Seattle removes unsanctioned encampment at Ballard Commons
An “unmanaged and unlawful encampment” in the Ballard Commons area was removed Monday by the city of Seattle after weeks of outreach and services. The encampment was creating a risk to public health and safety for the surrounding community, including an outbreak of Hepatitis A.
The tents and living structures were obstructing sidewalks and public areas, which created additional health risks. There had been 29 visits to this site by the city since March to offer shelter, remove garbage, conduct outreach, and distribute hygiene kits. Additional offers of shelter were made in the week leading up to the removal. Seattle’s Navigation Team received 19 acceptances of offers for shelter since April 22 from this encampment.
Those at the Ballard Commons encampment received 48-hours notice before the removal of the site. Outreach and offers for shelters continued up to and during the removal of the encampment, according to the city’s statement, including offers of shelter for all 15 people at the encampment again on Monday.
The city of Seattle opened 95 new beds available to the Navigation Team at tiny house villages and enhanced shelters.
“Individuals from the Ballard Commons encampments have primarily been referred to these new shelter resources, and the City is focused on using these new resources to bring individuals living unsheltered into safer and healthier conditions.”
Public Health — Seattle & King County helped to address the Hepatitis A outbreak at this site by distributing public health flyers and information, handing out hygiene kits, and coordinating vaccines. There were hygiene stations and sanicans in the area, provided by the Navigation Team and Seattle Parks and Public Utilities.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis and across Seattle, the Navigation Team has distributed 2,233 hygiene kits, 1,837 Public Health—Seattle & King County COVID-19 and Hepatitis A flyers, 352 meals, and hygiene services maps.”
Despite the outreach efforts and services provided to the individuals at Ballard Commons, the unauthorized encampment kept growing with worsening conditions that posed a risk to the health and safety of those both unsheltered and housed within the community.