West Seattle Crime Watch: Illegal dumping x 2; thieves; prowler

Just this morning, we were talking about illegal dumping. Since then, two cases to report:


RV DEBRIS: The RV in that photo, which Al says had been parked for weeks in the SW Marginal Place cul-de-sac under the West Seattle Bridge, is gone this afternoon. Al took the photo above last night, after noticing the sudden profusion of junk strewn outside it. He said it had been tagged and at one point even booted, though that, he said, was gone by last night. We went over for a look an hour and a half ago and discovered the RV was gone – but not the junk:

(WSB photo)

We have no idea whether the RV was towed, or moved by its owner. We can tell you the debris includes syringes and broken glass.

(WSB photo)

As our photo shows, the junk is nominally surrounded by a square of “POLICE LINE, DO NOT CROSS” tape, but it’s in the street, on the sidewalk, and blocking the end of a public stairway down from SW Charlestown on Pigeon Point, so we started making calls to find out what will be done to clean it up – it’s a health hazard at the very least. As noted in this morning’s (unrelated) story, Seattle Public Utilities is the city’s lead agency on illegal dumping. So our contact there is checking around to find out if this is on their radar. In the meantime, you’ll want to avoid the area – which is right along the bike path to and from the low bridge, among other things.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: SPU told us this was scheduled for cleanup today – so we went by around 11:30 and found it was gone. Separate update to come.

(back to original Thursday story) Also this afternoon:

ILLEGAL DUMPING IN ARBOR HEIGHTS: Also this afternoon, Jeff shared the photo and report:

On Tuesday evening this week, this load of construction debris was illegally dumped in our alley in Arbor Heights. It is blocking our alley now and will need to be removed. I called the city’s illegal dumping line and reported this issue. This alley lies between the following streets: SW 102nd St, SW 104th St, 37th Pl SW, and 37th Av SW. It’s interesting how the people who did this used the utility pole to anchor the debris load while they drove off.

Jeff told us a short time ago that since he sent that note and photo earlier this afternoon, a city crew has shown up to clean it up, he said. But that still doesn’t answer the question of who did it.


Seems like we had a busy prowler on our street (40th Ave SW) yesterday as a package was stolen from our front porch (UPS said it was delivered around 10 am when we were at work) and my mother-in-law 4 houses down the street had two pricey lawn ornaments (a glass orb with stand and a glass birdbath) stolen from their yard overnight. My in-laws reported their issue to the police; we reported our stolen package to Nordstrom (where it came from). Also, if anyone sees a glass orb and its stand, we’d love it back – it’s got such huge sentimental value attached to it.

As we urged Steph, please also report package/mail theft to police, even if only via the online form – otherwise official records won’t show an accurate picture of what’s happening.

PROWLER: Karleen shared this alert from North Delridge:

4700 Block 22nd /23rd SW – At 7:15 a.m. we heard a car alarm in our neighborhood at 7:30 a.m. Someone was in our back yard! We have locks on all of our gates. The dogs were in bed with me so no one barked! but my mom is visiting and she saw the person! My mom said he/she appeared to be a female or male Native American/Hispanic/Black mix 5’4′ 135 pounds athletic build wearing a military gray cap with hair tucked up under it. A gray tweed style coat. By the time I reacted, they were gone. Called the cops, traced the tracks and they were already in persuit of a car prowler, could be related. Whoever it is is brazen and casing houses as well; they went through my neighbor’s tool shed and our donation boxes in front of my car. Let this be a good reason I am at home sick today. If my puppies would have been outside, who knows what would have happened. I hope they get caught!

53 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Illegal dumping x 2; thieves; prowler"

  • M February 25, 2016 (3:55 pm)

    Are you kidding me? That’s more than disgusting. That’s sooo incredibly dangerous with all those needles. It’s more then junk. It’s an emergency. After watching the Frontline on PBS last night about heroine in Seattle I’m mortified. Get these junkies off the street. 

    • WSB February 25, 2016 (3:59 pm)

      Yes, it does seem urgent – with the needles and glass, even though this isn’t exactly a mega-foot traffic area, it’s at the bottom of a stairway and so close to the bicycle trail (a rider had stopped for a look right before we showed up), and that’s why I’m trying to find out who is going to clean it up and when. We’ll be going by again in a bit to see if anything’s changed; it’s not exactly a zone where anyone’s going to tip us if they see a cleanup crew, so we’ll just be checking back every so often until it’s taken care of. – TR

  • AL February 25, 2016 (4:11 pm)

    I’m by there every school day AM and PM, as things progress I’ll keep the WSB informed.



  • Waikikigirl February 25, 2016 (4:16 pm)


    And as “M” states this is just plain disgusting! How was all that stuff in that RV and, and, and…OH this is making me just sick to my stomach!

  • Greg February 25, 2016 (4:26 pm)

    I saw that RV being towed on the Alaskan Way Viaduct this afternoon around 1:30.  It was quite the mess and spewing garbage as it went along.  I thought it might be headed towards Ballard, but it headed into the Battery St. Tunnel behind me.

  • smokeycretin9 February 25, 2016 (4:36 pm)

    mayor Murray says all these people are just down on their luck, victims of a harsh economy though.  I can’t believe they are using drugs.

    • WSB February 25, 2016 (4:43 pm)

      We are here checking back. It’s a little more cordoned-off than it was, red ‘DANGER’ tape and sawhorses. SPU couldn’t reach its field inspectors so I won’t have info on cleanup plans until tomorrow.

    • Ex-Westwood Resident February 25, 2016 (9:18 pm)

      The Mayor can’t have it both ways:

      First he touts Seattle’s economy and our low unemployment rate. Then he claims that the economy is so bad that people are being driven into homelessness and drugs.

      So which is it???

  • Sherbert February 25, 2016 (4:39 pm)

    This is directly on my ride to and from work every day. It is the connection from the Duwamish River trail to the Alki and West Seattle Bridge trails, essentially a main artery for bike traffic traveling north and south in this part of the city. This is the equivalent of leaving this mess strewn across Avalon, except that it doesn’t impact automobile users so it’s basically ignored.

  • Alan February 25, 2016 (4:47 pm)

    There was a load dumped at 15th & Holly a while back, just like the one in Arbor Heights. It was clear that it had been a pickup load on tarps. They just anchored the tarps to a pole and drove out from under the load. I recall it being a mix of junk, as opposed to just construction waste. It makes me wonder if someone is selling hauling services and then just dumping the waste.

  • skeeter February 25, 2016 (5:27 pm)

    This is the result of rents being too high.

  • flimflam February 25, 2016 (5:43 pm)

    its all well and good to say “but not all RV dwellers do this, etc” but lets make one thing clear – lots of ’em do. this is unacceptable and disgusting. living in an RV does not give you a license to do whatever you want, and I think the city, mayor, council has given this impression to many of these folks.

    someone who would do this offers nothing to society other than a big mess, higher taxes, and headaches. enough. 

  • Casey February 25, 2016 (6:11 pm)

    Ohhh look at that terrible mess! What ahole would plant English Ivy?! 

  • JanS February 25, 2016 (6:25 pm)

    Priorities…cleaning up an alley of detritus before cleaning up a hazard like this? Yes, I understand that the alley is used by others. But, those syringes could harbor who knows what, and there’s only tape around it, and while there’s not a lot of foot traffic, there could be some, and someone may just reuse…disturbing. This is an emergency situation, not a “we’ll get to it when we can” situation :(

  • Concerned February 25, 2016 (6:27 pm)

    This is not a rent too high issue.

    These people could not afford rent but could instead afford to live for free and spend what ever money they had on something to put into their veins.

    This cannot be allowed to happen right next to any neighborhood let alone one with a school in it.  RVs in neighborhoods have got to go. 


  • Ducky February 25, 2016 (7:24 pm)

    Thanks to Al for reporting this. I saw the scene yesterday as well. WTH?! What is Seattle going to do about this?

  • Eric February 25, 2016 (7:38 pm)

    Yea, this isn’t a rent too high thing.  It’s more like a getting too high thing. This is the same thing that people in Magnolia were complaining about in their area with a group of RV‘s. Not too mention finding their stolen merchandise and when attempting to confront the people with the stolen merchandise, they were threatened. 

    Heroin ain’t free, these people are getting the money somehow. If you know what I mean.

    Of course someone will probably say they’re diabetic or something

  • Me February 25, 2016 (8:07 pm)

    Remember this when the mayor asks you to double your taxes for affordable housing this fall. People like this will be the beneficiaries of your generosity. Addiction is ugly, messy business, but making it more comfortable is not a solution.

  • dsa February 25, 2016 (8:22 pm)

    This is about the mayor and council allowing it to happen.  It is that simple.

    • Kimberly February 25, 2016 (8:44 pm)


    • KT February 25, 2016 (9:21 pm)


    • West Seattle Hipster February 25, 2016 (9:50 pm)

      Allowing it and encouraging it.

  • Rick February 25, 2016 (8:29 pm)

    “War on Drugs”, “Mission Accomplished”?

  • Educator206 February 26, 2016 (1:37 am)

    I toured some visiting professors from Japan around Seattle last week and they were appalled by all the garbage around the city and especially all the garbage visible from I-5. They kept asking why the city doesn’t do anything to improve its image. I tried to explain that it was most likely an issue with money, but they thought that was BS. It was embarrassing and I felt shame for my city.

    • candrewb February 26, 2016 (5:38 am)

      I don’t encourage out of towners to visit any longer

  • TheKing February 26, 2016 (3:07 am)

    It’s time to bring back the chain gangs to help with these sort of problems. They are getting to the point where every problem is requiring millions of dollars to fix. Inmates aren’t free but they can at least pick up garbage. Better than rotting in a cell. Plus the younger generation can see there are consequences with criminal activity. 

    • WSB February 26, 2016 (3:13 am)

      It’s not a “chain gang” but actually, the Corrections Department does provide labor for cleanups like this, SPU told me.

  • Eric February 26, 2016 (5:21 am)

    Having been to  (Southern) Japan many times, one thing that struck me was how clean the streets were.   

    The only time I saw bags of garbage was in Tokyo and it was still organized to be picked up that morning. 

    I don’t know what the homelessness situation is there, but I’d comment to my wife as to where all the homeless people are cause I didn’t really see any. 

    • newnative February 26, 2016 (9:08 am)

      I have travelled in and around the Tokyo area and their homeless camps are along the rivers.  Some were shanty houses and other tarp tents, really odd to see in an otherwise clean urban environment.  I saw a lot of cats, gardens, like people were long-term.  

      Trash is picked up frequently and I even went to a street event where there was a garbage attendant, she took the trash from us and placed it in the correct receptacle.  

  • West Seattle Hipster February 26, 2016 (7:44 am)

    how about the city organize some teams from the taxpayer funded RV “safe lots” to assist in cleaning up areas like this.  That would be a great opportunity for them to give back to the communities they reside in.

    • WSB February 26, 2016 (7:55 am)

      There is one “safe lot” at present, in Ballard. Don’t know if it has enough people for a team let alone teams – four vehicles were there when we went by last weekend. As of our most recent look at the HP site yesterday afternoon, no setup and no word on when it might open, five weeks after the mayor said the lots would be open in 30 days. – TR

  • T Rex February 26, 2016 (8:31 am)

    I work close to  the new “safe lot” will be and you can expect this to happen there as well. We have RV’s parked all around our business. They park for a week at a time and when they leave, this is what they leave behind. In fact, we have seen people complete strip their own RV in order I suppose to get money. It is sad, but I contribute most of the behavior to drug use, more than likely heroin or meth. Few drugs take over someone’s life to the point that they lose all of their self respect, they lose their jobs and they lose their family and friends.  Those two drugs are pure evil.

    I know some people become homeless due to hard times, losing their job, rent going up etc. But think about this; If that happened to one of us, don’t most of us have family and friends that would help us with a place to stay, food and maybe loans to get us back on our feet? I certainly know that I do.  and I also know that NONE of my friends would become homeless because I would help them in any way I could. Unless they were using drugs and taking advantage of me.

    I try to be compassionate about these people but after years of seeing this every single day for the last few years, I no longer have the same compassion that I used to.

    Mayor, we do have a homeless emergency, but we have a HUGE  drug problem as well.

    • newnative February 26, 2016 (8:51 am)

      I have an acquaintance who lives in an RV.  She became “homeless” due to a combination of the end of a domestic relationship and her disability.  She has enough money for gas, repairs and expenses but not rent.  Friends can assist her but not with housing.  The generalizations I keep running across make me furious.  She reads them too and it hurts her that her community describes her like the way y’all do.  

    • datamuse February 26, 2016 (9:11 am)

      I think the addiction issue is definitely relevant. I’ve known a few recovered heroin addicts. They’ve all said that kicking heroin was the hardest thing they’d ever done, all but impossible. Some of them spent time homeless as well.

  • Ryan H February 26, 2016 (9:31 am)


          Your friend is an exception to the rule, however. Among the thousands of homeless, there are hundreds that are in the situation you relate above. Some with kids, some trying real hard to get back on their feet. THOSE people are the ones I feel worst for because they totally deserve the help. However (and obviously I’m generalizing to make a point) for every one individual “down on their luck” as the mayor put it, there are 10 who are for any number of less savory reasons in the same situation.

          Your friend shouldn’t take it hard, but the persons she should be angry with are the homeless folks who have zero regard for anyone around them. I could be entirely wrong, but I would bet a homeless camp that actually tried to keep the place from looking like a dump and insuring that if there ARE drug users around that they’re at least putting needles in used soda bottles and keeping things reasonably non-eye sore, would probably get a lot more support from the community around them.

           Anyway, I could write a 20 page diatribe on this, so I’ll leave it at that. But anyone with common sense doesn’t lump every homeless person together any more than any other stereotype.


  • Eric February 26, 2016 (9:48 am)

    That’s a shame about the acquaintance, but I see them as the exception to the rule, rather than the rule. Look up Magnolia‘s issue with this. 

    Being up at 3:30 in the morning to go to work, I’ve seen RV‘s parked on the road by the park in Highland Park area, with people getting on their (if it’s theirs, consIdering all the bike thefts around here)  bicycles. Where are they going at 3:30 on a bicycle with a back pack? And how does someone who is so down on their luck afford an RV?

     I’m furious that the people who try and do right have to deal with thefts and pay out of their own pocket the damage selfish people do simply because they need their fix, essentially paying the price for someone else’s bad decisions. 

  • soi February 26, 2016 (9:56 am)

    Be that good acquaintance and help this person with the available resources in this city and county. You can start by going to Seattle Social Services homepage, West Seattle Helpline. The issue is on the front burner right now and there are agencies and the city personnel  throwing themselves out there to help. The tent and RV sites have social workers visiting. Numerous charities and non profits abound. Infusion of funding  right now by the city. If she doesn’t have SSI, these people will help her file, do intake, and evaluation on her other needs. 

  • wsn00b February 26, 2016 (10:17 am)

    There’s a small/van RV on 36th Ave SW and SW Kenyon St that has been there so long it looks like vegetation is growing around it. 

  • dsa February 26, 2016 (10:42 am)

    Call that 36th and Kenyon van in.   

  • MLD February 26, 2016 (10:58 am)

    This is disgusting.  I would love for homeless to have a place where they can live clean, have restrooms etc. but then there are these folks who have complete disregard for anyone.  Druggies and freeloaders with their needles and garbage strewn everywhere.  GROSS!  I cannot wait until the day I can vote our mayor out.  I’m democrat and can’t even stand the guy.  DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!!!

    • WSB February 26, 2016 (11:05 am)

      This is scheduled for cleanup today, according to my SPU contact (as I wrote, she wasn’t able to contact the crew chiefs yesterday, as they were out in the field). We’re going over to check the site again right now. – TR

  • Pixie February 26, 2016 (11:10 am)

    I took a relative and his family in when their rent increase went up by 200. They were fine for week and then became lazy, stopped looking for a new place and showed me and my place no respect. Family is not always the best answer. They went to a new place where I believe services were offered. I only hope they accept this help as there has been no contact since their departure.

  • Gatewood February 26, 2016 (11:15 am)

    Seattle has changed drastically (IMO) in the past 10 years.  I used to tell people how clean Seattle was, not any more.  I see trash every these days.  But this RV trash. . . what’s the point?  The RV people are pissed they are being moved along so they through out all the crap they don’t on to the street?  There were 2 RV’s (now gone) that were parked on S. West Marginal Place.  This spot was literally feet from the Duwamish, they left a huge pile of clothes and junk, including tires.  I called the hazardous dumping line. So frustrating!

    • WSB February 26, 2016 (11:33 am)

      We’ll post a separate update soon but just a quick note – we’re here and it’s gone.

  • Bill Bob February 26, 2016 (1:04 pm)

    When I moved here from the Portland area (2004), I immediately noticed how much more trash was littered about the public right of ways. It is much worse now. I also noticed how the Portland homelessness issue seemed to be in much more control than Seattle. I don’t know what Portland is looking like now, but Seattle is not going down the proper path.

    • WSB February 26, 2016 (1:24 pm)

      Bill Bob, Portland has the same problem, as does San Francisco, as does Los Angeles … I don’t know about the East Coast but I read stories from the West Coast that sound like they could be about Seattle. Here’s just one. Oh wait, here’s the East Coast – Boston is deluged with people experiencing homelessness. And here’s a recent Denver story seeking to debunk myths about homelessness (the same myths that unfortunately seem to be pervasive here). If anyone can find a city *without* a growing number of people struggling – I’d be interested to hear about it. – TR

      • Bill Bob February 26, 2016 (3:21 pm)

        I can personally vouch for San Francisco’s problem. I just went there a month ago and was pretty shocked at the homelessness and garbage problems. 

  • wsea98116 February 26, 2016 (1:08 pm)

    Open your eyes, powers that be- these trashed out RV’s are not down on their luck peeps trying to get on their feet- they are drug addicts and thieves using a loophole in the law to do business wherever they see fit. (If they are the one down on luck trying to get on feet RV resident, you’ll know them by the lack of garbage, stolen goods, and needles present.)  They don’t need a break to run mobile crime bases in our neighborhoods- We need a break from having these people rob our homes while we are at work to feed their meth habits!

    • enough February 26, 2016 (1:43 pm)

      Yep. And many people, including me, pointed this out a few years ago. Doesn’t pay to be proactive or to let the city know what problems you think it has until it’s too late.

  • Waikikigirl February 26, 2016 (2:50 pm)

    WSB…if you want to see a State known as a tropical paradise go to Hawaiinewsnow.com and see their segment(s) on Homelessness. Its so sad because there are so many people vacationing and enjoying themselves on the Island and  so many of the homeless are the elderly. SAD.

  • JoAnne February 26, 2016 (7:41 pm)

    When you normalize and destigmatize abhorrent behavior, you get more of it. 

    Drug abusers are selfish and narcissistic and often quit callous and cruel to people who care for them.  This is a choice.  It is not cancer. 

    Stop normalizing it.

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