Seattle proposes three new authorized homeless camps around city
SEATTLE - The Office of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has proposed the locations of three new authorized homeless camps, with a fourth to be announced at a later date.
The camps will be located near West Seattle, Boeing Field and North Seattle and are expected to handle more than 200 people combined.
Since April, campers from the former Tent City 3 in Tukwila have been occupying land in the 9700 block of South Myer’s Way near Highland Park.
They’ve called their home, "Camp Second Chance." They have been under the threat of a forced move for months, but now the location has been picked as one of the sanctioned camps by the mayor’s office.
“We welcome anybody that’s properly ready to come into a drug free, alcohol free camp,” said Gregory Williams, a resident of Camp Second Chance. “That’s how we live here and we are proud of it.”
About two dozen tents occupy the city-owned land.
As an officially sanctioned camp, residents will be eligible to receive city services like garbage pickup and porta-potties. Currently the camp relies on donations of water, food and money. But, more importantly to the homeless, there is no threat of being removed, unless they violate the camp’s protocols.
“I think it’s the best thing to happen to this camp since this camped formed,” said Eric Pattin, another resident of Camp Second Chance.
But, the other two locations would be brand new encampments.
The second location is at 1000 South Myrtle in the Georgetown area. Right now, it’s an empty lot adjacent to a city fire station. But, it’s also right at the entrance to one of Boeing’s busy gates at Boeing Field.
“I’ve never got any notice about this, you coming in is the first time I heard anything,” said Bill Oliver of Johnston Industries, located directly across from the proposed camp location.
Several businesses owners and workers on the same block were also surprised at the news. All of them hearing about it for the first time from KOMO News.
“We'll come down Monday morning and we'll have mattresses and garbage and stuff just sitting out here,” said Oliver.
The third, and maybe the most controversial location, is a storage lot - just feet from the intersection of North 88th Street and Aurora Avenue North. It’s owned the by the Low Income Housing Institute and, for the time being, is a parking lot for moving trucks.
But, according to online crime maps from the Seattle Police Department, it’s a neighborhood that has a high number of reported crimes in the city.
“I can’t believe it, is this true?” asked a long time business owner who did not want to be identified. “This is an incredibly bad choice and we have business, homes and a middle school right nearby.”
The new authorized encampments are part of the mayor’s plan announced in October to provide short term shelter while the city solidifies it “Pathways Home” plan to house the homeless.
The plan calls for tiny homes to be constructed at the 88th and Aurora location while tents will serve as the primary shelter at the other locations.
The expansion of the authorized encampments will begin next year.