FOLLOWUP: Delridge/Roxbury sidewalk camp shrinks, as health problems shelve removal plan

ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: More than a week after our last report on the sidewalk-blocking camp along Delridge just north of Roxbury, the site now has about half the number of tents that were there at its peak – down to about half a dozen as of early this afternoon. A texter reported seeing a city crew there earlier in the day. Before that text, we already had inquiries out to both SDOT and the Human Services Department – the former would be accountable for prioritizing (or not) the site for removal, under city policies leaving that up to departments that “own” individual sites, while the latter would be involved with services and outreach. First we heard back from HSD spokesperson Kevin Mundt, who said the camp was to be removed this week until a health situation led to a postponement:

Urban League, REACH, and the CCS Scope team outreach workers were at the Roxbury & Delridge location last week, in coordination with the HOPE Team. REACH made two referrals from the location to the Executive Hotel Pacific enhanced shelter on Thursday (May 13). As of last week, it was estimated that seven to ten people were residing in the encampment.

During the course of this outreach, providers notified the HOPE Team of individuals in the encampment who appeared sick with a gastrointestinal illness. Once notified, the HOPE Team shared this information with Public Health, who is investigating. Per recommendations from Public Health, a removal of the Delridge & Roxbury encampment planned for this week was postponed. The HOPE Team is encouraging outreach providers to continue their engagement at the site in the meantime.

Once a site is identified as a priority location by our City department partners, the HOPE Team shares that information with providers and directs outreach to those locations in an attempt to have the site be encampment free through outreach strategies alone. If necessary, a site may be subject to a removal under the MDARs.

That stands for Multi-Department Administrative Rules, the city policies that cover “unauthorized camping on city properties,” among other things (read them here). The HOPE Team is explained here.

SDOT, meantime, said a response to our inquiry would come from the mayor’s office, and that just arrived, from spokesperson Rachel Schulkin, explaining the city-crew sighting:

Today, REACH, a City-contracted outreach provider, contacted the Clean City initiative to request items they identified as trash and debris at the Roxbury and Delridge encampment be removed. Per the request, a Clean City Parks crew identified the items (with assistance from the outreach workers) on site and removed the debris from the encampment. Individuals residing on site were not asked to move and their property was left. As mentioned previously, there is no current scheduled removal for the encampment.

Two of the remaining tents are in front of White Center Glass, whose proprietor Abby Fisher was the latest to surface the sidewalk-blocking camp to the city. Of the newest developments, she says, “While that hasn’t improved as much as we would like to see – it is progress.” We’re following up separately with Seattle-King County Public Health to see what their investigation entails.

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE: The camp is even smaller tonight – a few tents at the south end of the block. We’ve heard from the CoLEAD program, which has been working with the sidewalk residents, and expect to learn more tomorrow about how that has unfolded.

9 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Delridge/Roxbury sidewalk camp shrinks, as health problems shelve removal plan"

  • flimflam May 17, 2021 (6:05 pm)

    so just leave the sick person there in squalor – and where they likely became ill to begin with? not sure who that is helping…

  • Justme May 17, 2021 (7:04 pm)

    I’m sure their plans are to get them help asap. GI symptoms are taken very seriously with our vulnerable homeless population. Until they are tested for any number of highly contagious factors, typhoid, and hepatitis to name just 2, they can’t be exposed to others in shelters just yet.

    • Adam in High Point May 17, 2021 (8:12 pm)

      I would think the fact this population deals with diseases the general pop usually doesn’t is actually more of a reason to be proactive. It’s evidence that they should be removed from a dangerous situation that otherwise doesn’t arise in other parts of society. And while I don’t profess to be a doctor, I can’t imagine medical advice would begin with “let’s just let you be and see how it goes”. 

  • neighbor May 17, 2021 (7:27 pm)

    I would think that finding homeless people sick with a gastrointestinal illness would make it more of a priority to get them into some sort of housing. I can’t even imagine how awful that must be to suffer through with no bathroom, and it seems totally inhumane to leave them with no shelter, no plumbing and presumably no medical care. There has to be a better option than this. 

  • CMB May 18, 2021 (7:12 am)

    This is a case study for why the current homeless policy is inhumane.  

    • Quiz May 18, 2021 (11:00 am)


  • S.O.S. May 18, 2021 (9:16 am)

    It seems to me that sometimes compassionate thinking short circuits logical thinking. Thanks a lot Seattle for the horrible job on this front.  It’s all BS.

    • Question Mark May 18, 2021 (3:41 pm)

      Logical thinking would suggest that introducing someone with a possibly communicable disease into a new congregate setting might not be a good idea. At least that’s obvious to me.

  • Derek May 18, 2021 (12:48 pm)

    We need much better care for the houseless in White Center. A primary reason we need defunding of SPD and more funding of community centers and shelter centers.

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