UPDATE: West Seattle Health Club in North Delridge damaged after ‘RV’ hits building, sparks fire, gas leak

(CONTINUING TO ADD UPDATES as the day goes on)

(SFD photo)

1:25 AM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” arriving in the 2600 block of SW Andover. Updates to come.

1:32 AM: The address logged for the response is the West Seattle Health Club. “Light smoke” reported by fire crews searching inside. A gas meter is involved and an “ongoing gas leak” is reported.

1:37 AM: SFD says via Twitter that this started as an RV fire.

1:43 AM: Though RVs park nearby, generally west and north of the health club, this one hit the SW corner of the building, according to our crew who’s just arrived on scene.

(WSB photos from this point on)

1:57 AM: Photo added of the burned vehicle. No word yet on injuries but SFD’s public-information officer has just arrived on scene.

2:05 AM: You might recall that we covered an RV crash on the east side of the health club’s parking lot back in July; the building and its operations were not involved. Meantime, the gas leak remains the big lingering concern at the site right now.

All but four SFD units from the initial response are being dismissed.

2:21 AM: We’ve talked to SFD’s Kristin Tinsley. The gas is off now. She says (update) no one was treated for injuries. (Video added)

We don’t know yet how, or if, this will affect WSHC operations and will have to check back a little later in the morning. (If you get an update before we do, text/call our hotline – 206-293-6302.)

6:17 AM: Per texter the club is open but the pool is closed.

8:01 AM: As one commenter notes, the vehicle looks like a bus. However, RV is how SFD describes it, apparently more as a catch-all term for a rolling-residence type of vehicle. Meantime, the club posted this morning:

Well folks, another RV plows into the clubs property. This time it started a fire in the pool area and caused significant damage to the structure. We’ve been trying for months to have the RV encampment removed from Andover st. Please call the mayor’s office at 206 684 2489 and complain. We have to stop the unsafe conditions they bring to our club. Constant drug use, illegal dumping of garbage, and theft.

Unfortunately the pool will be closed until we can repair the damage. We will try to keep you posted on the reopening once we learn the extent of the damage.

We are also following up with SPD to see if they had contact with the driver, as SFD confirmed they did not.

8:42 AM: West Seattle Health Club has given us permission to publish its photos from the crash/fire aftermath:

“Enough is enough!” club management said in our exchange, vowing not to stop until they “get this resolved.”

12:20 PM: We are still waiting for responses to our followup questions for SPD. Meantime, Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office shares this report they just received from SFD:

The accidental fire occurred when the suspect of a shoplifting incident fled the scene in an approximately 15-passenger shuttle van and crashed the vehicle into the west exterior wall of the West Seattle Health Club’s pool building. The van collision damaged the exterior above-ground natural gas line. Fire from the van extended primarily to the exterior wall of the pool building. No injuries were reported. Damage is estimated at approximately $300,000.

Here’s an exterior view, as seen when we went back around 9:30 am:

135 Replies to "UPDATE: West Seattle Health Club in North Delridge damaged after 'RV' hits building, sparks fire, gas leak"

  • Angie October 17, 2018 (1:41 am)

    Not surprisingly, Seattle Fire is reporting it was an RV fire that extended to the health club and now there’s an ongoing gas leak.

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (1:54 am)

      Yes, that’s in our story. RVs have parked nearby off and on for 3 years. Our crew on the scene reports this one appears to have hit the building.

    • Dan Lehr October 17, 2018 (8:44 am)

      It was an RV Angie. It had been modified to be lived in. I looked in the ruins and saw the modifications.

      • Angie October 17, 2018 (10:36 am)

        I wrote “not surprisingly,” because as soon as I saw the address in the middle of the night, I knew an RV was involved.

        • Echo October 17, 2018 (12:39 pm)

          Everyone that lives in this area, myself included, wasn’t surprised to find out an RV was involved. I’m actually more surprised it doesn’t happen more often.
          They all have gas cans just sitting around, while they’re smoking, running generators, and trashing up the area in spectacular fashion.

  • Steve October 17, 2018 (1:54 am)

    Any word yet on the driver? I imagine it can’t be good.

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (1:56 am)

      Don’t know yet about injuries. The gas leak is keeping everyone non-FD way back. SFD is sending its PIO so that will help with the information flow.

    • Dan Lehr October 17, 2018 (8:44 am)

      They ran off Steve.

  • flimflam October 17, 2018 (6:02 am)

    what a mess – this is what the city is allowing though.

  • West Seattle Hipster October 17, 2018 (6:30 am)

    I will be sending an email to Lisa Herbold to share with her my concerns about the ongoing issues with the RV’s parked in that area. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is the second incident of an RV colliding with that building. This could have been much worse than it was, thank God the building did not explode. I hope the RV owner’s insurance will cover the damage.

    • sam-c October 17, 2018 (8:09 am)

      Who knows if the RV owner had insurance? The photos that the WS health club shared on FB really show the damage to the building, which you can’t really see from these WSB photos. The pool will likely need to be closed for a while. So sorry for all involved and impacted.

      • WSB October 17, 2018 (8:14 am)

        Sorry, we don’t have access to private property so exterior is the best we could do but I noted that (see the quote added above) and have sent them a request for permission to use at least one of their photos.

      • Alex S. October 17, 2018 (11:23 am)

        “Who knows if the RV owner had insurance?”

        That was one of the funniest things I’ve read all week.

        • Joe October 18, 2018 (6:08 am)

          Right!?! Anyone thinking any of the RV’s have insurance is hilariously naive.

    • Scott October 17, 2018 (8:12 am)

      Insurance, ha ha. I really don’t thing it will have any.

    • Dan Lehr October 17, 2018 (8:46 am)

      Yes its is the second incident in the last 3 months. I doubt the RV owners had insurance. They fled the scene and have not been found.

      • Swede. October 17, 2018 (10:16 am)

        Maybe they ran off to get all their insurance paperwork!?

        Haha! Yeah, that’s a total loss and all on the healthclub to pay for now.

        • Lucie October 21, 2018 (8:13 am)

          That’s funny!

    • TiredofGovernmentGreed October 18, 2018 (6:08 pm)

      Did you hear back from Herbold? I did and her only thought was to repeat what the City line has always been: don’t harrass the RV homeless, let them be.

  • AG October 17, 2018 (6:39 am)

    This is the second runaway RV causing damage to this business. Plus, there are ongoing issues the owners deal with constantly from all the RV’s parked around the gym. How much lost business are a result of illegal parking of RV’s?

  • MM October 17, 2018 (6:47 am)

    Is this the kind of issue it’s going to take to finally consider banning the RV’s from the area?!?!

    This is a neighborhood; and yet all of those RV’s make the place feel remote, uncomfortable, and destitute. They also leave heaps of garbage laying around once they’re finally asked to leave (asked to leave only via parking violation warning by the way…).

    Meanwhile, the West Seattle Health Club is neighborhood hub/service that is forced to cope with all of that ridiculous conduct. It’s clear that these RV’s affect their business… Especially when their building catches fire due to these vehicles!

    I hope this incident sheds more light on this problem and gets these RV’s out of our neighborhood!

    • Dan Lehr October 17, 2018 (8:53 am)

      It is so frustrating. We employ over 100 people and have over 4500 members not to mention pay a huge amount to the City in Taxes every month yet we are treated as a second class citizen in our own City. We’ve been trying to get them removed for months now to no avail. They bring in drug use, theft, hazardous garbage and now this. Enough id enough!

      • coffeedude October 17, 2018 (10:57 am)

        Start a campaign to your members as to why they should vote out the current city council since they seem to not do a darn thing. O’Brien wants to extend parking times for these junker cars and RVs. This should not be allowed, but city council doesn’t seem to get that these RVs cause business damage daily.

      • Alex S. October 17, 2018 (11:34 am)

        ” We employ over 100 people and have over 4500 members not to mention pay a huge amount to the City in Taxes every month”

        The city continues to reward and enable traveling addicts who refuse to work in one of the hottest economies in the nation – people who have chosen to stay high, sell drugs, pimp girls, and steal things rather than do a single thing that benefits the communities they mooch off of.

        And the city continues to punish those business owners who pay their salaries, and subsidize their pet programs. And yet, city “leaders” have the gall to ask impacted business owners to pay MORE and attract MORE out of state addicts to our city.

        If somebody told me a story about the insanity which would break out in Seattle five years ago, I would not have believed it.

      • LouAnn October 17, 2018 (12:12 pm)

        Do you think this would be a valid lawsuit of the city of Seattle? Since they allow these RV’s to park wherever the people who live in them want to. I’m a liberal but that also comes with guidelines. They need to go to an RV park and pay to stay. Seattle is so afraid of looking heartless that these people who have no regard for decency, to litter our streets with their garbage and filth. We pay taxes for our streets and neighborhoods but they don’t and we have to clean up after them.

      • LouAnn October 17, 2018 (12:21 pm)

        Do you think this would be a valid lawsuit of the city of Seattle? Since they allow these RV’s to park wherever the people who live in them want to. I’m a liberal but that also comes with guidelines. They need to go to an RV park and pay to stay. Seattle is so afraid of looking heartless. These people who have no regard for decency,litter our streets with their garbage and filth. We pay taxes for our streets and neighborhoods but they don’t and we have to clean up after them.

        • Mickymse October 17, 2018 (3:42 pm)

          These RVs are not allowed in the RV parks around here… not that there are many around here in the first place. Or did you really mean to type, “Why don’t these people just go somewhere where I don’t have to see them?”

          • A October 17, 2018 (4:27 pm)

            Why aren’t these rvs allowed in RV parks? Why are they allowed by our city to park wherever they want for as long as they want? Why isn’t our city enforcing it’s laws? I don’t think LouAnn wants the rvs to go away because she doesn’t want to see them. I think she wants them to go away because of the crime, drug use, trash, feces, biohazards(needles), rodents and everything else that comes with these rvs. Is she wrong for wanting that? Are we wrong as overtaxed citizens to want and expect our local government to protect us from this? Am I wrong to feel like our local government should take care of it’s tax paying citizens over letting drug addicted criminals run wild in our city?

          • Ed October 18, 2018 (3:52 pm)

            I’ve had my truck broken into at this club. Wonder who did it?

            Sleeping in a park , on the side of the freeway on the sidewalk is not a option in Seattle.

            You have just one option for the night

            Terminal 5 (T-5) in a used shipping container – till a affordable housing situation or shelter bed can be arranged -period.

            Modifying – Terminal 5 for the next generation of container ships is iffy at best. The next generation of ships carry 18,000 TEUs ( twenty foot ) containers. If 1/3 were discharged and loaded back you are talking 12,000 TEU in and out of West Seattle. That activity would essentially close the lower bridge – now what. Face it those ships are going to Tacoma. Prince Rupert is doubling its size Midwest cargo is going to be syphoned off there.

            Cargo containers have international standards that must be met. Used ones ( that can not meet those standards) some insulated can be purchased by the city and place at T-5. They can be patched with 3 m bondo – not a option as a repair ordinarily. They can be secured , easily cleaned retrofitted with power. There is room for RVs.

            T-5 has fences and restricted access already. Power , Water , bathrooms, warehousing for food , administrative offices for outreach coordination.

            They could wall off the north side of the Terminal – with the view to city. Put luxury condos in the rents could subsidize the facility.

            All this till affordable housing gets accomplished.

            20′ Storage Container Rental $105 for 4 weeks (for a 2-6 month time frame)
            Transportation Delivery fee $125.00
            Transportation Removal fee of $125.00
            Tax will be added to Rental & Transportation

      • Steve October 17, 2018 (8:32 pm)

        Vote out herbold and the rest of the worthless council, mayor, city attorney, Dow, essentially the entirety of the local elected officials

    • Percival Stirling October 21, 2018 (8:38 am)

      well said thanks. My wife and I are tired of these digusting trash heaps just sitting around near our club, because of this latest incident we have been denied use of the pool for 2 weeks. I’ve totally had enough. I am NOT sympathetic and I don’t want to hear the SOB stories, why these ugly vehicles are still allowed out there.

  • Kelly October 17, 2018 (6:49 am)

    From the rear, it looks to me like a bus and not an RV.

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (7:29 am)

      It does but RV is the term SFD used, repeatedly, to describe it, over the radio, in writing (Twitter), and in person. Some old buses have been used as mobile residences.

  • Shockley October 17, 2018 (6:51 am)

    Who was it that was recently saying there is no public risk associated with having dozens of barely-functioning mobile explosive deathtraps camping around our city again?

  • Joseph October 17, 2018 (7:54 am)

    This bus was parked at the north end of 21st Ave in Pigeon Point for the past couple days. And now the driver is nowhere to be found?

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (7:57 am)

      I followed up with SFD later and while they didn’t have contact with the driver, they advised me to check to see whether SPD did, so I’ll be asking that this morning.

  • Susan55 October 17, 2018 (7:59 am)

    I get that the RV’s parking in that area are run down and unattractive to look at, but this is an industrial area, not a neighborhood. I don’t know who owns the dirt shoulder where most of these vehicles park. But if it’s city property, then they should be responsible for keeping the area tidy. How about a dumpster, and a hand washing station? If these vehicles are “re-located,” then it just becomes another area’s issue.

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (8:12 am)

      Since we drive around much of WS most days to check on an ongoing list of things, we’ve also long taken informal note of the vehicle count. As Harbor Avenue has cleared out in the past few weeks – down to from 1 to 3 in recent days – the health-club corner, along Andover and 28th, has been up to 9. Don’t know that it’s the same vehicles, but that’s the way the numbers have changed.

    • Scott October 17, 2018 (8:16 am)

      How about the people parking there keep it clean. You dont see me throwing trash outside my home. Have some respect and if you want people to treat you with some respect at least keep things clean around your “home”. If the city is going to put up dumpster then they should do that around all neighborhoods so we can throw things away for free also.

      • CAM October 17, 2018 (8:43 am)

        I see plenty of home owners all the time using their front yards and driveways as garbage dumps in my opinion. But I guess it’s not a problem if they do it on their own property.

        • KM October 17, 2018 (9:22 am)

          Excellent point.

          It’s not okay in either circumstance.

        • Concerned October 17, 2018 (12:03 pm)

          Where do you live, cause I certainly don’t. It’s an anomaly when I do

    • neighbor October 17, 2018 (8:18 am)

      I think the few hundred or so people that live in here in North Delridge would disagree with you that this is “not a neighborhood.”

      • Kyle Eff October 18, 2018 (11:56 am)

        I live a block from the WSAC and it’s most definitely a neighborhood. Across the street to the south of the WSAC is a trailhead and Dragonfly Pavilion park. Another block south of that is the Delridge playfield. When the RV hit the gym I could see the lights and smoke from my bedroom window.

    • Mel October 17, 2018 (8:20 am)

      It’s a neighborhood. Many people live on the block immediately kitty-corner from where the incident occurred. The “industrial area” is within Nucor’s gates.

      While RV parking in Andover is considered “industrial” (on Nucor’s side of the street only), where the vehicle struck the gas line such parking is illegal.

      • Tiredofgovernmentgreed October 17, 2018 (3:40 pm)

        That same corner where this crash occurred is where young children wait for their school ride in the weekday mornings. Thanks WS Athletic Club for the Mayors office phone number. I will call and complain about these RVs parked and living illegally on our neighborhood streets.

    • Quora October 17, 2018 (8:25 am)

      Not a neighborhood? What about all of the ppl that live around there; do you think they think they live in an industrial area?

    • Pete October 17, 2018 (8:27 am)

      Susan55 I bet the folks that live in this area of north Delridge would disagree that this is not a neighborhood. There are lots of folks that live in this area. What is your definition of neighborhood?

    • TJ October 17, 2018 (9:00 am)

      NO. It is a neighborhood. It has always been a neighborhood. We were a neighborhood when no one wanted to live down here. Our children go to school at Lafayette and are picked up near that corner. Nucor has always been a good neighbor and kept thier property clean. The new Health Club management has been the most receptive to the neighborhood and our concerns. We have always been an inclusive and diverse neighborhood. We have tolerated alot over the years. So many people cut through our streets trying to get the bridge quicker, yet they fail to see our homes and children. Some of us have talked with our RV neighbors and expressed concerns about trash and drug use within the park. Some are respectful and then there are those that are not. As a neighborhood we have talked with each other and some of us with the city. We have been told that they are aware of our concerns. But hey, we are more than willing to share our mobile neighbors with your neighborhood.

      • AG October 17, 2018 (11:01 am)

        The only thing I have a problem with your post is your use of the term “RV neighbors”. They are not your neighbors. The people that pay a mortgage or rent are your neighbors. These people in the RV’s don’t give a rip about you or your property. I’m sick about it and how they trash your neighborhood. I work out at the gym and am disgusted by the sight of RV dwellers every time I go there.

        • Percival Stirling October 21, 2018 (8:40 am)

          Me too! and now we don’t have use of our beloved pool for 2 weeks. These are not “neighbors” they are trespassers. Noone is allowed to keep their car out like that for months on end, why this?

    • Gymrat October 17, 2018 (11:24 am)

      Would a hand wash station have prevented this? How about all the needles in the parking lot?

    • Alex S. October 17, 2018 (11:37 am)

      “If these vehicles are “re-located,” then it just becomes another area’s issue.”

      Not if the addicts and criminals living in those RVs would accept the help and services offered to them by the city and county.

      And not if they are re-located to the various states most of them came from.

  • Will Anstey October 17, 2018 (8:07 am)

    Maybe that bus identifies as an RV? You dont know. I cant help but think these types of incidents are what the city council want to encourage us to vote in favor of more taxes so they can “help”, which only increases the cost of living and perpetuates this cycle. FML.

  • Ronnie October 17, 2018 (8:13 am)

    When are the PEOPLE of SEATTLE going to FIRE all the LAME politicians in Seattle who are letting this happen and encouraging it? All the while beating down the police, beating down tax payers…

    • law abiding citizen October 17, 2018 (3:52 pm)

      The answer is never one party has controlled Seattle for over 50 years. If you really want change stop voting for radical leftists.

  • The Truth October 17, 2018 (8:14 am)

    So by the city you mean tax payers right? This was never an issue when that dirt shoulder was angle parking only. Then the city changed it to parallel parking and these RV’s moved in. Just change it back to angle parking on the dirt.

    • Pete October 17, 2018 (9:50 am)

      The Truth……there were so many problems with the angle parking that that is the reason it was changed several years ago. It was parallel parking for a couple of years before the RV’s started parking there.

  • Quora October 17, 2018 (8:17 am)

    And BTW, what is our new mayor doing to address anything about this mess? Only time I’ve seen her in the news lately is galavanting around NYC to lure an NHL franchise.

    Does she have any plans to make this city better or did I cast another worthless vote?

    • Paul Symington October 17, 2018 (8:36 am)

      don’t hold your breath. Although I gotta admit she is a lot better than the full on wild-eye communist city council.

  • paul symington October 17, 2018 (8:34 am)

    Nothing to see here.
    I’m sure it was just grandma and grandpa on their way to Arizona for the autumn/winter.
    There’s no doubt this was a fully serviced, licensed and insured RV.

    DON”T BOTHER WITH EMAILS TO COUNCIL UNLESS YOU FOLLOW UP WITH PHONE CALLS – yes thats plural –> phone calls to mayor, and several council schmucks of your choosing. Emails w/out follow up calls go into the same black hole as our tax dollars.

  • M October 17, 2018 (8:59 am)

    This angers me so much. I spoke to Jason at the club a few weeks ago about the RVs. He said the owner continues to complain to City Council and Sewants response? They need to live somewhere. The health club has to clean up waste every day. I have been a member for 11 years and I am about to go somewhere else. I don’t feel safe there. Is it going to take someone getting raped or killed for the city to kick them out? The only way they respond is when something tragic happens. In this case, a business is damaged a second time and the worthless city council and Mayor do nothing about protecting the public and businesses.

  • FixSeattlenow October 17, 2018 (9:31 am)

    I’m so sick of this city not doing s–t about this RV/Tent/Homeless problem, besides trying to throw more money at it, like everything else. Seattle is all about protesting. Maybe we start a “get rid of the RV’s/Tents march down 4th ave. Who’s with me. I’m normally not this drastic, but seriously, it’s a damn mess and I think most of us have had it with the lack of enforcement by this city in recent years.

    • rundmc October 17, 2018 (10:03 am)

      I’d be with you on that. Protest, I mean. But, let’s do more than a march. A march is part of it, but we also need to vote for different people. I didn’t vote for the current mayor. I voted for one of the candidates in the primaries whose primary issue was enforcing laws – all laws, not just the ones that result in death – and giving police the support to do so. We can’t vote for people whose platforms are “we’ll find more resources to help the homeless problem” and then expect a different result than what we are getting. So, vote out the current people who aren’t getting results. Vote against any more increased taxes until they use the current allocations to get results. Show up at public discussions with our elected leaders to tell them unless they clean up this mess by stopping the permissiveness of law breaking, we will vote them out. And, finally – maybe even consider running for office against the current officeholders who aren’t getting any results.

      • Rick October 17, 2018 (11:37 am)

        We need a sheriff Joe here.

        • CAM October 17, 2018 (1:48 pm)

          I thought the argument here was in favor of law and order? How does having an unapologetic convicted felon move to the area assist with that goal?

          • Nolan October 17, 2018 (2:45 pm)

            The mask is slipping a bit, methinks.

    • Rick October 17, 2018 (12:09 pm)

      S—t is for sidewalks.

  • steve October 17, 2018 (9:39 am)

    Yesterday morn on the way to school ( street corner of gym) we got to see someone urinating in the open. Nice.

    • Ms. Sparkles October 18, 2018 (12:59 pm)

      Call 911 for the person exposing themselves to children – we can’t just complain on the comment threads, we have to keep the pressure on the elected officials & the existing systems.

      • WSB October 18, 2018 (1:04 pm)

        And those calls DO get dispatched – I hear them (elsewhere in the city, not just here) on the scanner (sitting next to one most of the day, with channels for the other precincts as well as this one) daily. Depends of course on what else is going on at the time but if you don’t report something, you have a 100 percent chance of no response; if you do, the odds are better. – TR

  • MJ October 17, 2018 (9:50 am)

    Enough already, the owner of the vehicle needs to be held accountable and pay for the damages incurred!

    • coffeedude October 17, 2018 (11:00 am)

      I have been waiting for a year for the person who hit my car to pay their share. Took it to court and the judge basically said, good luck getting your money.

  • Denise Miller October 17, 2018 (9:52 am)

    Please people, when will we wake up and vote out this city council and now probably another mayor. My heart breaks for this business owner. It takes a lot running a business and then to add to their list of everything they deal with this, with the constant monitoring or their property and garbage all the while trying to serve their patrons and provide a safe environment. This could potentially ruin their business. Not to mention the amount of money this could put them in debt. A good neighborhood/city means we all participate in being considerate citizens and we care about how we are as neighbors. These tent/RV dwellers do not care about the community they are impacting. For all of us that are law abiding, tax paying, hard working citizens, did you get a pass when you didn’t pay your utility bill or when you may have missed the school warning light and got a ticket, ect….Laws are in tact to govern us ALL to keep a safe, prosperous and thoughtful city. Let us get back to sanity and hold EVERYONE accountable to the law. By the way, this person/people did not have insurance…are you serious, and they don’t care…they fled!

  • JD October 17, 2018 (9:54 am)

    “No public safety issue here, move along…and pay your taxes.” —Jenny Durkan

  • Daniel October 17, 2018 (9:58 am)

    Enforce the laws. This is ridiculous. Get rid of the RV and tents. It is all illegal. Quit making programs to fix it and waste money. ITS NOT WORKING.

  • Wallace Grommet October 17, 2018 (10:16 am)

    That converted bus was a newcomer to this area, I first noticed it a week ago on 22nd Ave Sw on the 3800 block. Very distinctive amateur paint job, which I immediately recognized in the crash scene photos.

    • Holly October 17, 2018 (7:10 pm)

      This week it was parked on 21st Ave SW in front of 3819 home.

  • RW October 17, 2018 (10:19 am)

    FIXSEATTLE NOW, I’m with you and have been for months. I hope that all of you that commented above continue to stay fed up and next November vote appropriately. This city needs new leadership in a very serious way.

  • rundmc October 17, 2018 (10:59 am)

    Speaking of neighborhoods, as a long-time client of West Seattle Health Club, I can assure you that not only is it in a neighborhood, it’s a neighborhood institution. That pool is frequented by families and children many times a week and is where they have swimming lessons for children at least twice a week. Now, those kids and families won’t have a place to swim and continue their lessons for an indefinite time period thanks to an anti-social individual(s) who aren’t being held accountable the way most of us expect to be.

  • Ken October 17, 2018 (11:11 am)

    This city could care less about the home owners, renters, business owners, etc. Seattle is just a shell of its former glory – still looks reasonably nice on the outside, but within the city limits it’s just a cesspool of transients, homeless, graffiti, litter, human waste, drug paraphernalia, a worsening traffic situation, potholes that continually go unfixed, etc. I’m a 4th generation West Seattleite and I cannot wait to escape this place. It’s sickening what this city has become. Ashamed to even call it my hometown. The only reason I’m still even here is to care for an elderly parent.

    I can remember a few years ago at the West Seattle Grand Parade, King County Assessor Lloyd Hara was there and made the comment “Isn’t Seattle a great place to live?” as he was walking by. A woman in the crowd replied “It used to be”. Exactly how I feel. If there is anyone who is delusional enough to think the current mayor and city council care one iota about the legal residents of this city, I have some ocean front property in Ellensburg I’d be happy to sell you.

  • BG October 17, 2018 (11:45 am)

    Here is an eye-opener concerning RV’s in Seattle:

    As far as Lisa Herbold doing anything about the homeless problem – forget it. Any communication to her office from me concerning that subject has resulted in a “report it to Find it, Fix it” reply.

    It’s just not her problem.

  • JT October 17, 2018 (11:45 am)

    This isn’t only a homelessness problem, it is a vehicle safety issue. Although the cause of this crash hasn’t been released, from the photos, it looks likely that the vehicle was coming down the Yancy street hill and was not able to stop. That is a very steep hill and anyone operating a vehicle that big and heavy needs to be able to control it properly. I am a member of the club, and most of the RVs that I’ve seen parked on the street next to it are in such a state of disrepair that they have no business being driven on the road, let alone down the Yancy street hill. Lots of people drive, bicycle commute and walk through that area. That these two crashes happened late at night when there are fewer people out on the street is a blessing, but public safety is at risk as long as these vehicles are allowed on the road.

  • Matthew Cook October 17, 2018 (12:16 pm)

    I would urge West Seattle residents to contact Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s office who represents our district at 206-684-8803. Her next In-District Office Hours are on Friday, October 26 at the SW Neighborhood Service Center at 2801 SW Thistle St. You can schedule a meeting or show up. The Councilmember is very sympathetic to letting the RV’s park so we need West Seattle neighbors to show up and let her know we’ve had enough.

    • Judy frame October 17, 2018 (1:25 pm)

      Yes, I agree. I have contacted Lisa Herbold a number of times, and feel like I’m wasting my breath and my time. I am all for marching ..let’s do it.

  • captsteve October 17, 2018 (12:19 pm)

    When is the protest? I’M IN. Vote out every single one on the City Council not to mention the useless mayor. This is ridiculous. Why is this tolerated? It is an absolute EMBARRASSMENT.

  • WSB October 17, 2018 (12:21 pm)

    The plot has thickened, as the old saying goes … I’ve been trying to get more info from SPD, but in the meantime, have obtained more SFD investigation details (their Marshal 5 investigation unit was out this morning) from Councilmember Herbold’s office. Just added above.

  • A October 17, 2018 (12:29 pm)

    Good to see all the people who are fed up with what the city council has allowed our city to become. Vote these clowns out. There is now a modified school bus and multiple rvs parked on Trenton next to the post office. These vehicles have been here for weeks and the trash is starting to accumulate in the bushes next to the bus and rvs. The junkies living in these vehicles are also deficating in these bushes and there is smoke coming from the bus every morning from something they are burning inside the bus. There is also a off leash pitbull with these people which I’m guessing is used to protect their drugs. I reported this problem to the city but have little hope it will be resolved. It’s really sad that our city isn’t protecting it’s tax paying citizens from the multiple physical and health hazards that these people are creating

    • T October 17, 2018 (12:49 pm)

      Trenton has had several for atleast a few years. It’s high time for change all over Seattle.

  • Ron October 17, 2018 (12:39 pm)

    I’m the owner for the RV that is not in fire in this picture. I live on Adam st, a member of the Gym. I use my RV as a personal office, and move it every day or 3 days when I’m not using it. I could park it in front of my house on Adam St, but I park it by the park/gym to not cause congestion on a very small street.

    I wish I could take an PRO-RV/Homeless stance on this, but I can’t. I have had my tank syphoned to the point where I only keep two gallons of gas, and when I put on a locking gas cap, I’ve had my line cut. I’ve cleaned up trashed that is kept behind/under it, and had to deal with numerous issues. If they city made these vehicles pass a rudimentary safety inspection them most of them would not be allowed on the streets.

    BTW was a “Schoolie” an small school bus that was converted to an RV or Food truck. If you look at the rims they are custom and cost a pretty penny. This wasn’t due to the homeless encampment. I’m willing to bet someone stole this and took the corner to fast, and ran off.

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (12:45 pm)

      As added above, SFD is now saying the vehicle had fled the scene of an earlier shoplifting incident and changed its descriptinn to “15-passenger shuttle van.” Whether that means it WASN’T somebody’s residence on wheels, we are trying mightily to find out, but so far have not gotten responses from SPD either in media relations or at the precinct. (I’m currently sending our co-publisher to the precinct in hopes also of finding out more about the unaccompanied-child discovery – separate story – beyond the tweet that remains the sole source of info on this.)

    • Twostep October 17, 2018 (1:17 pm)

      @ron- you’re quite a dancer!
      All that you endure to spare the residents of your tiny street- bless you!

  • The Truth October 17, 2018 (12:49 pm)

    So we are told by are officials that these are just folks down on their luck and being homeless shouldn’t be criminalized. I agree that some folks are down on their luck and this is their last resort. Then you have clowns like this that shoplift, flee in a passenger bus/ mobile home and cause 300k in damages. We shouldn’t criminalize homelessness but we should arrest bike chop shops, illegal dumping of hazardous materials, drug dealers and package thieves hiding in plain sight with this already struggling population. Arrest the criminals and help those that are left!

  • alkipug October 17, 2018 (1:00 pm)

    Ron it is good to see you are honest but most people would store their unused RV in a rented lot. It would provide security as well.

  • WSMom October 17, 2018 (1:10 pm)

    So if one bought an old RV at auction for as little as $10, what would it cost to have it destroyed?

    • Valid October 17, 2018 (1:15 pm)

      @wsmom- apparently, $300K

      • the truth October 17, 2018 (1:26 pm)

        Ha, well played!

  • Mike October 17, 2018 (1:55 pm)

    I encourage everyone to contact Lisa Herbold’s office and let her know how we feel about this. Seattle City Council needs to do better or be voted out! So sick of the crime, trash, drugs..


    • Susan October 17, 2018 (7:59 pm)

      Response to letter addresses to council member Herbold:

      Thank you for writing to Councilmember Herbold about the shuttle van that crashed in the West Seattle Athletic Club overnight, as well as writing to me about the issue of RVs parked in that area.

      Councilmember Herbold has contacted the Seattle Police Department, including Chief Best. She has also contacted Fire Department Chief Scoggins, Mayor Durkan, Deputy Mayor Fong, and other Mayor’s Office staff about this. Mayor Durkan responded swiftly and personally to let Councilmember Herbold know that Chief Scoggins would be in touch. Chief Scoggins responded to say that he did not believe that this was an RV fire. Councilmember Herbold understands that people in the community believe that, RV or otherwise, that this was a vehicle that was being occupied as a residence. Councilmember Herbold has spoken with Dan Lehr, the V.P. of Operations at the West Seattle Health Club and he assured her that not only was this a vehicle modified for living in, but that it was a vehicle that was being resided in at this particular location.

      The Fire Investigation Unit has provided us with the following information:

      “The accidental fire occurred when the suspect of a shoplifting incident fled the scene in an approximately 15-passenger shuttle van and crashed the vehicle into the west exterior wall of the West Seattle Health Club’s pool building. The van collision damaged the exterior above-ground natural gas line. Fire from the van extended primarily to the exterior wall of the pool building. No injuries were reported. Damage is estimated at approximately $300,000.”

      The City has an RV remediation program designed by SPD and SPU. Below is SPD Deputy Chief Wilske’s description of that program, in response to Councilmember Herbold’s request several months ago to clarify for her, and for the public, the approach SPD is taking to address the impacts upon residents and businesses resulting from several hundred RVs parked throughout the City serving as dwellings:

      “As everyone has noticed, we are seeing an increase in people who are living in vehicles, both cars and RV’s. In some cases we are seeing significant impact to the surrounding neighborhoods, and have partnered with Seattle Public Utilities to implement a RV remediation program to address these problematic sites.

      The ultimate goal of this program is to try to connect the people to services, insure that they move their vehicles in conformance to city law (primarily the 72 hr ordinance), and ensure we clean up any debris that is left behind. Using a team concept also allows us to insure we are consistent with recent court decisions regarding vehicle residents, so that we do not inadvertently expose the city to unnecessary legal jeopardy. The goal is not to impound these vehicles, but instead have them move regularly and be less impactful on the locations where they park.

      The team uses specific criteria to determine which site will be prioritized for clean up, with an emphasis on Public Health (large amounts of debris, rodents, needles etc) and Public Safety (crime statistics, 911 responses, officer anecdotal information). We are currently doing 6 plus clean ups a month on large locations, with some additional work being done via the precincts and the parking enforcement officers, but again using the same prioritization criteria.”

      One court case decision Wilske references is a Superior Court decision from earlier this year raised challenges about the city charging fees for impounded vehicles that serve as residences.

      In addition, Councilmember Herbold has asked SPD and SPU to:

      Inform us of when this location was most recently assessed for remediation
      RESPONSE: In September, an RV site assessment of the area was applied. Based on the information collected by SPD and SPU, the location did not qualify for priority cleanup for the month of September.

      Assess this location today for remediation
      RESPONSE: Our teams assessed the location today (10/17) and it did not score high enough for service.

      Let us know whether SPU provides regular litter/needle/cleanup services in this area. If so, what services have we provided and when?

      RESPONSE: There are no formal pilot programs operating there, but we will respond to illegal dumping/sharps complaints as needed.

      Below are the follow-up questions her office has sent; we will provide more information when we have it:

      When you say that the location did not score high enough for priority clean-up in September, was there another type of clean-up that was performed?
      Given the location has been assessed twice in the last two months and has not scored high enough to receive clean-up resources; does SPU believe that this location needs to be remediated but lacks the resources to do so? Please also provide more information about the scores that this location received.
      You say that while no formal SPU garbage removal pilot program resources are currently operating at this location, SPU responds to illegal dumping/sharps complaints as needed. I’ve heard from a number of constituents that they’ve used the Find It, Fix It application to report this location. How many times has SPU visited the location in response to individual complaints?

      In closing, Councilmember Herbold understands that this site, as well as others, in West Seattle and elsewhere around the city, are resulting in harm to communities. Councilmember Herbold asked that I directly address an issue that we regularly hear, specifically the belief that officers’ “hands are tied” when it comes to enforcement of the city’s laws because, as some people have been told, the Council has told SPD not to enforce the law. I have expressed concern to Chief Best about constituents hearing that “officers’ hands were tied.”

      Because of the separation of powers between the Council and the Executive branches of government, the only powers the City Council has are law-making and budget powers. Consequently, the only way the Council can implement a policy of not enforcing a law is to repeal the law. Individual Councilmembers have no enforcement power, nor, as a legislative body, does the Council as a whole have any enforcement power. In other words, Councilmembers are able to affect policy by passing laws, but the City Council is not the enforcer of those laws.

      Councilmember Herbold will continue to advocate for District 1.

      Newell Aldrich
      Aide to Councilmember Herbold

      • WSB October 17, 2018 (8:32 pm)

        Thanks for posting that. CM Herbold’s office sent us that same information which I’ll be including in a followup on where all this stands, at night’s end.

      • Dave Virnig October 18, 2018 (11:56 am)

        Newell is absolutely correct Article 5 Sec 2 of the city charter states it is the duty of the Mayor to insure the laws are enforced and that all department heads report to her. The city council has no authority over the actions of the different agencies of the city. That said in the last 2 years I have had dozens of interactions with SPD ranging from beat officers to district commander to assistant chief and have never had any employee suggest the council was directing their actions. I have had employees of Parking Enforcement, SDOT, Environmental Heath and OPA tell me they have been directed by “City Hall” to stand down on issues pertaining to the homeless and those living in vehicles. The law would infer City Hall to be the Mayor.

        On the issue of the court ruling of charging fees for impounding vehicles that are used as residences it found that impounding the vehicle for violating the law was lawful and only the charging an excessive fee was in question. Using that case as reasoning for non enforcement of the SMC is not valid. Have them impounded and don’t charge.

        Bottom line push Ms. Herbold to support the wants of the majority or vote her out but it ultimately falls on the Mayor.

  • Ron October 17, 2018 (2:14 pm)

    Hi Alkipug,

    I had it stored in White Center for over 3 years, until recently. (they sold the lot for development) The issue is that it’s not unused. I use it two the 3 times a week, many storage lots restrict your access, and do not want you to have daily in and out privileges.

  • McFail October 17, 2018 (2:26 pm)

    I would pay to have one of these RVs towed to or near the frontage of a councilmember’s house just to see how fast it gets moved (by City forces)…

  • Graham October 17, 2018 (2:35 pm)

    Here’s the message I sent to our Councilmember:

    Dear Councilmember Herbold,

    This morning it was distressing to read about the RV crash at the West Seattle Health Club’s pool. My toddler takes safety swimming lessons in that pool, and it is terrifying to think he could have been in the pool during the accident. The encampments around this area are proving to be unsafe, and this is the second accident related to the encampments. I’ve also noticed illegal dumping in the area. Can you please share with me and my husband details about how your office is working to address this matter?

    • Jethro Marx October 17, 2018 (4:21 pm)

      Terrifying’ is a strong word, but I guess we all have different thresholds for terror. Does the pool host toddler classes after midnight? ‘Cause that seems weird. At any rate, I look forward to y’all putting down the iPhones and organizing a protest march. Sounds like it’ll be close to a dozen people!

      • Kyle Eff October 18, 2018 (12:41 pm)

        Pretty sure the crash wasn’t scheduled for 1.30am; the accident certainly could have happened at any time. The pool is in regular use for the entire time the club is open, every day.

    • West Seattle Hipster October 18, 2018 (11:22 am)

      Thank you for emailing Lisa Herbold, I will do the same. Anyone can make comments on their iPhone, but we need more citizens like you who care about our community.

  • KBear October 17, 2018 (3:14 pm)

    Many of the people who live in those RVs are more neighborly than some of the commenters here. And it turns out the person who caused this crash wasn’t even one of the RV residents. But facts don’t matter to the pitchfork and torch crowd who never miss an opportunity to hate on the homeless. What have YOU done to help? And no, writing angry letters to Lisa Herbold insisting she direct the city to “enforce the law” doesn’t count. The tents and RVs won’t go away until everyone has a place to live. We can’t fine, harass, and incarcerate our way out of the homelessness crisis.

    • WS October 17, 2018 (4:37 pm)

      Facts DO matter. The city does not enforce crime, and they could care less about residents that have been victimized by the subset of homeless who steal and destroy property. I know this first hand after having to remove dozens of needles and various stolen property items from my car that was stolen and lived in for ~2 months this past year. Thousands of dollars lost, police know who did it.. Yet no action taken. These are facts, and it goes way beyond who drove into this building if you couldn’t figure that much out.

    • A October 17, 2018 (5:10 pm)

      Kbear- has the thought crossed your mind that maybe the majority of these people aren’t good people who are down on their luck? That maybe they have burned a lot of bridges with their drug use and crime so now their option is to travel to whatever city will accept them? I have a nice safety net of family and friends to where if I lost my job I would have support and a place to stay. I know pretty much every good person has a safety net similar to mine. Where are these people’s safety net? They don’t have one because their own family doesn’t want them around because they will steal from them. I know this because I have family that would rather choose the streets and abuse drugs and steal from their own father than to get a job and contribute to society. Maybe you are sympathetic to these people but I’m not. I work hard and contribute more than my fair share of taxes to this city and expect a clean and safe city in return. Seattle is far from a clean or safe city at this time and it’s unacceptable

    • West Seattle Hipster October 17, 2018 (8:48 pm)

      “What have you done to help”?

      Ummm, watched the city squander my tax dollars on trying to solve the “homeless crisis”. That’s been my contribution so far.

      How about you set the example and turn your home into a shelter for those who need it?

  • WS Guy October 17, 2018 (4:13 pm)

    The next opportunity to vote for our council can’t come soon enough. And please, please, will some responsible non-activists please run?

  • Onion October 17, 2018 (5:52 pm)

    Aside from the assumptions and false assumptions fueling this feedback forum discussion, I urge everyone to step back and truly consider the arguments, concerns, and beliefs of the people you might automatically disagree with. A lot of good issues to consider in this thread.

  • MNT October 17, 2018 (6:37 pm)

    The vehicle in question had been parked in front of a suspected drug house at 3818 21st Ave SW. Once I noticed NO LICENSE Plates, I had intended to call it in after the 3 day parking period, but it was gone.
    Perhaps our local law enforcement should stop by and inquire at that house…

  • Ricky October 17, 2018 (7:24 pm)

    These comments are disgusting. Maybe try asking how the passengers of the vehicle are. They probably just lost the very little that they have. People go through hard times. Others just choose not to live within the system. Accidents happen whether you have a house or not. That doesn’t make them any less welcome to be a part of our community. They are our neighbors. Instead of using your energy to bash people for being houseless maybe you could use that energy to help them and people like them. Maybe you could stop relying on a government that could really care less and is the ultimate cause of the people living on the streets in the first place. Be a decent human being and help your neighbor. This is a community effort.

    • Quora October 17, 2018 (7:44 pm)

      Folks that trash my community, commit crime and have zero respect for others around them are not my neighbors.

      Sorry – they are not.

    • WSB October 17, 2018 (7:48 pm)

      Whoever was in the vehicle when it hit the building had left the scene by the time authorities arrived, according to everyone we’ve talked to today.

    • Walkaway October 17, 2018 (8:05 pm)

      Oh bless your heart Ricky. They ran from the accident. They caused considerable amount of damage to a business that employees people and pays taxes. These taxes go to programs that allow for these people to live on the street, poop on the streets, toss garbage, steal from actual neighbors and do drugs. How about you go and sawant invite these lovely people to live in their homes or in front of their houses. I assume you have not done this, or have you?

      • Ricky October 17, 2018 (10:01 pm)

        There’s allot to go through here. But, I’ll start with this. I agree they should not have run from the accident (that doesn’t mean they’re okay). They did cause a huge amount of damage. That’s not fair to WSHC or the neighborhood. It’s going to cost a lot of money to repair the damage. If they are found they should find a way to make amends and they should be helped to get out of whatever slump they’re currently in. As far as taxes go I agree our taxes go to a lot of useless programs that either do not help at all or make matters worse. I completely agree. As far as all of the things some houseless people do regarding throwing trash in the streets, and “poop in the streets”. Let’s start with the “poop”. Firstly, where are they going to “poop” when every bathroom in the city has a keypad or a key entry to get into and is only accessible to paying customers? Secondly, even if they could get into those bathrooms sometimes they just won’t make it in time if they live far from the nearest store. Thirdly, they may just have major mental issues and could frankly careless. Is it horrible? Yes of course it is. Is it their fault? No, those things are the product of the failing aid of our state and our community. Okay moving onto the trash. It’s obviously a major problem. There’s no doubting that. Again where are they going to throw away their trash when the dumpsters at businesses are locked or already over flowing? Again, yet another failure of the state and out community. Now onto stealing. Yeah, it sucks when you are stolen from and it sucks that people need to steal to get by or to get their next high. Again, there’s no doubting that. But again those are also products of our failing state. I could go on and on about those topics but maybe you could just do a simple search for how capitalism creates these issues through power, hierarchy, and greed. As far as inviting them to live in my home or in front of my home. I live in a small apartment with a family where there is hardly enough room for even us. Secondly, I live in an apartment so I don’t have a yard for them to sleep in front of. Not all of us have those privileges. There actually are people who are doing those things via tiny homes in their backyards in the city. If I had the privilege of having a large house or a home then yes I would not have any problem with letting someone in need live in my yard and I would do what I could to help them. They do live in the yard of my neighborhood though. Do I do things to help them? Yes, is there more that I could do? Yes, is there more that I will do, yes. Yes to all of those things because again these are our neighbors and they need help. Whether you like them as your neighbors or not that’s who they are. That’s where I’m leaving this. I’ve spent enough time with this. My time is better spent being in the streets making a difference.

        • Mike October 18, 2018 (5:43 am)

          All I read from Ricky are excuses for those that are doing wrong over and over, by those that have been given chances over and over, by those that we’ve literally spent $1.5B every year in this state on, over and over.
          “Let’s start with the “poop”. Firstly, where are they going to “poop” when every bathroom in the city has a keypad or a key entry to get into and is only accessible to paying customers? ” We tried to provide million dollar self cleaning facilities before, they ended up using them for prostitution and a quiet space to shoot up drugs, so the city shut down that initiative after wasting millions in tax payer dollars. My kids used to go to daycare, the teachers used to take them to the park near their daycare, but they stopped because kids would find needles and the homeless drug addicts were having sex IN the park in broad daylight.

          The person who caused this damage, how do you suggest they make amends to nearly half a million in damages and lost business revenue? This isn’t a ‘oh sorry I bumped into your car’ so let’s pay $500 deductible. We’re lucky the entire block didn’t get destroyed and kill people due to the gas leak and fire caused by this ‘accident’.

  • Marty October 17, 2018 (8:56 pm)

    Ricky.. Apparently the vehicle owners were well enough to run away from the damage they were responsible for causing. They were being chased for the crime of shoplifting at the time of the collision. Forgive me for not being concerned about their welfare. I really don’t care…

  • DJ Smooth October 17, 2018 (9:34 pm)

    Does anyone know what Sam Adams is up to these days? More specifically, what he was doing between 12:30-1:30 last night?

  • 1994 October 17, 2018 (9:56 pm)

    I call these things rolling dumps. RD not RV.
    The city even pays for some of the rolling dumps to have repairs made so they can be driven.

  • Ian October 17, 2018 (11:15 pm)

    I’m really disappointed in you people who just want these homeless people elsewhere. As much as you don’t want it to be the case, these ARE your neighbors. You’re just choosing to believe that you’d never lose your job, and have family members die all at the same time, or get into an accident that causes a brain injury, or many other possibilities. These people are human beings, currently have rights, and I’ll always vote for everyone in this country to have equal rights to myself.

    If you don’t want rvs parked around your neighborhoods, vote to help them, go to city council meetings to try to figure out something that will help permanently get these people into safer housing, don’t just kick them down the road. It is going to take big changes to fix these issues. You’ve either got to decide if you’re a human being with a conscience, or not.

    And f*** the person who said we need a sheriff Joe Arpaio here. Nobody deserves that. Arpaio deserves to be in prison.

    • prayforrain October 18, 2018 (8:40 am)

      If they just need a place to be and aren’t ruining things for everyone else, no big deal, let them stay. In fact that was my perspective on those RV’s for a while until this happened and I found out that the WSHC and Nucor were cleaning up after them. The area always looked clean so I figured it was fine for them to be there. Guess that wasn’t the case.

      But if the RV inhabitants are littering, stealing, causing property damage and creating health hazards, I absolutely want them elsewhere.

    • Kyle Eff October 18, 2018 (12:44 pm)

      I had no problem with the RVs a block from my house until they started leaving behind garbage, needles and literal human feces when moving. It was none of my business until it became my business.

  • Mark October 18, 2018 (4:50 am)

    I don’t think anyone here is against homeless people in general. What we are tired of is the trash and the crime that many of them are causing. Don’t get me wrong, as some keep to themselves and don’t bother anyone but it’s the few that is causing the issues that is giving all of them a bad name.

    That is why people are upset, and I really don’t blame them. This incident for example, caused a lot of damage to the building and the driver ran away, why should he be let off free when it’s the business owner that has to pay for the damages?

    I was homeless myself for many years but kept my area cleaned, didn’t leave any garbage etc.. and didn’t bother anyone, and no bothered me.

    The problem is that the ones who are causing all of the issues don’t want help nor do they want housing and the city of Seattle is doing a great job of enabling them to continue to do what they are doing while the rest of us have to pay for it.

  • elizabeth October 18, 2018 (7:34 am)

    The city enables the homeless. I understand it is a tough issue, but we cannot let the homeless run the city, We pay taxes, the homeless do not. I do not know why the SPD does not enforce the laws. The laws are there for a reason. Laws like vagrancy, loitering, littering, all these laws are being broken . Why? We should always have help available for the people, but laws should not be broken. We are not a lawless society. But it does seem that way.

  • c October 18, 2018 (8:37 am)

    Just drove by and all parking enforcement had tagged all vehicles

    • WSB October 18, 2018 (8:58 am)

      Thank you for the update! My followup was delayed till this morning and that’s new since I went through the area around 9 last night.

  • Dan October 18, 2018 (1:01 pm)

    I will break this down via my research and then offer some solutions. Please feel free to weigh in.

    We have to stop putting all homeless into a catchall bucket. In that bucket we have people with mental health issues, drug attics, self medicating mental health folks using drugs instead of receiving help they need, people on parole that are hiding, people that have lost their jobs and had no safety net, people fleeing abuse, people who can’t afford rent and lost their place. None of these people can be treated as the other. They all require different services and help.

    1) Fundamentally out state is terrible with access to mental health. That leaves people to not be able to hold down jobs or they turn to drugs to self medicate. they need detox and mental health care that doesn’t exist. I place the blame on the state. Starting with Jay Inslee and both houses. Our biggest mental health hospital is a joke and lost its accreditation. You can call these folks drug attics but what caused it? What was the root cause. Most of it is self medicating from untreated mental health issues. (those folks need help via an improved system)

    2) Warrant roundup for parolees and criminals hiding among this group and get them back where they belong. these folks are commonly dealing drugs, trafficking people and abusing the weakest of those encampments for their gain. (these folk need to be back in the system)

    3) Folk who lost jobs lets keep them from being homeless in the first place. A simple short term rent voucher could buy them the time they need to get a new job. Let’s say the region allowed a voucher for 1,000 per month for 3 months (renter covers the rest) that is a 3k investment. If they hit the streets the cost to provide services reaches 30k. Seems like a smart use of tax dollars.

    4) People fleeing abuse. There is a lot of services for these folks and larger investment in Mary’s Place and other organizations can very quickly ramp up what is needed.

    5) We do need more affordable housing but I have zero faith in the current HALA plan. developers can level entire areas without needing to put affordable housing back in that same neighborhood. Instead they can pay a fee to the city and the city will build housing where they decide. I am sure every developer in nice neighborhoods will pay the fee and the city will put all the “affordable housing” in areas that are already underserved. It is the new redlining like what happened in the 70’s. I have seen development plans for HALA projects that actually put the affordable housing in the same building but get this….they put in separate entrances for the affordable units. you wouldn’t want those poor/middle class folks interacting with the wealthy folk. god forbid they share an elevator.

    Until this is solved I say we open T5 and tow the RV’s there. Set up services and case works and get these people help if they want it, if not you can drive your RV back to the street but you will be sited for parking violation, illegal dumping, ETC.


    • flimflam October 18, 2018 (4:56 pm)

      i agree with what you stated. the mental health aspect is brutal. its hard to involuntarily commit someone, and even if you could, where would they go? no beds open? they stay on the street to fend for themselves and frankly, for the public to deal with. a terrible non solution.

      i also feel that the city has shown an extreme distaste for any sort of consequences for the homeless that are actively committing crimes – not to mention those who have warrants.

      it would seem reasonable to at least check for warrants/sex offender violations when camps are contacted or dispersed. after all, they are often trespassing, using drugs or littering in the extreme, already committing a crime. perfect chance to check for warrants.

      either way, the city has shown terrible leadership in this mess – in their approach, who they give money to (share/wheel? ugh), etc

    • Mike October 18, 2018 (5:51 pm)

      Port would have to approve T5 for that use, so that’ll never happen. How does that solve the real issue anyhow, it only enables this to be worse.

  • prayforrain October 18, 2018 (7:01 pm)

    For sure. You can’t treat the mentally ill, the criminals, and those who have hit a streak of bad luck with the same set of policies. And I think that overall the citizens of Seattle would treat the mentally ill and those down on their luck (who are also conscientious) with some compassion.

    The mentally ill might engage in criminal activity such as littering and property damage and need to be, well, institutionalized. But not in a jail or prison.

    The criminals need to be locked up. No sympathy there.

    And let the unlucky be as long as they’re not engaging in behaviors that tarnish the city for the rest of us. And I would say that “let them be” includes living in RV’s as long as they’re following the law. But I think the unlucky are also the people who seek out and accept assistance when offered.

  • Allison October 21, 2018 (8:07 pm)

    Just now seeing this post. I have noticed this bus parked in my Gatewood neighborhood every night for the past month. Every few days it looked like he would paint different areas of the bus to touch up scratches. I never saw the owner of the bus every time I would walk past it, but figured it was a homless person living in there.

Sorry, comment time is over.