John & Shari: After clearing Ballard Commons, the hope is tents ‘won’t come back’
A homeless encampment and tents at Seattle’s Ballard Commons Park have been cleared as of this week.
“It’s about time,” a resident from a neighboring apartment building told KIRO 7 TV.
The city of Seattle said more than 65 people accepted offers of shelter or housing, but some declined.
One person KIRO 7 TV spoke to turned down the offer, a decision he says was mostly due to the location of the temporary housing he was offered. He, too, sees Ballard as his community. When asked where he would stay, he said maybe close to 15th Avenue Northwest, which is just blocks away from the park.
For those who didn’t accept housing, KIRO Radio host John Curley says the question is whether will people just move their tents to another block in Ballard, or to another park.
The city hopes that doesn’t happen, in part because cleanup of this park was a bit different, as host Shari Elliker explained. Seattle officials said it took two months, not two days, and part of the area was fenced off during the process.
“They got a lot of people — I think in both places, in Ballard Commons and Bitter Lake, there were only just a handful of people left by the time they were able to place people in other situations,” Shari said. “So the hope is that they won’t come back, and I guess they’ll have something in place for them if they start to put a new encampment up there.”
“It was wild — I drove by it a couple of times, it was intense,” John said. “So I guess crime will drop in those areas, and then — although you’re not allowed to outlaw homelessness. Or no, you can’t, what is it? You can’t criminalize homelessness.”
“We’ll see how long it takes — 15th is where they may be moving,” he added. “Bless them. Hopefully they find some place, get some real help.”
Listen to the John Curley and Shari Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.
- Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.