UPDATE: City, state crews clear 1st/Cloverdale encampment

(WSB photos)

11:18 AM: As reported here earlier this week, today is the first day of a clearance operation at the encampment that’s been growing on 1st Avenue South, just north of the Highway 509 Cloverdale overpass [map].

The road is narrow and traffic is backed up on southbound 1st in the area. The site includes both state and city land, so multiple agencies are involved. The first thing they’re doing is removing and towing vehicles.

Agencies on site include SDOT, SPD, SPU, and WSDOT, and they expect to be there “all day.”

Though the city and state say they’ve been planning this for months, clearance plans acquired extra urgency after a man was arrested at the encampment on Tuesday after allegedly shooting at his girlfriend.

4:18 PM: We asked state and city spokespeople for details on today’s operation. “Ten individuals were offered housing from the Cloverdale site, and all 10 accepted,” said WSDOT’s James Poling. He says the vehicles removed were on the city part of the site, so city spokesperson Lori Baxter addressed that: “A total of 13 vehicles were towed today from City property as part of this site resolution, nine of which were abandoned and partially stripped. One box truck, one RV, and one motorcycle were also included in the towed vehicles.” She added, “Outreach coordinators from the Unified Care Team were also onsite to offer same-day shelter referrals for anyone at the site that had not already received an offer of housing. One additional shelter referral was made.”

8:14 PM: We drove through the area late today – above, the view of the cleared site from the road; below, a section of fencing placed along the road just to the south:

29 Replies to "UPDATE: City, state crews clear 1st/Cloverdale encampment"

  • J March 29, 2024 (12:00 pm)

    A point of curiosity – How many vehicles were found on the site?  Of those were any of them stolen?

    • WSB March 29, 2024 (1:03 pm)

      I have already asked the state/city spokespeople for a report on that at day’s end.

  • anonyme March 29, 2024 (1:40 pm)

    What an appalling abuse of taxpayer money.  Imagine if all the money wasted on cleaning up after criminals was spent instead on education or infrastructure.  Those who made this mess should be the ones mandated to clean it up…every single scrap of it.

  • Denden March 29, 2024 (2:18 pm)

    I still don’t understand how things like this can grow into
    something that takes MONTHS to plan and DAYS to clean up. I drive by this place
    often and see people hanging around cars and junk every time. They park their
    cars and leave their waste. I park my car where it doesn’t belong, and it gets
    removed in some cases in less than 24 hours. Where do I look to find out more
    about how this happens?

  • Alki resident March 29, 2024 (2:45 pm)

    That encampment was there for way too long. There were so many stolen vehicles there parted out or burned up. I’m happy this is going away. Now I can feel safer going to Shrees again. 

    • Gas customer March 29, 2024 (6:04 pm)

      Shree’s has a second gas station on Delridge Way.

      • Alki resident March 29, 2024 (7:59 pm)

        Yes it does and  I use it if I’m on Delridge. I prefer the lower location. 

  • WSB March 29, 2024 (4:21 pm)

    Story updated with followup info from state and city – TR

    • JB March 29, 2024 (7:16 pm)

      Thank you everyone!

  • Sillygoose March 29, 2024 (6:10 pm)

    They steal our means of transportation, destroy our Green Space, and are offered a free place to live on my dime!! In a city that constantly cries budget deficit WHY IS THIS CONTINUING!!!!  

    • Alki resident March 29, 2024 (8:02 pm)

      It’s continuing because it’s big business. Those that are helping clear the sites, tow the vehicles, fence the locations, haul the dumpsters, etc, all get paid . That’s just a small part of it. 

      • 1994 March 29, 2024 (9:51 pm)

        Yah but if the city enforced the laws & rules on the books in the first place, in a timely manner, these hazardous sites would be prevented from developing and necessitating costly clean ups. The city could use the funding for preventative programs, housing?,  instead of the massive and expensive clean ups. 

      • Bbron March 30, 2024 (6:24 am)

        if you’re so conspiratorially minded, why not look also at how the continued fear mongering and bothering of vulnerable folks gives rise to uncritical support of SPD where then all those highly paid officers get to make a buck. much more than any of the folks cleaning up the encampment (which is already a much more dangerous job than an on duty officer!)

  • Erik March 29, 2024 (7:30 pm)

    Great to see that they all accepted housing!!! Always frustrating when they clear encampments and the majority don’t accept. Did they say what kind of housing they were offered?

    • K March 29, 2024 (10:09 pm)

      When “housing” is offered, it is a place on a wait list, temporary shelter (sometimes only a single night), or a spot in the Navigation Center, which is an unsafe horror show of people with all kinds of mental health and substance abuse issues waiting, usually for months, for a bed to open in a treatment facility or other placement.  Reasons people refuse this “housing” include losing connections to loved ones (many shelters are run by churches and will not let you cohabitate with a partner you’re not married to), fear of discrimination (especially for LGBT persons), safety concerns (domestic violence victims hiding from abusers), most don’t let you bring pets.  Or don’t have enough space if you have more belongings than fit in a suitcase or two (think RVs worth of belongings).  There are a lot of reasons people refuse this “housing.”  It’s not a bunch of low-income apartments they’re putting people in.  It’s not even tiny houses.  The “housing” options suck.  That so many people accepted it tells me either everyone at this camp is super naive or (more likely), they know the housing offer is a performative gesture so the city can say it tried, and it’s better to be on a list living in your car than just living in your car without being on a list.  Even though you don’t have an address for them to contact you when your name does come up.

      • Scarlett March 30, 2024 (5:48 am)

        Well said, K.   There are many reasons homeless choose to stay out in the elements, unhoused, rather than accept “housing.”  It’s not always an unwillingness to follow the rules or stop doing drugs.  Shelters that don’t accept pets is a big one.  

      • Erik March 30, 2024 (1:38 pm)

        I mean…still sounds better than camping next to the freeway or in a dangerous motor home encampment. Just saying.

  • Aly March 29, 2024 (9:09 pm)

    And then there’s Burien’s encampment…   Today another death and at the same moment a fire broke out in another tent. Businesses are at their wits end and it seems as though no one cares even though all this time they have people saying they’re homeless advocates “helping” them, how are they helping them? Somethings gotta give.

  • Z March 29, 2024 (9:42 pm)

    barton and 16th was also cleared this morning.  3 RVs. They usually come back in a few days.

    • K March 30, 2024 (7:24 am)

      They move between Barton, Henderson, and Cambridge.  Your tax dollars at work.  Sweeps do nothing to solve underlying problems.  They just inconvenience the people moving their homes a block or two every month.

      • Canton March 30, 2024 (9:32 am)

        And your solution is….?

        • K March 30, 2024 (3:08 pm)

          Build more housing.  Then provide it to people who need it.  Housing first.  It works.

          • Canton March 31, 2024 (7:52 am)

            Do you mean free housing…? Paid for by hard working taxpayers that already dedicate a large portion of their income for their own roof…? What we need is drug/mental health facilities, to take care of these people, that can obviously not take care of themselves.

  • bolo March 29, 2024 (10:10 pm)

    Ten individuals, 13 vehicles. That’s a little over WA state average vehicle per capita of 1.029 vehicles per person, but not way out of line. Montana leads with 1.934 vehicles per person. (2021 data)

  • Bucktoothbilly March 30, 2024 (5:40 am)

    Finally the City is doing the right thing.. yet our greedy American government gave up on the destitute of humanity..1st of all people are doing poison in the form of drugs, 2nd they are letting things get too out of wack and no policing, 3rd the wealthiest people are getting too wealthy and are not going to share a dime infact they are laughing at these types of problems. And 4th everyone needs to get their heads out of their @$$3$ and stop kissing wealthy people’s you know @$$3$!

  • aa March 30, 2024 (9:30 am)

    K – No one thinks this solves the underlying problem,. It does help clean up property, remove refuse, human waste, and abandoned vehicles from public and private land. It can be an opportunity to arrest people with outstanding warrants, reduce the contamination of soil, give people the opportunity to accept help if they are ready. Doing nothing because it doesn’t solve everything isn’t the answer either.  It’s like people who fight gun laws because it’s not solving the mental health issues. Complicated problems need to be dealt with from many angles.  I would like to thank the men and women whose hard work cleans up these areas and acknowledge that it must be frustrating when they have to return to do it all over again when it’s gets reoccupied.  

  • Tired WS Mom March 30, 2024 (8:47 pm)

    So next is the one across from the Delridge police precinct? PLEASE. What a mockery!

  • Alki resident March 31, 2024 (12:17 pm)

    Who owns the property across from Home Depot and the precinct? It’s beyond out of control and horrendous. It has to be infested with rats by now. I’ve seen three men there this far and one was hacking down a tree with a machete and the tree next to it looked completely destroyed as well. This needs to get cleaned up asap. 

  • Tim C. April 4, 2024 (6:55 pm)
    1. Not all the people there got housing the one’s that didn’t now stay behind the shell gas station also one of the vans that was down there was someone I know and now he’s losing his business that he just stared up and living on the streets with nothing no family or any where to sleep and looks like his giving up when he was almost about to start doing good in his life that’s sad how you guys think that the city is doing something good but at the same time there missing peoples life’s up 

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