FOLLOWUP: Results of city’s ‘geoclean’ amid Harbor Avenue RVs

Since learning last week that the city planned an “intense one-day ‘geoclean'” of the Harbor Avenue RV area this week, we checked the area every morning and afternoon, looking for signs of “intense” activity. Monday morning, we saw a truck doing junk pickup, and police standing by. Today, Seattle Public Utilities confirmed that Monday was the “geoclean” day – spokesperson Sabrina Register told WSB, “Crews collected 5,000 lbs. of trash and debris from Harbor Ave SW ​& SW Harbor Lane.” This was not a sweep like the most recent Andover/26th cleanup, however; nine RVs remain on Harbor at our last count, though some have moved from the north side of the street to the south side,

52 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Results of city's 'geoclean' amid Harbor Avenue RVs"

  • MG July 14, 2022 (4:19 pm)

    What is wrong with this city?!?!

    • Kevin on Delridge July 14, 2022 (5:26 pm)

      Inequality, unaffordable housing, poor wages, dehumanization, classism, stigmatization, demonization, apathy, poor education, marginalization, hypocrisy, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, white supremacy, along with a whole host of other things that are very clear and present.

      You may think to yourself “Seattle is progressive,” but it isn’t. While many of these problems may not be as present, the ones that matter are what leads to these scenes. And our neighbors cheer it on, thinking they are so much better, they’ve “earned” what they have so how can there be systemic problems?

      Since you seem oblivious, I assume you’re part of the problem. I suggest you wake up, because fascism is what is rising in the absence of solutions. Solutions that treat people with dignity without holding them to an arbitrary set of standards in order to be “worthy” or just saying outright that they deserve nothing.

      All of this is solvable, but it is going to take those who are “succeeding” in this broken system to understand that it isn’t working. And to be clear, it will take decades of work to fix this and there are many that will never truly recover from the carelessness they’ve endured from our society, but we should treat them like human beings without condition.

      Good luck.

      • John July 14, 2022 (7:10 pm)

         ^This ^

      • MG July 14, 2022 (7:42 pm)

        Kevin,Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  I am definitely part of the “problem”.  I’ll change immediately and start doing drugs, stealing stuff from people and making a mess of our beautiful city.  I’ll probably fire the 60 people who work for me.  Foreclose on my house and building.  Stop paying my taxes.  Definitely stop raising my kids to be responsible young men.  Hopefully you’ll start a business and employ me with these great wages and all of the simple freedoms of doing nothing so I can camp too. Since I know you can’t (and won’t) help solve the problem, I will.  Bring me some of those people on Harbor and assuming they pass a drug test I’ll give them a job for 90 days.  I’ll buy them clothes and provide a place to stay.  Ill arrange daily transportation. I’ll treat them fairly, provide a great place to work and they can start to learn how to give back instead of take.  After 90 days if they provide value and enjoy the work they do, I’ll employ them full time.  If they are not interested in my business I’ll help connect them with one that they want to build a career at.My issue is with city policy for allowing this filth to be allowed.  My issue is with the people living there and not wanting to even try to be a productive member of our community and clean up after themselves and stop stealing from others (present company included). My issue is us as a community pretending this is ok for any of us. Mostly, my issue is with people who think like you and want to offer a host of excuses and your opinions without solitons.  My comment was broad on purpose.  You were so quick to assume I’m the problem.  You were so quick to assume I don’t care.  Thank you for walking so nicely into my trap.If you’d like to have an adult discussion on how we can help, I welcome it.  I just want a safe, clean, healthy city.   I want it for all of us.  

        • Kevin on Delridge July 15, 2022 (10:48 am)

          Well, if you knew the issue why did you ask? You asked, I answered. Share your wisdom and solutions since you think you can solve it.

          Your reply isn’t worth a serious response, so I’ll simply repeat good luck because you clearly don’t get it.

      • IMHO July 14, 2022 (8:09 pm)

        Clear, concise,and unambiguous — thank you!

      • Jack July 14, 2022 (9:07 pm)

        Inequality, unaffordable housing, poor wages, dehumanization, classism, stigmatization, demonization, apathy, poor education, marginalization, hypocrisy, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, white supremacy, along with a whole host of other things that are very clear and present.”Yet, you chose to live here.Or did it just change when you moved here?

        • Kevin on Delridge July 15, 2022 (10:46 am)

          You see Jack, these are American issues but I know you can’t think but 10 feet in front of your face.

          I suppose you’ll tell me to leave the country for wanting to make it a better place now.

      • WS Res July 15, 2022 (1:27 am)

        Well said.

      • Chris July 15, 2022 (8:43 am)

        You need to get out of Seattle more often. This city is extremely progressive compared to most others. I purchased my house in West Seattle in 1992. Guest what. It was very expensive at that time and took most of my paycheck to own it. I ate the cheapest food I could buy, didn’t go on any trips for years, etc. I worked hard at the same job for decades to keep my house. Started at the very bottom in a mailroom and worked ny way up over time. My inlaws have owned a house in West Seattle since the 1960’s. Guess what. They have the same story as me. Work hard to get a home and keep it. We pay our taxes, take care of our property and neighborhoods, help each other. We deserve streets and parks that are not taken over by illegally parked RVs and camps in our greenbelts. I have heard permanent habits will form after 3 months. Those RVs and camps along Harbor Ave will continue to grow and get worse if nothing is done about them soon. It’s wrong to let them take over our neighborhood, and a complete failure of our representitive, Lisa Herbold, who allows it to happen in the first place.

      • Kersti Elisabeth Muul July 15, 2022 (9:17 am)

        ❤️❤️❤️Thank you for taking the time to write this I have given up.This is not a one-dimensional issue and we didn’t get here just because homeless people want to be homeless or drug addicts It’s a long long myriad of problems

    • L July 14, 2022 (6:47 pm)

      Harbor Ave is a major City of Seattle arterial. The adjacent Alki Trail is/was a jewel that is used by thousands of folks for recreational purposes.  The City must rid Harbor Ave of all motorhomes unlawfully parked taking up valuable parking spaces and creating a general nuisance.

      • John July 14, 2022 (7:29 pm)

        Homelessness is not a general nuisance, it’s oppression. 

    • John July 14, 2022 (7:00 pm)

      Are you referring to the fact that we don’t kick people out of the only places that they have to live simply because it’s an eyesore for the elitists? That’s called empathy. Or are you referring to the fact that we have zero social services to actually address the root causes of homelessness and help people who need it get on their feet? That’s called misappropriated tax dollars and poor leadership. Seattle spends public money to support big business and the wealthy, not to help those that need it. 

    • Frustrated July 15, 2022 (6:15 am)

      You’re upset that the city picked up trash?

  • Gatewood Gus July 14, 2022 (5:07 pm)

    MG – you’ll need to be much more specific.  That’s way too broad of a question.

  • Paul July 14, 2022 (5:15 pm)

    When people want to dispose of something like an old piece of furniture and they just set it out on the curb, guess where it ends up.  Then we tax payers foot the bill for these cleanups.  I watched a chair in my neighborhood go from the curb to a nearby camp.  Then the camp moved and the chair got picked up by the city.  

  • Mj July 14, 2022 (5:21 pm)

    Moved the RV’s to South/West side of Harbor Avenue.  What is the zoning on this side of Harbor Avenue?  If it’s not industrial aren’t there more restrictions on parking for wide vehicle’s?

  • wetone July 14, 2022 (5:31 pm)

    SPU, SDOT  and Seattle Parks are now in the garbage business I see. Doing very little to remedy problem, but doing the opposite as this behavior will just make it more inviting for others to come and contribute to the issues. People wonder why the infrastructure is failing, illegal activities are rising and the city’s budget is in the negative here you go. I expect SPU to raise rates soon.  Tax increases to help SDOT for maintenance of roadways, bridges, sidewalks and much more. After their spending of millions $$$$$ in homeless related issues. Then you have Seattle Parks that will be asking us for more money (levy)as money they received from last levy has been poorly spent…… I expect little to change as it seems a large percentage of people in this city pass anything this city asks for with zero accountability…………..

  • StupidInSeattle July 14, 2022 (5:48 pm)

    Why are taxpayers paying to clean up garbage and human waste from illegal camp sites?  Why is the city government encouraging and facilitating RV and tent encampments that eventually become crime and violent assault problems for its citizens?  

    • John July 14, 2022 (7:33 pm)

      Because taxpayers spent billions of dollars on a shiny toy tunnel boring machine and infrastructure for the worlds richest man instead of investing in housing, domestic violence shelters, rehab facilities, education and other social services that help to prevent homelessness. Now we have to pay to clean up the trash. 

      • wscommuter July 15, 2022 (11:09 am)

        What an impressively ignorant comment.  ” …shiny toy tunnel boring machine and infrastructure for the worlds richest man …”  Its a wonder we don’t have all our problems solved, what with pithy insightful folks like you here to set us all straight …  Nothing like reducing complex problems down to easy binary rich v. poor choices.  The problem with you and other commenters here who seem to see the homeless as pure victims of an oppressive society is the absurd reduction to a single source of blame.  Homelessness is in incredibly difficult problem with many causes.  And yes, in too many instances, the choice made by some of these poor folks to become addicted is a prime source of their particular circumstances.  And too many of those folks resort to crime to support their habit.  It insults everyone’s intelligence when you and others refuse to acknowledge that truth.   I’ll gladly pay more taxes to fund beds, therapy, wellness care, shelter and job training to help these people get well and get functional.  We don’t have nearly enough resources.  But the sad truth is also that thanks to fentanyl and meth in particular, many of these folks aren’t going to get well and instead, will continue to be parasites on society. 

    • Lisa July 14, 2022 (10:08 pm)

      The same reason they pick up garbage from public spaces like Alki Trail where, at the end of every day, garbage is left strewn on the beach and the sidewalk, feet from garbage bins. People can’t be bothered to walk the extra coupla feet to throw away their trash properly so it gets picked up by the city. It’s called our tax dollars at work and it’s the humane thing to do.

  • ltfd July 14, 2022 (6:01 pm)

    Sweep early, and often.    

    • John July 14, 2022 (7:35 pm)

      ,say all the wealthy landowners. (For those that don’t think they’re wealthy, if you own property in Seattle you are.)

  • No July 14, 2022 (6:17 pm)

    This city is so backward. 

  • CheeseWS777 July 14, 2022 (8:24 pm)

    If you don’t like RVS parking out in the open then maybe you shouldn’t put Eco blocks in all the places where they were out of sight

    • M July 14, 2022 (9:30 pm)

      They were not out of sight on Andover. They were a safety issue to us gym members. Moving them out of sight would not fix the problem!  More eco blocks please!

    • B July 15, 2022 (1:46 am)

      Yeah!!! Those naughty Eco blocks! You tell em Cheese

  • Azimuth July 14, 2022 (8:46 pm)

    I don’t suppose they found the battery that was stolen off my e-bike in broad daylight at Alki last weekend?

  • WS Environmentalist July 14, 2022 (9:03 pm)

    Hmmm … have any of you opposition commenters visited the filthy Harbor Ave RV site?  They use the gutter and Jack Block shurbs as toilets so it absolutely stinks.  There is drug paraphanlia spread throughout the grass.  Alki trail is blocked by trash and junk.  And these people are not “working poor”.  They are drug additics and alchololics who are unemployable so they park their junker RVs on the street, block traffic, steal from the legal residents who live here … from our house and our neighbors … walk up and down the center of the lanes of Harbor Ave and night screaming … sort a suicidal … and today, we found a needle and an unopened inhaler of Narcan in our driveway right in front of our garage door.   A few weeks ago, we found a guy sleeping in our front yard. next to the front door.  The RV fire 10 days ago was the 2nd one in a year and these fires are not camp or smoldering fires.  These RVs are old and built with very combustable material.  The RVs are full of junk including old tires and propane tanks so when they ignite, they explode into a ball of flames with a mushroom cloud.  These people do not appreciate the heartfelt kindness or concern shown by Seattlites … they are scammers and abusers of Seattle.  They are dangerous individuals whom the City allows to foul our parks and streets and commit felonies with no repercussions.  Please City of Seattle, get them off our street.

    • B July 15, 2022 (2:08 am)

      Well said. I’m thankful some of us can distinguish this certain type of group described as another-level. Most people defending this particular group on Harbor cite humanity and systematic issues, both of which I don’t believe we are unsympathetic to. But it is important to understand when you are being preyed upon by a group and you KNOW their mindset is about continuing it and NOT ‘finding their way out’. There are addicts hell bent upon this being their life, and so it’s fair that when we see it, we call it what it is. Please someone, respond and excuse away why WS Enviro doesn’t have their facts straight, which shows there are clearly some bad apples and a majority are not victims of rising housing costs.

    • Karen July 15, 2022 (6:58 am)

      The entire RV encampment situation is NOT sustainable for anyone. Endangerment to RV’s livers and all surrounding residents SAFETY, SECURITY ,HEALTH  and ECO HAZARDSNothing new being said, but it is time for a new solution now.Why anyone is willing to except the squalor, filth, illegal activities and safety issues in our communities is baffling.New and different solutions must be implemented now.  Logically it would seem an area that provides porta potties, cleaning station and trash debris removal.  Not just moving from one area to the next.  How long can tax paying people continue to clean and sweep with no solution.We are at a critical time, we can not turn away from the situation or accept as is.

      • Mr Henry July 15, 2022 (10:41 am)

        Agree 💯. Another voice of reason speaks.Now all Seattle needs is leadership 

    • RW July 15, 2022 (7:50 am)

      What WS Environmentalist said. I have zero empathy for anyone that does not accept help to get off the street.

    • T Rex July 15, 2022 (8:55 am)

      Well said WS Environmentalist ! I get so tired of seeing comments on this blog that shame us who HATE this mess that has become Seattle and its homeless problem.  There is help out there, but you have to follow rules and behave if they place you somewhere to live. It also means that you have to STOP using drugs and alcohol. Get help.  Mental illness, get help. There is HELP OUT THERE. And  “Seattle is too expensive anymore” and there is no “affordable housing left” excuses are getting old. There are ways to find affordable housing, especially if you need help getting on your feet. But it is not easy, it takes work. And help from others and there are many people out there who will help. If you have alienated every single person in your family and life to where they will no longer help you, give you a place to live, feed you etc…it’s you. It’s not flipping rocket science. 

      • Compassionate solutions July 15, 2022 (10:45 am)

        Right, people in these circumstances must be completely to blame, are all horrendous people with evil intentions, and no desire for a better life.

        It can’t possibly be that they have had unfortunate family situations, abusive or otherwise traumatic situations, predatory friendships or other negative people experiences, victims of other societal harms, or some bad luck and failed efforts.

        Why do so many of you insist on excusing the wrongs in the world that contribute to these peoples challenges?

        Why are some unable to have compassion for any of these causalities?

        There are absolutely personal choices that contribute and lead to life challenges, but there is also so much more complexity than what the blaming perspective considers and allows for.

        • B July 16, 2022 (3:46 am)

          Everybody has a past, genius. Everyone has personal demons. What the posts you responded to asked was….WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT NOW? That’s a fair question, right? Am I an a-hole? It’s maybe the best question. Your tired posts of imagined past hardships may have some truth to it, for a few. But what is your damn point, RIGHT NOW, for the majority? That we should just picture the past you describe and wish it away from the resulting present? Why do you just try to drain a progressive and thoughtful conversation to a halt with your tossed in considerations of some past you think nobody can relate to? We get all that. What do you think about TODAY, not the days of yesteryear that led people to hardship? And have you talked to a fentanyl tweaker before? It might get ya thinking a little more 

  • Free Trash July 14, 2022 (9:43 pm)

    I’m tired of my tax dollars cleaning up after these derelict RVs over and over again. I have to pay for my trash removal and sewer. And then my common sense logic gets blasted assuming I’m not sympathetic to people who live this way, collecting garbage and living in inhumane ways. Perhaps it would be easier to be more sympathetic if they actually cleaned up after themselves instead of us picking up 5000lb of trash. I used to ride my bike on that path and no longer do because I don’t feel safe after a few dicey encounters when I’m minding my own business. People love to make excuses for them rather than face the true reality of the reasons they are living like this. 

    • Compassionate solutions July 15, 2022 (7:21 am)

      Minding your own business, do you mean likely riding by while sending reproachfull hate looks their way?

      By true reality, do you mean hateful judgements and generalizations towards an entire group of people, rather than their likely complex individual life histories and actual realities? 

      Like maybe some of those who are drug addicts have had serious traumas and they started using drugs to cope with the memories and pain and lonliness, and haven’t had the resources to connect with support and treatment to get clean?

      If you don’t have any kindness or help to extend their direction, unless serious crimes are occurring, hope you will give them space, until they are once again forced to move to another location, where they will experience community hate, instead of the support they may actually need, once again.

      We need to stop blaming people, and start helping.

      • Everybody Hurts July 15, 2022 (5:25 pm)

        Plenty of people experience significant trauma and don’t wind up strung out in an RV surrounded by trash. The homeless don’t have a monopoly on suffering. We need to stop pretending that these are all hardworking people whose lives were snatched out from under them by Bezos or whoever your preferred bogeyman is. This situation exists because we are unwilling to say hard things, and the weather is super mild. Every time we bend over backward to accommodate these disasters, we do a disservice to all the hard working people in this town that haven’t quit.  

      • John robijn July 22, 2022 (2:01 pm)

        I’ve been on both sides of this argument. I went from yelling at a homeless man on California Ave.  for being on MY sidewalk to being homeless and hated in the blink of an eye. I tried hiding it but it was pointless. Once you are found to be less than a person you are trash.  I’ve had a gun pointed at my head and thought I was dead.  Last week there were several shots fired near my RV and I’m getting numb to it. I’ve lost enough and find  the hatred no matter what I do to show I’m not without standards.  Each of us has a reason we are here and it’s not always an easy fix.  You may not be on the streets now but some will be and through no fault of your own you may be seen as less than those with houses and you may experience how it hurts when you don’t matter anymore. . No one deserves a bullet for being in an RV.  My story is unique and tragic and I’ve lost more than I can take but I’m still able to show compassion and help those around me. If love and compassion are shown and we treat each other as  equal there’s is hope to find homes and give some of us a chance to come back from the edge but for me I’ve seen enough and I need to move or I’ll be towed. They’ll keep doing this till they get rid of me for good.  I’m sure you’ll do better than I.  Try talking to us first. I’m not homeless. I’m helpless to stop the hatred.  Who’s next?  Do I really matter?   Not in West Seattle. 

  • Delridge neighbor July 14, 2022 (11:00 pm)

    Maybe the city could offer free trash services for the homeless/RV owners to keep our streets clean?  I’d gladly pay extra taxes if it helped kept the city cleaner. 

    • Jeepney July 15, 2022 (5:00 am)

      Our tax dollars already are paying for cleaning up illegally dumped trash in the city, no need to raise additional taxes to enable this behavior.

    • Mo July 15, 2022 (8:40 am)

      This. I feel like it would make more sense to pay for a dumpster to be left near the RVs if they’re not going to make them move. And a portapotty. I’d rather if the city won’t make them move, they attempt to keep the area clean for everyone else. I drove past the area the RVs are last night, and it is still FILTHY. 

      • Delridge neighbor July 15, 2022 (12:40 pm)

        Adding trash services doesn’t enable bad behavior, rather it encourages being responsible for our city. There’s so much trash on the ground in the city, and we could curb this bad behavior without dehumanizing our neighbors with a few simple steps.  Overall, preventive trash services might save money in the long run rather than waiting until the trash piles up to 5000 pounds or more and having to call in hazmat teams. 

  • Fred July 15, 2022 (8:13 am)

    I am paying plenty of taxes and seeing very few tangible results. The funds are mismanaged and we are not making our politicians and governments accountable. We all need to get actively involved if we want real change. Social media is a good place to talk about stuff but real change comes from understanding the system and acting to improve it. Bottom line.. Politicians and government are supposed to be serving the citizens and many of ours are not. It’s hard and it takes a lot of time and effort. It also requires us to commit to the greater good. This city needs positive change on multiple fronts and it needs all of us to make things better. 

  • Jay July 15, 2022 (8:34 am)

    If the camp is going to operate with the blessing of the city, it needs trash service and honey buckets to minimize the impact of the residents.

    • B July 16, 2022 (3:53 am)

      That is a great point and I wonder now if micro-communities of Seattle (such as West Seattle) could petition the city for not enforcing their own laws to AT LEAST provide a Porta Potty and Dumpster within 100yds of encampments that get city rights once they form their posse of 3+. As kind of a dereliction of duty fee. Seems logical to me. Now if we only had a City Councilmember representing us with the nerve to do something simple like that. 

  • Pessoa July 15, 2022 (9:16 am)

    As someone who regularly travels the West Coast,  you will find every big city to small town, from Seattle to San Diego, grappling with unaffordable housing, poverty, and homelessness.   It is ubquitious and there is no escape from it – if escape is on anyone’s agenda.Recently, I was in a college town in rural Northern California that has been inundated by the homeless in parks and city spaces and townspeople torn apart by acrimonious disagreement on what to do and who is responsible.  Some here have called for a revamping of economic system, reversing what they say are institutional inequalities that favor some Americans over others.  This is an attractive idea, with some merit.  But this, of course, means more heavy-handed government intervention that will create it’s own problems, particularly when it is allied – dangerously – with private industry.  This has the makings of  what is loosely defined as true “fascism,” and every tyranny has promised it – for a heavy price.   DeToqueville said that the wealthier a country becomes, the less interested it is in freedom.     We’re all responsible.  Predatory capitalist only works because enough people participate in it out of their self-interest.   Don’t blame the neighbor down the street who is always wealthier than you, who deserves to be taxed more than, who is always greedier than you, until you’ve looked at yourself first.  On the other side, some degree of accountability must be applied to all, even those in more precarious situations, otherwise we run the risk of turning the less fortunate into chess pieces,  moved around to please our feel-good vanity.   Theoretically, any system of government can operate virtuously, if it’s citizens are virtuous. 

    • B July 16, 2022 (4:09 am)

      It is sad, for me, that your very clearly educated response did not mention drug addiction at the forefront of your theories as a precursor to homelessness. One thing I feel strongly about is that we don’t let our compassion for fellow humans stop us from acknowledging that homelessness is a symptom of the problem, and the problem is DRUG ADDICTION. I see many responses that espouse these Macro examples like fascism and whatnot. These opinions may not be wrong at all, but we are trying to deal with Micro societal issues. Drug addiction is at the forefront RIGHT NOW and 20 to 30 more years post-college will make you realize that knowledge of the dark American system is in no way going to change it, or fix ‘this’ here locally. So knowing what you know….I’m being real…what can we do right now to address it locally?

  • Claudia Williams July 15, 2022 (12:33 pm)

    After all that’s been said the real question is this: what are you going to DO?

Sorry, comment time is over.