ENCAMPMENTS: Two West Seattle sites may be ‘months’ from action

(WSB photo, Harbor Avenue last week)

Two West Seattle RV-encampment sites continue to be the subject of much discussion at community meetings – usually with local police commanders who aren’t the final decisionmakers on city action. So as promised, we sought official updates from the city’s homelessness-response spokesperson, Linda Robson. Here’s what we heard back:

2ND/MICHIGAN: This is the state-owned site by the 1st Avenue South Bridge where, according to Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Dorothy Kim, more than 100 stolen vehicles have been recovered and actual residents are estimated only in single digits. She also told the SWP Crime Prevention Council that a sweep had been scheduled – and then suddenly scrapped. According to Robson:

The site you note is part of a large area that is WSDOT jurisdiction. The encampment response will require the coordination of multiple jurisdictions and City departments, including WSDOT and KCRHA, so naturally scheduling can get a bit complicated, and we expect that clean-up will take several days. The Unified Care Team is actively working with WSDOT on scheduling in the coming weeks and months.

We also asked about Harbor Avenue, where scattered groupings total about a dozen RVs/trailers, plus other vehicles as well as several tents and canopies. Robson’s reply:

The City’s Unified Care Team has been monitoring conditions along Harbor Ave SW, recognizing the need to ensure a coordinated approach in addressing multiple encampment sites along a significant stretch of Harbor Avenue. Based on this approach and available resource capacity, we expect these sites to be resolved in Quarter 1, 2023. In the meantime, the UCT is conducting regular trash removal and cleaning in the area.

Harbor Avenue was a central topic at a meeting six weeks ago. After receiving. Robson’s replies, we also checked with one of the city officials who participated in that meeting, Councilmember Lisa Herbold. She said she hasn’t received any date specifics either, and is working to get clarification on the current prioritization process.

33 Replies to "ENCAMPMENTS: Two West Seattle sites may be 'months' from action"

  • Pete January 25, 2023 (12:33 pm)

    These folks use more resources meeting about what to do than the actual resources necessary to deal with the problems. How many fingers does this spokesperson use to point at others who might or might not have the ability to make a decision and get something done?

    • Gray Man January 25, 2023 (7:53 pm)

      I agree but the until the Seattle voter decides to change the narrative, nothing will change. A large percentage of my neighbors don’t know who their council person is but continue to vote on name recognition nonetheless . You people have the ability to make a difference so please vote for the candidate and not the party. .

      • Ivan Weiss January 26, 2023 (7:58 am)

        What do you mean “not the party?” These races are all nonpartisan.

  • Carson January 25, 2023 (12:57 pm)

    I have been running by the RV’s on Harbor Ave for what feels like years now. They move up and down the street once in a while. There is almost never a morning ( I run early!) that there isn’t someone taking apart a bicycle or processing a stack of catalytic converters. I used to call 911, I even sent pictures. It felt like the operators were mocking me to the point I just shrug when I go by.  Awful and it’s ignored.

  • MM January 25, 2023 (1:02 pm)

    Were there any arrests for the 100 stolen cars?

    • flimflam January 25, 2023 (1:59 pm)

      Surely you jest.

  • David January 25, 2023 (1:19 pm)

    It amazes me that the city can’t just take action and clean up Harbor avenue. I bet that if all those tenements on wheels suddenly moved to Alki blocking million dollar condo views that they would be gone in a heartbeat. 

    • MyThruppence January 25, 2023 (2:19 pm)

      We have a winner! Thank you David for saying out loud what we all know in our hearts to be true.

      • WSB January 25, 2023 (3:43 pm)

        Actually it IS the people in Harbor/Alki condos who have been complaining to the city. If you’re suggesting the city would rapid-respond to them, no, they have not.

  • PDiddy January 25, 2023 (2:20 pm)

    They need to enforce rules that the vehicles must be licensed, insured, road worthy and not a hazard. Then on top of it I would like to see new zoning laws that make it illegal to live in an RV permanently on city street and city\state property. These scammers are gaming the system. I have yet to see that 72 hour rule enforced for anyone other than honest residents and tax payers.

  • DRW January 25, 2023 (2:25 pm)

    So if our officials cant get multiple jurisdictions to work together who can?  This has been going on way too long.

  • Lola January 25, 2023 (2:39 pm)

    Nothing to see here, just the City Of Seattle dragging their feet as usual.  I feel at least that Bruce Harrell is trying when he has done the sweeps this past year.  I know the City Council has been of no help in getting anything resolved.  Lets hope the four out-going Council Members can be replaced by someone who can finally do something the way Bruce has been doing.  To let the homeless keep doing this by not managing it or making them clean up after them-selves is the biggest problem.  We need to bring back the Mental Health Facility’s so these people can get help not just continue to live on the streets and attack people. 

    • Roms January 25, 2023 (5:46 pm)

      Bruce Harrell has done nothing but trying to Jedi-mind trick everyone. The most recent example is when he mentioned that the state of downtown is improving. Well, I’ve not seen any significant changes, recently or not, downtown. 3rd Ave is roughly the same. The International District too. Etc. My most recent data point was on Monday, when someone clearly on drugs was defecating in the planters on Stewart and 4th.

    • BritneyMcDaniel January 25, 2023 (5:57 pm)

      Agree wholeheartedly, Lola. Let our votes do the talking come election time. City Council needs a re-haul. And sadly, Lisa Herbold isn’t part of the solution. 

  • anonyme January 25, 2023 (2:49 pm)

    This is a perfect example of how millions of taxpayer dollars are doing absolutely nothing but feeding the bureaucracy of the homeless industrial complex.  If these RV’s were required to move every 72 hours as provided by law, then these ridiculous and expensive outreach, remediation, and clean-up operations would not be necessary.  I’m sure many of these folks have been through the process multiple times, with no repercussions aside from having to occasionally move to a more scenic location.  They’re not even required to clean up after themselves.  If you’re able-bodied enough to steal cars then you can pick up some garbage – your own and elsewhere.  Nothing is free, and there is a big difference between a hand-up and a handout.

    • K January 25, 2023 (5:00 pm)

      This is a perfect example of how millions of taxpayer dollars are doing absolutely nothing but feeding the bureaucracy of the prison industrial complex.  If these RV residents were fined as provided by law, they still would not be able to pay, and would see their credit scores decline making it harder for them to find housing.  If we locked them up instead, we would be spending even more money housing people in jail, while making it even harder for them to ever find decent jobs and housing.  Nothing is free, and there is a big difference between maintaining order and punishing people for being poor.

      • anonyme January 26, 2023 (6:16 am)

        Yes, there is a huge difference between maintaining order and fairness, and punishing people for”being poor” – an oft-repeated and largely meaningless phrase adopted by virtue-flagging activists.   You seem to have conflated the two.  Your comment about the credit scores of RV campers declining should they be fined or arrested is laughable.   If you actually read my comment, you would also see that I said nothing about fining people or locking them up.  I stated that the 72-hour rule should be strictly enforced and that cleaning these sites should be the responsibility of those who made the mess.   Please stop engaging in hyperbole to fit your poorly reasoned agenda.

      • 937 January 26, 2023 (8:05 am)

        Choice between “Lock Up” or “Move Out” – guess which these (and most) people will do?Time to get tough.

      • 3 Scents January 26, 2023 (3:41 pm)

        Big difference between being poor and being a dangerous, drug abusing criminal. I’ve been poor and homeless, but never felt the need to steal, endanger folks on the roadways, and destroy the environment on a daily basis. I know it’s not all of them, but it sure is a LOT of them.

      • alki_2008 January 26, 2023 (6:04 pm)

        “while making it even harder for them to ever find decent jobs and housing”

        You think these people are trying to find jobs or housing?  As long as they can live in their RV’s without any consequences than why would they?

    • Vee January 25, 2023 (5:48 pm)

      I agree, all the money spent cleaning up their constant mess, and yes they are very able bodied. able to steal etc. But with no consequences then it goes on and on and on, I want an account of where all the money has gone the last 10 years, this is ridiculous,  I used to walk down that way but not safe now 

  • 937 January 25, 2023 (2:58 pm)

    Well, HA is having a tool sale today. They’ve got sinage up indicating same.

  • M January 25, 2023 (3:04 pm)

    This is quite frustrating that they can’t just enforce the 72 hour parking rules.  10 years ago when I had my first baby, my parents drove cross country to come help me out.  They parked their little camper right in front of my house (on a residential side street).  We were caught up with a newborn and didn’t think to move it.  Day 4 on the spot they had a ticket.  That’s fair…we messed up and paid the fine (and moved it).  So why do the laws not apply equally?  I didn’t get months of warnings and outreach and assistance looking the other way.  Ridiculous. 

  • Mike January 25, 2023 (4:24 pm)

    If you put the government in charge of the Sahara desert in 5 years there would be a shortage of sand…..

  • Scarlett January 25, 2023 (4:46 pm)

    The small-minded “letter of the law” posse has descended on the comment section like proverbial locusts.   Why don’t we treat everyone equally?  Well,  you might want to check your Holy Scriptures for a clue, or perhaps even our secular progressive – theoretically anyway – tax system where everyone pays a different tax rate depending on one’s income. Or a judge who determines a sentence based on mitigating factors.   Ask your friendly police officer  to enforce the law in cases where RVer’s are stealing or endangering others, but leave the rest alone. 

    • Jesse burelison January 25, 2023 (8:46 pm)

      Thank you for that comment. Not all RV dwellers are thieves , drug addicts or mental cases.

    • alki_2008 January 26, 2023 (6:08 pm)

      everyone pays a different tax rate depending on one’s income”.

      Tax rates are marginal. Everyone pays 10% on the first $10,275 of income. And everyone pays 12% of their income that’s in the $10,276-41,775 range. And everyone pays 22% of their income that’s in the $41,776-89,075 range..

      Or do you think that if someone has $70k income then they pay 22% of all $70k?  That’s not how it works.

  • gatewood88 January 25, 2023 (4:58 pm)

    well state lawmakers are currently drafting legislation to make it more difficult for municipalities to move, ticket, tow, etc. vehicles that people live in (and what they consider a “homstead”) per Seattle times article  from this week.  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/homeless/wa-lawmakers-take-aim-at-vehicle-dwellers-and-parking-enforcement/leave it to a state legislator from Bellevue Sen Patty Kuderer (where they consistently refuse to host homeless services, housing,etc.) to head this up… one of the criteria that is proposed to designate an RV as a homestead is if ” a large number of plastic bags are next to a vehicle”  aka trash. if Kuderer is successful in passing this legislation.. which will make an already tough problem harder to deal with – i for one will be encouraging our city to tow the RV’s to her district prior to the law going into effect. rather than tie the hands of municipalities to deal with a tough problem- lawmakers should be putting their  energy into actually dealing with the issues. Actually housing homeless, keeping their own land safe and free of criminal behavior (as in the encampment on state owned land in this article), making drugs that treat opiate addiction much more accessible, etc. i also worry about political backlash to the right from the ineffective leadership we have from the state down to our local response on these issues.. 

  • wetone January 25, 2023 (6:23 pm)

    2nd & Michigan has a lot more people living there than single digits…. That statement just shows bad or out of touch our government is. All one has to do is drive down there see for them shelves. In fact there’s tents back underneath south end ramp area of 1st ave bridge and more action now than has been in past.  What I find so interesting is nobody/groups are raising  concerns about all the human waste, garbage, oils, antifreeze, chemicals being generated there going into river, yet less than a mile away 10’s of millions of dollars are being spent for River restoration ??????????

  • Alki January 25, 2023 (7:01 pm)

    Just keep noting them on the Find It Fix It app

    • WS resident January 25, 2023 (8:32 pm)

      Does that do anything? What do you write? Abandoned vehicle? Trash on public property?

  • Advocate January 25, 2023 (10:59 pm)

    All these comments, did I miss the suggestion to actually build the houses that are obviously needed. Btw my van lives on a public street in front of my house for 10+ years & thank goodness I’ve been able to do that.

  • Runner January 26, 2023 (5:33 am)

    The city needs to provide a safe lot with services to move them to.  Problem solved, they can move to the provided parking area or leave the city.  Those that want or need help can get it there, those that don’t are free to leave, but what is being done is not working. 

Sorry, comment time is over.