City proposes new encampment-removal rules

After last year’s uproar over proposed encampment-removal rules that some interpreted as allowing camping in parks and on sidewalks, a new set of rules was promised. Today, the proposal has gone public, and a comment period is open. It’s in four documents, all here as PDFs. The main ones you’ll want to review are these two – first, the proposed removal rules:

Second, these are the proposed Multi-Departmental Administrative Rules:

Click the plus sign to expand the “for public comment: encampment rules” section of this page for commenting info.

It’s been three and a half months since the set of rules that the City Council was working on was basically shelved. The cover page for what’s now on the city website includes this summary:

Compared to the existing rules, the new rules:

*Identify specific criteria for prioritizing the removal of encampments.

*Require the offer of a shelter alternative in order to remove many encampments.

*Require the City to deliver materials it stores from encampments to their owners.

*Streamline the process for removing encampments that obstruct the intended use of public facilities like sidewalks and parks.

We’ll be taking a closer look later but are publishing the documents now so you can read for yourself if interested.

SIDE NOTE: While these rules apply to unauthorized camping, we’re taking this opportunity to remind you about tomorrow night’s West Seattle meeting related to the plan to authorize an existing camp on Myers Way. The meeting is at 7 pm Wednesday (February 1st) at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.)

35 Replies to "City proposes new encampment-removal rules"

  • anonyme January 31, 2017 (11:43 am)

    “*Require the offer of a shelter alternative in order to remove many encampments”

    This sneaky little addition effectively negates any rule that might otherwise appear to be a valid option for controlling illegal camping. 

    “*Require the City to deliver materials it stores from encampments to their owners”

    Seriously? How much is it costing taxpayers for free storage and delivery of “materials”?

    Unbelievable.  Seniors like myself, who have worked and paid taxes their entire lives, are fu#!ed, but drug addicts are golden.   Maybe I can burn my democracy voucher for heat…

    • Dave January 31, 2017 (1:07 pm)

      Totally agree. 

    • Just January 31, 2017 (1:30 pm)

      You’re making the assumption that these people are drug addicts and that’s unfortunate. Some, sure, but don’t make a broad stroke that because people are homeless that they are automatically drug addicts, drunks or otherwise. Our system has failed a lot of these people and it’s shameful to look down on all of them because you disagree with a proposed plan. Outrage is easy, compassion is harder I suggest we work towards the latter.

      • Yawn February 2, 2017 (8:47 am)

        There’s plenty of places for them to stay. The pedominant street walker just can’t get clean, won’t stop drinking or doesn’t want to take their medication (average requirements for most shelters). So they stay on the street.  

        not. My. Problem.

  • Double Dub Resident January 31, 2017 (11:46 am)

    Interpreted as allowing homeless camping in parks and sidewalks or actually allowing this?  Cause I’m pretty sure the city council even designated certain parks to do this 

  • John January 31, 2017 (12:38 pm)

    Something needs to be done….  I ride my bike from WS to Downtown everyday.  Once I’m under Spokane Street bridge it’s like riding in the City dump.  Go for a walk under the lower WS bridge and take a look for yourself.  Half a dozen tents and garbage everywhere….  and rats running across the bike path.  It’s unsafe for a female rider.  A female rider could be grabbed very easily under the bridge….bike and body in the river….gone forever.  Continuing to downtown are more makeshift shelters.  Again, garbage everywhere.  What happened to the days when we’d send no-risk prisoners out to clean up?  Is that not PC anymore?  It’s getting way out of hand….  

    • Erithan January 31, 2017 (3:43 pm)

      Gets unnerving in car (passanger here)when stopped by a train, I’ve seen/experienced a Group of guys and usually one specific female doing drugs in the open.  

      When stopped at lights, the gal and others would get really close/try to get people to roll down Windows, or just swear at everyone.( the female is usually very obviously high or drunk). Trucker gave her a can of something one time.

      I wish I was exaggerating=(

      The the trash is beyond sad(as is whole situation) I know some of the people are down on their luck, but what keeps them from cleaning up their trash at least?

    • Double Dub Resident January 31, 2017 (3:58 pm)

      Go down to Charles Street which is at the very north end of Airport Way and see that filth.  Charles Street is where city vehicles are sent to be repaired among other things.  In other words it’s a city facility.  It is so bad down there now that they keep their gates closed because so many employees cars were getting broken into.  

      There’s so many bike thefts in Seattle and you can go down there are one tent could have as many as a dozen bikes in various states of disarray.  Magnolia had this issue with a group of RVs awhile back where residents were finding their bikes there.  

      Hey but let’s give people “safe spaces”  to shoot their Heroin,  because that won’t attract people from coming here 

  • S January 31, 2017 (2:00 pm)

    The homeless advocates love to tell us to have compassion. We just need more compassion for the homeless. Compassion, compassion, compassion. Well, I have had a lot of compassion for the less fortunate and I care for them in my job daily but my compassion has been chipped away with the tents, crime, graffiti, and by how filthy this city has become.  This whole city is a bunch of enablers. Let’s stop enabling them and let these people hit rock bottom (they haven’t yet since we enable them).

    I pulled this quote off a website for families struggling with a loved one with addiction.  I am not saying all the homeless are addicted to something but I think the quote fits in the larger scope of this city(our big family of Seattle). “Families (Seattle) think they’re helping the addict when they’re actually making things
    worse. A habitual drug user will take your money, your charity, your time and
    your energy, and they’ll leave you completely drained. They’ll break your heart,
    and they’ll break their promises. How you respond to an addict’s behavior is
    crucial to veering them off the path they’re on.”

    • Katie January 31, 2017 (9:41 pm)

      What does this mean in practical terms though?  Arrests?  Seems like that’s just moving the problem around. 

      • Double Dub Resident February 1, 2017 (4:32 am)

        It means in practical terms you stop enabling those that don’t want help 

  • GivemeaBreak January 31, 2017 (2:48 pm)

    Clean out the camps!! No Tents on public property !!!!  Voting out all the idiots. 

  • JB January 31, 2017 (3:13 pm)

    I can attest to John’s  comment about the state of the bike path under the lower WS bridge. There is garbage everywhere, and yes there are indeed lots of rats running about.   I hit the lid of a barbecue grill last week as I was rounding the turn, somehow managing to stay upright. Who can we call to cleanup the mess?  

    • WSB January 31, 2017 (3:32 pm)

      If a right of way, whether a bike path or sidewalk or road, is impeded by something, call 206-684-ROAD. (Somebody will suggest the Find It Fix It app, but we’ve heard of better results via phone.) If it’s urgent – 911.

    • Kathy January 31, 2017 (5:38 pm)

      I submitted a Find it Fix it request back in the fall to clean up the area you speak of.  The request was closed but the garbage remained. When I called for a follow up I was told the problem was referred to the Department of Corrections (State, I guess), so the City considered it closed. A few of the larger appliances (like a clothes washer, I think) disappeared, but most of the junk remains or increases. If not addressed, it just seems to get worse.

      One thing that works with Find it Fix it, is many people submitting the same request. I will submit mine again and refer to the lack of action last time around.

      This “broken record” technique finally worked for getting the tree removed from growing in the West Duwamish Trail just below the SE end of the First Avenue Bridge. We had been complaining periodically for years but finally we (our bike group) all submitted the same request at once. They need to be swamped with requests, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  It’s a shame we have to ask so many times but persistence does eventually pay off.

      Just be careful if you stop to take a picture. Be aware of your surroundings to ensure that there are no threatening individuals around before stopping.

  • Brenda January 31, 2017 (3:47 pm)

    No compassion- get these criminals and druggies OUT of Seattle. 

    Get the Mayor and counsel out too. 


  • Michey January 31, 2017 (4:11 pm)

    ..and our fine mayor wants to welcome even more people to our city. Obviously we can’t handle our existing problems. I lived here for a long time and have never seen our city look this horrible. John said it perfectly.

  • JD January 31, 2017 (6:26 pm)

    FYI – Lots of in depth material regarding this crisis on this blog made by a West Seattlite:

    WSB’s timely and accurate reporting combined with his pugnacious investigation helps illustrate what we are up against.  

  • wetone January 31, 2017 (6:55 pm)

    Harbor Island under low bridge  and Spokane & Airport  today was is a total sh_t hole. Their garbage including lots of plastic bags were blowing right into the Duwamish River as I have seen many times.  I have seen some of them dump buckets of liquid containing who knows what, but I got a pretty good idea into the river many times, mainly the east water way. See rats nightly. When Fisher Flour was around there were rats, but nothing like today. It just blows me away the EPA , tribes or some other group has not gone after Seattle and Mayor Murray  for not controlling any of the waste generated by some of the people and a lot of other issues related to these camps. With the money Murray is pissing away you would think he would at least clean some of his (Murray) mess . Time to shame Murray into doing something. Someone needs to start a web page showing all the different camps and the garbage piles through out Seattle.  Murray needs to go.    

    • flimflam January 31, 2017 (9:15 pm)

      be sure to separate your trash properly though  – and pay your bill.

  • Josh January 31, 2017 (9:16 pm)

    Meyers Way has just as many RVs along it as an RV dealer. Garbage everywhere. 

    • WSB February 1, 2017 (11:06 am)

      Six, to be precise. That’s how many I counted when we went through the other day but I didn’t want to state that as a fact until going through again, which I did just now. There is a pile of trash bags just north of Camp Second Chance and that will be a good question to ask at tonight’s meeting – what kind of pickup will be provided, etc.

  • Mr E January 31, 2017 (9:35 pm)

    I’m sure Jesus would want to smite every last homeless and unsheltered person, too. Tucked away between his sermon on the mount and the last supper, I’m fairly certain Jesus proclaimed “Kill the poor.”

    • BJ February 1, 2017 (12:47 pm)

      Agreed.  Every Christian person in Seattle needs to invite a homeless person to live in their basement.

  • Anonymous Coward February 1, 2017 (5:29 am)

    I’m starting to think the community should start “helping” the trash “blow in the wind” from under the bridge to the front yards of the city council members.  Or at least city hall…

  • John February 1, 2017 (6:00 am)

    This mayor and city counsel are a JOKE.

    Typical Seattle politicians who want to give the tax payers money to everyone except back to the tax payers…

    Seattle has always had a homeless issue, but with this current lot of politicians in office here it has gotten 100 times worse.

    Fire them all and let’s hire some civil servants who work for the tax payers…

    They provided a huge document…with rule on how police can move these folks who do not pay their way, add to the crime rate and leave garbage everywhere…

    When it should just say…No Camping On Public Property…

    Lets put a homeless camp in the new South lake union business area or at the park on Capital hill…and see how quickly those get moved along…

  • anonyme February 1, 2017 (9:18 am)

    There are a lot of poor in this country and this city who are struggling to get by with NO assistance, have obeyed the laws, and who do not have needles stuck in their arms.  They are the ones who deserve compassion.  As Double Dub said, the enabling needs to stop; until it does, the problem will continue to get worse.  Bring back law and common sense to Seattle.

  • HTB February 1, 2017 (10:35 am)

    It feels to me like the city looks at the homeless as an equal constituancy with the rest of us here and are bending over backwards to be “fair” to the homeless population.

    What about fairness for those of us to have to look at this garbage everyday? 

  • HTB February 1, 2017 (10:40 am)

    Is there some type of initiative or referendum that can be placed on the ballot to force to homeless to stop camping illegally?

  • Gatewood Neighbor February 1, 2017 (3:19 pm)

    Hear me out,  We should make drug abuse while homeless illegal.  “What, sending them to jail is not the answer!”  You are right!  We need to create a facility that detains and treats the majority of these people for 90 days first offense with progressive rehabilitation lengths after that.  A lot of these people are self medicating because our metal health system is in shambles, nobody can argue it isn’t.  A lot of these people are in a cycle of abuse caused by poor prescription management or chronic pain (which commonly follows metal illness BTW).  Treating the symptoms of this will never fix the issue.  We need to step up and talk about and address root causes.  Until that happens we going to watch this get worse.  Once that is enforced it leave the others that are homeless due to economic and abuse situations.  That would allow us to address them more directly and create focused programs.

  • Wsea98116 February 8, 2017 (4:20 am)

    Everyone has this idealistic view of the hapless hobo, homeless through no fault of his own- and therefore comes the outcry for compassion and sympathy. More commonly, the people causing the problems are drug addicts, and/or mentally ill, people who refuse to live within the current constraints of society. Why do we allow people to create havoc and dangerous situations, and break laws, simply because they are mentally ill or drug addicts? I don’t see how disallowing mentally ill people break THESE laws, is being unsympathetic to them. Are we being unsympathetic by trying to stop repeat drunk drivers? Those people also have mental health problems and/or substance abuse issues, and they can’t help it. why not let them drive drunk?  

Sorry, comment time is over.