City sweeps Rotary Viewpoint Park, West Seattle Stadium encampments

Thanks for the tips. One of West Seattle’s most visible tent-encampment sites, at Rotary Viewpoint Park (35th/Alaska), has been swept, the city confirms, saying campsites at nearby West Seattle Stadium were swept too. This notice was still up on a pole by Rotary Viewpoint Park when we went over Wednesday for a look:

Several tents had been in view around the park’s totem-pole plaza for at least the past several months, but as of yesterday, they were all gone:

The grassy area around the plaza had a few obviously cleared spots in view:

The question is, what kind of notice did people living at the park get? Keith Hughes, who runs West Seattle’s only severe-weather shelter barely a block away, says the park’s residents did not get notice: “No prior notice posted. No warning on the day of. No first thing in the morning while the residents are there to gather their personal belongings. Middle of the day. More police on site than residents – suddenly the police have nothing to do?? – No offers of alternative shelters/living spaces for their stuff to be moved to. Just everything confiscated and thrown into compacting type garbage trucks and hauled away, and huge red ‘Park Closed’ signs put up.”

The city says it did give notice. We sought comment yesterday and received this statement from Seattle Parks and Recreation this morning (published below exactly as received – we are asking for clarification on the notice date, as Monday was June 6th, not 3rd; 6/3 is the date on the notice we showed above, but we have no independent verification of when it was actually posted):

On Monday, June 3, 2022, the City posted a notice at West Seattle Stadium (4 tents) and Rotary Viewpoint (1 tent) that all personal items must be removed by June 7, 2022, when tent obstructions were removed.

The HOPE Team, a City of Seattle program within the Human Services Department that coordinates homelessness outreach and referrals to shelter, and outreach providers intensified outreach to these two locations to connect those residing onsite with offers of shelter and services. They began visiting these sites on May 26 and visited several other times leading up to the removal.

On the day of the removal, the HOPE Team identified four people experiencing homelessness onsite, all were offered shelter, and resulting in three referrals to 24/7 enhanced shelter options.

Any personal items remaining on June 7, 2022, were stored per City policy. People can retrieve their items by calling 206-459-9949, and we will work with individuals to make arrangements for delivery.

Though the city statement says one tent was at the viewpoint, we’ve consistently noted a higher number when driving by in recent months. Meantime, this sweep came exactly one week after Mayor Bruce Harrell went public with a new “dashboard” for data including “verified” and “closed” RV and tent encampments; it’s clearly missing some West Seattle sites but lists a “tent encampment” at Roxhill Park as having been swept last month.

111 Replies to "City sweeps Rotary Viewpoint Park, West Seattle Stadium encampments"

  • Lisa June 9, 2022 (12:29 pm)

    I observed  that sweep in its entirely.. The notice was posted on Sunday. Community mutual aid volunteers went around on Sunday and Monday to try to assess how we could support the residents. By that time the tents near the stadium were already gone, leaving just 4 tents in the park. We were  only able to make contact with one of those people. That person said they had been waiting for “weeks” to hear back from a REACH worker.  On Tuesday morning, shortly after Parks began to wake the residents and clear the park,  a HOPE team outreach person did come and that individual spoke with each of the residents. The city claims that this happens at every sweep but it doesn’t. It is true that 3 folks accepted referral and transportation to congregate shelters. It is NOT true that their belongings were stored; whatever they couldn’t carry was thrown into the dump trailer by Parks workers.  All 3 of those individuals have obvious mental health issues; note that I saw no drug litter (needles, etc) anywhere in this park. Since the shelters have little or no capacity to deal with disruptive mental health issues, there’s a good chance that some or all 3 of these people will either leave or be ejected from the shelter, leaving them back on the street at zero, with no tent or bedding. The 4th resident has a partner and  did not want to go to a congregate shelter where they would not be allowed to stay together; they moved their tent a few blocks away. The city considers this “success.” 

    • Adam June 9, 2022 (12:52 pm)

      “The city considers this ‘success’”. As do many residents of WSea. 

    • CC June 9, 2022 (1:28 pm)

      Thanks for your first-hand report, Lisa!

    • Paul June 9, 2022 (1:34 pm)

      I am very curious about why we are hearing 2 very different sides to sweeps.  The residents of the camps are always saying that they wait forever to hear from a case worker, or an agency, and then we hear from the agencies that they have resources available.  Are the residents of the camps either not able to receive a message back, or is the mental health issue clouding what they are able to remember, etc?  

      • Lisa June 9, 2022 (6:40 pm)

        Paul, I think it’s some of both.

    • OneTimeCharley June 9, 2022 (2:10 pm)

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for what I imagine are your tireless efforts in helping people. You mentioned “all 3 of those individuals have obvious mental health issues” and “there’s a good chance that some or all 3 of these people will either leave or be ejected from the shelter.” What do you think we as a society should be doing for these individuals? The revolving door puts them in danger and in perpetual misery, however I am still unclear what we expect to happen in these sorts of cases? If they cannot function independently in society, and clearly they cannot, then where should these folks with mental health issues go? Should we be building another three of four state in-patient institutions for the mental ill? We collectively can ask the state for that if it will solve the problem, but it’s not just about having the facilities. They operate in a gray legal zone of near competence. Should they be held responsible for their behavior in public areas? Can they even make decisions regarding their own safety and security. Who determines the answers to these questions, and when, if ever? Layered on top of all of this is the fact that if King County, or the city, or the state were to discover a solution to prevent all of this, and provide an actual happy/secure existence for everyone currently unhoused in our area, then what are we going to do about the inevitable arrival of others seeking the same opportunities. Opportunities that their home states either refuse, or can’t afford, to provide for them. It will be a continual migration for those seeking the solution to their problems—-each and all—-at OUR expense. That’s not going to be viable. What do you think we should be expecting from our leaders, and each other, on this terribly complex issue. Living in the parks, sidewalks, public spaces is not an option. It is cruelty disguised as compassion. It is divisive and will is to the detriment of our fine city, which by the way so many of people like yourself work towards improving everyday. What should we be asking for? Is the solution unresolvable and the hand-wringing is pointless self-amelioration? At the end of the day, they must go somewhere other than public spaces, sidewalks, parks, underpasses. It is plainly clear that the vast majority of us are beyond sick of it and demand it end as quickly as possible. But what is the answer?

      • Elle June 9, 2022 (3:55 pm)

        It should not be that complicated. Other western countries are dealing with mentally ill populations sucessfully. There needs to be federal funding for psychatric care facilities, so it is accessible to all who need it across the country. Taxpayers should pay for it, as it is for the benefit of everyone. 

        • flimflam June 9, 2022 (6:10 pm)

          Elle, a major issue is that the bar for non voluntary commitment is VERY high. It would seem obvious that many/most of the mentally I’ll in camps cannot make good decisions for themselves (like accept shelter offered) yet even if there were thousands of more inpatient beds it wouldn’t matter unless they actually accepted help.

          • CAM June 9, 2022 (7:19 pm)

            Flimflam – you don’t get to decide for someone else that you don’t like their decisions and therefore they lose all their civil liberties when their decisions don’t put you or someone else in danger. It’s called the constitution and it’s also called respect for human beings right to self determination. 

          • Boinsted June 10, 2022 (10:35 am)

            CAMs perception that helping individuals who struggle making major life decisions for themselves is wrong – is the problem It is also unfair to those that truly need the help. These individuals should be given gov’t funded shelter, food, and clothing and shown a path to wellness. Leaving them out on their own is truly cruel. Now, after seeing the services that are available, they still wish to live on their own, we should provide them an environment where they still have nearby support. But doing nothing is not the answer. 

        • Constance N. June 9, 2022 (6:29 pm)

          Sure Elle, I worked my entire life, sometimes 2 or 3 jobs to raise and educate my family. Now I’m retired and live modestly, still paying a mortgage.  My brother who also is a hard worker doesn’t have enough money to repair his home and probably can’t retire until he’s 70.  But you think as taxpayers we should pay for/be responsible for the ever increasing homeless population?

          • Laura June 9, 2022 (6:45 pm)

            Yes, Constance, we do. It’s called living in a society. We take care of each other (or should).

          • Sunuva June 11, 2022 (2:47 pm)

            If only this country and particularly our state didn’t have such a regressive tax system, where people who can afford to pay more actually do rather than relying on the middle and lower class to foot the bill. We as a society do need to contribute to help those in need, but the burden certainly should be shifted so that those who can afford to pay more, do.

        • Melissa June 9, 2022 (6:51 pm)

          Except we have a far higher rate of income inequality in this country. And we’ve been cutting social services for years, particularly in Washington State. Just look at our regressive tax system; it lets the wealthy off the hook and taxes middle and low income people disproportionately. More people end up in poverty and people who might be able to be kept out of crisis teeter over the edge and then many can’t get back out.

          • Sunuva June 11, 2022 (2:52 pm)

            Yes, well said. The lower classes in our society are so stressed because there is such an imbalance in this country and in our state tax system. So many problems that ‘we’ claim are too complex to solve because there isn’t enough money, but is that really true?

      • Lisa June 9, 2022 (6:48 pm)

         It certainly is complicated, as you note. But safe and stable housing with so-called “wrap around services”is the very first step…everything else gets just a bit easier when folks can sleep, get good nutrition, emotional support  and feel safe. It doesn’t cost any more than what we are spending currently, and has proven to have better outcomes. The lack of compassion and care in this country is a staggering and heartbreaking failure. Too many people believe  that “if these people get “X” it means less for me” when, in fact, we are ALL better off when we all are better off. 

        • OneTimeCharley June 9, 2022 (8:26 pm)

          I agree with you that we are all guilty of zero sum thinking when it is not the proper way to define and resolve these problems. Perhaps you could start a group to define specifically where people can advocate collectively. There are a lot of compassionate people here who are frustrated both by the encampments, but also the complexity and understanding the solutions that actually work. You seem to possess this perspective and experience.

          • Lisa June 9, 2022 (10:07 pm)

            What folks living in their vehicles are asking for is “safe parking lots”. If they accept shelter they lose their vehicle (no place to park/store it) and they like their privacy (I encourage you to visit a shelter if you haven’t…you get a cot and a curtain if you’re lucky.) Parking could be in a place away from residences, and if dumpsters/toilets were provided it would solve a lot of the public health problems these camps create.  I don’t mean to minimize the level of mental illness and addiction involved, but I’ve met a many  unhoused people who have some (but not enough) income, are sober, smart, resourceful and making the best of a situation that would crush many of us.  But I also believe that even the addicted and mentally ill deserve compassion and care and services to help them. Lisa Herbold has met with several of the Andover residents and this is what they asked her for.

        • Compassionate solutions June 12, 2022 (12:02 pm)

          Appreciate your comments here, Lisa.  Well said.Just want to add, think it’s important to recognize that homelessness, and often drug abuse used for coping, has impacts on these individuals mental health.  It’s understandable for people living outdoors, and all that comes with that, to become mentally unstable.With compassionate solutions, connecting folks with accessible, safe housing and other basic resources, individuals can begin to heal, recover from addictions, and can have mental health improvements.

      • SUE L. June 11, 2022 (6:05 pm)


  • James June 9, 2022 (12:39 pm)

    So so sad for the houseless there. Nowhere to go. Just pushed around the city because we rather spend billions on police than mental health. Backwards city sometimes. 

    • Dougy June 9, 2022 (2:38 pm)

      How will housing help if they don’t have the mental capacity to maintain it?

      • WS Res June 9, 2022 (4:03 pm)

        Supportive housing is a thing. And it works. But it costs money.

      • Valerie June 9, 2022 (5:31 pm)

        It’s called permanent supportive housing. A research-backed effective approach. 

    • ltfd June 9, 2022 (5:20 pm)

      Hyperbole, and incorrect.

    • WSRes June 10, 2022 (10:29 am)

      @James – we don’t spend billions on police, stop spreading misinformation.Also every single one of these people had a place to go. Every single one had a shelter with support services waiting for them. Most of them either decline or they stay for one or two nights before moving back to the streets.I’m curious what your solution would be? They have services and shelter waiting for them but they refuse them. Should we just leave them in parks?

      • Lisa June 11, 2022 (9:37 pm)

        To be clear, the residents were  indeed offered shelter, and 3 out of 4 accepted the offer and left the park. However, you are incorrect when you say that the “shelter” includes “supportive services” because it does not. So folks with mental health issues and/or addiction have a high rate of failing in congregate shelters…either they aren’t comfortable there and leave, or their behavior gets them ejected; these folks need  more than a roof and a cot to break the cycle. 

  • Jay June 9, 2022 (12:49 pm)

    They also swept the Delridge Playfield camp.

    • WSB June 9, 2022 (1:44 pm)

      City information on this type of thing tends to be “unless you ask, we won’t tell you,” so thanks in advance to anyone for information about other such operations past or present – if you see a notice, a crew, etc.

    • DB June 9, 2022 (1:48 pm)

      That’s fantastic!

  • snowskier June 9, 2022 (12:51 pm)

    Thank you city for continuing the clean up work!!  Getting people out the parks so that they can be enjoyed by all is a “Success”!!  In an efficient, functioning system, you post notice, give time, offer help, then follow through with your action.  Basically, you say what you’ll do then do what you said.  This needs to be reinforced time and time again to get the idea through that the parks aren’t for camping and if you don’t or won’t accept help that’s offered, you need to move along.  The current situation of allowing camping, squalor and the associated drug use and crime can’t go on.

    • stupidinseattle June 9, 2022 (5:34 pm)

      There is nothing “compassionate” or “dignified” about allowing people to camp indefinitely in public spaces amidst their garbage and human waste.   There are ordinances against camping in public spaces, and enforcement of these does not require any notice.  There is crime associated with these encampments – either property theft or violent assaults that are committed against innocent citizens who do not deserve such injuries.   The City and SPD are finally being allowed to do their jobs and provide a safe community.  Looking for the Andover RV town to be swept next so we can have our neighborhood back.

  • Jeepney June 9, 2022 (12:53 pm)

    Outreach was onsite last Friday, I saw two city vehicles there and workers talking with the campers.

    • Lisa June 9, 2022 (7:14 pm)

      Appreciate that observation.

    • Lisa June 9, 2022 (10:14 pm)

      Having talked with another volunteer who walked around the park and stadium area on Sunday, it may be that what you saw was the sweep being posted (paper attached to the posts) rather than actual outreach…) Also true that campers are not always around when outreach comes by….so whether outreach happened ahead of the sweep remains an open question. Of the 2 residents I was able to talk with on Monday, both said they wanted to speak with outreach but hadn’t seen anyone. 

  • Rodger Jackson June 9, 2022 (12:53 pm)

    Big deal what about the one on Andover they always seem to manage to find a way to avoid that one

  • Doug June 9, 2022 (12:54 pm)

    Glad to see this 

  • Jack June 9, 2022 (1:06 pm)

    Good, glad to see them gone out of the park.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees June 9, 2022 (1:13 pm)

    Thank you, Mayor Harrell. I was avoiding going for evening runs on the stadium track due to the illegal activity at the stadium. I along with two Parks maintenance employees had found a man passed out on the men’s room floor. He was very belligerent when the workers woke him up and told him to leave. There was lots of vandalism in the restrooms after the tents showed up, as well. Roxhill Park is far safer now, too.

  • jane June 9, 2022 (1:15 pm)

    I am thrilled that the encampments were removed.

  • TM June 9, 2022 (1:16 pm)

    So now a place where a few poor people lived will revert to its former glory as a noisy, virtually inaccessible, rarely visited, obstructed viewpoint of an industrial area, with no amenities other than an inauthentic totem pole. Well done, Seattle.

    • James June 9, 2022 (1:47 pm)

      Exactly. This city makes no sense and does not care for the poor. Shame on Harrell. 

      • Yup June 9, 2022 (2:09 pm)

        Can’t please everyone all the time,  blame Harrell for cleaning the camp’s up. You should blame the city council and the past mayor for letting it happen.  I support Bruce Harrell in these clean ups,  it is hard to do,  but he is doing it.  Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

        • M June 9, 2022 (6:17 pm)

          I support our Mayor too. Previous Mayors and City Council allowed this to get out of control.  It is inhumane to allow people living in this filth.

          • James June 10, 2022 (11:20 am)

            Harrell was on council for over a decade. Come on. 

    • Sarge June 9, 2022 (2:16 pm)

      Speak for yourself, I used to see many people walking dogs there and using the seating area, but once it was fully occupied by squatters that meant they were the only ones able to ‘enjoy’ it.   I’m sorry for the situation of the houseless people but it’s not acceptable to take over space semi-permanently that actually belongs to everyone. 

      • Amy June 9, 2022 (3:14 pm)

        Belongs to everyone? 

        • Sarge June 9, 2022 (4:12 pm)

          Yes everyone. In other words you can’t just camp there indefinitely and in doing so claim it as your own. 

      • Scubafrog June 9, 2022 (3:42 pm)

        Belongs to anyone with a home, you mean, sarge?  And if you don’t like the cut of their jib, you just ‘rid them’.  Where are they off to after this?  Harrell will apparently chase them from encampment, to encampment?  What qualifies public property, and freedom in America, when Sarges and Bruces can sweep entire groups of their designated “undesirables” away?  

        • Sarge June 9, 2022 (6:22 pm)

          Nope stop putting words in my mouth. EVERYONE. Read my previous comment. Squatting takes the use of this land away from everyone else who is not squatting. Homeless can use it of course as a park- not their personal property

    • Alki resident June 9, 2022 (3:05 pm)

      Before the homeless showed up, there were exercise classes there, children walking in groups to do projects, people taking pics when family came to visit, the whole hill is full of spectators for the 4th of July. I could go on but I’m happy to see it gone and put back together. 

    • JB June 9, 2022 (3:16 pm)

      It’s also not okay for kids walking by on the sidewalks to see half naked men defecating in the open. I understand these people need mental health support but it doesn’t make their actions acceptable. 

  • Jill Loblaw June 9, 2022 (1:23 pm)

    I, for one, am stoked that the city finally took care of the park “campers”. They lived there (and probably crapped there) on public property without paying a dime for taxes to support its upkeep.  Not sure why people think that is okay because it isn’t. I’d like to know who Lisa knows and where she got all that  information from.  Next, the steel mill!

    • Lisa June 9, 2022 (6:53 pm)

      I do not think it’s “OK” for people to live in tents. I got my information by being there, talking with people and observing. There was no obvious human waste that I saw; folks could walk to QFC and possibly the Vets Hall to use toilets(?) 

  • Boinsted June 9, 2022 (1:42 pm)

    So it sounds like Keith Hughes’ account was not correct. I sure hope these people are able to get the services they deserve. Moving a few blocks away is NOT success.

    • Lisa June 9, 2022 (7:04 pm)

       3 of the 4 people definitely accepted shelter (a roof over their head in a congregate setting) but probably will not get  the mental health services/support that they need.  This is where the system falls extremely short and contributes to the revolving door effect. 

  • Lisa June 9, 2022 (1:51 pm)

    Commander Keith is correct that there were 4 SPD officers standing around the entire time.  The deputy major has been quoted as saying SPD presence is needed at sweeps because mutual aid volunteers “attack” Parks workers.  To my knowledge this has never happened. At this sweep there were 2 volunteers (including me, a 5’2” senior citizen.)  The communication and coordination with Parks was mutually respectful.  We helped residents pack and a Parks worker offered us contractor bags if needed. 

    • ltfd June 9, 2022 (5:23 pm)

      Lisa, I am sorry that the SPD officers “trigger” you. We prefer to have them nearby when dealing with encampments.    

      • Lisa June 9, 2022 (7:09 pm)

        Having an officer there doesn’t matter to me, but the ratio seemed like overkill: 4 officers for 4 non-violent campers and 2 non-violent mutual aid volunteers. There was literally nothing for them to do. 

    • Melissa June 9, 2022 (6:54 pm)

      Thank you for your work, Lisa. And Ltfd, why do you have to condescend to someone who is being kind and compassionate, helping these people pack?

  • wetone June 9, 2022 (2:07 pm)

    So who is doing clean up ? Parks or the new SDOT Clean Streets group. I am also curious as to the difference with info going out. In many cases the people are just moving to new area, not resulting with improvements or help for anyone.

    • Lisa June 9, 2022 (6:58 pm)

      This particular sweep was definitely Parks.

  • jane June 9, 2022 (2:08 pm)

    They should have cleared the encampment a long time ago. Glad to see that the current Mayor is finally doing something about it.

  • JunctionResident June 9, 2022 (2:31 pm)

    Good work!

  • jsparra June 9, 2022 (2:36 pm)

    So glad the city is finally removing these camps. Leaving them in place is not humane. Houseless is such a feel good label. If they have mental illness, then society should offer help. If addicted, then help should be offered. If out of work, they’re not trying. Allowing people to live in tents, campers, boxes on public land is NOT a solution. Quit blaming police budgets.

    • Scubafrog June 9, 2022 (3:27 pm)

      “If out of work, they’re not trying.”  Apparently you’re not familiar with mental illness, and the fact that this country’s woefully underfunded/underprepared to that end.  I don’t begrudge you, ignorance isn’t something I’ll judge you for.  I’ll leave judgment to you. 

      • Bdawg June 10, 2022 (12:05 pm)

        And I won’t begrudge you your apparent illiteracy, since the comment clearly acknowledges mental illness and need for help.

  • WDubstick June 9, 2022 (2:36 pm)

    Finally!! So sad what happened to the park. So much trash. Just because your homeless, doesn’t give you the right to be disgusting and destroy our parks.

  • Jort June 9, 2022 (2:53 pm)

    If you’re waiting on the Seattle Police to investigate your sexual assault case but they’re telling you they’re too short on staffing, just remember, they had four police officers on hand to watch a bunch of poor people’s stuff get shoved into dumpsters, you know, just in case! Just in case something ooga booga scary happens! Sorry about your rape case tho. :-( But think how much less you’ll have to look at a tent while you speed by at 40 mph! Trade offs, amirite?

    • CAM June 9, 2022 (3:27 pm)

      Priorities Jort. Nobody’s talking about unsolved sexual assault cases in November. 

    • OneTimeCharley June 9, 2022 (3:40 pm)

      Your feel good compassion is worthless to anyone but yourself. The situation prior to us reclaiming our public spaces worked for no one….except those that like to feel “good”, as they display what they define as compassion by virtue signaling from their huge ivory towers. Please see the countless comments above about how people used the parks until they were too frightened or repulsed to visit there any longer. What, isn’t the encampment-less park better at the comfortable 10 mph you enjoy traveling??

      • Compassionate solutions June 11, 2022 (11:07 am)

        Having compassion equates to living in ivory towers?  Not the folks repulsed, uncomfortable, and assumptively afraid by seeing other people living in poor conditions?

        At some point in recent years past, it’s like the universe got stuck on opposite day, or something.

    • carole June 9, 2022 (3:45 pm)

      Apples and oranges. Beat cops are not investigating sexual assaults. That job is done by detectives in a specified department. 

    • hw June 9, 2022 (4:36 pm)

      let’s be clear, the police officers standing at the clean up are not the detectives who will be solving your case. The police is understaffed for sure but it isn’t really apples to oranges.

    • Melissa June 9, 2022 (6:59 pm)

      You’re exactly right, Jort. I’ve seen the cops at sweeps standing around, chatting and laughing as people’s dwellings are destroyed. And no, Carole. The PD chooses where to spend money. And they choose to spend money on these cops, rather than on clearing sexual assault cases.

  • Rb June 9, 2022 (3:02 pm)

    People here always complain. I think this was a success. Thank you Mayor for following though on your action plan. Probably, it offends some people because they are not used to actual action but just talk. For those who feel hurt because the encampments are not there anymore, why don’t you offer your backyard, alley or street as a camping ground? And yes. You need police presence because you don’t know who is going to lose it at what point. And without police there, if somebody got hurt we would need to hear more yapping about how bad this was administered, etc.  

  • Anne June 9, 2022 (3:48 pm)

    If you think this is inaccessible, noisy-unused by other than homeless-you must be thinking of another park -because just the opposite is true.of Rotary Viewpoint. 

  • Chris June 9, 2022 (4:01 pm)

    Glad to see this happening.  We live in a society of rules and without some enforcement the rule of law breaks down and chaos ensues – which is what we have been seeing across the city (graffiti, property crime, open drug use, etc.).  These people are entitled to compassion and help, but they also need “tough love”.   Offer them places to stay and resources, one way or another they cannot be allowed to continue to “camp” in public parks.  I know some people will disagree, but the policies that have been followed for the last ~5+ years have left the city looking like a garbage dump.  Time to clean it up.

    • M June 9, 2022 (6:22 pm)

      Well said Chris!

  • pedro June 9, 2022 (4:05 pm)

    “The question is, what kind of notice did people living at the park get?” Really? Whose question is that? An equally valid question is why were they allowed to squat there in the first place and take over public property for their own use and destruction?

  • JC June 9, 2022 (4:09 pm)

    So when will they clear the RVs on Andover by the steel mill? I noticed there are MORE there now in the last week. I was walking through Longfellow Creek today and was unfortunately a witness to a half dressed man urinating off the most north bridge right into the creek. 

    • Concerned in West Seattle June 9, 2022 (11:38 pm)

      These new “residences” are not even RVs; they’re trailer campers. Not self-propelled at all. As I understand it those aren’t allowed to be parked on the street without a hauling vehicle attached, but I could be wrong. They’ve taken up a significant portion of the remaining roadway, with more campers and rvs on the other side of the road. It’s a matter of time before some driver distracted by the obscenity of the camps has a head on collision behind the gym, with another equally distracted driver. I’ve nearly been hit twice in two days already. And supposedly, a sweep is scheduled for June 16. We shall see.

  • Mushy June 9, 2022 (4:14 pm)

    You are making less sense than usual. Try again? 

  • HS June 9, 2022 (4:44 pm)

    Thank you. That park was frequently used by exercise bootcamps, kids and walkers with pets.

  • WS resident June 9, 2022 (5:19 pm)

    Thank you City of Seattle for doing this!  Keep going!

  • James June 9, 2022 (5:22 pm)

    “I’m sorry,” but you’re not sorry. You just don’t want to have to look at homeless encampments because they are a constant reminder of how close you are to that situation. So many of us are ready and willing to try new and different programs to combat homelessness, mental health, and addiction services. Your answer only seems to be more police and to use those officers as a bulldozer to push people somewhere else. Your way doesn’t work yet you refuse to try other avenues. You’re not sorry, you’re shameful, and you should be ashamed in how you choose to look the other way.

    • CarDriver June 9, 2022 (5:40 pm)

      James. What are YOU doing? Have you taken a homeless person in your home? Have you let a homeless person put a tent in your yard or park their motorhome in your driveway?? How much money a month do you give to the homeless?? You’re pointing fingers. What’s your answer to fingers pointed at you?

    • flimflam June 9, 2022 (6:15 pm)

      James – no, the camps are crime/drug magnets and often contain wanted felons and other potentially dangerous people. Any effort to normalize these “campers” does nobody any good at all.

    • Ha June 9, 2022 (6:30 pm)

      Do tell us about all these many avenues and solutions you seem to know about?

  • Mj June 9, 2022 (5:34 pm)

    Jort – you need to read the SMC, per the code it is illegal to camp in City Parks and obstruct sidewalks.  It’s long past time to treat all City residents equally and enforce the code equally to all.  

    • flimflam June 9, 2022 (6:16 pm)

      Thank you – it should t be this difficult or shocking to enforce these simple laws.

    • Jort June 10, 2022 (9:26 am)

      It’s also illegal to go over the 25 mph speed limit, MJ. Which laws do you think should be universally enforced? Just the gross homeless people ones? 

  • Middle ground June 9, 2022 (6:29 pm)

    More of this please. Thank you Mayor Harrell. Looking forward to enjoying public spaces with my children again. 

  • Junction Lady June 9, 2022 (6:42 pm)

    I agree with “stupid in Seattle”

  • MM June 9, 2022 (7:57 pm)

    Finally getting our city back!!!  

    • Lisa June 9, 2022 (10:18 pm)

      Having talked with another volunteer who walked around the park and stadium area on Sunday, it may be that what you saw was the sweep being posted (paper attached to the posts) rather than actual outreach…) Also true that campers are not always around when outreach comes by….so whether outreach happened ahead of the sweep remains an open question. Of the 2 residents I was able to talk with on Monday, both said they wanted to speak with outreach but hadn’t seen anyone. 

  • maryv June 9, 2022 (8:45 pm)

    Help me understand all of this…I understand the homelessness, it is so freaking expensive just to get by now a days but why are there so many people with mental illness? I’m 66 yrs old and when I was young I don’t recall this many people being this way, my dad a single father with 3 kids worked across from the KC Jail  on 3rd and Prefontaine and we’d go with him to work during the Summer and we would play in the park by the Jail and were never bothered by anyone…now you can’t even go down almost any street without being afraid??? Is it the Doctors prescribing all these meds and the pharmaceutical companies making billions of dollars because one day a parent brings a child in because they won’t sit still so the DR says here give them this pill??? I just don’t understand all of the mentally ill people and there seems to be no help for them!

    • JC June 9, 2022 (11:31 pm)

      I agree it’s changed so much for people, the amount of homelessness has gotten worse over the years and is now a huge puzzle. One thing that has changed is the availability of affordable places to live, another is the lack of good mental health support for people, not even just the homeless!  The rest is substance abuse, bad drugs clouding judgement, provoking crime, long term alcoholism etc. unfortunately there is not a one size fits all solution to the problem. There are a lot of folks working to try to fix this problem. A lot of people care, but there is only so much you can do. Some of the homeless are truly proud to not be part of the “machine “ and refuse help, that’s another conundrum all together. 

      • Common Sense June 10, 2022 (6:29 am)

        Well it is cheap to live in Auburn, Shelton, Yelm compared to Seattle.

    • anonyme June 10, 2022 (7:08 am)

      Mary, I’m a bit older than you and have observed several changes over the years.  For one, mental illness used to be either largely ignored or hidden within families, or hidden by other means – such as in institutions.  There once were many long-term public mental health facilities, but Reagan shut them all down.  The residents who didn’t have families were turned out on the streets.  That was the beginning of the homelessness/mental illness phenomenon we see today, although that has expanded with increased drug and alcohol addiction.  Before then, it was rare to see someone on the street except for an occasional alcoholic.  Treatment for mental health issues is not only scarce, but the modalities are insufficient (drugs, talk) and may even be a contributing factor.   There are social factors as well, such as wealth disparity and an unhealthy focus on bling.  I think there is also less familial support these days, and more isolation.   The isolation piece is huge.

    • Jay June 10, 2022 (8:44 am)

      There used to be many more mental health hospitals and services available. Reagan made it a point to tear it all down in the name of small government. Right now there is a 2+ month wait for therapy or psychiatry services, and it costs $50 for a 30 minute conversation with insurance or $150-$300 without. There simply is no support network at all for people with mental health vulnerabilities. And on top of that, the 2008 recession kind of changed out economy. So many people were put on the street, and while the stock market recovered from the recession the “real people” economy did not.

  • Thank you SPD June 9, 2022 (9:22 pm)

    Thank you mayor Harrell. Thank you SPD. Take our city back. Many of these people have mental health issues, drug issues, etc. Many of these people also are just selfish, need to grow up and get a job. 

    • . June 11, 2022 (1:32 am)

      How can anyone possibly see another suffering and living in these conditions as selfish? Is not people of better circumstances casting judgement and hate onto those less fortunate reads a bit selfish?

      Sure it would be nice to not see certain things in parks or on sidewalks, but we’re talking about people who do not have a home!

      Arent there other places to walk, to recreate, to take your dog to do his business? Where else do these people have to go where they will be welcome?

      Next Time you feel frustrated by unsightly neighbors camping where youd like to enjoy, maybe try feeling grateful you have a home to return to, and a shower, and a refrigerator with food, and easy access to laundry, and a car to drive wherever…

      Be grateful, have a heart, please let these people have a place to be for a bit. 

  • Greg June 10, 2022 (1:59 am)

    Thankful that camp got the boot. People  were harassed threatened and I was physically assaulted by residents of that camp.    Thousands of dollars in damage was inflicted on local businesses.    Support them into places where they can actually get some help, that was not the place.  

  • What about the dogs June 10, 2022 (7:38 am)

    Thank you to West Seattle Blog for excellent, timely, truthful coverage – and also to our city leaders for gritting their collective teeth and doing what needs to be done to get homeless people into shelter who are willing to accept it.  I am most concerned for all the blameless pups and cats that homeless people truly cannot care for properly – even though their hearts are in the right place.   Our city needs to put real focus on these pets.  In the meantime, each of us can support terrific shelters such as Burien CARES just off Ambaum on 151st.  Ideas:  Get a big bag of pet food (about $20) at Costco whenever you shop there – either deliver it yourself or get it delivered.  Donate $$ for care and spay/neuter services.  And thank the folks who are doing their absolute best to care for these beautiful animals!

  • Stephen June 10, 2022 (9:11 am)

    I’m glad these tents were finally cleared.  Now let’s go clear some more.

  • Bswans June 10, 2022 (2:40 pm)

    As far as I know, the Federal rule is that you need to have a place for them to go, to kick them out.   We can build a city in Iraq in about 2 weeks, let’s put up a city on the docks that aren’t being used on Harbor Island.   Have guy/gal/family places to sleep, laundry, mental health, food, security, job finding assistance, etc.   If someone doesn’t want to leave their tent and go to Harbor Island, eh, that’s their problem – a place was offered, they refused.  Move on….. Hell, back in the day, we would get hassled for putting up a tent off of I-90 heading to the Gorge for a show, never a damn thought about tossing a tent up on 2nd avenue.   Time to put a foot down.  Everyone wants to blame mental health and drugs, but, while true, are we just now finding out about mental health and drugs?  No.  

  • AlkiBeach June 10, 2022 (2:49 pm)

    I admit to being part of the problem…I would justify donating to the ‘rent-a-dog’ guy on the corner,  even falling for an ingenious scam downtown (on the sidewalk).  When 20+ years ago a beautiful homeless woman asked me to help her and her partner be able to ‘make love’ and it would only cost me 25 cents!  So, I and many others gathered around the ‘down and out’ couples location  We dug into our pockets and pulled out a quarter to help them out.  She thanked me and others willing to help.  She took our quarters and placed them on the sidewalk in what seemed to be a random location.  As she kept announcing, aloud, to the crowd that was forming around her, her need for others to also give help so she and her partner could ‘make love’.  As others gathered around, the sideshow must have compelled the continual stream of ‘newbies’ to give all the quarters they could… the women would gradually move the quarters to a different position…The buy-in for me was as others would get fed up with her changing the quarters’ position on the sidewalk, she would give them their quarters back…I remember thinking ‘how could this be a scam if she was willing and did give these people back their money.’  …as the quarters changed to minutes and minutes and minutes, the picture became clearer.   She had actually been spelling out the word L-O-V-E…only making it larger and larger as the quarters kept coming in.  That was so funny!!!   It was kind of like going back to school –  ‘Marketing 101’.  With that came my renewed empathy for the homeless population…after all, who was I to judge.Well, gone are the ‘cute’ and intelligent side shows; today’s (scratch that), this generation homeless population is all about stealing, drugs, and their true UNwillingness to “work” their way out of their rabbit holes.  I say that; knowing, that a generation has passed since my empathy for the homeless population had started.  To that end, I’m out!  I don’t want my tax dollars or even one-quarter of my money going to help the homeless population.  This includes building “Starbuck” designer-approved shelters or drug rehab centers.  The lone empathy I have left is for individuals dealing with mental illness.  Other than that, purchase them a one-way ticket to Bellevue, WA.  It’s their turn!!!

  • B June 10, 2022 (3:13 pm)

    I took the time a while back to walk through the encampment and see if anyone was around to talk to, and just to see what it felt like being there. My criteria for most of this mess is around accessible and safe use of these public spaces for EVERYONE. But that means if a small group stake their claim and squat there, that’s not okay. This park was visited by and used by lots of people in West Seattle and visited by out of town visitors. When I went to the spot midday, it was just littered with trash, like somebody went nuts and ripped apart a hundred Styrofoam coolers. No visible used needles, but just a mess that nobody gave a sh-t about. I always wondered… there’s a huge green grass space that extends up the hill and is somewhat more hidden from street view. Why didn’t they start camping up there and leave the iconic park centerpiece alone? Because they dont care, or know how to care, about others who share a public space. All the attention is on them. They get to dictate whatever they want to once they form a gang of campers.  I’m not going to address “what else are they going to do?” but I will stick with my issue of public spaces being squatted on by people who have zero ambition to TRY to help themselves. I’m not going to argue mental illness because half of those you think are mentally ill are misdiagnosed (by this public forum) and are just drug addicts who appear to or have brought on mental illness via drug addiction. It’s not worth arguing about their issues because the loop closes with their own choice to refuse the minimal help we have to offer. When did we start debating the quality of service and housing options as if there is some higher standard that they MIGHT say yes to? “What if we gave them all a house?” We’re not negotiating with a group like it’s normal good faith bargaining. We are negotiating with a group that can forever say No, because they can. So clearing these camps from public spaces is just our way of saying No back. I’m okay with that. There is no solution for poverty. It’s inevitable in the American system we all choose. For there to be ultra wealthy, there must be ultra poor. But there are answers to drug addiction and mental illness that causes homelessness. The barriers we created as a compassionate city prevent their implementation. We should be proud of the laws we have passed in the past, but every law preventing treatment should be scrutinized and modernized….every year.

  • WS Res June 15, 2022 (7:59 pm)

    Well as usual, sweeps proved to be totally effective and beneficial to both unhoused people and the community at large (item #2).

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