City plans to clear West Seattle homeless encampment


Those are photos of an encampment in a not-easily-accessible section of Camp Long. WSB contributing photojournalist Matt Durham has taken those photos — and others you will see later in this post — while monitoring the site on an almost-daily basis since happening onto it at Camp Long more than a month ago. His captions, counter-clockwise from top left: “(The) encampment … has grown in size along Camp Long’s northernmost boundaries as human waste layers thicken; Robins and other wildlife sift along the garbage to gather food as winter breaks; A sign posted no earlier than the afternoon of April 22 claimed its posting occurred April 17. (I have) been staking out the encampment since March 5th and found no posting as late as Tuesday morning on April 22.” More of Matt’s photos, a closer look at its location, and what the city told us about this, ahead:


Matt made that Google map to point out where this site is located. Here are more of the photos he has been taking there since last month, going back repeatedly in hopes of finding some of its occupants, to learn more about them and why they are there:


Clockwise from top left, Matt writes of those photos: “Human feces and garbage are strewn over a large area. Items in the refuse includes bikes, cell phones, strollers and food wrappers; A “No Camping Sign” stands at the entrance to the encampment; Beauty tries to poke its head out in the forest surrounding the human waste; (Another of the signs seen no sooner than April 22, though it was dated Aprli 17); Encampments are pushed further into unused portions of the park that are not designed for human traffic.”

Matt told us about this after seeing the signs on April 22; as has been reported in recent citywide media coverage of the controversy over how the city clears these camps, the mayor signed an order earlier this month allowing sites to be cleared after residents are given 72 hours’ warning, and he wondered if the people at this site would truly get that much notice, given the date discrepancy here. We started contacting various people in city government to try to find out more and finally on the second day (Friday) received a call back from Dewey Potter in the city Parks Department‘s communications division, to whom someone had forwarded our inquiry. She did not have information about the dating discrepancy but said the city would be trying a few more days to contact the residents of this camp before finally clearing it, which she said could be done as soon as today (which would be six days after Matt saw the posting). Though there is no way to tell if the site’s “residents” saw the posting, Matt says the blue-tarp tents that were in place the day before it appeared April 22, were taken down the next day. We will be following up on this to let you know what happens from here.

104 Replies to "City plans to clear West Seattle homeless encampment"

  • TheHouse April 28, 2008 (7:52 am)

    If this is on Camp Longs grounds, then it’s on city park grounds. Bring out the bulldozer and clean it out today. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (8:27 am)

    The sad part is. If the homeless actually didnt trash the place I really wouldnt mnind them camping there, but when they are leaving it absolutely trashed i think the city really does need to get in there right away to get it cleaned up.

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (8:27 am)

    The sad part is. If the homeless actually didnt trash the place I really wouldnt mnind them camping there, but when they are leaving it absolutely trashed i think the city really does need to get in there right away to get it cleaned up.

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (8:29 am)

    Clean it out, throw away ALL the garbage and anything else there.
    I have no problem helping those that are truly homeless through no fault of their own and all they need is a little help to get back on their feet. Those are the people we need to help so they can become an asset to society, not a drain.
    For those that CHOOSE to live that way (studies show that can be anywhere from 40% to 70%, depending on area) – tough luck! You MADE the choice to live like that, don’t expect society to support you because you want to live a homeless life style. And yes I include those who blame alcohol and drugs for their homelessness as one of a personal choice. NO ONE forced them to become addicts or alcoholics.

  • MargL April 28, 2008 (8:51 am)

    I’m with beachdrivegirl. Camping would be fine with me if they followed the rule of ‘pack it in, pack it out’ – but leaving the place trashed like that is unacceptable. If they really want to live in trash like that they should move closer to the garbage transfer station down by the Duwamish. They’d have nice ‘fresh’ water to bathe in, too.

  • ann April 28, 2008 (9:07 am)

    I thought the same. Probably wouldn’t even have ever known they were there, nor cared if they’d have kept a nice low profile and kept it clean.

    Bulldoze it.

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (9:34 am)

    Frank, I take it you have never known someone who is a drug addict or alcoholic it is not really a personal choice and it really is life changing. It is unfortuante that more people do not understand that it is a disease and not a choice.

  • m2 April 28, 2008 (10:22 am)

    Anti-social behavior like this isn’t acceptable, whether or not addiction is a disease.

  • bart April 28, 2008 (10:39 am)

    I know hundreds of present and ex addicts and alchoholics. Here’s what I’ve learned:

    Addiction is NOT a disease. That’s a dangerous, victimizing way to think about CHOICES we all make. Addiction is a CONDITION that we can all find ourselves in if we’re not careful, and one that we can all find our way out of, if we want to.

    Sympathies to those who find themselves homeless because of circumstances beyond their control. There are lots of people and services there to help you. NO sympathy whatsoever to those who choose to be homeless for whatever reason. Choice is often the only thing people have in their lives that they themselves can control. This “it’s not my fault I made bad choices” cop-out is utter f*#&king b**$&$hit.

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (10:46 am)


    You would be wrong there. I have known quite a few addicts and alcoholics, more of the later.
    You are right that it is a disease, but it is a disease that is self inflicted and not caught.
    The personal choice comes at the beginning when they CHOOSE to ‘put the needle in their arm’ or take what ever drug they did. To take that first drink and not stop. No one FORCED them to do those things. And if their excuse has anything to do with peer pressure, their economic status…etc, it is BS.
    I don’t have any sympathy for addicts. What I do have is respect for those that came to the realization that they have a problem and need assistance to solve it. Until they come to that realization they will continue to drown themselves in self destructive choices. Unfortunately, at times, their self destructive choices involve innocents, whether they are family or strangers.
    The ones that WANT to better themselves are the ones we need to concentrate on, aid them, provide assistance to.

  • WestwoodWriter April 28, 2008 (10:56 am)

    I’m intrigued by the “urban camper” lifestyle. Society isn’t working out so great these days, so why not try something different. However, some of Seattle’s laws and municipal codes were enacted for a reason. Spreading garbage and human waste through wildlife areas (especially Seattle Parks land) is illegal for a number of important health and human safety reasons. If urban campers are ill and need medical and/or mental health care, then they need to get help getting into that system. Removing their “safe havens” on city property is an appropriate tough-love approach to taking away their hiding place. If urban campers who choose to be there and take care of their new home can coexist peacefully then I say have at it! The photos show an absolute ecological atrocity that should be bulldozed, repaired, and frankly, those responsible for the mess should be held responsible. Maybe a stay in the lovely King County Jail will make them appreciate the beauty of nature more profoundly.

  • TheHouse April 28, 2008 (11:02 am)

    Stay on topic!! This has nothing to do with drug use. It has to do with illegal camping and littering.

    Although I do agree that drug use is a choice and definitely not a disease! Way to go, Bart!

  • DALYDBL April 28, 2008 (11:33 am)

    I think that these vandals should be checked into jail, dressed in orange suits, cuffed to the nearest tree and be FORCED to clean up their mess while a drill sargeant yells orders at them.

    Why should WE pay to clean up this disgusting mess?!?!?

    It is clear that they need help, but whether the problem is depression, addiction, alcoholism, or simple laziness the CHOICE they made to destory something sacred to everyone is a crime and shouldn’t be ignored.

  • Kayleigh April 28, 2008 (11:34 am)

    Rather than bashing the homeless, why don’t you educate yourselves and find out how you can help solve the problem?

  • WestwoodWriter April 28, 2008 (11:42 am)

    I’m educated. Bulldoze this ecological tragedy and hold those responsible to the letter of the law including reimbursement for the clean-up and restoration. There is NOTHING worth defending in those photos. Education is one thing, opening your eyes is another.

  • Kayleigh April 28, 2008 (11:46 am)

    How educated are you on the subject, WestwoodWriter? Because I happen to work in the field, and you sound like many of the angry and ignorant people we try to educate.

    Do you feel better now, venting on an essentially powerless population like the homeless on an anonymous message board?

  • MsBette April 28, 2008 (11:51 am)

    You all sound like elitist snobs. You don’t know what it’s like for the homeless, so don’t try to make it so simple. If it weren’t for the grace of God, any of us could be there.

  • WestwoodWriter April 28, 2008 (11:56 am)

    Are you willing to let these powerless and ecologically friendly folk live in your yard and spread human feces in your landscaping?

  • MsBette April 28, 2008 (12:06 pm)

    If it was my back yard, I’d be supplying trash cans and a rest room. However, there are other ways to help, such as volunteering at a homeless shelter – it’s a life-changing opportunity – or contributing to organizations that are out there supporting the homeless, instead of mindlessly criticizing. What happened to compassion?

  • Kayleigh April 28, 2008 (12:15 pm)

    You didn’t stop with your hygiene concerns, WestwoodWriter. You went further to bash them.

    I don’t disagree with the public health concerns of the encampments. I *do* take issue with the anger and disrespect of many of you here. Homeless people are human beings and become (and stay) homeless for a variety of reasons, and their lives are hard enough.

  • MargL April 28, 2008 (12:17 pm)

    It’s fantastic to be compassionate but who’s to say these particular ‘campers’ wouldn’t be doing the same thing – leaving trash and waste everywhere – regardless of the space they were inhabiting. It’s a commentary on the folks trashing this place – not every homeless person out there.

  • Jiggers April 28, 2008 (12:18 pm)

    Yes–it sucks being homeless, but gee whiz, how much trash can they carry around? And why not at least use glad green bags to put your rubbish in and make an effort to keep clean so there wouldn’t be a controversy. I’ve seen the homeless with big glad trash bags. Oh well….

  • WestwoodWriter April 28, 2008 (12:19 pm)

    Compassion is disappearing because thoughtless citizens are destroying OUR parks and poisoning OUR public land with garbage, food waste, and human waste. These powerless individuals have a great deal of power when it comes to littering and trampling public lands. If they are so crafty to be able to find these “hidden corners” of our public parks, then they should be street-smart enough to find one or two of the 150 trashcans at Camp Long. Camp Long also has restrooms with showers, by the way. They are not to difficult to find since there are signs all over the park in EVERY direction that point to them. The photos in this posting show a total disrespect for nature and a total disregard the basic levels of human health. And, just for the “record,” I have volunteered at homeless youth shelters in Seattle and New York City in the 90’s, soup kitchens in Pioneer Square, and food banks in West Seattle and King County recently. I am compassionate, but I am also not going to stand by while public park property is irrevocably destroyed and the clean-up is left to be paid for by me and other tax-paying property owners in Seattle. This is a truly criminal act.

  • d April 28, 2008 (12:33 pm)

    Well, it sure makes sense, doesn’t it, why the Dalai-Lama is on a Compassion Tour?

    I’ve heard rumors that there were/are small encampments east of the Westcrest Park boundary, way down the slope/hill in the Duwamish Greenbelt. But, I have never seen any evidence myself because I’m reluctant to walk the trails all the way down to find out.


  • Bonnie April 28, 2008 (12:45 pm)

    It’s a shame that they just can’t take care of public property, instead of ruining it. I am compassionate against the homeless but feel they should clean up after themselves.

    I wonder where they will go once the city clears them out? Does the city have any plans in that regard?

  • Tonya April 28, 2008 (12:59 pm)

    The worst thing you can do is excuse away himan behavior which is controlable. Ask any recovering addict and they will tell you that enabling is the worst thing in the world.
    Secondly, I have a neighbor who knows of two squatters who live there, they are not homeless per say, they say they refuse to live in and participate in a “capitalist pig society”..

    That is verbatim.

  • cruiser April 28, 2008 (1:03 pm)

    How about we bring em to Alki Cafe:)

  • I AM A LOSER April 28, 2008 (1:11 pm)

    Get those idiots out of west seattle. No homeless here. They are nothing more than a bunch of lazy mofo’s who don’t give a damn. Get a dishwashing job pay rent and taxesl ike the rest of us do. No freeloaders around me.

  • Melissa April 28, 2008 (1:17 pm)

    Can I ask that those of you who are naming those folks at Camp Long “the homeless”, as if they are representative of all homeless folks, think about whether that generalization is helpful or true? It’s a comment equivalent to “those Americans” who kill Iraqi civilians or “those Muslims” who hate all non-believers. Where do these blanket statements get us? How on earth are they constructive?

  • MsBette April 28, 2008 (1:28 pm)

    I agree that everyone should clean up after themselves, including the homeless. But we, as a collective, need to be careful how we judge: neat and sloppy people can be found in all cultural and economical societies. There are lots of litterers that really should know better and certainly live better than the homeless. And how about the truly powerful that are polluting our atmosphere and REALLY trashing the earth?

    May we all try hard to keep our perspective!

  • Danno April 28, 2008 (1:49 pm)

    We are not a “collective,” that is a term of socialism dating to the 1500’s in Russia. This is a federal republic, thriving through capitalism. And no, of course not, we certainly better not judge anyone by their behaviour.

  • DW April 28, 2008 (2:24 pm)

    Thank goodness. Clear them out. I’m a parent and the homeless situation is one part of Seattle that is awful. In-laws and friends on the Eastside laugh at Seattle’s homeless problem and I have no response. The city has made the homeless a protected class and it’s disgusting that it’s spread to West Seattle. I wish we could deport them or send them to jail, but I’m pleased they are clearing out the “camp.” For my son’s sake.

  • MsBette April 28, 2008 (2:24 pm)

    I had a feeling I’d get jumped on my usage of collective! Sorry for the misunderstanding: I’m referring to the group of “us,” as in those of us that are reading and responding, of people acting as a group.

  • Kayleigh April 28, 2008 (2:25 pm)

    If only derision and contempt solved social problems. But hey—it’s the conservative way to keep trying things over and over, despite the proven fact they don’t work.

  • I AM A LOSER April 28, 2008 (2:30 pm)

    Most of us here are one paycheck away from being homeless too.

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (2:49 pm)

    Right Kay,

    And the liberal way has solved all the social problems in the city, county, state and country right????

    I guess since Seattle is a HUGELY LIBERAL CONCLAVE there shouldn’t be ANY social ills within our city. But hold on a second. Homelessness has INCREASED in Seattle. So has alcoholics and drug addicts. There is a nice building in Downtown that is home to 75 alcoholics. They have a room and a nice warm place to sleep. Do you know what the stipulations are for them to sleep here? NOTHING!!! They don’t pay rent, they don’t clean the place, they CAN bring alcohol there and drink it. This is where our tax dollars are being spent.
    Liberals think that this is doing them a service by getting them off the street. What they don’t realize is that all that does for them is ENABLE them to continue drinking.
    Want more proof of the folly of providing something to the homeless without ensuring that THEY become responsible for it in some form? Look what is happening the the $750,000 public toilets. A GREAT idea, but by not holding the poeple who use it responsible for the CORRECT use, the city is going to pay another $600,000 to get rid of them.
    As long as there are people who make excuses for the homeless THAT CHOOSE TO LIVE THAT WAY there will ALWAYS be a homeless problem.
    Why is it so hard for people to realize that unless a person WANTS help to change their lifestyle, trying to help them is a waste of time, money and effort.
    I have NO PROBLEM with assisting THOSE THAT WANT HELP, but the other??? WHY am I expected to pay for YOUR choice to live homeless???

  • forrest (with 2 Rs) April 28, 2008 (2:51 pm)


    I’m certainly not condoning the behavior those people who are the subject of this post, but I do find the idea that homeless people need to be “cleared out” because your reasonably affluent friends/relatives on the Eastside can make jokes about you because of them reprehensible.

    Also, I don’t really understand why they should be “deported” or “sent to jail” for “your son’s sake. What exactly are they doing to your son?

  • Mike April 28, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    If you think they should be allowed to stay why don’t you invite some to stay in your own backyard? And if not why as the park belongs to all of us and in a way is all of our backyards.

  • Danno April 28, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    Right on Frank.
    These problems exist largely as a result of the liberal ideals as put into practice in Seattle.
    Exercising personal responsibility is the solution.

  • WSMom April 28, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    To make a mess as big as this would take a lot of time. How did they get it all of that stuff into the park without anyone noticing?? I feel more compassion for the city workers who have to wade through the rat infested feces to clean up this disgrace.

  • Kayleigh April 28, 2008 (3:04 pm)

    Anger management much, Frank?

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (3:25 pm)

    Thank you Kayleigh! I was thinking the same thing. Yes this is disgusting and yes something needs to be done with this being cleaned up, but not all homeless live like this. It is really unfortunate that the few homeless that chose to live in these conditions make such a bad name for them all.

  • Danno April 28, 2008 (4:07 pm)

    It would be good to stay on point and not resort to personal attacks.
    Frankly, (pun intended) I think anyone would have a solid right to be angry at the way the liberals have screwed this city up.

  • Mike Dady April 28, 2008 (4:15 pm)

    Just paid a personal visit to the site and even on a sunny day it was a rather bleak experience. Lots of social trails leading into campsites that had long ago been abandoned as well as some that had been used in the last few weeks or so. Garbage, clothing, bikes, suitcases and strollers scattered about. The pile of Gee Automotive license plate frames was an interesting decorator touch. Sad to see the ID card of a Real Change vendor named Paul W___ hanging from a tree. Who knows if he was actually a part of the camp or if it had been stolen from him. Bottom line is that this is unacceptable use of public land. /// While on site I was once again reminded of how there is so much work that needs to be done for the health of our urban forests and public greenspaces such as this one. Ivy and blackberry are choking out everything. I do believe the ivy and blackberry are a more negative impact on the forest than the camping. How about a public works program to put the capable people without housing to work on tearing out ivy and restoring all the urban forests in the city? House and feed them in barracks style tent camps, pay them a decent wage and get something in return? I dunno’…..

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (4:22 pm)

    It’s alright Danno, I have come to expect personal attacks from liberals who have had their belief system questioned and shown just how flawed it is.

    To some of them it is easier to blame a political movement than to blame the individual, or hold an individual responsible for their actions.

    Any YES Kay, I do get angry when I see our tax dollars spent in such a stupid way when there is much more pressing needs that to be addressed and taken care of.

  • JenV April 28, 2008 (4:22 pm)

    Danno, please tell me you are not blaming liberals for the homeless problem.

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (4:38 pm)

    Look @ the cost of living in Seattle!!! The Liberals didnt drive the cost of living up and the cost of living is what drives the homeless rate up.

    And quite frankly, the reason why many homeless come to Seattle is becuase of the numerous nonprofit organizations Seattle has to offer. These nonprofits have beenfounded to assist those during the transitional period between homelessness and the working world.

    Since you are so smart I am sure you have some really great ideas on how to get rid of homelessness…so why dont you share them?

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (4:44 pm)

    Have you realized alot of homeless individuals are homeless because they are mentally ill?

  • JenV April 28, 2008 (4:47 pm)

    BDG I would posit that a lot of republicans are, too… ;)

  • JT April 28, 2008 (4:58 pm)

    Geez Danno, Seattle is one of the most desirable cities in the country. Do you need help packing for your move to a city that hasn’t been screwed up by liberals? You said something about staying on topic?

  • bubba April 28, 2008 (4:59 pm)

    this is nothing that can’t be solved by a Freedom Shovel.

  • Bob Loblaw April 28, 2008 (5:03 pm)

    I bet the tent on the right goes for at least $350K

    (Forrest: beautiful pics!)

  • JT April 28, 2008 (5:20 pm)

    Frank, the housing for chronic alcoholics has SAVED taxpayers 1.5 million. Not to mention, freed up emergency personnel, among other benefits. You should have a look at the statistics.

  • Kayleigh April 28, 2008 (5:25 pm)

    Frank,it’s a little disingenuous to rant against liberals and the homeless (in quite a nasty way) and then accuse me of personal attacks. And if you think you are ‘showing’ me anything, you need to get over yourself.

    The program you refer to where alcoholics can drink has actually saved the City of Seattle $2.5 million already. It’s a concept called Housing First, the idea being that to treat the hardcore street addicts, giving them shelter *first* increases the chance they will get sober. To read the research:

    Further, even if sobriety, employment, etc. don’t follow the housing, the addicts are at least not using resources like shelters, emergency rooms, police attention, etc. Thus the saved $$$.

    Seattle’s homeless problem is due, in part, to our outrageously high housing costs here which have far outpaced wage growth. Homelessness in general is not due to “failed liberal programs”, but rather, in part, to capitalism itself, which creates a system of ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’

    To reduce everything to ‘personal responsibility’ is simplistic, doesn’t hold up to years of social science research or even common sense, and is arrogant at best and mean-spirited at worst.

    It really could happen to anybody. Even you.

  • Creighton April 28, 2008 (6:05 pm)

    Good call, Mike Dady. One, you checked it out in person. Two you have a good idea, to put the people in there to work and take care of the forest, like the WPA of the CCC.

  • WestwoodWriter April 28, 2008 (6:05 pm)

    Mike Dady, yes, our urban forests are in immediate peril. A study done a few years ago and published in the Times and P-I showed that Seattle’s urban forests had less than 20 years before they would be past the tipping point and just be giant nests of ivy, blackberries and “critters.” Luckily, there are many groups working on restoration in Seattle Parks and in the West Duwamish Greenbelt where years of industrial mining and other invasive species have drastically altered nature’s original plan for this land. As someone who has spent a LOT of time in the greenbelt and at Camp Long, when I see our fragile urban ecosystem utterly trashed by its citizens it does make me angry and upset. For those of you who don’t know, there are MANY camps in hidden corners of Seattle Parks, vacant lots, and ignored easements. There are many “urban campers” who keep tidy camps and guardedly nod (and maybe smile) as I walk by with my dog in the greenbelt. I wish they weren’t there, but they appear to be living peacefully and with a small ecological footprint. The photos and Mike Dady’s report on the site confirm that in this case, a serious crime has been committed. And, I have to say (again) that Camp Long is the one park in Seattle where they actually have TRASHCANS and bathrooms, and LOTS of both. So, the particular destruction shown very clearly in the photos is especially upsetting to me.

  • WestwoodWriter April 28, 2008 (6:15 pm)

    Creighton and Mike, I LOVE the WPA idea. Much of Camp Long’s infrastructure was built in the late 30’s and early 40’s by the WPA using reclaimed lumber and concrete from sites around the city. Imagine how wonderful this country would be today if for the last 5 years we could have been spending the BILLIONS of dollars on the Iraq quagmire and the Bear Stearns bailout to pay people to make the country better by improving our parks and cleaning up the streets! People could have jobs that involve cleaning not killing and planting not pillaging.

  • Jaime Gummer April 28, 2008 (6:16 pm)

    Kayleigh: I’m not sure why you’re suddenly so averse to personal attacks. I always see you in these forums passing judgment on people you obviously don’t know, calling them names like “pretentious twit” and “jerk”. You really shouldn’t dish out the vitriol if you can’t take it. It is arrogant of you to posit that people who disagree with you are uneducated on the issue. They might strongly believe the opposite of what you believe.

  • snowlion April 28, 2008 (6:21 pm)

    I am amused by how the concept of “compassion” is so often interchangeable with coddling and codependency. Sometimes, the best way to show compassion is with a swift kick in the ass, especially when people need it. If ever anyone needed it, it looks like it might be these folks.

  • Shutupandwork April 28, 2008 (6:27 pm)


    This type of behavior does not happen to those of us who accept that life is not fair, who quite looking for excuses, and actually work a few job’s to make end’s.
    Life, the government, or society, does not owe me or you anything.

  • Bob Loblaw April 28, 2008 (6:34 pm)

    WestwoodWriter: Wonderful, wonderful posts that contribute much to the conversation. Bob Loblaw is really glad you are a neighbor (at least hoping you are really from West Seattle — so much of the InterWebs is false these days :-))!

  • A number onea April 28, 2008 (7:14 pm)

    A lot of peoples cars look like this. I only wonder how bad their homes are inside.

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (7:49 pm)

    I used to have some of the others same opinions about homelessness until last year I went as a guest with a friend of mine to the Plymouth Housing Groups Annual luncheon it truely was amazing hearing everyones stories including the keynote speaker himself Marting Sheen….

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (7:57 pm)

    Kayleigh, Guess What!!

    While looking @ the Plymouth Housing Groups page i found that none other than Senator John Edwards himself is going to be the keynote speaker this year @ their annual luncheon!

  • beachdrivegirl April 28, 2008 (8:07 pm)

    Sorry that is supposed to say Martin!

    And on a different note for those who understand and accept homelessness…does anyone know if the City of Seattle has ever considered one of the programs that allows the homeless to park in certain parking lots in business districts etc overnight (8pm to 6am) like they do in Santa Barbara?

  • Ari April 28, 2008 (8:11 pm)

    If they keep jacking up my rent here, I’ll be homeless soon enough.

  • TheHouse April 28, 2008 (8:19 pm)

    Kayleigh, like I always say on here you are simply a victim of being so open minded that your mind has turned inside out.

    I’m thankful for a few folks on here like Frank, Danno and a few others that recognize that these type of actions/people are detriments to our community. There are times to lend a helping hand and times to simply push the crap out of your neighborhood. In this instance, the people (I never called them homeless) that did this have no respect for my community therefore I have no respect for them. Wait for the losers to show up, hand them citations and then promptly bulldoze the site.

    Alcoholism, drug addition, homelessness and general stupidity don’t have any relation to this. It simply comes down to a complete disregard for the community and is unlawful. Don’t let the libs try to make excuses and stray from the point.

  • Kathy April 28, 2008 (9:08 pm)

    Craig Rennebohm has just published a book called “Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets.” Craig works with homeless in Seattle. It gives an interesting perspective about the homeless problem in Seattle.

  • Ari April 28, 2008 (9:18 pm)

    This is not a religious issue folks. Keep it seperate.

  • rjb April 28, 2008 (9:22 pm)

    All I know, after reading all these comments is that the “compassion debate” part of this thread has made me sad.
    I feel compassion for the person or peoples who are living, and yes, created a personal garbage dump. They are living in their own waste. It is gross. I highly doubt the people who slumber in those tents are loving the situation they are in.
    Obviously they are picking up trash from people who are throwing it away and brining it to Camp Long. Not to annoy us non homeless and dump it, but because they think that somehow they can use it.
    These people’s lives suck. They are probably one of the following: mentally ill, addicts, or just have nothing – they feel – to live for.
    And here are the Good People of West Seattle, annoyed that they made a mess in a part of a park where no one ventures, saying they are some special “protected class”, that they should bulldoze the place, the people living there should somehow come up with the cost to restore the place, that they should be chained to trees and clean the place up..
    Yeah, they made a mess. It’s a mess. Boo freaking hoo. A part of a park never visited by anyone is a mess. A mess can be cleaned up. I’m not spouting enabling. Just have some TRUE compassion. Think of what it must be like to live like this and what on earth could have happened to these people to drive them so low. I know. It’s hard when you’re on your computer, in your office, in your home, with the heat on, a nice cup of coffee at hand, your loving spouse in the other room, and a belly full of a nice dinner to think of these people other than urchins who made horrid life choices and messed a place you’ve never been to.

  • lisa April 28, 2008 (9:59 pm)

    since you have so much compassion for them how about we move them to your yard. hey, like you said,”a mess can be cleaned up.” so you won’t mind if they trash your yard.

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (10:03 pm)

    First of all I WASN’T the one who brought up politics here – you were.
    Second if you look at the spending on the hotel it has out stripped what they originally intended to spend. The saving you pointed out are on papaer and not actual savings. If you want to help them GREAT, I do to, but I believe that the desire to change must first come frominside…only then can real change happen. Anything you provide to those that don’t want to change is just enabling their actions and addictions.
    So don’t accuse me of attacking you…you are the one who brought conservatives up as the root of all social ills. Look in the mirror once in a while and try to figure out if your grandstanding for liberal causes ACTUALLY helps people instead of just giving them an excuse to behave in that manner!!!

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (10:25 pm)


    I do have compassion for the homeless, I feel for the people who TRULY want to better them selves, to get out of the situation that they find themselves in. THOSE are the people I want to help. But until people are ready to accept that help and work together with the agencies that are out there to aid in that field, pouring money just to “help” the homeless is a waste.
    No one will ever solve homelessness. Why? Because there will ALWAYS be some segment of society that choose to live that way. Those are the ones that put a strain on the system and take the focus off of the ones that want to get out of homelessness.
    As far as the remark about some of the homeless are mantally ill. BDG is correct. Alot of them are and it’s a shame that they can’t be forced into places that will take care of them. In the 80’s the ACLU filed a suit to prevent the involuntary commitment practice. The USSC agreed with them and now a person may not be committed involuntarily. They may only be committed against thier wishes if they present a significant danger to themselves or others. They were let loose without the proper training to deal with the real world and this is where they end up. Send a BIG thank you to the ACLU for that.

  • Frank April 28, 2008 (10:31 pm)

    This is going to be my last post on this…
    Homelessness is an issue that transends political boundries. It is a hot button issue for both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’. But I would rather see people working together to get some meaningful assistance to those out there in need instead of just doing something to score points with a certain party or ideology.
    The first step in sttempting to solve homelessness (for those that DO NOT choose it) must come from that person. Otherwise we are just spinning our wheels and not sloving or helping anyone.

  • rjb April 28, 2008 (10:45 pm)

    Lisa, they aren’t trashing anyone’s yard. They are trashing a part of a public area no one has (obviously by the photos) ventured into in a real long while. What you wrote really doesn’t contribute to any real debate that leads anywhere.
    It just..depresses me that no one really cares about these people. Addicts, people who want to be homeless, the mental ill… Is West Seattle this heartless?

    Ok. An addict lives there. Yes, he chose to be an addict, but who are we to judge why he has chosen to let a substance take over his life? Life can be really really disgusting and terrible to people and substance abuse is a way for those people to block the past.
    A person who wants to be homeless / mentally ill. I think they are partially one in the same. Good god, it’s WS. If you are here, and mentally ill, and penniless, where the hell else would you go?
    But no. People here think they should get Green Glad Bags, pack in / pack out, less, be handcuffed to a tree to pick up the mess, or somehow come up with the money to restore the desolate part of the park that no one ever goes into.
    Or else we could all be thankful for what we have, find these people, HELP them clean up, and get them to the services that could help them. Or, just take pictures of the horridness they have created and lived in and then biitch about how having ANY sympathy is enabling.

  • Hunter April 28, 2008 (10:55 pm)

    What an awful shame in so many aspects…

    One, it’s a shame that these individuals did this to the park, which is supposed to a refuge from garbage and pestilence for people AND creatures. We don’t seem to leave wildlife with much in our perpetual state of construction and development, and this is what we (meaning humans) do to it.

    Two, it’s a shame that this mess (not knowing the right way to word this) was tolerated or allowed long enough to give it this charming “lived in” homey look.

    And three… with all due respect to those posting here who obviously care very much about this issue – it’ a shame that the time spent agruing with eachother on message boards could have been spent in a proactive way or with loved ones.

  • Bonnie April 28, 2008 (11:22 pm)

    Are these the same people who were posting that they’d love to have the tent city in WS who are now posting to kick the homeless out? Hope not.

  • Kayleigh April 29, 2008 (5:29 am)

    Jamie, people who shoot innocent animals *are* jerks in my book, and people who operate restauraunts secretly and outside the law *are* pretentious twits in my book. It’s okay, because I’m a twit sometimes and even a jerk sometimes (though at least I’m not pretentious.)

    Frank’s attitude was that in a post or two he would ‘show’ me that my entire belief system was false. House’s attitude is always that liberals are always wrong, and generally stupid to boot. Danno was just plain rude. Yet I don’t see you calling them out.

    I *do* stand up for people and animals who can’t stand up for themselves. The homeless who live in that encampment aren’t here to defend themselves.

    Nowhere did I say I think it’s cool they’ve made the place a public health hazard. I’m a germaphobe and I wouldn’t go near that place if you paid me.

    I happen to know, personally, some of the leading folks in the area of homelessness. So when somebody posts that the programs ‘don’t work’ when we have evidence that they *do* work, I can say that yes, they could use some education on the topic.

    Simply put, people believe a lot of things about the homeless that are demonstrably false, not a matter of ‘opinion.’

  • Kayleigh April 29, 2008 (6:00 am)

    PS: BDG….OMG! I’ve yet to see Sen. Edwards speak live. I’m there! :D

  • Paul April 29, 2008 (7:20 am)

    Wow, lively! 2 issues, not just the homeless create trash. Ever follow around kids when school lets out? Regularly I watch kids just toss cans and wrappers when then are walking down the street.
    Second, I deal with the homeless in one of my businesses almost daily. The laundromat on 35th, Olympic Manor, my trash cans are used all the time by homeless and my sink turns into a tub or shower. We do not have a bathroom, and I wonder what would happen if we did.

  • beachdrivegirl April 29, 2008 (8:05 am)

    There are many causes of homelessness and noone will ever be able to completly element the problem. However, there are things that many of us can do to help get these people off the street. First of all, unfortunatly, over the last few years alot of federal funding for mental illness and homelessness has been cut. besides the funding being cut, many indidviduals like you and i chose not to support these nonprofit programs because it doesnt sound as nice as contributing to other causes. Without these programs around homelessness is going to rise and becoming a growing program. We will see more and more of these encampments around. I urge all of you to donate to any of these programs and help create solutions for the homeless rather than ignore the problem and talk a bunch of s**T becuase who knows it could happen to you or someone close to you…

  • Homie April 29, 2008 (8:43 am)

    might as well venture further into the park early in the morning and find all the homeless people sleeping under the picnic shelters in Camp Long…

  • Frank April 29, 2008 (8:51 am)

    You know I said I wasn’t going to post on this subject anymore, but after reading what Kay ‘claimed’ I said I had to respond.
    See I don’t mind and rather enjoy getting in to contentious debates on issues, politics, sports…heck whatever. I am also not to afraid to admit when I am wrong. But the one thing I do ask in internet discussions is that if you are going to say I said something…PLEASE HAVE THE COMMON DECENCY TO GET WHAT I SAID RIGHT!!!
    Kay, you claimed I said:
    Frank’s attitude was that in a post or two he would ’show’ me that my entire belief system was false.
    What I ACTUALLY said was:
    I have come to expect personal attacks from liberals who have had their belief system questioned and shown just how flawed it is.
    Let me ask you something Kay…Do you know the difference between false and flawed?
    Like every political belief system, liberalism has flaws in it. Just like conservatism, socialism, communism….etc.
    In this subject, homelessness, liberals seem to want to treat the symptom (homelessness) and not the causes (mental illness, addiction, economic hardships). They make excuses like:
    ‘housing is too expensive’
    ‘it’s societies fault they turned to drugs and alcohol’
    ‘it’s not their fault they became addicts’
    ‘no one goes there, so it’s ok for them to trash it’
    “You can’t hold a person against their will, even if the don’t have the mental capacity to take care of themselves’.
    Just keep throwing money at it and it hopefully it will go away. Start treating the causes and you will make the situation for these people a hell of a lot better. Start holding those that can be held responsible for their actions, responsible. Put the mentally ill in places where they will get treatment for their condition and be taken care of. Sometimes it will seem heartless and that is what some of these people need. Call it tough love, call it callousness, called it what ever you want to. You need to educate them, to make them realize that they ARE better then they have let themselves become. SHOW them a way out. But until they are ready to take that path, you and everyone else is powerless to get them to do that, no matter how much money you throw at it.
    You brought politics in to this not me. You made the claim:
    If only derision and contempt solved social problems. But hey—it’s the conservative way to keep trying things over and over, despite the proven fact they don’t work.
    As if you have ANY CLUE which way I lean politically.
    Political beliefs have no place when it comes to trying to alleviate the homeless problem. Compassion can only go so far. At some point they, the homeless, need to be held responsible for their own plight. Change MUST come from within to be successful.
    Unfortunately, Kay and BDG wanted to inject politics in to this discussion.
    Kayleigh, Guess What!!

    While looking @ the Plymouth Housing Groups page i found that none other than Senator John Edwards himself is going to be the keynote speaker this year @ their annual luncheon!

    Good, go there, ask him how much of the millions he made suing doctors and through his hedge fund consulting job he has given to the homeless and programs to help them. Edwards talks a good talk, but that is all he does. There are a lot of others out who don’t have anywhere near the money he has that have done a HELL OF A LOT MORE than just talk.

  • jiggers April 29, 2008 (10:05 am)

    Kumbaya my lord kumbaya(holding hands)…

  • beachdrivegirl April 29, 2008 (10:34 am)

    I was not trying to bring politics into the discussion and I think if anything you did by blaming the problem for homelessness on liberal veiws which quite frankly is a bunch of b.s.

    do you know anything out there about the programs I suggested people support to help “cure” homelessneess? i am guessing you dont becuase if that were the case, I think you would know that many of these programs require addicts to stay dry to receive help, give them job training, and have support classes for those addcited to drugs/alcohol. I also didnt limit my suggestion to just help those programs that support homelessness why dont you support Recovery Centers of king County ro Sound Mental Health??? Without OUR support they have to turn those wiht mental illness and drug/alcohol problems back on the street at times because they do not have the resources avaialbe to treat people and then these peopel that are treated can not get dry or stay on the proper medications in the case of mental illness and so they can not take can not take advantage of proper housing!

    I think you would be surprised at waht you can learn at any of these benefits. did you know that Martin Sheen has been arrested numerous times while trying to fight for the homeless or the fact that he volunteers at a soup kitchen? No you dont b/c you are on your all and mighty high horse that you think you are better than everyone else around you and you think that by ignoring the problem it will go away. Well Frank I have news for you it wont!

  • beachdrivegirl April 29, 2008 (10:45 am)

    And just for clarification the only reason why i mentioned Edwards was because I know that Kayleigh is an Edwards fan from her other posts it had nothing to do with bringing up politics.

  • JT April 29, 2008 (10:46 am)

    Frank, I personally appreciate that you are trying to have a dialog. However, some of your suggestions are not that simple. *Put the mentally ill in places where they will get treatment for their condition and be taken care of.* In another post you said we can thank the ACLU that people aren’t involuntarily committed for the own good. First, who decides the criteria? How mentally ill do you have to be? Do only certain diagnosis qualify?

    Also, why is this an OK taxpayer expense when the the idea behind the alcoholic house was born out of wanting to save us money and free up emergency services, you oppose? By the way, those alcoholics were carefully chosen as being decades long abusers with no real chance at recovery. Left on the streets they were costing one way or another. Whether it be county hospital bills or lost tourism dollars. I approve of this taxpayer expense. Is my opinion as valid as yours?

    There just aren’t pat one size fits all answers for some of these challenges.

    And just as an aside. I think you’re taking the heat for some of the callousness of others, when all who decide to participate in a discussion verses those throwing out inflammatory accusations, should be encouraged.

  • JT April 29, 2008 (10:57 am)

    I also wonder, looking closely at the pictures, is there a possibility this is being used as an illegal dumping ground and the people living here are just spreading it out looking for usable stuff?

    Some things (tires, etc) don’t seem like things you’d drag in there.

    In any case, not making excuses and I do think it is disgusting and should be cleaned up. Just don’t care for the broad stroke homeless generalizations that some are making.

  • Frank April 29, 2008 (11:46 am)


    I think you need to look at who first brought political ideology into this discussion.

    If only derision and contempt solved social problems. But hey—it’s the conservative way to keep trying things over and over, despite the proven fact they don’t work.

    Comment by Kayleigh — April 28, 08 2:25 pm #

    To which I responded:
    Right Kay,

    And the liberal way has solved all the social problems in the city, county, state and country right????
    Comment by Frank — April 28, 08 2:49 pm #
    You think to blame it on liberal views is BS? But it’s OK to blame it on conservative views?
    I’m sorely tempted to label you a partisan hack, but I don’t know you that well.
    But lets look at some facts here. Seattle has been led by liberals for decades. Homelessness has INCREASED during that time. Is it liberals that are solely to blame? NO, but whatever they are doing isn’t working, and they are too afraid to try something else.
    Want to place blame for homelessness? You, Kay and JanV seem to want to, I can play too.
    Lets place blame:
    1. On the ACLU for getting the involuntary commitment option thrown out.
    2. On the rise of taxes, esp Property Taxes, that drive people from the homes
    3. On the lack of low income housing
    4. On the lack of prevention programs for dugs addiction and alcoholism.
    5. On the unwillingness to hold people responsible for their actions.
    6. On the people who CHOOSE to live homeless, who believe it is up to society to care for them.
    There are so many things that cause people to be homeless that we could list 100’s of things to blame. But does that REALLY help????
    Kay, JanV and you brought political ideology into this. THAT is the biggest reason why doing ANYTHING about the homeless hits a brick wall. People like you three would rather blame an ideology than work across that divide by taking the best ideas from all sides and developing a plan.
    The ACLU is to blame for many of the mentally ill that would otherwise by committed involuntarily for being on the streets. The people who would decide criteria for the involuntary commitment would be the same one that decided that prior to that ruling. The Mental Health Care professionals. This is an OK expense over the Alcoholic House, IMO, because those with mental health issues probably didn’t have much of a personal choice in that. Alcoholic/Addicts ALL had a choice to make at one point. They made their choice and now we are expected to care for them??? Sorry I don’t mean to be heartless, but HELL NO!!! When they are READY to come out of their addiction, I’ll be the first one to help them. Otherwise it’s just a waste of money. I wouldn’t have a problem with The Alcoholic House, if they provided treatment. That is what the space and money should be spent on. Getting those that WANT HELP, HELP. Right now it is just enabling self destructive behavior.
    You opinion is valid, I never said otherwise. I just happen to not agree with it.
    You are correct there is no one answer fits all in this, which is why I think it is idiotic to blame a political ideology for this as Kay, JanV and BDG seem to want to do.

  • beachdrivegirl April 29, 2008 (1:43 pm)


    First, I am my own person, I have my own views and my own thoughts. I am not Kayleigh or JenV.
    I am beachdrivegirl.

    Secondly, I apologize,I hadnt read Kayleighs post that blamed conservatives first. However, I have never blamed it on conservative views. Quite frankly I think it is b.s. to even bring up different politcal parties or views when trying to decide the cause of homelesness. Homelessness is a problem. Numerous things cause homelessness, but blaming each other doesnt solve anything.

    And if I recall, I think I have beeen one of the few on this post that actually has listed ideas on how to help homeless and infact have listed nonprofits in the area that would be very very thankful for your donation. These nonprofits need our donations to successful;ly reach out to the homeless that need our help. They have programs in face to keep them clean and sober as well as train them for jobs.

    Lastly, I think you are unfamiliar with a couple of important issues when you are addressing JT. First of all, to receive mental health treatment you must be clean and sober. If you are not clean and sober you will be turned away. Also, mentally ill individuals are turning to the alcohol and the drugs as a way to self medicate. And since they are mentally ill it is not the same as the choices that we all make everyday.

  • beachdrivegirl April 29, 2008 (1:53 pm)

    If you do not have the money available to donate here are a few other ideas on how to help the homeless:
    1) Work @ a Shelter
    2) Help build or fix up Shelter
    3) OFfer Personal skills directly. Help them gain the personal skills needed to become independent and get off of the street.
    4) Help with job training or do practice interviews with them.
    5) Dontate old work clothes that they can use for job interviews…

  • beachdrivegirl April 29, 2008 (2:02 pm)

    Another place to volunteer is Friends of Youth. Friends of Youth work with at-risk teens. So why not start when they are young.

  • Diana April 29, 2008 (4:57 pm)

    I have been reading these posts from the begining. I have been thinking about them and have re-read them again and again.

    Thank you Matt Durham for your evocative photographs. Thank you for your professionalism, your investigation, and your notations. A good photographer tells a story through his lens. The readers, and some of those who have chosen to post, have created a cast of characters and a scenario they imagine, but do not know.

    What brought these people here? What caused this human tragedy? They were born innocent and through circumstance or choice they have succumbed.

    There is great sadness here. For those who live in this encampment and for those who have judged them. Their story needs to be complete for us to better understand. Despair can break a soul swiftly and cruelly.

    Take a stand. Take a step. Make a difference. Any one of us could be homeless in a second through a multitude of circumstance.

  • jIggers April 29, 2008 (5:36 pm)

    On K-5 tonight, they said a homeless downtown camp was found to have hundreds of empty beer cans like Icehouse, Old English etc.. They showed the pictures of it. Anyways, the news story topic was about those canned beers that was supposed to be off store shelves in the Belltown area but are still not.

  • Mike Dady April 29, 2008 (5:48 pm)

    JT @ 10:57am – The answer to your question is no. The area in the photograph is at least a couple hundred yards from the entry road to the golf course and West Seattle Stadium parking lot so it is not as if vehicles were driving in and dumping the junk. The debris scattered about was hauled in on backs, bikes, baby strollers and via wheeled luggage. Many of those things, sans the backs, are scattered about.

  • cmt April 29, 2008 (7:03 pm)

    This same site has been use over the years for simular purposes. Several years ago I walked thru the trail into the same area and kids used it for get away. There even was a stuffed chair and a campfire there. It was cleaned up by volunteers.

    An interest note is how many times Frank(9), Kayleigh (8) and Beachdrivegirl (14) have responded on this blog subject?

    The site needs cleanup pronto. Maybe it needs to be adopted by Frank, westwwood, Kayleigh, and Beachdrivegirl. Then they could put into practice their ideas. Work it out.

  • Gina April 29, 2008 (7:10 pm)

    Holocaust Remembrance day is May 2nd. Many of those posting here have the same attitudes that allowed millions of innocent people to be murdered by the Nazi regime. If you think that’s an exaggeration, just read a history book. You’ll see that most of the German people-average citizens just like most of you, stood by and did nothing while those who were deemed to be different or inferior were taken away and killed. It wasn’t just Jews. It was Gypsies, gay people, the handicapped etc…. I’m sure known drug addicts and alcoholics were put in the same category. Have some #$%%* compassion people. Stop pretending like it couldn’t be you. The economy is bad and getting worse. Many hard-working folks are literally one paycheck away from homelessness themselves. Middle class people are circling the drain as I write this.
    The thing that really gets me is that many of the people posting on this blog probably beat their chests about the war, the genocide in Darfur, and the fact that China is hosting the Olympics, but can’t muster any sympathy for the homeless in their own back yards. What’s up with that people? BTW, I live in front of Camp Long on 35th, it is literally my backyard and I am not up in arms about this encampment.

  • Barbara April 29, 2008 (8:15 pm)

    Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I think the biggest problem with the encampment is not who lives there or why they live there, but the absolute health hazard it is posing. I’m sure it’s not just garbage in those piles.

  • responsible gal April 29, 2008 (10:10 pm)

    Wow.. what a debate! I just wanted to write in support of Frank – and for the record I’m a registered Democrat (yes, this is all very political). I’m so sick of hearing that we’re all ‘one paycheck away from being homeless’. I sure as he11 am not. What a stupid way to live. Doesn’t anyone know how to save their money any more? That means saying no to the Ipod, making your own coffee at home for .25 instead of spending $4 at a coffee shop, and LIVING WITHIN YOUR MEANS. It may seem that I’m off topic, but really I’m not. I’m so sick of this “poor me, my life has been so hard” story. Mine’s been hard, too, but I’m not homeless; far from it. I’ve been on my own since I was 16, and have always saved money where I can. When I’ve neede more money I’ve gotton a second job; waiting tables, cleaning offices, it didn’t matter. Why? So I wouldn’t have to be at anyone else’s mercy and I DAMN WELL would not have to live in the woods in a pile of trash. Many of our social problems today stem from everyone’s “I want, I want” attitude…including the mortgage / foreclosure crisis.

    I’m a Democrat because I believe in protecting the environment, giving gay people the right to marry, and helping those who truly need it on a limited basis.

    As for the encampment, clean it up and move on. Keep an eye on it in the future so it won’t get that bad. Frank, we can patrol weekly.

    The sad thing is, like most people have said, if the residents had just kept it clean they probably could have stayed much longer. Something tells me they’re not thinking too far into the future, though.

  • Gina April 29, 2008 (11:27 pm)

    Responsible gal:
    It doesn’t matter if you or anyone else is sick of the “one paycheck away from homelessness” story, it’s very real and it affects many people who work extremely hard and don’t live beyond their means. Poverty and being underpaid are rampant in this country. Have you heard about the cost of everything going up? Have you been to the grocery store lately? It has nothing to do with MP3 players or lattes. It has to do with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Maybe people in Seattle aren’t as empathetic because for so many of us the economy hasn’t gotten too bad yet. But our day is coming. And guess what? All the smug folks who don’t buy lattes will be in for a very unpleasant surprise. It’s fascinating to me the way we try to separate ourselves from the people who have fallen on hard times. Is it because we believe it can’t happen to us? It can happen to ANYONE and you can be in denial about it if you like. If it happens to you I hope you are met with more compassion than you seem willing to give. It’s puzzling to me when I see all the Barack Obama signs in West Seattle. It would almost lead one to think that people who really can step outside of their myopic world view live here, but apparently those signs are just for show if this blog is any indication.

  • responsible gal April 30, 2008 (8:04 am)

    Oh, Gina,

    I am not in denial; quite the opposite. Just about every decision I make is based on how it will affect my future, from working two (sometimes three) jobs to pay my way through college to waiting until I was 33 to have children so I can adequately provide for them. Yes, the cost of living is increasing and yes, some wages are not keeping pace. That is why sacrifices must be made…smaller living quarters, shopping at thrift stores. I’ve DONE all these things to get where I am; I am not just saying it to make a point. Yes, emergencies and catastrophes happen, but some of us are prepared and some are not. I grew up exclusively on hard times and am tired of supporting people who had similar (or better) upbringings and refuse to look at the choices they make as a source of success or failure.

    Does that mean I don’t believe in helping people who need it? No, I truly believe in giving people a hand up. HOWEVER, many people make a career out of exploiting those opportunities, my mother included (just so you don’t think I’m so detached from the subject of help), spending more time proving that they can’t work than if they actually had a real job. I’ve also worked at a local housing authority, and I have to say that a lot of service agencies are creating a culture of “oh, of course you can’t make that (food stamps, whatever) work, so let’s all complain, instead of just focusing on getting beyond the need for assistance.” Have I mentioned the number of people using the Housing Authorities’ services that either smoked, or had their nails done, or both? Seems like a petty point, but it all boils down to the choices we make with the few dollars in our pockets.

    From what I know of Barack Obama, he also had to work hard to get where he is, and chose not to feel sorry for himself because he was raised by a single mother and things weren’t absolutely perfect for him, so I’m not sure what point you were trying to make there.

  • JenV April 30, 2008 (10:27 am)

    must be nice up on that pedestal, responsible gal. just because you have it all figured out, the rest of the world should too. how foolish we all are not to subscribe to your newsletter.

    golf claps all around.

  • Local Yocal May 3, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    (action over words),
    Neighborhoods must embrace their local park in a similar way that you would embrace your own back yard.
    You can have a positive impact on the future of the park you are concerned with. Walk the park regularly, contact the director of the park for volunteer opportunities. Go and volunteer at these events.
    If an area is of concern for you, “activate” that area by recuiting like minded people to begin volunteering in that area once a month.
    Special thanks to those that cleaned up the area!

  • WSB May 3, 2008 (1:17 pm)

    Matt Durham has written an opinion piece with an interesting perspective related to what you wrote, LY .. we’ll be publishing it sometime this weekend.

Sorry, comment time is over.