moore, spokesperson for the city’s homelessness-related efforts. She tells WSB: “The City did not direct people to this site.” They first heard yesterday that “an unauthorized encampment had set up at that property.” She also says that regarding RV campers allegedly being chased there from SODO, “There was no encampment cleanup effort going on in SoDo this week. Any notices about RVs needing to move would have come from SPD parking enforcement.” Meantime, the Navigation Team is “visiting the site to assess the situation this morning.” It’s “not appropriate for camping,” she added, because “it will soon be used for staging for critical I-5 construction work this summer.”
Thanks for the tips. We just checked out what was reported as a sizable police response in Highland Park, near 12th and Thistle. It’s wrapping up; responders at the scene tell us it involved a “person in crisis.” No injuries, we’re told.