FOLLOWUP: Myers Way encampments ‘resolution’ status

(April photo of encampment, taken by an Arrowhead Gardens resident)

Back on Tuesday, we told you about reports of cleanup activity on the east side of Myers Way, though people and vehicles remained visible in the northeasternmost encampment area, on state/city land. We had asked local and state departments/agencies for updates. We’ve also gone back the past two days and seen no signs of further activity; this morning, the “no parking” signage along the city stretch of the street was gone. Meantime, a statement was sent to us and others, including Arrowhead Gardens resident groups and the Highland Park Action Coalition; it indicates that any further activity is still in the planning process. The statement is from Brian Nielsen, WSDOT Northwest regional administrator, who explains that he is “responsible for overseeing all aspects of state right of way within the Region”:

Dear Arrowhead Gardens Senior Living community and Myers Way neighbors,

I want to share with you information and next steps as it relates to the encampments on Myers Way. The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Washington State Patrol, King County Regional Homeless Authority and the City of Seattle collectively agree that this site is our top multijurisdictional site to address. Operational teams are coordinating a site resolution plan.

Our teams are working together to determine next steps to address the site and those living there unhoused. This work requires a multi-agency approach as the encampment is spread across both WSDOT and City property and we know from experience that close coordination is the best way to resolve these sites for the short and long term. Actions currently underway include:

Site stabilization

WSDOT, in coordination with partners, will assess the location to determine where we might make changes to better manage ingress and egress to the site to prevent further growth and better manage access.
The City of Seattle is onsite providing litter picks and trash mitigation at this site several times a week.

Outreach, Housing, and Shelter – KCRHA will:

Assess housing and shelter availability and options within the current system.
KCRHA’s outreach providers are onsite regularly to engage and work with the people experiencing homelessness, ensure connections with services and prepare for housing when resources become available.

Outreach staff will also provide assistance to ensure that any barriers to housing, such as obtaining identification documents, are addressed ahead of time so that people may move into housing immediately when resources become available.

Housing and shelter outreach at this site are in alignment with state legislature requirements that WSDOT and its partners in Right of Way Safety Initiative work to “transition persons residing on state-owned rights-of-way to safer housing opportunities, with an emphasis on permanent housing solutions,” and that the housing offered is a “meaningful improvement over the individual’s current living situation” and “well-matched to an individual’s assessed needs.”

Although the circumstances and conversation regarding the encampment are challenging, I am committed to sharing the parameters in which our agency operates transparently. I also very much appreciate your concerns and understand that you have questions. Please know that we hear your concerns and are working with urgency. We are not currently in a position to share a definitive timeline for site resolution, but we would like to provide timely updates for your community as they are available. I will share more information next week.

City Councilmember Lisa Herbold had said last week that the resolution was “planned.” But we haven’t heard back from her office, the city’s homelessness-response spokesperson, or the state regarding exactly what it was that happened this past Tuesday. Meantime, no arrest reported yet in the Myers Way murder and assault cases from earlier this month.

37 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Myers Way encampments 'resolution' status"

  • Jim P. June 15, 2023 (2:14 pm)

    Finger pointing in a giant circle of “Ask that person”.
    I notice not one word about mitigating criminal activity or protecting lawful residents.

    Maybe have a patrol wander through several times a day. Bet many would move on quickly.

    “The City of Seattle is onsite providing litter picks and trash mitigation at this site several times a week.”
    And here I pay a rather large sum to get once a week trash pickup.

    Maybe I should just claim the same protection the city gives squatters.

    One gets weary of seeing taxes regularly increasing to provide free services to people who are never ever asked to pitch in and work for their own improvement or pay back what other people are forced to do or pay to support them.

    • Josh June 15, 2023 (2:49 pm)

      While frustrating what do you propose Jim, besides as you say above joining the scofflaws. 

    • agree June 15, 2023 (3:49 pm)

      Agree – I can’t even think of anything to write.  The enabling is absurd.  I don’t understand (and I know I’m lucky that I don’t) how some people lose every shred of self-respect and wallow like this.  It just seems like when you expect absolutely nothing of people, naturally they return absolutely nothing to you (society).  We’ve all had various levels of hard times.  Understanding and compassion really helps, but some level of expectation has to come with it.  I cannot understand how this is compassionate though.    I don’t see a way out of this if the powers-that-be don’t start using common sense.   Human psychology isn’t that complicated.  

      • 937 June 15, 2023 (7:38 pm)

        You’re not lucky agree. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You are successful at life. Give thanks! We are ALL granted the same opportunities in life. Some people have it rougher, yes. Some people have it easier. The majority of us just keep going. Get knocked down? Do you grab a substance? Or do you go out and try harder.

        This is where the difference lies.And it begins LONG before the person is out on the streets..

  • anonyme June 15, 2023 (2:44 pm)

    Jim, I couldn’t agree more.  Why are these folks never required to clean up their own mess, instead of the rest of us having to pay for it?  And the suggestion of patrols is spot-on if we only had the police and the willingness to follow through.

  • Alki resident June 15, 2023 (2:51 pm)

    The woods are so heavily damaged at this point, it’ll take years to recover what once was. A stolen heavy equipment machine was also used to bulldoze trees. 

  • T Rex June 15, 2023 (3:07 pm)

    Well said JP. The picture associated with this story says a thousand words on its own. The abandoned boat, the garbage and then, the stairs that are in the process of being built.  With each day that places like this are allowed to exist, is the day I get closer and closer to leaving this once really cool place to live. 

    • Scarlett June 16, 2023 (8:26 am)

      I, and others, would have  more respect for some of you conservatives if you actually backed up all the smack you talk.  It’s a wonder anyone is still in WS given the countless threats of people claiming they are going to leave. 

  • T Rex June 15, 2023 (3:30 pm)

    Well said JP. The picture associated with this story says a thousand words on its own. The abandoned boat, the garbage and then, the stairs that are in the process of being built. A picture that is defining Seattle’s landscape. 

  • Neighbor June 15, 2023 (3:36 pm)

    Since this land is already destroyed can we make it a new dog park?

    • 1994 June 15, 2023 (9:21 pm)

      I had wondered the same thing after reading about the Lincoln Park proposals for dog park status! This spot came to mind. This would make sense. The property would be used daily and that would seem to encourage the unhoused from moving back. Looks like parking could be made available along the street… It does need to have hours posted so it is not open 24 hours. 

    • susie June 16, 2023 (6:44 am)

      Dog park?…sure if you don’t mind your beloved dog  running, sniffing, digging, and rolling around in the contaminated ground while vehicles are zooming by on SB 509.

      BUT ALSO a BIG NO at Lincoln Park.

  • Admiral-2009 June 15, 2023 (4:00 pm)

    JP – agreed. 

    Josh – I see Met Market is hiring $19 per hour + benefits.  

    • Scarlett June 16, 2023 (6:50 am)

      Admiral 2009:   Yours is a throw-away,  meaningless, juvenile comment that makes fun of the incredibly difficult task of  pulling yourself out of the hole of homelessness.   

    • Scarlett June 16, 2023 (8:13 am)

      Doesn’t come close to meeting the  3:1 income to rental ratio, assuming an average rental of $1500/month.   Difficult even for the employed to afford housing, but virtually insurmountable for the homeless.  

      • Julian June 16, 2023 (9:58 am)

        Plenty of rooms for rent currently on Craigslist in the area for 500-700 a month.  $19 an hour at 40 hours works out to ~3200 a month which after taxes here is 2300-2400.  So it actually is better than the 3-1 ratio.

        • Scarlett June 16, 2023 (12:26 pm)

          Another non-serious, facile comment.  No wonder the Republican Party isn’t taken seriously by anyone.   

      • Canton June 16, 2023 (10:09 am)

        Ok, well how about we take all the people willing to work, renters and homeowners that are having difficulty themselves; and tax the crap out of them. Then we can house and pay for all of those unwilling to work…

        • Scarlett June 16, 2023 (1:00 pm)

          Thanks, and we have a hat trick of non-serious, facile comments.  

          • Burgerman June 16, 2023 (5:17 pm)

            Scarlett, Canton absolutely DOES make a good point. This city and Council likes to tax and tax and tax and then go mum when people complain about governmental waste and inappropriate use of the their taxes. There’s no accountability, poor clarity, and little oversight. What I’m seeing here is your own entrenchment far to the left, with absolutely no consideration that anyone’s viewpoint but your own could be right. You label people Republicans, but you don’t have any idea if they actually are, or not. I myself am most decidedly NOT Reublican, but I’d wager you’d label me as such, because I already know you don’t like me from past interactions here. I suggest you check your own mindset and see if it’s as open and tolerant as you’d like us to believe.  

  • snowskier June 15, 2023 (4:30 pm)

    Another game of waste time and delay.  The resolution and restoration of the site will certainly involve getting the people and junk out of there, why not start on that one right away??  Seems like the placement of large boulder piles coupled with some steep berms could stop future ingress.  I’ll bet a crew with a few backhoes, a bobcat and a dumptruck could get it done in a week and then the plants could start to regrow. 

    I think we’re seeing the fallacy of the idea that all people just need to be offered services, some don’t and are straight up criminals and outlaws.  Can we please start acting with speed and start treating bad guys like bad guys?  No more compassion for criminals.  We’re already seen 1 murder down there, you want more?  You’ll find some good folks fighting homelessness down the street at Camp Second Chance, they don’t want the criminals around either.

  • John Walling June 15, 2023 (5:58 pm)

    Highland Park Action Coalition (HPAC),

    • WSB June 15, 2023 (7:23 pm)

      Yes, I know that, having covered them many, many times; I lazily took that verbiage from the introductory part of Brian Nielsen’s note, have fixed. However, the URL is correct. redirecs to HPAC’s underpinning site but is the URL they promote and that’s what I use (same deal with for example our side site for Community Garage Sale Day, we promote, which redirects to – TR

  • Low Bridge June 15, 2023 (6:06 pm)

    One thing in ever hear about is using the Seattle Police’s Mounted Patrol to help in the greenbelts or at Alki. Where are they used? I know they are based next to Westcrest but we never see them around the neighborhood. I cannot be cheap to fund that part of the organization. Has this ever come up as a suggestion?

    • Alki resident June 15, 2023 (8:04 pm)

      Glass, metal and needles are a big hazard for horses. That’s a no for me. 

    • oerthehillz June 15, 2023 (8:18 pm)

      Low Bridge: my guess is the mounted patrol is there for public relations and parades only.

    • They’re around June 15, 2023 (11:56 pm)

      As an Alki resident, I see the mounted patrol around Alki from time to time during the summers.

  • oerthehillz June 15, 2023 (8:13 pm)

    The things we do to deal with all this is an example of the worst parenting practices there are. Not setting boundaries, enabling, constantly picking up after, paying their bills, turning the other way, excusing from rules, on and on and over and over, without ever requiring any kind of accountability on their part. Gee, ya think it’s why the problem just gets worse?

  • Gatewood88 June 15, 2023 (9:00 pm)

    Why doesn’t WSDOT (and the city ) use this land that they clearly cannot manage-in a productive way. I dunno- build some affordable housing on it ?! Rather than piss away our money and ruin the environment allowing these encampments to flourish. 

    • John June 16, 2023 (12:28 am)

      Why tear down a green space for more housing?!

      • Burgerman June 16, 2023 (5:26 pm)

        Because the lack of housing is a large part of what’s driving rents and mortgages up so high the people cannot afford to live here or in a community where they work, in general.

  • Jim June 16, 2023 (12:27 am)

    I wish I got such understanding and compassion when it comes to paying property taxes late

    • WestSeattleBadTakes June 16, 2023 (8:09 am)

      Yes, we need more compassion and understanding.

      • Burgerman June 16, 2023 (5:31 pm)

        Up to a point. And then we need accountability including carceral punishment for those who continually refuse help or refuse to fall in line because they don’t want to live by the rules the rest of us have to. All crime is not born of poverty.

  • Amy Thomson June 16, 2023 (10:21 am)

    I feel for the people who are suffering in this situation, both the folks suffering from homelessness, and the people living nearby who are affected by the increase in crime, and the trash and general destructiveness of some of the people at this homeless encampment.  It’s tough housing homeless people, often with multiple needs: poverty, mental health, and drug addiction,  but this can’t be the first time the city has had to deal with dual jurisdictions.  You’d think they’d have learned how to work across the bureaucratic boundaries by now, and have practices in place for doing this.  I am Not Impressed by their floundering, and I am equally unimpressed by the foggy, indirect, bureaucratic jargon used in their press release. Both WSDOT and the city should do better!  

  • Jay June 16, 2023 (10:31 am)

    I understand compassion and restraint in dealing with encampments and their residents, but when they’re taking such extreme measures as bulldozing a greenspace and building infrastructure? What about the boat? When I think compassion, I think a honey bucket, trash removal service, relocation to safe lots and temporary housing, giving people hotel rooms so they can shower, access the internet, apply to jobs and go to interviews, and save up to get back on their feet. Turning a blind eye to major crimes being committed is not compassion. The destruction of this land is not okay. Open air bike chop shops with tens of thousands of dollars worth of bikes was not okay. Bonfires next to and under concrete infrastructure is not okay. That teenager who had her head smacked against a window in the Junction is not okay. We need compassion towards people experiencing homelessness, but it’s not acceptable that we’re enabling major property destruction, felony theft, and assault. The current approach isn’t compassion, it keeps good people living on the street while enabling bad people. It’s cruel to literally everyone.

  • WiseWoman June 18, 2023 (12:38 pm)

    Currently there is a stolen Subaru WRX at that encampment just a few hours ago. This and the murder and the catering to drugs and theft must stop. You can be homeless without committing criminal activity. Moving encampments just perpetuates the problem. They need to make individual places where people can sleep shower  have a set amount of secured belongings and get the help they need to be participating society members. Stop moving the issues and designate the places and have it security enforced. If they choose this life (they are) then they can choose housing stability or jail for breaking the law! Its called Accountability and it needs to happen to Bruce Harrell his crimes, as well as past mayors like Durkan & Murray on down to SPD on down the list to corporations, developers, government, each society member housed or unhoused. That should be equal treatment break the law go to jail set time for set crime no bail out after found guilty. When its equal the system will work. No difference in treatment due to money race etc will function properly. 

Sorry, comment time is over.