Hours after shooting death, city announces ‘gradual closure’ of encampments under West Seattle Bridge

After a 31-year-old man was shot and killed in the 1st/Spokane encampment early today, the city has just announced a plan for “gradual closure” of the camps that remain along the “Spokane corridor.” The announcement, in a post on the city’s blog-format website for homelessness-related information, says the timing is a coincidence:

… Prior to this morning’s shooting, we had established a four-week plan for addressing the camping along the Spokane Street corridor. The plan begins with notice to be posted tomorrow to alert all individuals on site that the Navigation Team will be conducting repeated outreach during the next several weeks prior to gradual closure beginning the week of Sept. 11. …

Beginning Monday, Aug. 28, the Navigation Team will be collaborating with additional service providers to conduct targeted outreach to individuals living along Spokane Street from Airport Way to First Avenue. During repeated engagement with individuals in this area over the last several months, the Navigation Team has identified a number of challenges within this population, including substance use disorder, mental health disorder, unemployment/under-employment, chronic medical conditions, legal issues/justice involvement and sex work. To provide a comprehensive response, the Navigation Team has reached out to numerous partners who can better meet the needs of some individuals.

The Navigation Team will be joined by the following partner agencies: DESC-HOST, REACH, LEAD, Metropolitan Improvement District (MID), University of Washington/Harborview, Pioneer Human Services, Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST), Valley Cities, Seattle Central Colleges, YouthCare, Veteran’s Affairs, UGM, Salvation Army, Millionair Club.

Beginning at 10 a.m., collaborative, “need-specific” outreach will be deployed, so individuals will receive engagement from agencies that meet their specific needs. To those interested, service offers will be immediate and will include substance use recovery options, mental health treatment, coordinated entry housing assessment, relocation to appropriate alternative living arrangements, reconnection with family or other support systems, disruption of ongoing sex trade including exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

In addition to alternative spaces available to the City’s Navigation Team, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM) has set aside 10 men’s program beds and 10 shelter beds along with five women’s shelter beds and five program beds for Spokane Street area referrals. In addition, the Salvation Army has committed to holding all beds that become available for Spokane Street referrals.

As the city update goes on to note, it’s been four months since the RV encampment further west under the bridge was cleared after two motorhomes were gutted in a fire. Also noted: The Navigation Team is reported to have contacted “1,157 individuals” in the last six months, with “721 accept(ing) some sort of service, including 419 who relocated to alternative living arrangements.”

86 Replies to "Hours after shooting death, city announces 'gradual closure' of encampments under West Seattle Bridge"

  • flimflam August 22, 2017 (4:36 pm)

    for some reason I have a hard time believing that there was a plan in place and the shooting just happened to take place JUST before they could announce it. the city reacts after something really bad happens but tolerates just about anything prior…

  • Alki resident August 22, 2017 (4:51 pm)

    Just like the fire incident.

  • Brenda August 22, 2017 (5:05 pm)

    Clear them out!

  • ltfd August 22, 2017 (5:10 pm)

    Too little, too late.

  • M August 22, 2017 (5:11 pm)

    After the previous encampment was closed I filed a complaint that they moved to 1st and Spokane which defeated the purpose of the urgent clearing under the viaduct after RV fires. They responded to my complaint saying it wasn’t a high priority. It is very sad that someone had to lose their life before the city does something.They are constantly in a reactive mode versus proactive mode.

  • Seattlite August 22, 2017 (6:01 pm)

    Why have Seattle’s  and WA’s leaders let the homeless problems get to this point?   Why doesn’t Gov Inslee step in and plan for immediate care for the mentally ill…facilities, doctors, etc.?  What are the core issues that prevents Seattle’s/Wa’s leaders from resolving the homeless problems? What will the new mayor do to control the homeless problems?  What will any old or new city council members do to control the homeless problems?  It’s just so disturbing  that Seattle’s/WA’s leaders don’t know what to do for long-term control of the homeless issue.

    • Benjamin Wahl August 22, 2017 (7:19 pm)

      You’re willing to pay for those services through increased taxes, correct?

      • ChannelingLewisBlack August 22, 2017 (9:38 pm)

        Umm….there’s more than enough tax revenue and levies for homeless services that have been passed in recent years.  It’s all about execution and accountability.  Until we decide to put people a little bit more conservative than the current mayor and counsel in place, we will continue to get this helpless look….

        • Grant August 23, 2017 (11:20 am)

          Exactly ….

          we complain of the problem and continue to elect those that consume time and money in idealist socialist theory and little action. With Sawant, Obrien, and our Herbold what else do we expect. Over 100 million dollars is allocated to homeless issues and it gets worse.

          The consultants collect money to say we waste it with no action plan.

          • My two cents ... August 23, 2017 (1:42 pm)

            Agree totally!  Sawant, Obrien and Herbold seem more intent on creating press coverage to burnish their credentials for another re-election bid compared with making and acting on real proposals, real – pragmatic solutions to the issues of the community.

      • Eric1 August 22, 2017 (10:13 pm)

        We pay enough. Other than mental health services, I don’t see any need for more money being thrown at the homeless problem. Homeless need to get a job, get treatment or get out.   There are 5000 people living on the streets of according to King County’s annual count.  There are 7 million  people in the greater Seattle area.  That amounts to less than 10th of 1% of the population on the streets.  One can assume that many of these people are the 0.1%ters who just don’t want to conform or have burnt their bridges with family.   Services are offered by the city all the time, many don’t take them.  They claim they like their freedom but beggars can’t be choosers.  If they choose to be outside, they need to follow the rules set forth by society.  Move your damn POS every 72 hours (I don’t get 72 hours between the time I get off on Friday until the time I show back up on Monday so don’t whine: Its not that hard).   You will never get everybody sheltered and are we so jaded in Seattle that a 99.9% success rate isn’t good enough?


        Mental health needs to be adequately funded and I get much of the homeless are mentally ill but you can’t make them take treatment either so we aren’t going to make headway there.   But all the druggies and bums need to kicked in their butt to get with it or get out. 

        • David August 23, 2017 (4:17 am)

          Might want to check your facts – per the 2016 census there are 7.29 million people in the entire state not the greater Seattle area alone – that said it is a complicated issue that needs a solution.

          • Eric1 August 23, 2017 (9:15 pm)

            You got me.  My bad.  7M is indeed the Washington population, 2M is King County. It is still only 0.35% of the population.  We have 99%+ of the population housed and we are now really working on the high hanging fruit of the population.  All the “easy” fruit low hanging has been picked.  i.e. people who want to be housed and are willing to accept the strings that are attached to the help they receive (from the public or their friends/families).


            Yes, everybody should have a stable home.  Yes, there should be more mental health options.  Yes, there should be free drug treatment.  But until you make those options mandatory, there will be people living on the the margins of society and not in a good place.  Answers?  I have none other than putting aside peoples rights and forcing them to conform to society which is illegal.  Smarter people than me work on this problem and it seems to exist everywhere I have gone.  So perhaps,  since you will always have people on the margins, the first question that needs to be answered is what is the realistic goal we are trying to reach regarding housing the homeless. Much like Vision Zero on traffic deaths, the answer isn’t really zero even if the tag line sounds great.

  • Paul August 22, 2017 (6:08 pm)

    It’s about time. Wake up Seattle!

  • Wsrez August 22, 2017 (6:18 pm)

    Totally agree with what people are saying about the city being reactive.

  • Terry Smith August 22, 2017 (6:41 pm)

    Oh…. so I won’t be able to navigate my bike around human waste anymore?


  • The King August 22, 2017 (7:13 pm)

    The liberal welfare state helps the poor when they are poor, with seemingly no intention on preventing a poor and homeless situation. Instead becoming enablers through handout policies that make themselves feel better. Help those who want the help by way of learning a trade or at least a willingness to perform manual labor, sounds cold but for those who don’t want this help society is going to have to instill a degree of tolerance and focus on the next generation so they can break this cycle. 

    • Katie August 23, 2017 (3:59 pm)

      What does that mean exactly?  

      • The King August 24, 2017 (5:12 am)

        In a nutshell….give them fishing poles, not fish

  • Andiboyd36@hotmail.com August 22, 2017 (8:19 pm)

    How many people must be shot and killed, overdose, raped before the city takes action?  “Slowly” closing them down?  This is absurd.  They relocate within minutes elsewhere.  Then crime and violence increases in those areas as well.  I drive past these “camps” on a daily basis.  The littering is out of control.  There are needles everywhere, and babies sitting in strollers in the sun!  It makes me sick to my stomach.  There are numerous programs for homeless people.  The fact is the shelters do not allow drugs to be used in their shelters, nor rape, and enforce a curfew.  The people who “choose” to utilize these programs benefit greatly.  The ones that don’t choose to stand on every single corner and beg for money to support their addiction.  The city turns a blind eye.  Homeless people come by the hundreds on buses to be here in Seattle because there are no rules.  Absolutely nothing is enforced.  The police try to do their job and the judges let them off Scott-free.  Only to allow these rapists to rape again.  I simply do not understand our system here in Seattle and why no one is taking murder seriously?  

    • WSB August 22, 2017 (9:07 pm)

      Police were out at this morning’s shooting scene for hours; they also had a huge response to the murder on the slope along 509, as we reported here, with eventually two arrests … that would seem to be “taking murder seriously.”

    • Nim August 23, 2017 (9:52 am)

      Spot on andiboyd

  • KT August 22, 2017 (8:34 pm)

    Nothing like a death to get the city off their a**.

  • CR August 22, 2017 (8:55 pm)

    This initiative can’t be a coincidence….appears to be  another reaction…and once again too little too late.  I recall the area along Spokane Street from Airport Way to the lower bridge was cleared last May after the RV fire or fires and the bicyclist being assaulted.  The area where the shooting was today was cleared at or around that point.  I’ve watch it slowly build up to the large camp that it was today as it’s on my commute.  The camp was allowed to grow into a dangerous compound with an unbelievable accumulation of junk.  And smaller camps have emerged under the viaduct all the way to airport way.

    If our representative Lisa Herbold was not aware of this she should have been.  She had the influence to have this addressed prior to today.  Reminding folks again that if you want change, use your voice at the ballot box…current leadership is not focused on the basic needs of the city. 

  • ChannelingLewisBlack August 22, 2017 (9:41 pm)

    Let’s face it – we all drove by these encampments for months and every..single..time…the thought came through our head that “what good can come of this?”.  Whether it be the unfortunate loss of life, the potential for fire perhaps taking out the bridge (don’t believe it, look up Atlanta), or just innocent bystanders getting accosted – not to mention the actual squalor that people are living in.  How can the city be so innocent and so late in their response?  It’s plainly obvious.  Perhaps if they weren’t so busy accusing policemen of murder, or creating a first-in-the-nation drug injection site, they’d take action.  For the life of me, I’ve never seen this degree of cognizant negligence in addressing the issues this city faces.

    • CAM August 22, 2017 (10:53 pm)

      Speak for yourself, please. Every time I pass that area my immediate thoughts are, “God this is just so sad and depressing” and “There but for the grace of God go I”. These problems are not unique to Seattle and won’t magically go away over night. No matter how much money you throw at a problem things will only change gradually. The city has made a lot of positive steps that I’ve seen in the recent past and I would expect that there will be change eventually. 

      As a side note, there is no way that the city came up with and implemented this plan in a day. The number of services they are coordinating with and the resources they are offering take time to gather and to schedule. It’s satisfying to yell and accuse but that doesn’t make what you are offering an informed opinion. My first read on the plan was that it actually sounded quite comprehensive. 

      • seaspades August 22, 2017 (11:20 pm)

        I am speaking for myself and don’t consider your opinion any more informed than mine.  To say that this is “for the grace of God” takes no accountability for one’s self actions.  Yes, there’s probably physical and mental health issues – neither of which are addressed by letting people just kinda hang out in an underpass.  The rest?  This city offers so much opportunity to get off the streets, it is their choice.  And the taxpaying citizens deserve better.

        • CAM August 23, 2017 (12:21 am)

          I have made many a mistake in my life. Thankfully I was born into circumstances that provided me with ample resources to help me recover from those errors without facing some of the possibly more dire outcomes that they could have led to. I assume the same is true for most posting on this blog. Those resources included well educated and present family and friends, financial support, access to education, and just general benefits that come from being born into positive, non-abusive, and non-neglectful circumstances. I had plenty of room for error and benefited substantially because of it. Unfortunately, there are a not insignificant proportion of people in this world who didn’t win the lottery at birth like I did. To expect them to be able to achieve the same or even similar results to me would be uneducated, uninformed, and reeking of privilege. There are people in our world who have no room for error and are not able to recover from the simple and basic mistakes we others have had the luck to. To demonize or preach at a person who can’t find their way out of a mess is not going to achieve anything other than to drive them further from the resources they so desperately need. To expect a person with only one flip-flop to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is based in willful ignorance. Get to know some of these people. Hear their stories. They are not the non-human entities most of these comments portray them as. I don’t want to live in the world that allows people to suffer and be shunted aside in this way anymore than anyone else. The way to resolve that is not to pretend you can make people disappear. 

          • M August 23, 2017 (6:08 am)

            So let’s just let them continue to steal from our homes and cars? Take our bikes. Trash our streets, and run sex trafficking operations. Plenty of people came from bad situations and made something of them selves. Some people just have no personal accountability and we shouldn’t tolerate it any longer. In addition to all the services being offered the police should go in and prosecute for the illegal activity happening down there. Help those that want help and punish those the refuse to follow the law. 

          • CAM August 23, 2017 (7:32 am)

            Police report repeatedly that it is not the homeless who are breaking into cars. Other than that, I think you might have missed the entire point of what I said. 

          • Concerned August 26, 2017 (4:21 pm)

            I have spoken with a lot of police officers personally and none of them say that

  • Michelle Vassar August 22, 2017 (9:55 pm)

    What i have just read makes me sick. How is it that everyday some one in the suburbs can OD be robbed beaten or both. Have some dealer be busted in a house and its ok or accepted because they werent homeless.? But since someone was homeless and had the misfortune to get killed you all want to blame everything on the homeless. Where should we put them. The cyclist who was assulted wasnt assulted by anyone in the encampments. In fact several people have been helped by the persons in said encampment when they have had car problems or bicycle issues. The narrow minded bigotry is the problem. 

    • John H. August 22, 2017 (10:34 pm)

      Michelle – what’s your solution to the problem?  Or do you think that the current situation is acceptable?

      Please have a talk with one of the local precinct Seattle police officers about what goes on in these camps and perhaps you will have a bit of a different view.  Having these shanty towns serves no one in any positive way.

      We clearly cannot overnight remove all these people without solving the fundamental reasons for these camps to exist or they will (and have) just moved on elsewhere and eventually move back.     We need to take care of the people that are already here while strongly discouraging people from setting up these camps again.

      Our forever reactive city leaders did not nip this problem in the bud when it started and now it’s a really big problem that will take a large effort to manage and eventually solve.

      John H.

      • Michelle Vassar August 23, 2017 (1:13 am)

        John I have no solution to the issues at hand other then first hand knowledge and have spoken with seattle officers having been part of the rv’s parked on spokane st.  After losing our house because of landlords desire to sell having a single income in our family has made finding something relatively affordable and close. To my significant others place of work and maintain a reasonable distance to medical care has been a challenge on its own. Having a place to park a 35 foot rv would be the ideal solution except there is only 1 rv park in seattle with space big enough. And the waiting list is longer then most phone books. Also if you have an rv the city doesnt consider you homeless therefor dont meet eligibility for most services. 

  • Morgan August 22, 2017 (9:59 pm)

    Recall the same thing happening under an underpass ramp to I5 in Eugene Or a few years back….he city tolerated the camp until a beating death and snaps people to their senses you can’t suspend law for some exceptions in some places because you may feel ashamed we do t have enough cheap housing in the first place. We can enforce laws and build housing…we can’t try to ignore social contracts just because we feel we have been inadequate in other services. In other words: a wrong won’t make a right.

    But cities are inherently reactive, sadly.

  • Roger August 22, 2017 (11:29 pm)

    It’s like everyone in Seattle knew this would start happening… EXCEPT the politician jokers who “fake run” this city…

    its time we fire them all and hire non- politically motivated managers who put the administration of this city above and beyond their petty national political goals…

  • uncle loco August 23, 2017 (5:22 am)

    I agree with most of the comments above.  With the amount of money spent on homelessness by our ineffective leadership, we could have provided adequate housing for  everyone living on the streets. Where does all that money go?

  • Smittytheclown August 23, 2017 (5:55 am)

    Has anyone done a “poll” of these folks to find out their circumstances?  I contend – but cannot prove – that Seattle has made itself a nationwide magnet for the homeless, resulting in us getting a disproportionate share.  I mean really, a thriving city economically with crappy weather most the year doesn’t add up.  Are there this many homeless on other big cities?

  • M August 23, 2017 (6:11 am)

    I think the solution to the problem starts by calling a spade a spade. We don’t have a homeless crisis in Seattle. We have a heroin crisis in Seattle. The camps and RVs are simply a result of the opioid problem. Until we fix that we can fix the camps. 

    • Michelle Vassar August 23, 2017 (11:31 am)

      Not every one who is homeless is on Heroin or anyother drugs.

  • Mike August 23, 2017 (7:00 am)

    The city council should receive no pay until all homeless are back on their feet with livable wage jobs and drug free, along with free child care so people can work those livable wage jobs.  How about that?  I like that idea.  Oh and all city council members, the mayor and Kubly will need to wear body cameras whenever engaging in their public duty or discussions of public affairs.  

    Who else here saw that Kubly went to France on the public dollar in March?  I’m sure that was cheap *cough*  http://www.seattlepi.com/local/transportation/article/City-officials-wooed-Peugot-to-make-Seattle-its-11950539.php

    There’s a reason the city isn’t helping the homeless get back on their feet, they’re too busy schmoozing Peugeot and blowing millions on a failed attempt to rebuild Key Arena for a team the NBA won’t allow back in Key Arena.

  • John Richardson August 23, 2017 (7:12 am)

    Until we have the moral and political will to begin to protect the homeless from themselves this will continue.  By protect, I mean they can’t function at a level to remotely participate in established societal structures — that’s why they form their own — and we, as the establishment, must eventually get to the point that forced treatment is necessary and not a personal choice of those who don’t have the capacity to make sane personal choices.  To allow a fellow human being who hasn’t the mental or emotional  means to make life decisions (as we do now) is tremendously cruel to all.

  • T Rex August 23, 2017 (7:47 am)

    Cam,  I hear your message and a good statement, However I would guess that most of these people at one time in their lives had those resources like family and friends that did help them However, if they are addicts or mentally ill and refuse to stay on their meds, they end up losing complete control of their lives. By that time, the family and friends have had enough. Enough to the point where they have to remove them from their lives. I truly believe there are people who simply cannot adapt into a normal life. They can’t keep a job, they can’t comply with the simple rules of life etc. Half of these people could be helped but THEY refuse. Seattle politicians are not going to do a GD thing unless they can get votes out of it or more taxes from us. Seattle has proved to us that they cannot handle it, as it has only gotten worse.

    The company  I work for does business with two large housing projects that take in homeless people.  But there are rules that have to be followed. I have had heard stories I will not share on this blog about the horrible things that can happen if the person does not follow the rules. But I have also heard and read about the people that they have saved and who continue to live there and have productive life thanks to there services. 

    I don’t have the answers and I think we all have hearts that break for them, but there is so much we can do if they are not willing to change themselves.  

  • SMITTYTHECLOWN August 23, 2017 (7:58 am)


    With all due respect a sampling of these cities actually confirms my suspicion.  Homeless/Metro area populations(wiki):

    Seattle:  .31 (11,600/3.8M)

    Houston .09 (6,100/6.8M)

    Denver .12 (3,412/2.8M

    LA .26 (34,000/13.3M)

    How is that not disproportionate – at least in this random sampling.

    • WSB August 23, 2017 (8:13 am)

      Your question was whether other big cities were dealing with significant homelessness. Clearly they are. When you have thousands of people on your streets, the per capita number in relation to other cities doesn’t matter one whit … you have thousands of human beings living in squalor, period. If you have time to spare, maybe some other comparisons might reveal something, such as the relation to housing prices.

    • Rick August 23, 2017 (7:32 pm)

      Smitty,please don’t try to confuse me with actual facts.

  • heyalki August 23, 2017 (8:20 am)

    It IS the homeless people breaking into cars and stealing. They ARE the problem! I work in Georgetown, and there is now a homeless camp down the street from my office, and ever since they moved in there, the neighborhood is littered with garbage, those people are wandering into our shop and stealing things, they are harassing our employees, breaking into cars in our parking garage and we now have to employ a full time security presence and up security restrictions to buildings as a DIRECT RESULT of the homeless presence in our area. Get rid of them!!!

    • WSB August 23, 2017 (8:30 am)

      Are you referring to the sanctioned encampment or something else?

  • unknown August 23, 2017 (9:10 am)

    Maybe this is where some of the homeless are coming from:


    Hundreds of homeless have flown back to mainland under Hawaii program

    Saturday, August 5 2017 2:45 PM EDT2017-08-05 18:45:57 GMTAug 05, 2017 11:45 AM PDTAug 05, 2017 11:45 AM PDT
    (Hawaii News Now)(Hawaii News Now)

    In 2014, Roger Thompson went from being homeless on a Honolulu street to a residence back in Texas. The Institute for Human Services paid for half of the cost of a one-way ticket to help him get there.

  • Nim August 23, 2017 (9:50 am)

    ALWAYS after the fact, as though not having a clue what to do before it.

  • JanS August 23, 2017 (9:54 am)

    Whoa…step back a minute…plenty of opportunities to get off the street> Please list them…links, facts, not something you assume in your head.

    The liberal welfare state helps the poor when they are poor? How? 

    I have been a member of this site just about since it’s inception. I have been a member of this community for almost 43 years. I was once a home owner. I was once a business person, with a business near the junction. Then I got cancer, then a serious rare kidney disease, then complications, open heart surgery , etc. I persevered, kept working, as I was/am self employed. Years of dialysis, still worked, transplant, still worked,  Then the complications, and pain, and still worked. I am older now, past retirement age, still worked to keep the wolves from the door. Haven’t worked since 2016 because of health issues…living on whatever I had, friends, Soc. Sec. Rent high. Besides food stamps, I don’t see any “help for the poor”, so I want to know what it is.  Cash  benefit from the state? As in welfare? my Soc Sec is over the limit. and it’s barely over 1000 bucks a month. I’m not a drug addict, not  a sexual predator (laughable, I’m 70). Safety net? Hah! And one step from living in a tent.   Yes, I’m your neighbor. And if you saw me  out and about, you would never know how close I am to being homeless. I could be one of many that are struggling, and you would assume that , hey, I or they, look normal, so…

    The attitude of, just send them packing, or they should just go get a job, take responsibility, just stop taxing us, bugging us, being in our eyesight, they’re all child molestors, thieves, miscreants, drug addicts…. sucks. Yes, some are, just like the society you live in. Three elderly men in Ballard, brothers, just busted in their home for child pornography (described as years and years and years accumulation in their home), also accused of molesting children…in their 80’s, mind you. Neighbors.  Just your neighbors…and not homeless…

    So sorry that you are offended by “the homeless”, that you don’t want to see them, that they should be dismissed as so much drek, because they’re homeless. “If they’d only take responsibility”

    Some of you will dismiss this as only so much whining on my part. It’s not. I deal. You are doing well now…and you have no damned idea what may befall you in your future. It can be scary. Please remember that.

    Please check out http://www.facinghomelessness.org    

  • JanS August 23, 2017 (9:59 am)

    Heyalki….”those people”? seriously? WTF?  I rest my case

    • Brewmeister August 23, 2017 (8:31 pm)

      Please explain what’s wrong with the term “those people” since you seem to take such great offense to it. Seriously, I’m curious. 

  • momosmom August 23, 2017 (11:32 am)

    @JanS… I thank my lucky stars everyday and was taught from a very young age to hold onto my money or if to spend, spend it wisely, if you can’t pay cash for the item then you don’t need it. I feel for you and the circumstances you are in and I know oh so sadly how it is for the elderly to get by, I took care of my Dad for the last 3 years of his life (90-93yrs.old). I realize too that not all homeless are drug addicts and criminals but you can’t say that you don’t admit that a large majority of them are now can you? So why don’t you take a step back and try not to judge people who state what they feel on the blog, it is America and we do have the Freedom of Speech don’t we?

    And yes we all know you are on the verge of being homeless yourself because you have told us all so many times, and we are sympathetic to that. 

    • newnative August 23, 2017 (11:53 am)

      you have a funny way of showing your sympathy, Momosmos. JanS asks for understanding and points out the Truth about homelessness, yet you feel compelled to condescendingly remind her what country we live in? who is being judgmental here?

      I am also sick of the constant generalities people  make about “the majority of homeless”. Is saying that depriving you of your privileged speech? your right to insult the impoverished, the disabled, the indigent? I doubt it. 

    • Katie August 24, 2017 (6:51 am)

      Why would you think Freedom of Speech means freedom from judgment?

  • Marin8 August 23, 2017 (12:01 pm)

    There is quite the blending of issues in some of these responses. Nobody is arguing they should send those who are homeless, transient, of limited means on their way.

    What we are saying is being in poverty and/or a bad state of addiction does not give those a hall pass on carrying on criminal activity (which STATISTICALLY many of them do) or justify them from being outside of the reach of the arm of the law. Many show no signs of wanting obey the law and stopping their criminal activity. So we are supposed to go get to know them in the hopes that “we” will me the impetus for them turning their lives around? That way off. Way off.

  • momosmom August 23, 2017 (12:32 pm)

    @Newnative…I was not being condescending but you may take it any way that you want.

  • T Rex August 23, 2017 (1:26 pm)

    JanS,  I have been on this blog several years and have always enjoyed your posts and your opinion.  You seem to be a very strong person and a very nice person as well. In my opinion I cannot imagine how any of your friends could ever allow you to become homeless.  What has happened to you is not in any way the result of any actions you did to yourself. I do understand how frustrating it must be for you when people including myself generalize the homelessness situation. However, there are homeless people all around my place of employment, I have witnessed violence, DRUG DEALING and what I believe prostitution. Are all homeless involved in those activities? No, but I think you would agree the majority of these people lost their way, sometimes the city and people reach out to help, but sometimes it does not do any good.

    The entire situation is sad for all of us. Those who see it and those who are living it.

    I send you good thoughts today and hope nothing for the best to you.

  • Andrew August 23, 2017 (2:38 pm)

    A relational problem requires a relational solution.

  • JanS August 23, 2017 (3:02 pm)

    T Rex, thanks. I am not naive. I realize that, just as in regular society, there are drug dealers, there are prostitutes, there are thieves. . What irks me are the people who put those labels on all homeless, like they’re all lazy , good for nothing, shiftless people…as the poster said above ,”those people”. The poster wants them gone, to disappear, yet provides no logical solution, and that , to me is classism, and it’s wrong.  If I had the means, I would have a steady donation going to facinghomelessness.org. Sadly, I do not right now. I hope to in the (hopefully) near future, when I get senior housing (approved, waiting for an opening).  Yes, people have no idea what may befall them in the future .Thanks for the kind words.

  • JanS August 23, 2017 (3:14 pm)

    momosmom. Please quote me the links that tell how many of homeless people are drug addicts. Give numbers, not your own facts. I am not condescending in any way. And I’m the first to say that I still have “white privilege”, too, even in my situation. I have clear eyes to reality. I have dined at Nickelsville more than once, had a friend there for a while (who regularly posts here, visits here, sees what others are posting). I have met a number of people there, and other homeless persons, too.. Some have been in my home. While ragtag, they are trying to get by the best they can. Don’t snark, please.  You have no idea how many are drug addicts, etc, any more than the rest of us.  Again, as I said before…you have no idea what may befall you in your future.  Oh, and don’t feel sorry for me. I deal. 

  • JanS August 23, 2017 (3:19 pm)

    MARIN8…yes…get to know them…how hard would that be. I did not say get to know all of them. But, you’d be surprised at what you find. Again , I refer you to Rex Hohlbein at http://www.facinghomelessness.org. This man makes a difference.

    http://tedxseattle.com/speakers/rexhohlbein/   click on the picture on the right hand side, listen to his Ted talk…

  • JanS August 23, 2017 (3:31 pm)

    Here’s more about Rex…a PBS show a few years ago…consider watching. Thanks.


  • flimflam August 23, 2017 (4:27 pm)

    the actual number of “local” homeless is a murky topic because often when asked for last address, a person will give the food bank or library address when in fact they have never been a renter or homeowner in this city or state.


    its (in my opinion) a tactic to try and defuse the notion that folks are indeed being drawn here because of our lax/non existent law enforcement towards the homeless and numerous services. 

    • WSB August 23, 2017 (6:45 pm)

      Those surveyed were asked where they were living WHEN they became homeless, not asked for a “current address.” Page 10:

      Seems to be really hard for some to accept that most of the people who are homeless here did not magically appear from “somewhere else,” maybe because that means there is no mystical “somewhere else” to which they can be “sent back.” They are our neighbors. And regardless of where they came from, they are here now, and therefore they are our neighbors.

      P.S. For anyone interested in the Camp Second Chance situation, we’ll have an update on that later tonight.

      • Sna August 23, 2017 (8:40 pm)

        That survey and another one just for Seattle were conducted by the same firm.  The one for Seattle showed 51% locating from outside the city (but most were from the state).  

        However, the survey methodology likely minimizes the impact of migration.  First and most importantly, the specific question asked was “where we’re you the last time you became homeless?”   The “last time” phrase means someone who came here from somewhere else, then spent a month in Seattle jail would be considered from Seattle.  That was actually 9% of respondents.  Crashing on someone’s couch for a week here would also be good enough for this survey to consider you from Seattle.  Most fall in and out of homelessness multiple times, but only the last location matters in this survey.  

        Secondly, self reported surveys like this one has bias.  Hard to say how much, but certainly some.  

        Also, they don’t break out unsheltered vs sheltered homeless.  It’s quite possible most sheltered homeless are from here but most unsheltered are from elsewhere.  I did a FIOA request on survey data to answer this myself and what they sent me was totally unusable (on purpose?)

        So I think we just don’t know the impact of homeless migration in Seattle, but we do know that while Seattle has about 1/3 of King County population, we have 70% of the homeless.  

        • Concerned August 24, 2017 (5:39 am)

          Yes, it seems odd that the “real world” encounters of the homeless from police and/or Harbor View nurses who I’ve either spoken to or read, seems to contradict the survey. According to them, the majority of the people they have come in contact with are not from around here. 

          And WSB, yes it actually does matter if they’re from here or not, because if people are coming to Seattle from outlying areas or farther,  this would show a trend that Seattle would have no ability to keep up with. According to the Seattle Times, the Seattle’s homeless population has skyrocketed just from the previous year. 

          It’s not rocket science to know that if Seattle continues to be laxed on laws, continues to try and come up with idiotic “solutions” like homeless camping in parks and indefinite street parking with safe space injection sites, while other surrounding cities are cracking down, that homeless will continue to migrate here. 

          This can be seen in even a microcosm level at Westwood as a result of Nickelsville and Rapid Transit. 

      • John H August 24, 2017 (12:52 pm)

        Having read through that report it seems they asked some very simplistic questions, but not the questions that really could allow  determining where people came from or how they really ended up homeless – it’s more about their current status and immediate past.

        I suspect, based on the questions asked and results, that many of the current homeless migrated to Seattle were on the very lowest rung of socioeconomic status and then became homeless here, whether from out of state or on the other side of the Cascades.  Especially since the vast majority (76%) have not been here longer than 10 years and 80% not having been born or raised in King County.

        From the report:

        “A total of 11,643 individuals experiencing homelessness were counted on January 27, 2017.
        Forty-seven percent (47%) of the population was unsheltered, living on the street, in parks,
        encampments, vehicles, or other places not meant for human habitation.”

  • unknown August 23, 2017 (4:32 pm)

    WOW is all I can say, it makes me think of the movie Wizard of OZ…

    I am the OZ and the OZ has spoken.

  • DW August 23, 2017 (4:52 pm)

    So my question would be; why is the vast majority of this in Seattle? I know statistically that every community deals with this on some level, but you don’t see encampments off I-405 or downtown Kirkland. Some of this can be attributed to the proximity of Social Services nearby, but its my personal opinion (and that’s all it is) that Seattle has a greater (and more visible) percentage of homeless encampments because city government tolerates it. Again, no one is advocating wholesale removal, it’s more that people want A)laws to be enforced — e.g. if there’s an avenue for help, you can’t remain on the street because you don’t like the shelter environment or don’t want to part with your pet and B) a sense that we the citizens and taxpayers are constituent in this process. It too often feels like a one sided conversation between the city and their allies in the social service community.

    • Alki Resident August 23, 2017 (8:23 pm)

      DW- You won’t see it in Magnolia either. They sued the city some time ago to keep the tent cities out of Magnolia. That’s why they were camping West Maginal and Highland Park and Meyers Way. The rich won’t tolerate this kind of behavior. And once the city approves the motor homes to park anywhere without penalty, more and more will move here. Seattle has no funds for housing or long term shelter. They’re main goal is to rebuild a Key Arena.

  • Theo August 23, 2017 (6:08 pm)

    JanS, that link “facing homelessness.org” and the video “just say hello” none of the homeless people I see in the SODO area even look as nice as those on the video. Makes me wonder too if that organization asks for donations and if so how much goes to help the homeless?

  • momosmom August 23, 2017 (7:12 pm)

    @Newnative….And I can be as condescending as I want and JanS there are no links, everything isn’t always from a “link” my concerns are I am sick and tired of seeing Seattle look like a GARBAGE DUMP and that no one is doing anything about it! I’ll take some pictures tomorrow on my way into work and post it so you two can see what I (we) look at everyday and it is just getting worse and worse everyday and you say we need to be more sympathetic and say hello to the people who are doing this to our city. And just an FYI…I give food and money to the homeless by my job on a daily basis.

  • John H August 23, 2017 (10:21 pm)

    To quote from that report:

    “During the Count Us In Survey, seventy-seven percent (77%) of respondents reported living in
    King County at the time they most recently lost their housing. Twenty percent (20%) of survey
    respondents reported being born or growing up in King County, and 24% reported having
    lived in King County for a decade or longer.”

    Those numbers could be interpreted in more than one way due to the vagueness of the first sentence.

  • Curate August 23, 2017 (11:16 pm)

    Thank you so much SNA and DW for your *data driven* responses. It is super critical on these complicated issues to not just “report” the findings of surveys, but to interpret them. 

  • Concerned Citizen August 23, 2017 (11:22 pm)

    Let’s face facts – Seattle has some 7000+ homeless and the
    city declared an emergency over a year ago yet the situation continues to deteriorate.   Making
    it easier for people to live in their vehicles is not the answer.

    Do you believe the city would suggest we move under bridges
    or live in our cars if a major natural disaster displaced 7000 people who lost
    their homes?  A more likely scenario
    would be action from the Governor, Mayor, Public Health and the National Guard
    to set up temporary sites that would provide sanitation, shelter, food and
    health care to treat those in need.  I believe
    this is the course of action that is needed for our city.  Enforce the laws, give people the option of
    returning to family or friends.  Those
    that choose not to or don’t have that option would be moved to a FEMA type shelter
    where care is provided.  It is not an
    option to remain “on the street” in hundreds of locations making it
    logistically impossible to provide needed services.  If the political powers to be can’t make that
    decision, it should be decided by our Public Health Dept.  It is only a matter of time before there is
    some type of 3rd world outbreak such as cholera.  Seattle is a world class city and our
    citizens deserve better.

  • Naiveenablenot August 23, 2017 (11:28 pm)

    Homeless people are from here and there and everywhere. They are in cities with high cost of living, and they are in cities with relatively low cost of living. There are SOME that have fallen, and are working to stabilize. This small percentage is saved by “compassionate” people, who rationalize enabling all unsheltered people to live in filthy, diseased squalor, among dangerous lawless individuals, who prey on their homeless peers, and the community at large. Most of the people living on the streets, are there due to behavioral issues, not bad luck. The difference from city to city is how the problem is dealt with. Seattle’s course of non-action is not helping anyone- it’s hurting everyone. The community, the struggling- everyone is losing here. 

    Respectfully, JanS- your relentless guilt tripping does not serve you well..

  • DrTallNerd August 24, 2017 (8:41 am)

    Some people on this thread seems to be demonizing homeless people– acting like it is a choice or their fault. I (a tech professional) know 2 people who have become homeless (not in Seattle): one struggling with addiction/mental health issues, and one single parent living month-to-month who had a health crisis and subsequently lost their job from missing work, and now is struggling to find any job that pays enough to live and works with the child’s schedule. Neither of these was a choice; neither of these people deserved it; there were no opportunities for them to suck it up and deal with it. Friends and family helped for a while and still do, but it only goes so far, and they don’t like to ask for so much all the time– who would? And, especially with addiction issues, friends/family can get worn out. These people are part of the “invisible” homeless who you don’t see on the street. Please try to have some compassion and realize that the homeless are human beings, most of whom are in the worst situation of their lives and trying desperately to get out of it.

    I’d  also like to point out that we all know many housed people who also struggle with addiction (how many booze bottles are in your neighbor’s recycling bin? And that’s just what we see.), so to pin these problems on the homeless is unfair.

    I believe we should provide minimal shelter/sanitation for all. This is easier said than done. In Seattle, real estate is extremely expensive, and whenever the city proposes a new block of affordable housing, the neighborhoods shout it down– so there is no progress on developing these facilities.  We also need to provide FREE live-in medical centers for those who need more support for mental illness. Many other countries have a much higher ratio of mental health beds per population.

    What can the average citizen do? Stop complaining if the city proposed putting housing or other facilities to address the problem in your neighborhood. Be a supporter! Meet some people living in shelters and realize that most of them want stability and would make a good neighbor if they had it. In the meantime, don’t push for actions that don’t solve problems, such as sweeps of camps without providing adequate housing and storage for belongings for the people affected. Try to realize that it could be your family member or colleague out there.

  • waikikigirl August 24, 2017 (1:32 pm)

     @ Naiveenablenot, Thank you and agree totally!

    • Concerned August 25, 2017 (4:31 am)

      I 2nd that

  • KS September 9, 2017 (9:51 am)

    I’ve reached out to the City, WASDot and even Mr. Murray directly about this.  I even went to down there and photographed the entire encampment (the big one under WSB before they cleared it out and fenced it in).   I also got a close-up view of what they live in.  This is what the so-called “compassionate” virtue-signaling gets you.  People literally living IN their own filth.  That’s not compassion folks.  To the City’s credit it seems like they DO want to help.  The problem is they’ll clean it out, the bums move somewhere else and the City simply allows them to get established all over again instead of shooing them along.  To me this is a police enforcement issue.  I don’t know why this has to be so complicated.  Let’s face, most of them are bums because either they have mental illness or they’re druggies.  Get them the hell off the street!  The concentrated encampments underneath in the Spokane Corridor are downright scary and disgusting.  To allow them to live like this IS cruelty to both the bums and to the taxpayers.  It’s really out of control.  Amazon?  Can you employ them?

    There is a new encampment down at S. Massachusetts and Alaska Way S, ironically right across the street from the St. Martin de Porres shelter.  It started off as one guy in a tent hoarding junk (mostly bicycle frames, tires etc)) now it’s blossomed to 8 tents and again, they’re living in their own mess.  Why is this allowed to happen?  They have also busted down a fenced in area down by Colorado street (a stones throw away from this new camp) and the cycle continues.  Can’t these people at least be put to work somewhere?  

    Seattle has devolved into a lawless city.   I’m not for a police state, but where ARE the police?

    And whoever is supplying these people with those rat-trap campers, YOU should help cleaning this mess up because you are encouraging it.

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