DORI MONSON

Bikur Cholim Cemetery taking on Seattle over $230K homeless problem

May 30, 2018, 3:58 PM | Updated: May 31, 2018, 11:18 am
Bikur Cholim cemetery...
According to officials with the Bikur Cholim Cemetery, this couple was caught having sex on the gravestones. (Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

A Jewish cemetery in Northgate is now taking on the City of Seattle for failing to take care of homelessness problems that have cost the cemetery nearly $230,000.

Bikur Cholim Cemetery Board member Ari Hoffman told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that his organization has filed a claim with the city. If Seattle does not respond to that claim, they will be able to file a lawsuit against the city. Homeless people have parked their RVs on the cemetery grounds and have made the holy ground an unsafe place. Hoffman called the situation “completely out of control.”

RELATED: Seattle’s Jewish cemetery overrun with crime

Over the past several years, the cemetery has seen problems such as needles and drug paraphernalia all over the grounds, unauthorized campers using the cemetery’s power and water supply, people barricading themselves in the bathroom, prostitutes and a pimp trying to enter the graveyard during a Memorial Day ceremony, and even homeless people having sex on headstones.

“You name it, it’s happened — they’ve even assaulted our groundskeepers at one point,” Hoffman said.

Bikur Cholim feels that the City of Seattle is responsible for the reprehensible crimes that have occurred because city leaders have created an environment that allows these acts to flourish.

“This is completely their fault; it’s their negligence that contributed to this,” he said. “And that’s why we had to spend all the money that we did.”

According to Hoffman, although the cemetery has been alerting the city since 2013 that RVs are illegally parked on the property, the city simply has repeatedly sent a form letter stating that nothing could be done about it. Councilmember Debora Juarez this year told Hoffman that, according to King County Superior Court case City of Seattle v. Steven Gregory Long, RVs are domiciles and the city can therefore not force them to leave.

“If that’s the case, the city is operating a giant RV park illegally,” Hoffman said. “So this is the city’s fault one way or another for not enforcing the laws that are on the books.”

Juarez did tell the cemetery board that the city was working on other solutions, including increasing police patrols around the cemetery, providing shelters for homeless people in the area, and providing more two-hour parking on North 115th Street.

Bikur Cholim vs Seattle

The cemetery’s current dollar amount spent addressing the issues is at $229,650. This number includes the cost of clearing woods and installing lights on the grounds so as to discourage campers, as well as the hiring of people to clean up the graveyard, monitor the grounds, and deal with any problems that arise on a daily basis for the past several years.

This dollar amount does not include categories such as theft, minor repairs, medical expenses for assaults, and security for the Memorial Day event.

There is already a chain-link fence in place around the cemetery that is locked, but Hoffman said that homeless people constantly cut holes into it “because they are so determined to get in there.”

He also pointed out that these problems are by no means limited to the Bikur Cholim Cemetery grounds.

“This is not a problem that is specific to the Jewish community, it’s a problem that is specific to the entire community and needs to be addressed,” Hoffman said. “And our city officials are failing us.”

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

landlord...
Dori Monson Show

Seattle homeowner sells rental, says he doesn’t want to ‘be a landlord here’

The owner of a West Seattle home describes why he doesn't want to be a landlord in the city and is selling his home with the tenants in it.
1 day ago
Seattle firefighters...
Dori Monson Show

Terminated Seattle firefighters turn in their boots

Seattle firefighters who lost their jobs over the COVID vaccine mandate dropped off their boots on Tuesday.
2 days ago
troyer...
Dori Monson Show

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer says he’ll fight AG’s misdemeanor charges

Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer is charged with one count of false reporting, and one count of making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
2 days ago
scam, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Meet the firefighter and deckhand who won’t get vaccinated

Washington state’s COVID vaccine mandate for most government, healthcare, and education employees is set to take effect Oct. 18. Meet the state workers who are leaving their jobs.
6 days ago
JAY INSLEE, covid...
Dori Monson

Dori: Inslee planning to push COVID vax through 2024

Gov. Jay Inslee has given himself extra-constitutional "emergency" powers for 19 months. Now it looks like he is planning to extend those powers.
6 days ago
seattle police, vaccine...
Dori Monson Show

Seattle police union president says some officers are ‘willing to walk away’ from job in solidarity

If Seattle police officers are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or haven't submitted proof by Oct. 18, they risk losing their job.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Bikur Cholim Cemetery taking on Seattle over $230K homeless problem