By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The monthly meeting of city-sanctioned encampment Camp Second Chance‘s Community Advisory Committee was complaint- and controversy-free this time around, though there was one big headline, as noted here earlier: The city has announced a March 20th community meeting as part of the process of renewing C2C’s permit to stay for a second year.
Present for the meeting at Arrowhead Gardens on Sunday afternoon (and L to R in our photo above) were Tom Van Bronkhorst from the Department of Neighborhoods, Josh Castle and Amy Friedman from camp operator LIHI, camp manager/co-founder Eric Davis, committee members Aaron Garcia and Cinda Stenger, and committee chair Willow Fulton. (One more committee member, Judi Carr, was there but not in the photo.)
COMMITTEE MEMBERS’ UPDATES: Fulton apologized for no meeting notification having been sent this month; she’s working on setting up a mailing list … From her standpoint, things have been “quiet” at the camp, where she spent a day this past week and is working on setting up a notification board. She said the Seattle Police Navigation Team was doing some work “across (Myers Way)” and she met them. She also offered recognition to neighbors who have been picking up trash along Myers Way (and beyond), and mentioned that illegal dumping, including “open buckets of oil” (possibly from trucks), had been cleaned up … Stenger said that Alki UCC‘s fundraising for tiny houses is finally resulting in getting some built, with a session set for March 16-17-18, with volunteers as well as camp members … She has rounded up volunteers to pick up “a full hot meal from Operation Sack Lunch” to be regularly brought to the camp … Garcia mentioned the redevelopment project that is in the works for the White Center Food Bank/Public Health building site, with a community advisory committee meeting monthly to talk about it.
CAMP UPDATES: Davis said C2C currently has 50 residents and says “case management has been awesome,” adding that the camp’s been “as quiet as it’s ever been.” He said that people in unauthorized encampments in the area “haven’t been giving us any trouble.” (The camp-info report was shorter than past meetings; volunteer David Baum, who had presented exhaustive details of occupancy and discipline incidents in previous months, wasn’t present.)
LIHI UPDATES: Friedman said Pacific Associates came to the camp and worked to get people intake into their programs, which can include employment … They went to a YWCA job fair that led to a “really good job” for a camper, and she’s working on getting another camper into housing … Castle announced the city-organized community meeting March 20th, 6:30-8 pm at the Joint Training Facility (9401 Myers Way S.), regarding a second year for the camp … Friedman then disclosed that she will have to turn things over to a new case manager because she has had to make an abrupt life transition, which will result in her moving out of state. Castle said LIHI hopes to have the position filled “as soon as possible.”
CITY UPDATES: Elaborating on the meeting announcement, Van Bronkhorst said that meeting is part of the process for permitting second years at the city-sanctioned encampment sites, including this one. There will be different meetings, but each proposed renewal will have the same process. … Regarding previously voiced concerns about unauthorized camping on state-owned property along the east side of Myers Way, which comes up at just about every committee meeting, he said it’s “in the minds of people in the city who have been out in the area over the past 2 months,” as well as WSDOT reps. That department has a project ahead on Highway 509 so is looking at at least a “partial cleanup of the encampment,” he said, though it would have to wait until drier weather, since the steep slopes are a “safety issue for the workers.” (We have an inquiry out to WSDOT to try to find out more about the project and cleanup. *Tuesday update – WSDOT says this is planned for next week. We’ll have a separate story when we get further details.*)
DISCUSSION: Garcia wondered how the renewal meeting would be set up, given that concerns about areas outside the sanctioned C2C encampment tend to muddy discussion about the camp itself. The format isn’t yet known, though it is, and will be, clear the topic is specifically about whether the camp permit will be renewed. In fact, when LIHI reps visited the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting this past week, the topic of the unsanctioned-encampment area did come up. Also at that meeting, Castle said, they were able to educate people about how the camp works, and he said it seemed “everyone was clear about how things were going – except for (what’s happening) across the street.” He said that it would be ideal if C2C and its housed neighbors worked together on that issue, since they share the same concerns. Garcia suggested that the upcoming meeting perhaps start with a set amount of time to talk about outside-the-camp issues and then go on to discussing the proposed renewal.
Another topic that came up – what does the camp need? If you’re interested in donating to C2C, you can call ahead to check on current needs – the phone # is 206-578-6551; needs will be posted on the new website campsecondchance.org when it is ready to launch, likely within the next week. Current needs listed by Davis include:
*Some building materials (tools and such)
*Men’s and women’s clothes (clean)
An Arrowhead Gardens resident said her neighbors would like to come to meetings and ask questions and get information about what’s happening with the camp; Fulton reiterated that the monthly CAC meetings are open to everyone. And the meetings in fact can vary widely in time and topics, depending on who shows up and what they want to talk about; this time around, it was adjourned in less than an hour, when everyone in the room ran out of things to talk about.
The Camp 2nd Chance Community Advisory Committee meets on the first Sunday of the month, 2 pm in the community room at Arrowhead Gardens (9200 2nd SW).