City of Seattle held ‘scheduled RV Remediation clean’ in Ballard, RVs remain

Mar 23, 2022, 5:49 AM
homeless, Ballard...
RVs and tents in Ballard in November 2021. (KTTH, Jason Rantz)
(KTTH, Jason Rantz)

The City of Seattle cleaned up a homeless encampment along Eighth Avenue in Ballard on Tuesday, but said no vehicles were towed.

Seattle proceeds with second homeless camp removal this week

James Wlos, who has lived in his van for two years and served on the Committee to End Homelessness, told KIRO Newsradio that he believes the city needs to do more than tow vehicles and force people living in RVs or vans to move their homes elsewhere.

Wlos, who says he can’t afford both a house and a car without having a job, says his van has been towed before. Since he was laid off from his job, he says it’s hard to scrape together enough money to get the van out of the impound yard.

“It’s a hardship for those that have to be able to bail the vehicle out when we have been laid off from work, like I have,” he said.

While it’s in the impound yard, he says it’s common for parts to be stolen, including catalytic converters.

Overall, Wlos thinks the city should do a better job of offering services to people. He says he has never been offered services like housing, but would take them if given the chance.

“They come out here and write tickets, post ‘move it and lose it’ stickers on people’s vehicles, and I want an answer from the city of Seattle why we have to keep impounding somebody’s vehicle day after day after day instead of solving homelessness,” he said.

Data from Seattle HOPE Team finds that referrals lead to shelter placement in only half of all cases

The city declined an interview, but said in a statement that residents of the encampment in Ballard were given three days’ notice before the cleaning up of debris and waste. The city says several people moved their RVs ahead of time or during the clean.

Read the full statement from Seattle Public Utilities:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) work together on R-V Remediation projects. SPU is the lead agency with for cleaning up debris and waste. SDOT assists with parking enforcement related to abandoned and unoccupied vehicles.

SPU, in partnership with other City departments, implemented a scheduled R-V Remediation clean on 8th Ave NW near 47th street on March 23.

SPU crews schedule and perform several remediations per month based on assessments of areas where there are five or more R-Vs as well as the amount of garbage, debris, etc in that area. We also regularly perform area cleans near parked R-Vs.

For this R-V remediation, our crews engaged R-V occupants 72 hours before the clean, letting them know about the remediation and asking them to move their vehicles so SPU can thoroughly clean the area and dispose of the garbage and debris. In response to our engagement, several R-Vs were moved in advance of or during the clean. As of 2 pm, no vehicles had been towed.

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City of Seattle held ‘scheduled RV Remediation clean’ in Ballard, RVs remain