SEATTLE — Protestors and counter protestors clashed Tuesday evening over homeless encampments in Woodland Park and Green Lake.
What started as a protest demanding safety and homeless camp cleanup in Woodland Park, turned into a shouting match where counter protestors supporting the homeless, tore signs and made parents feel like their kids weren’t safe, so they left.
When concerned parents tried to share their message with KOMO News—they were interrupted, and our cameras were blocked.
“What the city is doing, what this guy is doing, is not working,” said concerned parent Jeff Lindstrom. “I just want my kids to be safe and to be able to come to the park.”
Still, the parents didn’t let the confrontation stop their message.
“Our city elected leaders have failed to really implement any sort of meaningful program to help the homeless,” said John Ward, concerned neighbor. “We really want the Seattle City Council to help the homeless people and also their commitment to all of us to keep the parks safe and open.”
Neighbors are calling on the city to get the unhoused help and make the parks safe again.
They believe the City of Seattle has failed to create a safe environment with the sprawling encampments.
Neighbors shared many stories of crime and harassment from the camps.
“Randomly out of nowhere, this guy brutally hits this guy in the face, knocking him out,” said Ward about a man who was attacked while celebrating his 70th birthday.
The City of Seattle Parks Department recently had to ban organized events and youth sports in Lower Woodland, affecting thousands of student athletes.
“They see people without pants on, they see items they shouldn’t see,” said concerned parent Amy Graff. “Today, I feel nervous about my senior who’s running through here.”
We talked to Merlyn Parker, who’s lived at the park for two years.
“I would rather be in a house," Parker said. "I'm not out here by my hand."
He said the campers need help finding housing and resources from the city.
He invites leaders, neighbors, and counter protestors to bridge their differences and have a conversation.
“I’d like to see people be more kind,” Merlyn said. “They need to think about where we’re at right now and why they’re acting the way they are.”
KOMO News reached out to the Mayor’s Office, The Hope Team with outreach workers and the Parks Department to find out what the plan is for Woodland Park.