UPDATE: New encampment on Myers Way: ‘Camp Second Chance’

1:30 PM: After a reader tip about what appeared to be a tent encampment setting up along Myers Way – near where other campers have been living on slopes and in RVs – we went over to check it out, and that’s exactly what we found. It’s being set up in a fenced area immediately south of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints building; we haven’t figured out yet who owns the land, nor did the person we spoke with know. (The church owns 2 1/2 acres, and property boundaries aren’t obvious; online records show a small streetfront parcel south of the church is owned by a dump-truck company.) He identified it as the “Second Chance” camp, with 25 residents, a self-policing camp with strict no-drugs/alcohol/violence policies.

Since visiting the site less than an hour ago, we’ve done some online research, and it appears this is “Camp Second Chance Through Grace,” listed on this citywide clearinghouse website as having had a sanctioned site at a church a few miles south for the past three months. Another page on the same site says CSCTG is a “family camp.” It is still in the process of setting up, and only a few people, all appearing to be adults, were in view.

P.S. Elsewhere on Myers Way, we observed that RVs are no longer parked in the area outside the gates to the city-owned land on the west side of the street; we counted about half a dozen parked on both sides of the street to the north. The area by the gates had been a “staging area” for some RV campers that were expected to move to a “safe lot” in Highland Park but the city scrapped the idea before it ever opened.

4:55 PM: After commenter Ben questioned whether this was indeed “Camp Second Chance,” we went to the church listed as the camp’s home until today, where we verified that encampment had indeed moved out today, and headed to a site on Myers Way.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: We e-mailed the address listed on the Greater Seattle Cares website to try to find out more; here’s the reply we received this morning from Polly Trout, executive director of Patacara Community Services:

Camp Second Chance is currently in dire need of a new site. As of July 18, they are temporarily located at 9502 Myers Way South, Seattle WA 98106. This parcel is privately owned and right next to the Myers Parcels, unused City of Seattle property. The camp is working very hard to find a better solution. Most likely, a city eviction notice will be issued today and the camp will have 72 hours to move or be swept.

The camp has been self-governing since April, when the founding members left Tent City 3 in order to create an independent camp more aligned with their needs and values. I have been providing supportive services to the camp for the last two months and have gotten to know them well. This is a model encampment with excellent and ethical leadership. The camp is clean, quiet, drug and alcohol free, and well managed. The community works cooperatively as a team to solve problems and meet the needs of the campers. They have a democratic governing process and an outstanding core leadership committee.

Currently, the camp has 25 members, but would like to increase to 40 if possible. They need to be located on a bus line and have access to water. My nonprofit, Patacara Community Services, is committed to providing the camp with Honeybucket services. Ideally, the camp would be able to plug into the church’s electrical power to run the camp refrigerator. If they do not have power access, they do have a generator. They also will need trash removal, and we can work with the church to find a solution that is economical. If your church has the room to host but is on a tight budget, the camp can contribute to your utilities bills for the duration of their stay. They collect dues from participants to cover basic expenses, and my nonprofit also fundraises donations for them.

The camp members are a mixture of families and single people. Most are working; some are disabled, parenting, retired, or looking for work. They are receiving supportive services and wait listed for housing.

The camp needs at least 7,000 square feet to function properly, and 10,000 is better. If your church wants to help but doesn’t have the space, and private land can be used. The land owner can legally lease the land to your church for a dollar and then the religious encampment laws extend to that land and allow you to host an encampment on the land. So if anyone in your congregation has unused property on a bus route with water access, that land can be used. If your church or a private landowner wants to help but can’t afford to, we can fundraise for rent.

A policy brief about why encampments are necessary, written by Seattle University’s Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, can be viewed here: https://law.seattleu.edu/centers-and-institutes/korematsu-center/initiatives/homeless-rights-advocacy-project

The Washington State law concerning the right of religious groups to host encampments can be viewed here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=36.01.290

Patacara Community Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; our EIN number is 46-3744862. Our mission is to provide services to those who are suffering, and our current programming focuses on offering respectful and compassionate service to those suffering from homelessness and poverty in King County, Washington.

78 Replies to "UPDATE: New encampment on Myers Way: 'Camp Second Chance'"

  • Ben Calot July 18, 2016 (3:45 pm)

    This is not Camp Second Chance.

    Camp Second Chance is located at a sanctioned church facility in Riverton-Boulevard Park. This camp is in TopHat, and is located on private land owned by a dump truck company (Pro USA llc.).

    This is yet another unsanctioned “no rules” drug camp, the same as we’ve been dealing with since the City of Seattle invited the RVs to our neighborhood in preparation for the Delridge Safe Lot (which never opened).

    Our neighborhood has a powerful and politically active community association, and we’re busy organizing a new defense against this most recent assault on our neighborhood. We don’t tolerate the unsanctioned camps with no rules, as they aren’t safe for the campers or the neighborhoods they exist in.


    Ben Calot

    • WSB July 18, 2016 (4:20 pm)

      Ben – have you confirmed with Camp Second Chance that this isn’t them?
      The site to which I linked said they had to move from the Riverton church today, which is why it seemed to dovetail.

      Also, I contacted Pro USA after looking again at Parcel Viewer after we visited, and the manager/owner said he had no knowledge of a camp on their land, which he said is for sale.

      We certainly can head south and see if there’s still a camp at the Riverton church. – Tracy

      (4:38 pm – That’s what we’re doing right now. Drove past the new encampment on the way; definitely has some kind of funding/organization, as two porta-potties are on site now, and a large canopied area that wasn’t there when we stopped by this morning.)

  • Neal Lampi July 18, 2016 (4:49 pm)

    An assaultlt on your neighborhood”. As I sit here in the u haul while the last of camp second chance is unloaded, exhausted from the days work I read an assault has taken place. Assault?  Such attitudes do nothing to stem the exponentially growing numbers of urban poor.  Everyone is not doing well in the boomtown.

    • WSB July 18, 2016 (4:53 pm)

      We are here at the former home of Camp Second Chance at the Riverton church, where we’ve confirmed that the encampment moved out today. A man here told us that they moved to “somewhere on Myers Way.” So yes, what we were told earlier today is correct, and the new encampment IS Camp Second Chance. – Tracy

  • Willow July 18, 2016 (5:07 pm)

    Neal: Some of the neighbors in the area have been really frustrated by the activity of the non-managed campers.  We have seen LOTS of trash, crimes, etc.  Personally, I have been trying to reach out to resources to see about getting a managed camp in place instead, as I suspect the visibility and activity of a managed camp will discourage the criminal behavior we have been dealing with recently.

    I look forward to learning more about your camp and hope we might be able to build a cooperative relationship between the camp and residential neighbors.  

  • Ben Calot July 18, 2016 (5:23 pm)

    The Greater Seattle Cares website lists Camp Second Chance as moving on June 18th, not July18th (which is today).

    I find it difficult to believe that this is a sanctioned camp considering that the owner of the land (Pro USA llc) is unaware of it’s presence. I also find it hard to believe that this is a sanctioned camp considering that the property is for sale, and could be bought at any time.

    I suppose time will tell, but to me this looks like another unsanctioned “no rules” drug camp. At best it appears to be an unsanctioned offshoot of the Second Chance Camp.

    • WSB July 18, 2016 (5:41 pm)

      Hi again, Ben. The page we have had linked in our story above all day:


      lists July 18th as moving day. In addition, we just went to the church in person to verify, after your question. If you really have some reason to doubt us (I’ve been a journalist for 35+ years and what we have seen and heard certainly satisfies my sniff test), I encourage you to go check for yourself. Here’s the map to the church:



  • Ben Calot July 18, 2016 (6:02 pm)

    How do you explain the land owner being unaware of the presence of the camp?

    That alone seems incredibly suspicious.

  • Ben Calot July 18, 2016 (7:35 pm)

    Our neighborhood group took a trip down to the new camp to take some pictures. We’ve been taking pictures at this location for 8 months now without incident.

    This afternoon, on our first trip to this camp, one of the campers assaulted one of our group. We are at the camp now waiting for the police.

    If this is what we can expect from this new group, then I have a hard time believing this will be an improvement over the RVs. 

    • Darren Broyles July 18, 2016 (8:23 pm)

      Hello Ben, I am Darren Broyles of 10026 Myers Way S.  Been here nearly 20 years.  My neighbor sent me this link.  I am sometimes away for a week or two, and so is he, so we keep an eye out an contact daily.  I am away now, but i would love to be updated about this situation.  Been here along time, and I support our neighborhood.  Can they move to Bernie and Boys?  Thank you for your time.

      • John Watson July 19, 2016 (8:48 am)

        Suggesting that the problem be relocated to another suffering neighborhood is not a solution.

        That’s the attitude that got the encampments in our neighborhood in the first place. 

        • WSB July 19, 2016 (8:53 am)

          In addition to the steps we took yesterday, as described in the story, to try to find out more about this camp, I e-mailed the contact address for it that was listed on the Greater Seattle Cares website. This morning I received a reply from the executive director of the nonprofit that has been working with it and am adding it to the story above. – TR

  • Darren Broyles July 18, 2016 (8:25 pm)

    FWI.  I might be away, but I have armed roommates.

  • flimflam July 18, 2016 (9:47 pm)

    seems to be some confusion here….but lots of brand new tents. 

  • mehud7 July 18, 2016 (10:03 pm)

    I met FCAT near the area a few days ago to help with a camper reporting five mother cats and tons of kittens running around in the woods. We gave him carriers so we could take the kittens and find homes. We offered to fix all of the adult cats and find homes for those without “owners.” Campers were a no show.  Be prepared for a huge cat overpopulation in the area due to irresponsible people letting cats breed.

  • Will W. July 18, 2016 (11:14 pm)

    Can’t wait for the “pre -fab Hardie siding, sewage hookups and washers” levy to help our most vulnerable neighbors. I imagine it will be the least expensive with the most impact. Start building in my back yard. 

  • Ulrick July 18, 2016 (11:51 pm)

    I was with Ben and
    witnessed the assault up close. So much for strict no violence

  • Ben Calot July 18, 2016 (11:51 pm)

    We waited for SPD for over 2 hours to deal with the assault of our neighbor.

    When they arrived, they spoke to the campers first and asked if they could provide proof that they were allowed to be on the property. The campers could not provide any such documentation, and stated that they hoped to work something out with the property owner soon. Despite their inability to prove they had permission to be there the police didn’t even ask them to leave, and stated that it was a “civil matter” that the property owner would have to address.

    When they interviewed the victim, and he expressed a desire to press charges, the police stated that they’d have to take the him to jail as well, and it would be best if he just dropped it. My neighbor had no desire to go to jail, and so the issue was dropped.

    So apparently the homeless can move onto any vacant property they like, and start assaulting the neighbors with impunity.

    Does the City of Seattle think that makes a good sales pitch for annexation? Why on Earth would I annex into a city that dumps on my neighborhood, and refuses to deal with criminals.

    Here’s a picture of the camper that assaulted my neighbor. He told the police that he is “camp security” (that’s his car he’s standing in front of):

    I captured some video of this same guy in the same car pulling into the Star International weed shop on 1st Ave just a couple hours later, so I guess this camp isn’t as drug free as they claim to be.

    Watch out for this dude, he’s as aggressive as anyone I’ve met so far, and more violent.


    Ben Calot

    • Gabriella July 19, 2016 (8:57 am)

      What is the nature/action/deed of the assault? Both would have to go to jail, hhhmmmm? (I’ll file that little detail of your self disclosure, for a moment.)Is someone not admitting to their attitude getting the better of them and they let themselves be provoked and won’t take responsibility for it?Some one who follows people around sounds aggressive to me!  Someone is not aware, that the working poor are being dumped onto the streets! The same ones their houses are located on.  At some point we should expect both worlds to collide. The space between the two is where privilege, most likely starts to show, if your paying attention.

      Note: The man in the picture is clean shaven and neatly dressed, owns a car, what does that state, it states he made some effort in his life time. Am I to understand he is homeless? This picture isn’t summing up the whole story, I realize that. But, he doesn’t ‘look’ homeless….hhhmmm…

      People do not loose their dignity, just because they become homeless, but others will discount their dignity and act accordingly. 

      That is a vulnerable human being, being begrudged a small space of land, while they struggle, with insurmountable challenges, that are none of your business!  Just because the unsheltered, don’t have four walls to hide their addiction behind, doesn’t mean they are target practice for your stalking pleasure!

      Though I am not excusing his behavior, he is innocent until proven guilty, just the same as a sheltered person! The finger pointing in this post, are the three pointing right back to  you! It shows YOUR aggression, by stalking this man! Public ally posting his picture, targets his life! Maybe a pass of the pipe is in order to soothe your aggression? 

      Never assume a person is a drug addict, when living in a tent. As for his being seen at a place purchasing marijuana you gave away something here. That is called STALKING.  When that happens a whole new world opens up, and you will see something you never thought was possible, both good and bad. PEOPLE MATTER. PERIOD. 

      Gabriella Duncan 2o16

      another moment for Throwing Friends Under Buses

  • JoB July 19, 2016 (7:00 am)

    troubling story from Ben
    who doesn’t mention why the police would have to take the person “assaulted” to jail as well as the person accused of an assault…  hmmm.. 
    posts a picture that clearly violates the privacy of another.. unless of course he had permission to post that picture…
    as for why we shoudl worry about any person availing themselves of legally sold products….

  • john July 19, 2016 (7:54 am)

    I am concerned that Mr. Calot and his neighbors are acting like vigilantes.  This could lead to serious violence.

    They have no  right to challenge people on someone else’s property.  

    The police are not allowed to evict trespassers without a complaint from the property’s owner.

    Now that the Myers Way land is set aside with no money or plans for restoration, it will continue to be used by homeless.  Expect trash, human waste and discarded syringes to be common.

    Ironic that some of the funds from the now cancelled sale of these parcels would have addressed homeless issues,  now we have what is shaping up to be permanent park living for homeless. 

    What does the victorious  Green Space Coalition suggest now?

  • John July 19, 2016 (7:56 am)

    These homeless camps are a nightmare.  One has recently appeared under the east end of the lower West Seattle bridge.  It didn’t take long and there’s already garbage everywhere.  The bike path goes between two tents.  This will no longer be a safe bike route for women.  It’s well hidden from view.   Very unsafe.  I filed a report with SPD about a week ago.  I never heard back from SPD and the camp is still there.

  • JoB July 19, 2016 (8:06 am)

    i find it incredibly sad that asking questions before making assumptions has become a lost art..
    if you think it’s so.. it’s so.
    as for the feral cats… yes, i agree it’s a problem.. but it’s as big a problem in my alley as it is in Meyer’s woods…  the big difference is that in the woodland you can easily set traps to do something about the situation.. it becomes a bit more problematic in my alley :(

  • T Rex July 19, 2016 (8:07 am)

    JOB, the guy is homeless, spending money on pot is a good idea when you are homeless?? That addiction which more than likely includes other addictions is probably why he is homeless. And you are worried that someone took his picture and violated his rights? What about the landowners rights? Do you know what these people leave behind?

    Some of the RV’s that were up on Meyers Way, moved down the street in front of Waste Management and the Texaco close to where I work. They left this last weekend and left all of their garbage  behind. I for one am sick of looking at the garbage, needles and smelling their human waste.  

    Sorry no compassion here.  



  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (8:25 am)

    Hi. I am the one who called WSB yesterday to report this. I can’t even believe what I’m reading in the comments. These aren’t all people who need our help. These are squatters who would rather spend their money on things other than rent/ a mortgage. One of the RVs that was in the open area and is now on the side of Meyers has a Mercedes in front of it and a Lincoln Navigator in back. Another has two classic cars. The RV camp was also supposed to be safe and drug free. After overdoses, drug raids, theft, etc, I am completely disheartened and lacking in sympathy. I am pretty close to the area and won’t even take my young children for walks in the neighborhood anymore. 

    Do you all think this is hurting our home values? 

    • trina July 28, 2016 (12:15 pm)

      Hi is there a way you can call the camp 2065786551. You can ask for me or david..

  • mehud7 July 19, 2016 (8:34 am)

    JOB-The cats are not feral, they are friendly. This is what happens when people who can’t even care for themselves get pets. As for going in the woods to try to round them up? No way, too many junkies living in there.  There are resources to fix the cats in your alley and you know how to find them.

  • WSGirl July 19, 2016 (9:01 am)

    JANDSMSMOM – Property/home values in Seattle going down? Haha, I doubt it. But I certainly wouldn’t be happy or feel safe if this was happening in my neighborhood. Yikes. 

  • JoB July 19, 2016 (9:04 am)

    Mehud7.. the cats in my alley have owners who choose not to neuter them and choose to to let them be outside cats.. so it’s not my call.

    Trex.. at what point do people give up the right to spend their money on what they choose? 
    I agree that i worry about some of their choices.. but i am also aware that marijuana.. which is what is sold in the establishment you mention.. is legal and does have medicinal applications.

    that said.. we do have a point of agreement. I know that parcel and i know how much work it took to clean up the mess the current owners found… 

    personally, i am tickled that they have portapotties and  would vote for city paid dumpsters… 

  • JoB July 19, 2016 (9:05 am)

    i would be more tickled if they had written permission to be there

  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (9:16 am)

    Good point WSGirl. We are planning to move before our children are in school. The oldest isn’t even 2 yet, so we have a few years. I just can’t imagine potential buyers not being bothered by the Myers Way mess. 

    And yes, it sucks to feel unsafe in your own neighborhood.

  • CG July 19, 2016 (10:14 am)

    I drive by every day and what I’ve seen in the last year is an erosion of what used to be a nice back way to get to 509 in the morning…it is now absolutely filthy with piles trash and ripped open plastic garbage bags and their contents strewn all over the street.

    It is absolutely filthy.  This is why people don’t want these types of camps in their neighborhoods.

    It’s not PC to say but it’s the truth.

    This is happening now under every freeway overpass and any sliver of green space along the freeways in Seattle.

  • Ulrick July 19, 2016 (10:25 am)

    We where not being
    aggressive or stalking anyone nor are we vigilantes. We where doing
    what we have been advised to do by both the Seattle PD and King
    County Sheriffs, by documenting what is going on in our neighborhood.
    We stay on public property and are exercising our right to walk
    along our public streets. I have owned my home for over 20 years and
    this homeless problem is seriously degrading our neighborhood. Home
    owners have rights too!

  • Potto July 19, 2016 (10:28 am)

    Well owner of the property has been notified as he is out of the office today he still has been informed of what is going on on his property and from all accounts of what the person on the phone said they do not have permission to be on property or tear down and destroy the for sale sign or put up porta pottys. So we will see what happens 

  • Willow July 19, 2016 (10:59 am)
    An open invitation from the encampment that just moved in on Myers Way
    This morning, I stopped by on my way to work to introduce myself to the self-managed encampment that just moved in on Myers Way, just down the street from my house.  I met Trina and baby Joseph, and said hello to several members (and some very sweet dogs) as they were starting their day.  Everyone I interacted with was kind, open, humble and gracious.  Several of them expressed that they understood the reaction of some of my neighbors yesterday – since the neighbors don’t know what they are about, how they manage the camp, and what to expect from them.  They invite anyone that is interested in learning about them to come down and say hello.  I recommend this as well – and add the advice that, just like in most interactions with other humans, your experience is likely to be a reflection of your own behavior.
    I plan to work closely with this camp to build a cooperative relationship. I see an opportunity for direct involvement that I hope will lead to positive impact. 
    There is a lot of work being done on a lot of fronts to address the homeless challenges in our area and across the country.  Very few of the planned approaches are immediate, and in the mean time, we have community members just outside our doorsteps that are trying to get by as best they can with what they have, that just want a safe and secure place to exist while they work it out.
  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (11:26 am)


    There is a BABY living in a TENT??? Do they have air conditioning? How old was that baby? I can bring it clothes and toys/ other items. 

    • Willow July 19, 2016 (12:12 pm)

      Yes – and he was adorable.  I am really bad with kids ages, but I’d guess 2?  I’m sure there’s no AC – heck, I don’t have AC in my house :)

      Not sure if that’s the only child there or not.  I recommend going to say hello and talking to them.  These folks operate in a different way than what we have been experiencing in the neighborhood.  Base your opinions and your actions on your own experience.  What we are hearing from our most vocal neighbors is completely different than what I saw and experienced.

    • Willow July 19, 2016 (12:26 pm)

      Also, if you are not comfortable visiting on your own, I would be happy to go with you.  I would even say this could be a great civics lesson if you were to bring your own kids, though I would recommend avoiding times when other neighbors that are not interested in a kindness based approach are planning to be there.

      I could also coordinate with you to take items you are interested in donating.  I will be checking in with them later today and can ask if they have any specific needs/wants for the kids.

  • KT July 19, 2016 (11:29 am)

    Holding up your hand and saying “civil matter” is a way of avoiding dealing with the situation.  I will say that until the property owner comes forth and says these squatters are illegally on his land, SPD really can do nothing.  And yes, they are squatters.  

  • Ben Calot July 19, 2016 (11:45 am)

    I’ve spoken to folks at Pro USA llc, and these campers do not have permission to be there. Hence the reason they will receive an eviction notice today (as noted above).

    The property owner is trying to sell the land and is not happy that his for sale sign was destroyed, his fence was badly damaged, and his property is now in an unsaleable condition.

    As stated by Ulrick, we weren’t doing anything different than we’ve done for the last 8 months, and it’s exactly what the Seattle Police and King County Sheriff have instructed us to do. We follow all of their suggestions for personal safety and legal conformance.

    I don’t understand the mentality of people who think it’s okay for a camp to take over private land without permission and start assaulting the neighbors.

    As for those who are blaming the victim, and insinuating that he deserved to be assaulted … nice progressive attitude. I suppose you believe sexual assault victims shouldn’t dress so provocatively as well?

  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (12:09 pm)

    Awesome Ben. Thanks for the update. I’m really concerned about the baby willow. I’m not saying that good parents can’t find themselves in hard places. I know they can. I would like to help the baby however I can. Suggestions?

  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (1:09 pm)

    Willow- I don’t know how to reply directly to you, but I’d love to know what is needed for the baby and what size clothing/diapers/shoes he is in. Does she receive wic/ food stamps to help with feeding the baby? If not, what kind of foods does need? 

    I have a 20 month old son and 6 month old daughter, so I may not already have clothes to fit babies there, but I am happy to pick up lightly used items at the thrift stores. I rarely buy brand new clothes even for my own babies because they wear them for such a short time.  I am not afraid to go alone based on what you have discribed, but it would be nice to have someone familiar to them with me. Weekdays before noon are best for me.

  • Ulrick July 19, 2016 (1:21 pm)

    I just received the
    following from the owner of the property “Today they ask for my
    permission and I told them NO and they said they will vacate ASAP.”

    The fact is this
    camp was on private land without the owners knowledge or permission
    and took they whole thing over. They didn’t bother contacting the
    owner until after they fully moved in.

  • Trina July 19, 2016 (3:14 pm)

    My name is trina. I am one of the founding members of this camp. First off the man that was pictured isnt a camper. He was an employer of one of our campers who was helping us set up our camp. We are a self managed homeless encampment and we do not tollerate drugs or alcohol or violence. We understand that everyone has their own opinion on homeless people but all we ask is give us a chance. I had the chance to speak with willow this morning. And I said to her that this camp is open to anyone that wants to get to know us and what we are all about. Our mission is to help people that are in need even though we are in the same boat. Please stop by anytime. 

  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (3:24 pm)

    Trina- how old is your baby and do you need anything for him? I am a mother of 2 and want to make sure you have what you need for him. I am willing to help however I can. What size clothing/shoes/diapers? 

  • flimflam July 19, 2016 (4:35 pm)

    look, you can’t simply “camp” anywhere you want. you can’t leave trash everywhere. you can’t trespass on private property – even if you are  poor, hard working yet down on your luck. its amazing the lenths the city is going to encourage this behavior rather than punish it. 

  • Trina July 19, 2016 (4:51 pm)

    Jandmsmom- thank you my son is a year old. He could use formula hes still getting used to whole milk. But really anything. Hes in size 18months clothing and size 4 diapers. Shoes hes a 5c. But please no pressure in getting him things. Just answering your questions

  • Jandmsmom July 19, 2016 (6:20 pm)

    Okay. Trina, I WANT to help. Though never homeless, I grew up partially with a struggling single mother. What brand of formula? I use the generic of Similac Advance and will go through my son’s too smalls tomowwor. Do you need bottles? Sippies? Blankets? Etc? I will come see you tomorrow around noon. I can also take any dirty laundry you have, wash and bring it back.

  • Willow July 19, 2016 (7:24 pm)

    Here’s an idea that I have been circulating in the last week or so – this well managed camp would be a perfect candidate.  I spent nearly an hour there tonight, and re-enforced my initial impression:

    On Myers Way, the City of Seattle currently has a major asset colliding with a major challenge:  A large piece of unused land and a large number of unauthorized campers. I have an proposal that could address both issues and provide value to the City, neighboring residents and community as a whole: 

    Create a managed, staffed and serviced temporary tent encampment on the property and facilitate a collaborative project between camp residents, nearby neighbors and local interested organizations to transform the surrounding property into usable greenspace.

    Current concerns about the unauthorized campers currently in the area:

    – Some of them (maybe the majority) are participating in crimes and activities that are causing a lot of concern, fear and anger with residents in the area:

      -Drug Dealing

    – Extensive illegal dumping – from campers and others that see the trash piles and know they can get away with it

    – Human Waste pollution

    – Drug use

    – Drug Overdoses

    – General neighborhood safety

    – No long term solution – every time they are moved, they come back


    Current concerns about the property:

    – Need for greenspace in an industrial area

    – Protection of wetlands and Hamm Creek Watershed

    – Hill Stabilization

    – Need for natural park space in an under-served area

    – Limited funds for maintenance, management or improvement


    Creating a managed encampment in this space would have several positive impacts:

    – A temporary safe and sanitary shelter solution for a large number of citizens experiencing homelessness

    – Increased activity and visibility in the area would discourage the criminals from sticking around. 

    – A managed camp would also have trash management in place and include portable toilets and washing stations for the campers.

    – A central place to offer services to the homeless in this area


    Turning this space into a cooperatively managed greenspace has numerous possibilities that could benefit the city, the residential community and the encampment community:

    – Retention of one of the last available green spaces in the city

    – A “pea patch” could be created to provide produce for camp residents and teach sustainability

    – An ELC that could double as a CLC (community learning center) – increasing empathy, understanding and civic cooperation between neighborhood residents and camp residents

    – Skill training opportunities for campers(farming, land management, green energy, etc.)

    This approach would be an unprecedented way to foster community and social responsibility while addressing a challenge that has defied past traditional approaches.

    I have recently communicated this idea to members of TreePac and Seattle Greenspace Coalition and received strong encouragement.  

    I am also involved with a community group called Burners without Borders Seattle which may be able to add some assistance in putting our money, and our muscle, where our mouth is on this idea.  Our mission is “To inspire and mobilize a committed community to achieve immediate positive impact“.  We have done some related work in the past and have specific skills in large scale temporary community projects.

    There are several other organizations that I am hoping to engage to help including:

    Seattle Tilth
    Operation Sack Lunch

    I’m sure there are a number of others that I am not aware of.  This is not something I am very familiar with (yet) – I am just a local resident with a deep concern for the challenges that have arisen in my neighborhood and a desire to see positive and sustainable change. 
  • Kravitz July 19, 2016 (7:35 pm)

    Wow, this is sad and exhausting on all accounts. For those that are angry and frustrated about garbage, crime, urine, pets, drugs… I totally understand your fears, anger, and frustrations. But just for a moment, try to have an ounce of empathy for fellow human beings. Some may have made horrible, poor choices. But some may have encountered terrible circumstances that lead to their current plight. Just think about how fortunate you are for a moment – to have shelter, access to a bathroom, food, other human or animal companionship. Can you even imagine how awful it must be to live in a car, tent, or RV – without access to a shower or convenience of toilet? 

    I must admit, I have just been fortunate to afford my own college education at 40+, and I am now damn near out of money and terrified of losing my home. I could just as easily become one of these people that you are so afraid of and angry about encroaching on your space and degrading your neighborhood. I love my home, I love my neighborhood, I’ve worked tirelessly for it and my own educational goals…and I don’t want to lose any of it either. But any one of us could become any one of them. Just think about that, please. 

  • DB July 19, 2016 (8:38 pm)

    Willow – regarding unused Seattle parcel:  I support that fully.  I had the idea five years ago while walking the dogs and was surprised by a camper.   The property is large and accessible.  As long as it is managed and safe, I have no problem.  How things are now is not good.  Some neighbors won’t even drive by there and go out of their way to avoid it.  Two of my neighbors installed security cams, and I will do the same.

  • WC Resident July 19, 2016 (10:41 pm)

    If we could get all of the homeless to start camping on Capitol Hill, maybe around Cal Anderson Park, then the mayor would get serious about solving the problem.

  • Ulrick July 20, 2016 (12:17 pm)

    I can guarantee you that the vast majority of residence who live hear and who have had to deal with this issue for years are absolutely against it.

  • Jandmsmom July 20, 2016 (12:36 pm)

    Thank you willow for helping me to correct my previous assumptions about this camp. I was so jaded and disgusted with everything that’s been going on with some of the RV residents, that I immediately thought this camp would just bring more trouble. I just stopped by with a few things for Trina’s baby and met her boyfriend. He was someone you just get that “good person” vibe from. Everyone was very friendly and looked completely sober. I was even invited in, though I could not because my babies were in the car and I needed to stay close by. What I could see of the camp looked clean and well kept. I now understand what you’ve said, willow. These are just people who are down on their luck, working together to get to a better place. Thank you to the camp members for being so welcoming to me. I hope things get better for all of you. I hope you find a safe space. I will stop by again. 

    • miws July 23, 2016 (9:06 am)

      jandmsmom, Thank you for what you are doing to help Trina and her baby and BF.  I really appreciate that you were open minded enough to visit the camp and change your perspective.

      After my several months stay at Nickelsville 5 years ago, while they were still at the bottom of Highland Park Way, and then my stay in transitional housing for most of 2012 I felt energized to share my experience hoping to shed light on the realities of homelessness, and the reality of the homeless. 

      Although I don’t recall being met with a lot of negativity directed at me personally (mostly suggestions that my situation was the exception),  seeing all of the negative, non-constructive comments  became tiring. Having concerns and expressing them is understandable, constantly bashing the homeless in general, because of the actions of a few, is insulting to the  greater homeless population.  I appreciate the WSB rules of commenting with respect because even  well within those boundaries some of the comments are insulting. It’s much worse elsewhere on the net where no such rules exist, or, at least, are not enforced. 

      If you are on Facebook, please consider visiting this page:  https://www.facebook.com/HomelessInSeattle/?fref=ts

      Thanks again!


  • John Watson July 20, 2016 (1:05 pm)

    There seem to be alternate universes at work here.  In one universe, there is a peaceful commune on Myers Way filled with adorable flower children.  In the other universe, there is a filthy nest of violent degenerates.   It’s a good thing y’all are talking past each other, ’cause if the two universes ever collided, it would be the end of life as we know it.

  • Jandmsmom July 20, 2016 (1:37 pm)


    I went by to see for myself after reading Willow’s account of this camp. What I found, was different than what I assumed I’d find based on what I’ve seen from the RV encampment. I expected degenerate. I found “adorable flower children” aka- people just trying to survive hard times and doing the best with what they have. I think a lot of people in this area assumed the same as I did after months and months of dealing with the problems some of the RV residents have been causing. This camp is different.

  • Intheknow July 20, 2016 (3:40 pm)

    Please go to the Patacara Community Services website and click on “What We Do,” then on “Camps With Heart:  Compassionate Encampments.”  You can read about the four camps for drug users that Polly Trout wants to operate.  The problem is that she has no experience and no money to support an encampment for drug users, let alone multiple drug use encampments.  Shelters and encampments for drug and alcohol addition require a lot of staffing to keep people safe, which is expensive.  In June a young man named Scott Metzner died from a heroin overdose at Camp Liberty in the Central District.  Polly had posted on the website that the camp had harm reduction supplies, but there was no Narcan on the site, which most likely would have saved his life.  In February a young woman living at Polly’s Occupy Camp Dearborn died in hospital after leaving the tent she and her partner shared, which contained multiple liter-sized empty vodka bottles.  In addition, Camp Liberty operated for over three months with no porta-potties!!  People were storing their excrement and urine in their tents and other places on the site.  Is there a porta-potty at the Meyers Way encampment?  Polly likes to hide behind the Buddhist beliefs she says she holds.  It’s a facade.  She’s out for fame and a paycheck. Now that the City of Seattle pays some of the money for encampments Polly wants a cut.  Be careful.  Call city council members, the mayor’s office, and Health and Human Services.  

    • WSB July 20, 2016 (3:50 pm)

      Don’t know about the rest of what you wrote but when we went by Monday afternoon, two Honey Buckets were on the south end of the site. Went by yesterday after somebody in this thread said the land owner (Pro-USA LLC’s Daniel Assefa had told us Monday that he didn’t know if an encampment was there because he hadn’t been there recently) told them the camp would be evicted, but didn’t see any signs of imminent departure; we haven’t yet been by today. – TR

      • Intheknow July 20, 2016 (4:55 pm)

        That’s good.  To find out the plans for drug use camps please follow the steps I posted.  See for yourself.  

  • Question Mark July 20, 2016 (5:25 pm)

    Gabriella and John, worlds colliding *indeed* … !! …

    • Gabriella July 22, 2016 (12:54 pm)

      Not sure I follow you? Homeless people are human beings trying to survive. Period. No mater what or who’s encampment it is. It is also not fair to take on more than you can handle because it further compromises people. Sadly so. 

  • Jandmsmom July 21, 2016 (1:00 pm)

    I have started a GoFundMe campaign for a young family and their baby who are in this camp. Here is the link, if you would like to read about them. 


    Also, they told me when I visited today that they are moving in a few days. 

  • Potto July 21, 2016 (3:19 pm)

    They are moving because they are trespassing and the owner has signed paper work with the police to have them all removed. Getting rewarded for committing a crime . 

  • pollytrout July 22, 2016 (7:46 am)

    The camp will be moving tomorrow, Saturday July 23. The move to Mr. Assefa’s property was accidental — the camp thought the site was city owned and unused.

    Here is a link to Patacara’s work: http://patacara.org/a-camp-with-heart-pilot-program-proposal-for-compassionate-encampments/

    I do believe that ALL people, including people who are struggling with substance abuse, deserve a safe place to sleep. There’s no problem that gets better with sleep deprivation and additional trauma. That being said, Camp Second Chance is a sober camp.

    While it would be awesome to some day make a modest salary to do this work, I actually do it as a volunteer.

    I want to thank all the Top Hat residents who have shown kindness and generosity to the camp in the past week. Almost all of you have; only a tiny handful have been hateful and cruel. I think that is universally true with any group of humans, including homeless people: most are decent if you give them half a chance, a few are not. When you treat people with compassion and dignity, most of the time the respond in kind. If you treat people like animals for long enough, eventually they may start acting like animals. Let’s work together to create a city where every single person is being treated like a human being.

  • pollytrout July 22, 2016 (7:49 am)

    For those who want to learn more about how encampments save lives, I recommend this policy brief, “No Rest For the Weary: Why Cities Should Embrace Homeless Encampments,” prepared by the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project at Seattle University: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2776425

  • Ben Calot July 23, 2016 (2:05 pm)

    Why do they feel they have the right to move onto public land?

    The city ordinance states very specifically that the church must use their own land (or land they control via lease). What part of that does this church not understand?

    This camp has simply chosen another illegal location. Their new camp will be on public land in violation of city ordinances.

    These church sponsored groups are usually better organized and run than this. I find it pretty surprising that 

  • Chris Diezel July 23, 2016 (5:28 pm)

    Sounds like a little bit of animosity from Ben . Well neighbors , I visited this new camp , just to see how things are run there, and was greeted warmly , and invited in , so I took the opportunity presented and made the best of it… This camp seems above the board , and I will stop again in the future. Its crappy circumstances , but I’ll help as much as I can .

  • InTheKnow July 23, 2016 (7:23 pm)

    Permitted encampments on public land are eligible to apply for some operating expenses from the city, but they must be run by authorized encampment operators, which Patacara’s is not, and Patacara cannot not apply to be authorized until next year.  Meanwhile, they have no funds to operate this  encampment and have apparently lost their supporters, who are being remarkably quiet. Patacara’s previous operation, Camp Liberty, has been abandoned.  

  • Sarah B. July 24, 2016 (9:54 am)

    Encampments  are a reasonable response to the emergency in homelessness declared by Seattle’s mayor, the county, and the state.  Homeless people can be sheltered immediately at a very low cost. Still, neighbors deserve to know  details about how the encampments are organized, ncluding the rules,  how people are  thrown out when they don’t follow the rules,  how those people get back into the camp after being told to leave, and whether or not sex offenders are admitted.  .  

    • flimflam July 24, 2016 (10:43 am)

      “Encampments  are a reasonable response to the emergency in homelessness declared by Seattle’s mayor, “


      that is an opinion, not a fact. 

  • trina July 24, 2016 (6:03 pm)

    Hi guys… So to answer some questions about our our camp… We are a self managed encampment. Everyone that wants to live here has to go through a process. We do something that is called an overflow process for folks.. Three night out of the week.this allows the camp to see if they will make a good fit and this allows the individual to see as well if its a good fit for them. Overflow starts from 6pm. And they get woken up at 7am and have to leave by 8am. You have to have valid id to do overflow or be a resident here. We have you read our rules and code of conduct. You sign and we keep the records as well. Im on the board of directors. Im also the camp coordinator and also book keeper. I also have a sex offenders list that we go through before any persons is intook for overflow and for registering as a camper as well. Every resident here is required to do securities. This is for the safety of the camp and a way to earn your keeep. Our securites are 4 hours long. They like I said make sure camp is neat. If things need to be stocked like tp in honey bucket they are to do it. If there are visitors they are to be the greeters and take in donations. Etc. If a person was found on the sex offenders list we do not intake them.

    Example of some of our rules are no drugs alcohol or violence. If any of them are broken the person gets a permanent bar. Meaning they have to go. As these three main rules are not just our normal rules but they are part of our code of conduct. 

    Other rules like if you miss a security you get a 24hour bar. Meaning from the time you get served you gotta go and you can come back next day at that same time.. 

    These are just some of our rules we have in place.. This camp wants everyone to know that anyone can come visit and get to know us. We arent here to take over anything we are just here because we have no place to go. Please stop by anytime you can ask for me or david our camp liaison, eric. Everyone here is open to talk we can give you a tour of the camp. You can questions etc… 

    • Intheknow July 24, 2016 (6:53 pm)

      Trina, Thank you for clearing up some of the questions.  A few other questions come to mind. 

      What kind of identification is required to get into the camp? 

      Does the camp have a dedicated cell phone that doesn’t belong to a resident? 

      Is someone on security around the clock? 

      How many adults are living there?

      Who can bar people from the camp? 

      What kind of ongoing funding does the camp have to be able to maintain the porta-potties?

       What is the camp doing with its trash? 

      Can people now living at Camp Liberty move to Camp Second Chance? (Camp Liberty is also unpermitted, I believe.)

      Thank you.

  • trina July 24, 2016 (8:43 pm)

    Hi intheknow… To answer your questions..

    Id has to be a valid state id or passport.. No desc cards as those can be altered.

    Yes the camp does have a dedicated phone number it is 2065786551. This is a camp phone..

    There is always a security at the front 24/7

    Only camp security and people on the board of directors are permitted to bar anyone. 

    We charge an admittance fee every month that goes towarda bills and camp needs. Also Patacara is our sponsor as well as Greater Seattle Cares.

    We do dump runs weekly. 

    People can move to camp second chance as long as 

    1.they are clean and sober

    2. Have proper ids

    3. They are not on the sex offenders list that we have

    If you have any further questions please dont hesitate to ask. Thank you

  • Jandmsmom July 25, 2016 (5:11 pm)

    Hi trina! You are amazing. I don’t know that I could be as positive, supportive and hard working in your situation. 

  • Ben Calot July 25, 2016 (10:17 pm)

    Their new location is part of the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site, and the land is contaminated. Here’s the Department of Ecology report detailing the contaminated sites around the lower Duwamish:


    Note page 81 with a map of the Myers parcels, and showing the land that the camp is currently on as contaminated with ash and possibly cement kiln dust. The biggest risks are dioxins and furans.

    The land in the area also has some light lead and arsenic contamination from the Asarco smelter, but we’re at the outside edge of that and time is starting to reduce it’s impact.

    That can’t be good for the adults, and I hate to think of the impact on the children that are staying at this camp. 



    Note page 81 with a map of the Myers parcels, and showing the land that the camp is currently on as contaminated with ash and possibly cement kiln dust. The biggest risks are dioxins and furans.



    Note page 81 with a map of the Myers parcels, and showing the land that the camp is currently on as contaminated with ash and possibly cement kiln dust. The biggest risks are dioxins and furans.

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