VIDEO: Navigation Team out along Spokane Street bike path before this week’s tent clearing, trash cleaning

Last Friday, hours after we first reported that a woman riding her bicycle from her West Seattle job to her Georgetown home had been attacked near Spokane and East Marginal, the city promised action this week – including clearing campers encroaching on the bicycle path in the area.

We’re following up on those promises, and to start with, we met up this afternoon with the Seattle Police sergeant who leads the Navigation Team (explained here), a team of officers and outreach workers.

Sgt. Eric Zerr tells us that the “hazard” clearance does not require the 72-hour notice called for in other areas, but they have been out talking to the people in the area, so they have been warned. He said an area on the north side of Spokane with about 10 “structures” will be cleared, but is not sure if they are all currently occupied. Here’s our five-minute interview recorded in that area this afternoon:

The Navigation Team is a citywide squad. Enforcement and patroling of the area is separate, handled by local officers (this area is in the South Precinct’s jurisdiction, not the West Seattle-based Southwest Precinct). While the RV camp to the south is not being cleared, as Sgt. Zerr reiterated and as the city Human Services Department explained on Friday, a major trash cleanup is planned in the area too later this week – starting on Wednesday. We’ll be following up tomorrow on specifics of those plans.

37 Replies to "VIDEO: Navigation Team out along Spokane Street bike path before this week's tent clearing, trash cleaning"

  • New Thinking Needed March 27, 2017 (5:46 pm)

    Please enforce the laws the city has such as illegal dumping, illegal camping, and illegal parking. 

  • Neighbor March 27, 2017 (6:55 pm)

    Any word from SPD on if they made an arrest or have a suspect in the case? 

  • flimflam March 27, 2017 (6:56 pm)

    the original story sure has disappeared from the “spotlight” posts at the upper left side.

    • WSB March 27, 2017 (7:05 pm)

      Yes, given that the story was 3 1/2 days old by this afternoon, I moved it out, but will likely be moving the followup in later.

  • Amy March 27, 2017 (7:11 pm)

    Thank you WSB and SPD Navigation Team for the update and outreach. 

  • KT March 27, 2017 (7:27 pm)

    It is really too bad that the only thing that moves our city to action is negative media coverage.  

    …”While the RV camp to the south is not being cleared…”  And why not?  Gonna wait for something negative to happen involving that too?

  • Carole March 27, 2017 (7:49 pm)

    Saw a blue tent pitched under west end of the bridge at Spokane and Avalon.  First time I’ve seen one there.

    • WSB March 27, 2017 (7:51 pm)

      There was one a few months back. On the northwest slope, north of the structure. I heard a police dispatch about the new one today; we were on our way to the interview for this story so did not divert.

  • TheKing March 27, 2017 (8:09 pm)

    The trash problem is seriously affecting the downtown area where the jungle was cleared. Most of those removed are not far from the jungle, my work is nearby and the buildings are infested with literally hundreds of rats and bedbugs are showing up in vehicles. Inhabitants are burning plastic or whatever they can find, this is depressing. 

  • wlcg06 March 27, 2017 (8:16 pm)

    Has anyone heard where the “Navigation Team” will navigate the displaced people to? Seems like the camps are migrating West overall as the trend. So where to next…Harbor Ave., Alki, Me-Kwa-Mooks, Belvidere Park? Unfortunately the city just keep pushing them around while advertising for more to move here.

    • WSB March 27, 2017 (8:22 pm)

      It’s in the interview. They’re offering space at the sanctioned camps – Second Chance on Myers, and the one on Myrtle in Georgetown, for example.

      • flimflam March 27, 2017 (8:36 pm)

        “offering space” – so, if they say, “no thanks”, then what, I wonder?

  • Dave March 27, 2017 (8:32 pm)

    This area should have been addressed before the lady was attacked. Based on previous comments, the city has known about this area on several levels, lighting, homelessness, etc. The fact this is now being addressed AFTER the attack is kind of insulting. 

  • dsa March 27, 2017 (9:38 pm)

    We need more Sgt Zerr teams.

  • Kathy March 28, 2017 (12:34 am)

    The bike trail loop under the east end of the lower bridge has gotten very messy and needs maintenance, to the point where I gave up using it and now use the push button crosswalk to cross instead, and stop car/freight traffic in the process. There are a couple of “permanent” camps near the trail there. I haven’t had any incidents indicating that the occupants of those tents might attack a person walking or biking past (I actually do not know whether they would or not), but the stuff scattered around outside the tents, and the dirt that washes down from the landscaping onto the path make for an unpleasant ride through that underpass. 

  • Native March 28, 2017 (6:50 am)

    The local (Seattle) government’s failure to understand their role is driving this city into the ground. Ensuring public safety, order, and cleanliness should not be a reaction to an event but an embraced responsibility. Will it always be the case that there will have to be some kind of assault before addicts/vagrants are dealt with? Will it always be the case that garbage will accumulate in public spaces until it’s a blight? You don’t have to solve social problems, you just have to ensure public safety, order, and cleanliness.

    Drive over to Bellevue for a comparison.

    • WsEd March 28, 2017 (4:18 pm)

      The cops in Seattle have been turned into garbage collectors.  I hope they negotiated well in their last contract.

      • WSB March 28, 2017 (4:22 pm)

        The police are not picking up trash. Other agencies are involved here. Seattle Public Utilities, which oversees trash/recycling collection, was part of the team on which we reported last Friday, surveying the area.

        • WsEd March 28, 2017 (4:30 pm)

          Good point,

          They are ensuring the safety of the people picking up the trash.  Still, this is so out of hand I am pretty sure very few on the police force thought it was what they were signing up to do and it is costing us quite a penny.

  • WS Taxpayer March 28, 2017 (7:05 am)

    Thanks for the reporting!

    So what I heard at the end of that was, if you barricade your dilapidated and illegally parked RV in with garbage and a flat tire, the city will let you stay there indefinitely….awesome.

  • WSnomore March 28, 2017 (9:04 am)

    Native- well stated.  My heart breaks for the status of the city I lived in, and loved, for 30+ years,  having moved to the ‘other’ peninsula in November.  The last time we were in town was for the holidays and it was bad under the bridge, but NOTHING like it appears now.  I have long wondered how, at the very least, this can be allowed to go on as far as the Health Department is concerned. 

    As The King stated, he ‘works near where the jungle was and businesses are now infested with rats and bed bugs are showing up in vehicles’.

    Then those rats further spread disease and those bed bugs get transported back to the drivers home and spread further.  

    My husband worked at Seattle City Light on 4th for 25 years so witnessed the influx of motorhomes and tents along with the trash and waste, human and other, firsthand.  He would regularly walk his female coworkers to their cars as they felt unsafe, as did he.  

    I don’t know what the answer is, I sincerely hope the voters in Seattle vote out this mayor and his crew before they absolutely make Seattle a place that people shudder after saying the word and reminisce about what a beautiful town it used to be. Oh wait, I think that’s already happening. 

    • West Seattle Hipster March 28, 2017 (9:46 am)

      And, our mayor wants to throw even more of taxpayer dollars at an issue that he clearly can’t fix.  Someone is making out pretty good on this situation…………

      • WsEd March 28, 2017 (4:20 pm)

        More Money Murry!

  • shauna March 28, 2017 (9:18 am)

    Saw a blue tent pitched under west end of the bridge at Spokane and Avalon

    What can be done to move this camper along? Who do we contact?

    • WSB March 28, 2017 (9:22 am)

      Officer Wiebke, who handles homelessness-related issues for the SW Precinct (*not* the area that is the subject of this story – it’s outside SWP),

  • Under_Achiever March 28, 2017 (9:44 am)

    I’m beginning to think even an under achiever like me could easily be ‘Mayor for Life’ just by timing traffic lights and enforcing quality of life laws.

    Anyone have democracy vouchers that need a home??

    • 98126res March 28, 2017 (4:04 pm)

      I would happily give my Democracy Vouchers to any, any moderate or conservative candidate or measure on an upcoming ballot but I don’t see any on the horizon.  I will donate my vouchers to an unelectable before giving them back to the city.

      • WsEd March 28, 2017 (4:25 pm)


        Please Seattle no more voting for activists.  Politicians need to do their job which is specifically working for the strategic interests and common wealth of their constituents.  Activists however are always driven by an agenda that is very personal and will rarely work for the commonwealth.

  • KBear March 28, 2017 (10:39 am)

    You can’t solve the camping and trash problem just by “enforcing the law”. Criminalizing homelessness doesn’t change the fact that people don’t have a place to be. Fining them won’t do any good—these are people who don’t have the means to pay. Incarceration doesn’t solve the problem either, plus it’s expensive. In the end, it will cost less money to just give people the help they need to get off the streets. 

    • West Seattle Hipster March 28, 2017 (11:36 am)

      But what if people don’t want the help that is offered to them? 

      Criminal behavior should be held accountable, regardless of one’s housing situation.

      • Mickymse March 29, 2017 (2:27 pm)

        “Criminal” behavior IS — and will be — held accountable… But the City has currently decided that being literally homeless with nowhere to go is not a crime. And what exactly would be the point of us wasting MORE taxpayer dollars just to house someone in jail against their will? Making you feel better by not having to look at people suffering is not a good use of our taxpayer dollars either.

  • Don Brubeck March 28, 2017 (12:30 pm)

    Thank you to Councilmember Lisa Herbold and the Mayor’s Office for quick response after this attack. The location is not even in CM Herbold’s district, but realizing the effect on all the people from West Seattle using the bridge trail, she and her staff were on it, and the Mayor’s office got the several agencies out of their silos and out there.  Hoping for long term improvements to public health and safety. 

  • Lola March 28, 2017 (1:07 pm)

    One tent already spotted has moved into West Seattle at the off ramp of Avalon/Harbor Ave.  We do the sweep & they just move into another spot. 

  • Bri March 28, 2017 (1:32 pm)

    I saw some workers on manlifts fixing street lamps near there. Seems promising! I’m glad they are reacting, but wish it would have been taken care of right when it was a problem (proactive.)

  • blbl March 28, 2017 (2:11 pm)

     Well, now you can’t expect our mayor to deal with homelessness when he’s so busy reducing 20 mph speed limits and placing cardboard cutouts all over the city.

  • Cindy March 29, 2017 (2:01 pm)

    Is it naive to think that placing several big trash dumpsters there would help the problem?

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