City moving back toward 72-hour parking enforcement. But will that affect West Seattle’s longest-running RV encampment?

Announced today by the city – enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule will resume in a week. The announcement says the first priority will be to clear “unoccupied hazardous vehicles that may have been abandoned over the past 19 months.” As for vehicles being used as residences:

Parking enforcement at SDOT will not impound a vehicle with someone living in it unless it poses a specific risk to public health such as inadequate sanitation causing a direct risk of illness or injury, inadequate protection leaving the occupants exposed to the weather, or other environmental, fire, health and safety hazards.

So what might that mean to longrunning RV encampments like the one alongside the Nucor Steel plant on SW Andover?

(WSB photo, this morning)

This week, Nucor management sent us a statement from vice president/general manager Matthew Lyons, expressing frustration with the situation. Here’s what he wrote:

The West Seattle neighborhood where Nucor Steel is located, like countless neighborhoods across the city, is experiencing the difficult work of addressing the needs of unhoused people in our city. At Nucor, safety is our most important core value as a company, including the safety of our teammates and our neighbors in the communities where we operate. We are concerned that an RV encampment on city property along the fence line of our manufacturing plant is presenting a public safety threat to residents of the encampment, our teammates, and surrounding neighbors. For example, Nucor teammates and contractors have been threatened with violence and our facility has been broken into numerous times and items have been stolen. Trespassing is occurring with greater frequency and presents a significant safety hazard to those trespassing and to our teammates as we are a 24-hour, seven day a week manufacturing facility.

We know the homelessness crisis is complex and that those living outside face many challenges. We would like to work with the city of Seattle and local nonprofits who assist people who are unhoused to find housing options for residents of the encampment. We believe the location of this encampment poses a potential safety risk to its residents and Nucor teammates and contractors. It would be in the best interest of people living in the encampment, our business and the West Seattle community for our company, local nonprofits and the city to work together to find a solution.

Along with the statement, we received this letter Lyons had sent to Mayor Jenny Durkan four months ago, going into further details about why the company believes the RV encampment meets city parameters for removal as an urgent hazard. A company spokesperson tells us, “Nucor has made several attempts to contact multiple city officials both before and after the letter was sent in June, but with very limited success.”

Now comes the news that the city is reviving the 72-hour parking rule. While today’s announcement said parking enforcement “will not impound a vehicle with someone living in it” in most situations, does that mean no tickets or warning notices? We took that question to SDOT. Their response reiterated that residential vehicles would have to be deemed hazardous, and added:

The first step of enforcement for any type of vehicle is to leave an official warning notice giving the vehicle owner at least 72 hours to move their vehicle. If it appears that people may be living one of these vehicles, we will provide the occupants information about assistance and support services and resources along with a warning notice, or attach this information to the vehicle.

Vehicles which move to another location voluntarily will not be in violation of the 72-hour rule. If a vehicle needs to be repaired to be driven, we will attempt to be flexible and work with the owner and provide a reasonable amount of time if they are demonstrating a good faith effort to get the vehicle repaired.

We first reported on the Andover RV encampment almost six years ago – at which time some of the vehicles already were displaying orange warning notices.

39 Replies to "City moving back toward 72-hour parking enforcement. But will that affect West Seattle's longest-running RV encampment?"

  • BJG October 8, 2021 (7:36 pm)

    It’s feeling as though, with the exception of frequent ribbon cuttings, Mayor Durkan has quit her job. It’s easy to say we need more federal funding and leave it at that. How about that immediate plan?  We should be rolling in previously collected taxes by now for the local homeless. I see that I’ve been assessed huge sums with more to be collected. Let’s see that goal now. Help Nucor. Help us all, Mayor.  It’s bad out here.

  • Sam October 8, 2021 (7:46 pm)

    “Official Warning: You may continue living here”

  • Question Authority October 8, 2021 (8:18 pm)

    As soon as any area is cleared of these camps and the environmental, fire or public safely hazards they bring to both the (residents) and surrounding public the ecology blocks need to be installed.

    • bill October 8, 2021 (9:49 pm)

      You mean the Jersey barriers that could have been used to create actual protected bicycle lanes but are deemed too expensive for that purpose?

      • alki_2008 October 13, 2021 (10:37 pm)

        @Bill, you mean the blocks that are placed about 12 feet apart. Large enough space for a car to park, but not enough for an RV.  Only takes a few such blocks on a street.  It’s not a continuous run of blocks like are needed for bicycle lanes.

    • Auntie October 9, 2021 (10:28 am)

      Some of those cement barriers were placed by businesses in Georgetown and they were told by the city that they were illegal!

      • Question Authority October 9, 2021 (11:55 am)

        Out of frustration I blame no business for reclaiming parking or safety due to lack of City backbone.

  • Concerned Citizen October 8, 2021 (9:57 pm)

    Jesus take the wheel or anyone at this point. Jenny and city officials, what are you going to do? Come up with a plan or at least fake it. It’s not just the RVs outside Nucor, spend a day in the junction, there are so many issues and these people living on the street deserve more, especially in a city as prosperous as this, the homeless crisis has huge impact on everyone.  Put a smart team on this to come up with a plan, a plan that incorporates average citizens who want to help, but don’t know how. Do it soon because citizens are not going to stick around if this keeps up.

    • Also Concerned October 9, 2021 (3:15 pm)

      I drive along this street frequently, and have noticed that the folks living on this street are often working on their vehicles. Maybe they just need some help fixing them and they could be on their way to a better life or road tripping across the country. I don’t have a lot of mechanical skills, but if the city could pay some, or we could have some volunteer to fix all of the RV’s and School busses down there, I bet they would go.And I would volunteer my tie to plant some nice flowers down there to make it pretty so people will respect it and not park there.

    • 1994 October 9, 2021 (5:25 pm)

      The city already provides funds for repairs and even sends a pumper truck to empty out their waste holding tanks….most of the RVs are frankly beyond repair. And beyond safe.  They are a total safety hazard and a total fire hazard. There are trucks parked along Roxhill park that are FULL of garbage and have mice and rats that live inside of them.  Those should be towed and destroyed. If someone is using them for storage for their belongings this is a huge abuse of public property and societal trust. 

  • Mj October 8, 2021 (10:12 pm)

    The City’s 72 hour parking enforcement needs to apply equally to everyone or no one.  

  • Steve October 8, 2021 (10:51 pm)

    Make that side of the street angled parking. 

    • 1994 October 9, 2021 (5:27 pm)

      Steve has a good idea! Make it a park and ride spot, angle parking only, for those wanting to catch the bus on Delridge.

  • drM October 9, 2021 (7:35 am)

    There is *nothing* liberal allowing this to continue.  It’s easy for those cities who simply kick them out to point to our city (and, just tune into Fox, believe me,  they do), but, there is no need for us to have to tolerate this. It’s a national problem and should be dealt with on a national level. However, it does look like the means to this end is allowing normality to return.

  • Morgan October 9, 2021 (7:59 am)

    District attorneys and courts also matter a great deal—the policies are not being purely set by municipalities. Voters need to understand the more complicated picture.

  • HP October 9, 2021 (8:10 am)

    The RV situation in Highland Park is also out of control. You can’t even walk on the sidewalk due to all of the side structures, tents, and tarps strung across Barton and Cambridge off of 16th. The situation has been ongoing for years and no action has been taken. 

    • Tera October 9, 2021 (10:16 pm)

      Here Here!!! You can’t see up or down Henderson off 15th, how many more accidents do we need on this corner!? Plus, as stated in your comment, walking down sidewalks is almost impossible (and scary!!). It is so out of control. 😖

    • JUSTIN BLAIR October 10, 2021 (4:52 pm)

      That sounds like a “specific risk to public health”. Perhaps SDOT should work with the owners of those vehicles to get them help to move on to somewhere more appropriate.

  • Brian October 9, 2021 (8:56 am)

    That letter from Nucor reads like a whipsaw. In one sentence it’s all about safety for our neighbors and the next is immediately blaming the houseless for breaking in and stealing their stuff. Cool rhetoric.  

    • Ird October 9, 2021 (10:24 am)

      Can it not be both?

    • bolo October 9, 2021 (10:53 am)

      Nucor has been a long-time prolific donator to local food banks. The RV encampment must really be negatively affecting them.

    • JUSTIN BLAIR October 10, 2021 (5:00 pm)

      I had to go back and reread the letter from NUCOR after your comment. I don’t read it like that. I read that safety is a priority for them, their employees, and their neighbors. Then to go on to mention specific issues tied to the unhoused individuals living adjacent to them. They cannot and should not let their employees be assaulted at their business. If that is happening they should do everything in their power to protect their employees and asking for assistance in the form of relocating those causing them issue isn’t blaming it’s their duty.

    • Jay October 11, 2021 (9:26 am)

      This camp specifically is a base for criminals. There’s stolen goods piled high all along the street. The people puncturing gas tanks to siphon gas? This is where they walk from. Stolen bikes are regularly identified and retrieved here. This isn’t a issue of homelessness, the Andover camp is pretty much a base camp for crime. Ignoring this type of situation harms the entire unhoused population because with this statement you’re wrapping crime into homelessness and justifying it. You’re equating the people who are down on their luck with the people who steal trucks and fill them with stolen goods by breaking down people’s doors. The “crime is okay if you don’t have a home” position harms the public perception of the unhoused.

  • Mark Schletty October 9, 2021 (10:06 am)

    Vote! For Harrell, Nelson, Wilson and Davison. Otherwise everything will keep getting worse. And, why in the world would the Democratic Legislative District 34 endorse  Nicole Thomas-Kennedy for City Attorney? Just read the Times editorial about her and what she has said and you will have to agree she has no business in any official position, and especially not the City Attorney job. The endorsement of this person has completely destroyed the validity of District 34 endorsements. And I am a life long liberal Democrat.

    • Question Authority October 9, 2021 (6:00 pm)

      NTK has more than a screw loose, she has the entire nut and bolt collection as well.  The 34th has just shown their obvious disconnect between reality, common sense and now it seems believe Unicorns are real.

    • Concerned Citizen October 9, 2021 (10:51 pm)

      Tell Harrell, Nelson, Wilson, and Davison to start showing their plans and solving the problem now, and we will vote for them. None of these candidates should be waiting for a vote if they truly mean business and want this crisis to end.

    • Jort October 9, 2021 (10:59 pm)

      The 34th District Democrats are not going to endorse a literal Republican. I mean, seriously. Get over it. 

      • Mel October 10, 2021 (6:32 am)

        Then they should’ve opted not to support anyone! I’ve lost complete respect for them with an NTK endorsement.

      • Question Authority October 10, 2021 (10:52 am)

        It’s a non partisan position, what does affiliation have to do with it?  The 34th would prefer to back a dumpster fire candidate and embarrass themselves rather than look out for the good of the City and surrounding areas affected by it’s politics.

  • Blocks October 9, 2021 (11:15 am)

    Time for the concrete blocks along that whole strip. Or fence it off. 

    • cheeseWS777 October 9, 2021 (3:53 pm)

      All the rvs are parked here because most everywhere else has those blocks. The concrete cubes created the situation in the first place lol

  • Jim P. October 9, 2021 (2:07 pm)

    Used to be called “illegal conversion” when private parties took over public property for their personal use.

    Did those laws go away too?

    Looking at those vehicles, most of them aren’t going anywhere without a heavy tow truck.

    Let’s require housing and safety inspections just as is done for any residential place.After all, it would not be faor to permit these unfortunate folks to live in substandard places at risk to their health and safety.
    I doubt even a quarter of those are safe and sanitary and most probably present a fire hazard.

    One in our neighborhood leaked/dumped sewage and often ran a gasoline generator out in the road way at night.

  • cheeseWS777 October 9, 2021 (3:49 pm)

     “we will attempt to be flexible and work with the owner and provide a reasonable amount of time if they are demonstrating a good faith effort to get the vehicle repaired.”As vague as this is, its probly the most fair protocol they have come up with for both sides in a long time. I can roll with that for now.Unfourtionatly tho, it is ultimatly just squeezing a balloon because the rvs will need to move somewhere. There needs to be effort given by both sides to coexist, but that is a fantasy, so the long road continues

  • G-Man October 9, 2021 (8:43 pm)

    I can’t believe the city allows that encampment there. Drive by it and it feels like you’re in a third world country, my child goes to the day care down by there, they can’t even take the kids out for a walk anymore, it has to be a bio hazard, poop and pee everywhere, gas, oil, and other liquids leaking all over the ground, please do something now city of Seattle!!! Think of the orcas 

    • Jort October 9, 2021 (11:00 pm)

      People will blame literally anything for killing the orcas but their own actions. Now the homeless are killing orcas. Is there nothing the homeless can’t be blamed for? Wrapping up hatred for looking at homeless people in environmental concerns for orcas. Wow. 

    • Why October 10, 2021 (1:00 am)

      End-stage capitalism. Get used to it. The USA is a third-world country.  It’s a systemic problem; hand-wringing and pol-shuffling won’t make the slightest difference.

    • Mel October 10, 2021 (6:34 am)

      My children also attend daycare there. It’s gotten out of hand. The other day I saw men sharpening knives and throwing them at a sheet of plywood as I drove by. We love our daycare but wonder what the long term safety is if we stay there, given the growing situation. 

  • Sillygoose October 11, 2021 (8:28 am)

    What about the debris of Skeleton vehicles can those finally be towed away.  Right now there are 3 vehicles up on jacks no tires! 

  • eric October 11, 2021 (11:53 am)

    I drove down that road last week with my kids. A spaced out meth head female jumped out in front of our car.  After ranting about god knows what, she finally moved out of our way and we got the heck outta there.  I had to have a talk to my kids about the perils of drug use, and people that will do anything for drugs. It’s a Mad Max zone.

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