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Construction worker with RV fine says city has double-standard

(Don O'Neill, KIRO Radio)

A construction superintendent on a South Park project believes that the City of Seattle is not giving him the same treatment that it gives to illegal RV dwellers in the area.

Reuben Campbell told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that because “crime is really bad there,” he stays overnight in a trailer next to the job site to make sure that nothing is stolen or vandalized. Campbell purchased a $1,500 street-use permit for the trailer that is valid for three months.

Despite getting the permit, the Seattle Department of Transportation still checks up on Campbell regularly.

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“They visit the site probably once every two weeks just to make sure my permit is up-to-date and I have it,” he said. “I always do, I don’t know why they have to come out so frequently, but they do.”

However, according to Campbell, there are also drug addicts living in RVs at the end of the street who do not have permits. Despite phone calls from Campbell, SDOT employees “haven’t done anything so far” to check on them or make them move.

“It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever,” he said.

The RV dwellers are not the ideal neighbors, according to Campbell; since they moved in, crime on and around the construction site has increased. He has caught people trespassing in the building, as well as others attempting to climb the fence. He even found one woman using heroin in the site’s Honey Bucket.

It would appear, however, that the City of Seattle may have a different idea of what constitutes lawbreaking. When Campbell came back to his trailer on Monday, he found a $47 ticket for having an illegally parked trailer. He said that he got the ticket because he hadn’t been present to show the police officer his permit.

Campbell went over to other trailers to see if they also received tickets. On the contrary, the RV residents said that they had not seen any law enforcement that day.

“I figured that they weren’t just because it’s not something that the police department does,” he said. “I was right, and they didn’t get ticketed.”

Campbell said that he’ll likely just pay up because it’s not worth it to fight the ticket.

What upsets him more than the cost of the permit and the ticket, however, is that he feels the City of Seattle is holding residents who try to follow the rules to a different and harsher standard than homeless people who openly break the law and face no repercussions.

“To me it’s just sad, just to see that the culture of Seattle has turned into this,” he said. “I mean, it’s sad, it makes me angry. It’s hard to put into words.”


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