FOLLOWUP: Andover RV-encampment cleanup results, and what’s been done elsewhere

The latest Andover RV-encampment “remediation” cleanup is over, so we asked Seattle Public Utilities about the results. Spokesperson Sabrina Register says crews working there, primarily this past Tuesday, “collected and disposed of 15,000-thousand pounds of trash and debris.”

We asked about plans for six other RV encampments around West Seattle. None are “currently scheduled for remediation,” Register replied, adding that “Sites considered for remediation include locations where five or more RVs are present, and public health and safety-related factors are assessed.” So here’s what has happened/will happen at the six sites about which we inquired:

We have performed intense, one-day cleans (called geographic or geocleans) at the following locations:

Barton (east and west) of 16th SW (1/3)
SW Brandon west of 26th SW (2/14, 4/4)
SW Juneau near 26th SW (3/3, 4/4)
West Marginal Place (1/10, 3/16)

The following two locations are scheduled for geocleans in the near future:

1st Avenue South in the SW Detroit vicinity
2nd Avenue SW south of Highland Park Way

The amount of trash and debris that SPU reported removing in this Andover cleanup is double the total from four months ago.

43 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Andover RV-encampment cleanup results, and what's been done elsewhere"

  • JL April 15, 2022 (5:46 pm)

    so maybe it is not an RV but tents on the sidewalk, is this not a public health and safety-related factor.  Trash around their tent and if your walking on the sidewalk, now you go into the street with vehicle buzzing by.  How does Miss Register address these types of problems. 

    • WSB April 15, 2022 (6:59 pm)

      If you are referring to an encampment blocking a sidewalk, report it to SDOT. I know of at least two that have been addressed (we covered Delridge/Roxbury; I also was tracking a sidewalk encampment on SW Alaska in The Triangle that disappeared before we had a chance to write about it).

  • Mark Schletty April 15, 2022 (6:07 pm)

    Double the amount of trash and debris as was picked up 4 months ago!  These people are collecting garbage and probably stolen goods at an alarming rate. How long do we have to keep paying for this over and over before Herbold and the rest of the Council decides enough is enough. I am truly ashamed of my city. And I feel so sorry for the people who live or work near to this horrible place.

    • Mr J April 15, 2022 (7:40 pm)

      Mark. Move. Your comments lack any true depth of the problem that our houseless people face. Maybe take some perspective on what we’ve done in the last 50 years to cause these problems (cutting corporate taxes, reducing mental health services, cutting safety net programs etc). You can blame Lisa all you want, she could do more so could the rest of the lot at City Hall. Harrell, Burges and the lot that have been on the Council and several Mayoral teams the inaction is there too. You and many others on here consistently show that you don’t care about people and just comment nasty things that doesn’t further the conversation or help address the issue. It’s a big issue, and it’s not getting solved until the lot of us demonstrate but in to our communities and hold ALL elected officials accountable. 

      • YouMove April 15, 2022 (8:16 pm)

        Moving is what the businesses will do. Because they have no support. And who can blame them?   This narrative is so tired.  Criminals thrive here. Look at the data. Look at the number of encampment fires and gun violence incidents year over year Jan-March. Unbelievable increases. Blame who you want on how we got here. Doesn’t matter. Let’s focus on where we go from here and stop calling out people who care about their community. 

      • Cathryn Creswell April 16, 2022 (5:51 am)

        Maybe all the businesses and folks will leave Seattle causing a lack of tax dollars to support the city. Has anyone looked into defending the non profits who support the homeless?? Why aren’t the tax dollars the city collects go into housing, mental health ans substance abuse? I’m sure you have plenty of covid monet left.

        • WSB April 16, 2022 (10:24 am)

          The nonprofits ARE who provides most of the housing and behavioral-health care, with public dollars as well as donations.

      • momosmom April 16, 2022 (7:12 am)

        And MrJ you will be at the front of the line for this “fix” correct? This is more than being “house-less” as you state, this is about stealing from hardworking people, it’s about thieves selling to the salvage buyers, about all the garbage piled up on the sidewalks that lead to the businesses and homes! Would you speak differently if this was in front of your house let alone in your neighborhood? Why do us home owners/taxpayers have to pay to have the garbage cleaned up?Where I work the owners called the City several times for help and they(owners)  finally hired a company to come clean all the garbage off of the sidewalk in front of our holding area, and yes we gave the RV’s/house-less good warnings when it was to happen so they could keep what was a value to them.

      • Gatewood resident April 16, 2022 (10:16 am)

        Homelessness isn’t a license to do anything you want, commit any crimes you want, make an absolute mess of public shared spaces anywhere you want. I’m fed up with it and I think others are too. 

    • bill April 16, 2022 (5:55 am)

      Mark — try keeping up with the news. The state supreme court ruled that vehicles being used as homes cannot be seized or heavily fined. The city’s options are severely constrained.

    • Mike April 16, 2022 (10:57 am)

      Hater on your opinion 😴 

  • K April 15, 2022 (6:10 pm)

    What does “Barton north and south of 16th” even mean?  The RVs are between 15th and 16th…

    • WSB April 15, 2022 (6:56 pm)

      Sorry, that’s how I inquired and so that’s how the reply came back, I meant east and west – last time we went through there a few days ago we noted RVs on both sides.

  • WSRes April 15, 2022 (7:01 pm)

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. This area is known for violence and crime and we’re paying for it. I’ve reached out to Council member Herbold about this with no reply. So frustrated. 

    • CheeseWS777 April 16, 2022 (4:38 am)

      Im going to try again now to point out that in the shooting incident, neither the shooter nor the person who was shot were residents in the rvs at the time. As it is right now im not scared of anybody living there. I can see why the comunity doesnt want them there, in fact so much that i dont know why things have to be made up about them lol.

  • MM April 15, 2022 (7:02 pm)

    Great! I’m going to start dumping my garbage there since it’s free pick up!  Why should I pay for garbage when the encampment can litter, dump and get free pick up. This is fricken ridiculous!  Tax payers are paying for their own garbage at their homes and paying for this too!  

    • Tar N Feather April 15, 2022 (9:46 pm)

      Lol horrible yet brilliant all the same.. might as well dispense septic there as well, someone will take care of it I suppose.

    • Jort April 18, 2022 (11:18 am)

      You are not the first to have this idea; it has been documented to happen several times before a scheduled cleanup happens. People dump their trash knowing they will simply be able to add it to the pile for free. I assume you are suggesting this sarcastically, but it is indeed done by people taking advantage of the situation. 

  • Almost Echohawk April 15, 2022 (7:22 pm)

    Seattle could have voted for a mayor whose number 1 priority, and area of expertise, was solving the homelessness crisis, but did not.

    • Canton April 15, 2022 (7:43 pm)

      So what exactly was her plan? If you have the exact details, please share. 

      • onion April 15, 2022 (8:48 pm)

        I ask myself where does all of that junk come from? And then I think about all the “free” stuff we put out on the curb rather than dispose of it responsibly. We’d like to think it goes to a good use, but a lot of it probably ends up in these encampments until the city “remediates” it. 

        • Almost Echohawk April 15, 2022 (9:27 pm)

          Yes! I was just thinking about this the other day. Most of the stuff accumulated around encampments is not stolen goods but rather things pulled from trash bins or from free piles. I’ve heard homeless folks in passing speak excitedly with one another about free treasures they’ve found during their day and how they can make use of it while trying to survive out there. ‘One mans junk…’

          • Duffy April 16, 2022 (6:18 am)

            Wait a minute…you are seriously arguing that the vast majority of “stuff” that accumulates down there is taken from “free” piles? Oh you sweet summer child…

  • Scubafrog April 15, 2022 (8:07 pm)

    Hard work, great job SPU!

  • Almost Echohawk April 15, 2022 (9:08 pm)

    There seem to be numerous regular organized trash clean up events around the community , which is so awesome. Would be cool to see a group form to regularly visit areas like this with homeless neighbors that need help. Bring a lot of heavy duty trash bags, help pick up some of it, kindly meet and engage with the people, and leave some bags behind and encourage them to use them to help make trash pick ups (by volunteer or city workers) easier.  And, bring the people there breakfast… Costco muffins, coffee, and orange juice? Perhaps this kind of help and connecting could make a difference for these neighbors, and for the neighborhood.

  • Mj April 15, 2022 (9:56 pm)

    MM – yes and if you leave a little extra out the SPU bill will show it.  It’s very frustrating!  

  • Bill at Duwamish Head April 15, 2022 (10:07 pm)

    I wonder if my vintage Bianchi that was stolen in January was in that pile of stuff?

    • Duffy April 16, 2022 (6:20 am)

      Well according to AlmostEchohawk, your vintage Bianchi was probably left by you in a “free” pile, because that’s where all that stuff comes from.

      • Almost Echohawk April 17, 2022 (6:47 am)

        The point I was trying to make is that some of the garbage around encampments comes from stuff that people throw out in the trash, not from stealing, but rather from scavenging.

        However, want to edit my comment to acknowledge that, the majority of the garbage is probably from daily life and not having garbage services, as well as belongings of houseless individuals that has become lost to them, left behind, or destroyed in the conditions they’ve been living in, then becomes trash outside. Then, some of it, a lesser amount, may also be from scavanging.

        Bike theft is a serious issue and not discounting that needs to be looked at. However keep in mind, some houseless folks have their own bikes, either purchased or given to them honestly, and there is likely some selling, fixing, and swapping of bikes and parts amongst their communities.

  • Marsha April 16, 2022 (7:39 am)

    Why not do a weekly trash pickup?  Quit worrying about having to pay for it.  You’re paying for it anyway.  Treat the people like humans,  not trash.  It could be any of us.  Do you really think this is how they want to live?  They are only trying to survive. 

    • momosmom April 17, 2022 (7:25 am)

      Surviving is one thing but bringing in piles and piles of unusable garbage and stolen items is another thing.

  • aa April 16, 2022 (8:47 am)

    I have reported the same encampment twice through ‘find it fix it’ on the website.  Once during Durkins ‘leadership’, and once two weeks ago under Harrell.  There has been a remarkably improved response this second time.   Both in their response to me via email to let me know what would happen and when, and the actual changes in the cleanup process.  It is my opinion that J. Durkin failed our beloved city on so many levels.  She may not have started the mess we are in but in her tenure was when we sunk into this situation of piles of garbage that feels never ending.  My recent experience gives me some hope.  For the people who have been abandoned to live in these horrible situations and for all of us who have watched our city get ruined.

  • wsplague April 16, 2022 (9:10 am)

    I love all the comments proposing regular trash pick-up for the Andover encampment. The City/County already sends a private garbage contractor to retrieve debris on a weekly, and sometimes more frequent basis. Give it 24 hours, and another ton of trash will accumulate in the corner of Andover and 28th.  If the City were actually concerned about safety and public health, all structures/tents, vehicles (RVs, boats, cars) should be moved to address the explosive rat problem which will soon be a serious public health issue. Enough is enough.

  • wetone April 16, 2022 (10:44 am)

    People need to realize that little will be done with the rv’s as once they have signage on them saying it’s a home, city won’t touch it. The only thing you will or might notice is city’s Clean Cities workers picking up garbage and tidying up these encampments, along with contractors hauling the garbage, emptying holding tanks and buckets of human waste from these areas. Major areas where most change will happen is downtown, stadium’s and areas associated with tourism. Most of the encampments that are forced to move will just go elsewhere with in city. Hate to say it but city has turned the homeless issue into a huge money business for many and passing cost on to taxpayers. I have very little faith with any of our mayors promises as he has been involved with these issues and many other city problems from his city council days………..

  • Admiral April 16, 2022 (2:28 pm)

    Am I the only one who was struck by the amount of trash and debris hauled away? 15,000 pounds? I had to re-check to make sure I read correctly. That’s 7.5 tons of trash, from an encampment of roughly 20-25 RVs. I won’t pretend to have all the answers, but I struggle to see the argument that the most “humane” thing to do is just to keep doing the same thing we have been. Regardless of your feelings on the encampment, there is no denying that 15,000 pounds of waste is a public safety hazard.

    Also, as someone who has driven past this encampment every weekday since it started, though there are a few more RVs, this encampment is not markedly bigger than it was four months ago – it’s not even close to double the size. Did the city say what accounted for double the amount of trash?

    So, here’s my proposal. As the signs on the RVs attest and many in these comments argue, this is a legitimate community of people’s homes and deserves to be protected. Let’s hold this encampment to the same standards that any homeowner or renter is held to then. Property needs to be kept trash free, the sidewalks and streets need to be kept clear, and homeowners or renters can be held legally liable for any illicit activities occurring on their property. Let’s set up hygiene stations, large dumpsters (with much more regular collections than 4 months, which is absurd), and portable toilets so the people in this encampment are empowered with the tools to keep it clean. If they can, this will be a huge step in the right direction, both for the encampment residents and their neighbors, and will prove that this encampment is full of down on their luck folks who just need a helping hand during a difficult time, as many have argued. If these steps still don’t resolve the hygiene issues and criminal activities that many allege occur in this encampment, then it’s time to change course. And, if there are just 1-2 bad apples in the encampment who are negatively impacting the entire community, this is a chance for the encampment to force them out (or refer them to services to get help) so the rest can live in peace in as clean and safe a community as possible.

    The only thing we shouldn’t be doing as a society is what we’re doing now, because regardless of what side of this argument you’re on, we can all agree the status quo ain’t working. 

    • Scubafrog April 17, 2022 (2:05 am)

      This is quite reasonable, well said.

    • Almost Echohawk April 18, 2022 (9:01 am)

      It is a staggering amount of trash, agree with you there.

      Has anyone argued that the most humane thing to do is just keep doing the same thing we have been? I haven’t seen those comments, but would also agree with you that we need to do more to help and find solutions.

      Regarding your proposal, while I think I can understand where you’re coming from, do have a different perspective and some points to share, for anyone open to considering.

      The first point is simply regarding the idea of equity.

      We are talking about people in difficult circumstances, who are in need, whose day to day life might be much more challenging at the present than your housed neighbors. Equity (put too simply and roughly here) is about recognizing the disparities and unfairness between two groups and addressing that, to help level the field, so they may have have a just chance at improved circumstances and opportunities.

      Recognizing there are reasons of difficulty and failings in systems, communities, families, and society, that contribute to people becoming unhoused, we can meet people in these difficult circumstances with compassion and understanding that they are in need of some support, and kindness, and community to help them navigate to a more equitable place. 

      Enforcing strict expectations and punishment, the same you would hold to your house neighbors, on a group of people lacking adequate housing and resources, who to various degrees are in difficult circumstances and in need, would not seem fair or equitable, or likely to be successful, from my perspective and understanding of the issues.

      I do understand it’s frustrating, uncomfortable, distressing to see these conditions in your neighborhoods, understand your concerns and anxieties about people who are living differently, and that there may be some crime or drug use around encampments that is worrisome.

      And absolutely agree that we shouldn’t just allow the status quo of the houselessness crisis to continue.

      However, do believe what is needed as we work together to come up with solutions is more understanding, kindness, and compassion towards people in our communities, who are suffering, who have suffered, and the challenges they are up against. This needs to be held strongly alongside, housed neighbors concerns about safety, drugs, crime, and unsightly conditions.

  • 1994 April 16, 2022 (9:10 pm)

    Roxhill park is starting to look like the next Andover Street with a line of ramshackle RVs, rotten campers, broken down cars, piles of garbage….. They are taking up public parking for weeks at a time at this little gem of a park. So sad that the park users and residents living on this street have to see this line of decaying vehicles day after day. I am sorry people live like.  Looks like there was to be a large event at the park today or tomorrow and the street parking is occupied by those abusing the parking rules.  Seems like to manage the RV situation the city should divert them all to a giant RV parking area where they can stay as long as they want.

    • Lexy April 18, 2022 (9:09 pm)

      I came here to check what happened to the encampment at Roxhill park. I go there a few times a week and on Thursday everyone was still there but today they are all gone. The original RV was owned by a great guy who helped me and my nanny kids multiple times when people who were on drugs wandered into the park and started to hassle us. I always felt safer with him there. 

  • Mj April 16, 2022 (10:30 pm)

    Admiral – I second your proposal!

Sorry, comment time is over.