FOLLOWUP: Camp Second Chance on Myers Way gets city eviction notice, told to be gone by Tuesday

vacate notice

Another development today in the saga of the encampment Camp Second Chance.

First, the backstory: Eleven days ago, after three months of being hosted by a church in Tukwila, the camp set up on what turned out to be private land next to the east side of the City of Seattle-owned Myers Way Parcels (WSB report, July 18th). The land’s owner asked them to leave, and they said they would.

That move last weekend took Camp Second Chance across the street (WSB report, July 24th) and just inside the Myers Way Parcels’ main gate on the west side of the street. This past Monday night, when the mayor and city department heads were in West Seattle for the Roxhill/Westwood Find It, Fix It Walk, we asked the city’s real-estate-handling department (Finance and Administrative Services) director Fred Podesta about the camp; he told us (WSB report, July 25th) it was unauthorized and would at some point be told to leave.

That point has already arrived. Polly Trout from Patacara Community Services, the nonprofit that has been working with the camp, just sent the photo atop this story, showing the eviction notice she says the city gave them yesterday, warning the area will be swept next Tuesday (August 2nd). From her e-mail:

On July 28, the City of Seattle gave official notice to Camp Second Chance that they must vacate the unused city lot that they are occupying by this coming Tuesday, August 2, or be swept. Please call Mayor Murray and ask him to give the camp three months on the site while they continue to look for a new host site.

Camp Second Chance is a sober and well managed homeless encampment. The camp is self-governing and receiving supportive services from my 501c3 nonprofit, Patacara Community Services. They have a code of conduct, 24 hour security, Honey Buckets, and trash removal. The community is clean, safe, and ethical.

Until July 18, the camp had a legal site at Riverton Park United Methodist Church in Tukwila. They were there for three months, as per their agreement with the church, and have been invited to move back there in January. However, they were unable to find another host site in time, and they wanted to honor their three month agreement with the church, so they have moved to a Seattle city owned lot that has been unused and vacant for several years. They are continuing to search for a new permitted site sponsored by a religious organization and plan to move as soon as they have located one.

The camp is home to 25 adults, one toddler, and two dogs. Most of the camp residents are working. I firmly believe that ALL people deserve a safe place to sleep, but believe me when I say: I know this community well and you will never meet a more decent and hardworking group of citizens and neighbors. Seattle has declared a state of emergency around homelessness; right now, there are probably 100 homeless encampments in Seattle. All of them are necessary, under the circumstances, because people have no place else to go.

The camp residents do more than just care for themselves and each other. They also give back to the neighborhood by doing voluntary outreach and resource referral to other homeless people in the area, and deter crime and illegal dumping on their block.

I urge you to contact Mayor Murray and ask him: With so much suffering in the city, why is the city spending tax dollars to sweep an encampment that is sober and well managed, on public land that would not otherwise be in use? Please urge him to stop ALL sweeps until everyone has a safe and legal place to be, but especially not to prioritize sweeping a camp that is doing such a stellar job of providing safety, compassion, dignity, and hope to its members. …

Trout asks anyone with a site to offer to contact her at and asks supporters to contact FAS director Podesta, and/or Mayor Murray and/or City Councilmembers. Just last night, by the way, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – whose district includes the Myers Way Parcels – included information on the encampment situation in her latest update to constituents. You can read it in full here; this excerpt seems to run contrary to what is happening now:

… Over the months that I have been on the City Council there has been much discussion of how the City should work with people living in encampments. We are a City with very long lines for shelter and years’ long waiting lists for affordable housing and rent assistance. Whether caused by a lack of access to housing or a reluctance to accept help when available, sometime it takes time for outreach workers to help campers. As part of these discussions I have urged the Executive not only to have its work guided by established public health and safety prioritization criteria, but I’ve asked whether outreach workers have the ability to ask for more time if – in their estimation – more time would help get campers access to services. I have been assured that the Executive’s administrative protocols do allow for a “go slow” approach in these instances. As it relates specifically to the Myers Way properties, I have told the Executive that:

I understand that complaints have been made about the encampment and that this obligates the City to accept those complaints;

As it relates to acting on these complaints, I believe health and safety prioritization criteria should be used in determining when to schedule action on this encampment;

I want a report on the outreach and services being provided to the campers with assurances that should outreach workers find that more time will result in better outcomes for the campers that more time will be given;

and I’d like the City, in the interim, to provide garbage services for the campers, consistent with the encampment garbage removal project I proposed in March.

We’ll be checking with her this afternoon during her local office hours as to what she knows about the planned sweep at the site. (Added 3:25 pm: We talked with Councilmember Herbold at SWNSC a short time ago. She said she is aware of the sweep plan but has yet to hear back on the requests she made prior to writing her update, which in turn was before word that the camp had received notice to clear out.)

(back to original report) Meantime, Polly Trout’s e-mail ended with this:

This crisis does not go away when we turn our heads. If we work together and act now, we can fix this. Please join me in doing everything we can to make sure every person has a safe place to sleep tonight. I don’t want to live in a county where this kind of suffering is normalized. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that when women are beaten to death under bridges because nobody cares enough to give them a safe place to sleep we just ignore it, because there is nothing we can do about it. This is NOT inevitable and we CAN end this. But not by chasing homeless people around and destroying their survival gear while public land goes unused behind locked gates. That is not working. If the camp needs to move, let’s all work together to find them a better and legal place to be and then move them there.

22 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Camp Second Chance on Myers Way gets city eviction notice, told to be gone by Tuesday"

  • B July 29, 2016 (11:54 am)

    I wonder what area the majority of the camp inhabitants work; there’s a lot more land on the east side,  probably cheaper too, and if they could find one close to transit they’d still be able to commute. 

  • old timer July 29, 2016 (12:32 pm)

    IMO, the City is taking sort of a  “dog in the manger” approach toward what is supposed to be public/our property.  Does the government exist only to serve the propertied?  If so it would be a lot more honest if we just put everyone without assets on a bus to somewhere else.  This passive/aggressive crap toward those in the most vulnerable positions is just not right.  They have to live in tents – for God’s sake, give them  a break, cut some slack.

     What are those complaints that justify multiple uprootings in a month?  What’s so important about that unused land that it has to be securitized?  I think there’s some “I’ve got mine – up your’s” at work here.

  • BC July 29, 2016 (12:36 pm)

    How long until we get a chance to try and vote Herbold out? Between this, slowing down the clean up of the Jungle, the “move-in fee limit” that will only serve to drive up rents and make housing less affordable and everything else I’ve ever seen her opinion on I can barely imagine anyone less qualified (aside from Sawant). They treat economic issues the same way that the GOP treats climate change.  She has got to go…

  • Marianne July 29, 2016 (12:37 pm)

    Is there a group in charge of this camp? Is it Patacara? I just don’t understand how whoever is in charge thought is would be ok to just move onto first  locked private, and then locked city property. There is a huge church with a big parking lot, trees for cover, and nice grass right there. Wouldn’t  it be nice for the church to offer space? Ultimately these campers need real housing, even a room. The garbage is horrendous down there. I can’t even imagine how the greenbelt looks.

  • ScubaFrog July 29, 2016 (1:15 pm)

    It’s sad that Seattle’s answer to homelessness – is just to ‘sweep’ these human beings away.  And keep sweeping.  Oh they’ve got tents on public land?  “Oust them!”. 

    Disgusting.  More ‘sweeps’, Mayor Murray? 

  • neighbor July 29, 2016 (1:21 pm)

    I’m so tired of hearing about how we can’t try a Housing First approach because we don’t have the money. Allowing more and more families to live in tent cities while we hem and haw about keeping surplus land (because it’s nice to have green space and maybe we could add a park or something) is unconscionable. Seriously, am I the only person that finds it shameful?

    How about we sell some of the land and build actual housing on the rest.

    • Coldheart Craig July 29, 2016 (1:53 pm)

      It’s unconscionable that parents allow themselves to raise their children in tents when there are clear alternatives. By Patacara’s declaration, these are sober, working fellows. As a sober, working fellow I needed to find roommates before I worked up to living on my own, which is a pretty common occurrence. 

      Who should benefit, specifically, from wholesale of citizens assets? Where do you draw the cutoff? Is it only for sober, working fellows, or do you opt to sell off more and more public assets to house everyone, including the large portion that does not want to be? Or should we just sell off the Meyers Parcels, just for these fine folks?       

  • S July 29, 2016 (1:22 pm)

    That looks like plenty of time for them to move out of an illegal camp.  They had no right to just move in and it is time for them to move out.

    As for the question is there a huge church with a parking lot.  Why is it there jobs to provide space for them.  Those lots are used for members and attendees and the amount of waste that is created I wouldn’t want to have to deal with.

    More and more people are homeless in Seattle because how the system is setup.  We need to take a tougher stance on this and make sure people don’t want to move into the city limits take advantage of the system.  We (Mayor and City Counsel) are creating the problem. 

    • Mark47n July 29, 2016 (2:33 pm)

      Let’s see, um, I don’t know…Jesus?

      What, exactly are the stated principles behind Christianity if not to care for those that are less fortunate? Isn’t that what all of the various sects (that are busy, often, saying the other sects aren’t christian) all have in common? Well, except for the “Prosperity Christians” like the now defunct Mars Hill. Well, while being “Christian” is all that rage, and has been for centuries, many of the so called followers of Christ, that’s what being a Christian means, do a poor job of following that one common and undisputed tenet; taking care of the poor and infirm. 

      That’s just one Jew’s take.

  • skeeter July 29, 2016 (2:14 pm)

    Are all the shelters full?  Or are people choosing to camp because they prefer camping to shelters? 

    • West Seattle Hipster July 29, 2016 (4:19 pm)

      Shelters are not appealing to some because they have dreaded rules.

  • Double Dub Resident July 29, 2016 (2:37 pm)

    There are conflicting reports on shelters.  They seem to be full  or anticipated to be full,  but then often times wI’ll end up having open beds.  An article on The Jungle interviewing some of the people lIving there state they rather stay in tents than go to a shelter.  

  • Ennui Black July 29, 2016 (5:08 pm)

    are yall serious?

    IF, and i doubt it, but IF these really are working, sober individuals, it is the fault of people that want to give good land and accommodations to randoms, with no clue whether they are or are not deserved of the charity. This concept of living in a bush equating to good and moral is Trump level foolishness.

    Normal, hard working, non addicts can barely afford to live and support a family these days, and one little thing can send you to the streets when you are just getting by.  Allowing the non deserved to run rampant has stripped away the good support system cities like Seattle USED to have for those down on their luck.

    …And shelters are NOT full unless there is weather, anything you hear otherwise is propaganda, and a very telling insight into the sobriety and employment status of those in such need.

  • Brenda July 29, 2016 (8:29 pm)

    Keep these sweeps coming. Too many tents around this city. 

  • Mark July 29, 2016 (11:25 pm)

    There are help wanted signs all over.  I’ve seen numerous signs in Sodo for warehouse work.  Work exists, and renting a room in boarding house, something I did years ago is not as costly as an apartment where rents have gone up in part due to the City over use of property taxes.   Landlands pass taxes via increased rents.   PROPERTY TAXES ARE A SIGNIFICANT COST THAT MAKES HOUSING MORE EXPENSIVE.

    Also sharing of an apartment is something that can be done to reduce costs.

    At $15 hour, yields about $500 week after taxes,  $2200 month.  

      This is $770 at 35% for housing that rooms can be found.  

    • sna July 30, 2016 (10:43 am)

      The issue with $15/he min wage is that employers can be much more selective in who they hire and probably don’t hire those with any checkered past.  My guess is the “working” in this case means odd jobs here and there under the table.  

  • Mark July 30, 2016 (12:58 pm)

    Yes and high school kids are having a harder time finding work.  Why the City did not facilitate a lower rate for HS age say 80% for 16 and 17 year olds, 90% for 18 to 20 year olds and 21 and older 100% made no sense to me.

  • flimflam July 30, 2016 (3:34 pm)

    listen, in modern society, people can’t simply plop themselves down wherever they feel like it. that’s “cruel” or “mean” – its simple law and order.

  • Misray July 31, 2016 (9:11 am)

    Gotta agree with ol’ Old Timer.  I mean, seriously?  This sounds like a program that could use encouragement.   Or at least not active hostility.  

  • Randy on Rose Street August 5, 2016 (12:54 pm)

    Hi.  I live down the hill in South Park from the second chance camp,
    and I’m a homeowner here. I support this camp, and oppose sweeping it.

    This camp is doing everything we could ask of them, many of the 25
    members have jobs, but don’t earn enough to afford housing. They are
    drug and alcohol free, they self-police, they have a partner non-profit
    that is paying for porta-potties and weekly trash.

    I invite you to visit the camp, and meet the people living there. I would be glad to arrange this if you like.  Please contact me at sisterontheroad at live dot com to set up a time to visit.

  • flimflam August 5, 2016 (1:17 pm)

    so the camp is still operating then?

    • WSB August 5, 2016 (1:39 pm)

      Yes, as we reported night before last in a newer story.

Sorry, comment time is over.