UPDATE: Don would like us to begin referring to the illegal homeless camp in SoDo as “Murray’s Triangle.” You can grab a graphic to share on Ron’s Facebook page.
Dozens of rats scurry underneath and through the tents. Orange-capped syringes are strewn about. Tents sit up on pallets to keep them out of the mud, which is mixed with human and rat feces, urine and garbage. It’s a triangular swamp. Or, as KIRO Radio’s Don O’Neill dubbed it: “The New Jungle.”
On their ride along with the Union Gospel Mission’s search and rescue van Wednesday night, Ron and Don visited with many of the men and women living on the streets of Seattle. A considerable portion of the homeless population has relocated from the area known as “The Jungle,” an illegal homeless encampment located below Beacon Hill and under and around I-5. The Jungle gained national attention after a deadly shooting in 2016; it put the lawlessness in the area into perspective.
The Jungle has since been closed down. Thousands of pounds of garbage and debris have been removed from that area.
The Triangle aka ‘New Jungle’
Richard Michael Mcadams, a search and rescue specialist with Union Gospel, Mcadams said there were about 350 people in the Jungle and about 85 of them moved to this new illegal encampment that is a triangular-shaped wedge located under South Royal Brougham Way and Airport Way — not far from the Greyhound Station.
The space features a berm in the middle, where most go to the bathroom, which drains down the hill to the tents/tarps surrounding it. In other words, the former green space has transformed into a cesspool.
“We call it ‘The Triangle,'” Mcadams said. “It’s just a bunch of people that need help out here.”
Mcadams said the some of the former Jungle inhabitants moved to more secluded encampments farther down Airport Way, while some others found housing. Horrors from the Jungle have relocated to the Triangle. Mcadams told Ron and Don that the men run the camps. As for the women — while there is no prostitution, the women are often involved in sex acts to pay for drugs. Rape, stabbings and assaults are common, he said.
When asked whether the Triangle or Jungle was safer, McAdams responded: “It’s about the same, the only difference is up there in the Jungle, they were secluded so no one really saw what was going on. Here, it’s out in the open and out in the public’s eye.”
A horrified Don had this to say about the area:
If you can look at this? This is how people are living in Seattle, Washington right now. And if we’re throwing $100 million at this. I don’t know exactly how that’s helping and I don’t know why we’re allowing people to live like this. This can’t be a choice. I think what’s happened here is because people are living next to train tracks, an industrial area, by the interstate, they’re out of sight, so therefore they’re out of mind, and this can’t be out of mind. I see rats everywhere, I see needles, we’re stepping in mud right now, and people are sleeping on this. It’s not even raining tonight and you think what this is like in just a deluge. And for whatever reasons this is OK. This can’t be OK. And I would just say to the mayor tonight and the city council, and I’m sure they’ve been down here and they’ve walked through this mud, this can’t be OK. We can’t allow people to live like this.
Watch the Facebook Live video below to see The Triangle at night.