FOLLOWUP: New RV camp in east West Seattle not a city priority, so far

(WSB photo from late this afternoon)

So far, it looks like the city does not plan any immediate action about the new, unauthorized RV camp in east West Seattle. We checked back there late today, one day after getting word it was setting up on vacant state-owned land toward the east end of the original 2008 “Nickelsville” encampment site, off 2nd SW between West Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW. We were told five more RVs had arrived today, bringing the total there to about 15, and that some government entity had dropped off trash bags for them to use. Their status, they said, remains unclear.

This morning, we had updated our original story with information from Julie Moore, a spokesperson for the city’s homelessness-related efforts. She had told us the Navigation Team was out at the site assessing the situation. This afternoon, she reiterated that the city had not directed campers there, and that it’s a site WSDOT intends to use this summer as “the staging area for the critical I-5 resurfacing project.” She also reiterated that if any of these RVs’ owners were told to move, it was a parking-enforcement issue, not a camp sweep.

That said, Moore added:

While the site is not authorized for camping, nor is it an appropriate place to do so due to WSDOT’s use and activity there, the City prioritizes encampment removals based on several issues, including health and safety. The City has been focusing its efforts on mitigating the most hazardous encampments, particularly those:

Where individuals are sleeping outside in tents.

In locations that are physically unsafe for the individual or surrounding community (e.g., along busy roads, ledges, sidewalks).

That have become so large that trash, hazardous structures and negative behavior become too problematic.

Where there is a public health threat to the campers or surrounding community.

With those priorities in mind, the City is spending the next two weeks focusing on addressing the extensive illegal encampments along I-90/Rainier Avenue/Dearborn Street. More on those efforts, including the outreach efforts underway since May 1, can be found (here).

While a WSDOT rep was looped into our e-mail exchange with Moore, we have no direct comment from the state yet on whether they will allow the vehicle campers to stay on the site. We did ask a camper how they entered it; they said the chain-link fencing at the entrance was not locked, and had numerous openings. Both the state- and city-owned sections of the site were ringed with chain-link fencing after the last encampment there was evicted in 2013.

19 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: New RV camp in east West Seattle not a city priority, so far"

  • Wsres May 12, 2017 (9:36 pm)

    Where do they dump their sewage? This is not acceptable.

    • Double Dub Resident May 13, 2017 (8:40 am)

      For a city that has now forced the police department to no longer refer to suspects as suspects but community members in their use of force reports, or

      Think that opening up public parks and some sidewalks to let the homeless “camp”  was a good idea, or

      Working to get a sanctioned Heroin shooting gallery up and running, or

      Have a cop hating, socialist activist in wannabe political clothing telling people to shut down the freeways, or

      An “affordable housing” measure in which the developers actually don’t have to provide any affordable housing, they can just pay a “fee” to the city instead, thus providing nothing. Oh of course the fee will be paid to the city so they can build them elsewhere, but with the city’s track record with taxes they’re suppose to use for certain things, I’m sure that’ll happen. 

      So yeah, for our “great leaders” this is totally acceptable. 

  • flimflam May 13, 2017 (6:27 am)

    the area will be a swamp of mud and who knows what else (sewage?) before long. gotta love the how the laws are applied/enforced so differently. I wonder what would happen if I decided to move my car collection, boat, RV, and spare parts to the nearest vacant lot?

  • Madenning May 13, 2017 (8:36 am)

    ENFORCE THE CITY RULES or We will Vote you out.  Miss H are you listening?

  • Mike May 13, 2017 (9:02 am)

    You’d think with the cost of tabs this year nobody would be using a motorized vehicle to live in.

  • West May 13, 2017 (10:04 am)

    The camping on WSDOT land is really a problem throughout the city. Eastlake has been inundated the past couple of years. The city has repeatedly promised to clean things up and keep them clean. There was a big cleanup starting in March, but now the campers have moved right back in, and in some areas there is more trash than ever. 

  • Marty May 13, 2017 (10:33 am)

    Sure, don’t run them off now. Wait until there are dozens of RV’s, piles of trash, needles and sewage before anything is done. This is what you get from the clowns you elected.

  • Frank May 13, 2017 (10:56 am)

    Send them to Vashon.

  • Cheese May 13, 2017 (4:54 pm)

    Yall are just proposing to sqeeze a balloon. If you kick them out of one place, they will just pop up in another. They have to live somewhere. You all just want these people gone and untill you realize that these are PEOPLE that have the right to exist, you will never find a practical solution.

  • Marty May 13, 2017 (6:45 pm)

    They might have a right to exist, but they must obey laws made to ensure health, safety and decency.

  • South Park Sassy May 14, 2017 (10:38 am)

    The RV campers are calling the site Camp Sanctuary.  There is even a Facebook page with a map leading folks to the site.  Yesterday’s count is 20 RVs with 45 people.

  • N Sheets May 14, 2017 (11:58 am)

    how about the 10+ RV’s parked on Harbor Ave – so far there doesn’t seem to be a garbage problem however there is on trash can that is usually overflowing…..

    • WSB May 14, 2017 (12:17 pm)

      Six as of last night. We count almost daily.

    • alki_2008 May 14, 2017 (1:11 pm)

      The ones on Harbor Ave usually don’t have garbage strewn all over the place. There is a converted bus down there is pretty cool, with an awesome solar setup. Not a ‘homeless’ person, but more like a bohemian/nomad out to travel the country – not sure what the current terminology is for such folks.

      There was one vehicle down there a few months ago where the ‘occupant’ was leaving bags of garbage outside on the planting strip, which then got dispersed all over by the crows. That vehicle was pushed out of there pretty quickly thereafter.

      Personally, I don’t mind the RV/van dwellers – as long as they:

    • have a functioning black tank that they dump at actual dump stations (there’s a free one at exit 140, northbound I-5, SeaTac)
    • don’t leave garbage all over the place
    • don’t harass or endanger those that walk/ride/drive past their vehicles
  • flimflam May 14, 2017 (3:47 pm)

    by looking at the FB page, it doesn’t sound like they have any set up for proper disposal of waste, but seem to expect “someone” to help with that. I can’t imagine why the city allows the take over, in essence, of state/city (?) land.

  • Marianne May 14, 2017 (9:16 pm)

    I agree the RVs are unsightly, but where are these people to go?  They seem to just be forced from one location to another.  My neighbor has to move because the condo is being sold.  She can’t find anywhere to live.  She said rooms are going for $900 a month.  She has a full-time job too.

    • Double Dub Resident May 15, 2017 (5:32 am)

      I saw quite a few apartments for around 1,200 dollars around Seattle in just one search

  • WS worker May 16, 2017 (9:31 pm)

    It’s not that people haven’t a right to ‘exist’ or ‘live.’ Nobody is saying that, ever. They are saying people don’t have the right to live or exist wherever they damned well please. I don’t live in Medina or North Admiral or on Mercer Island because I can’t afford to. I’m in WS making ends meet. If that changes I would probably have to leave and find another location (city, state) where my skill set can be applied for compensation relative to the cost of living.

    Just because someone has a lower socioeconomic standing they are not granted a right to live anywhere they please irrespective of local laws. People come here because Seattle is lenient and sympathetic. I believe it was reported less than a quarter of the nearly 40 people from under the bridge on Spokane St. accepted help moving into a camp or transitional housing. 

    The ones that said no are spread out a few blocks away until something bad almost happens, making our civic leaders once again announce ‘they were planning on addressing the issue…’ Then come 30+ city vehicles and countless contractors, police and random officials to spend two or three days cleaning up the waste and erecting chain link fences.

    I would love to see more concrete data on citywide homelessness outreach, expenditure and ultimate success/failure in these attempts.

    Prove it’s working instead of just asking us for more money.

  • Sorry, comment time is over.