Encampment under Seattle Int. District overpass being cleared
Mar 29, 2023, 2:21 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2023, 8:49 am
(Photo from Sam Campbell)
Crews with the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) started clearing a homeless encampment under the Interstate 5 overpass Wednesday near King Street and 8th Avenue.
Officials with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority said they’ve been working to find housing for the more than 100 people who lived at the site.
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As of Monday, the office reported 86 of the residents have already moved into permanent and temporary housing — about 30 were still there preceding the clean-up.
The clean-up process, led by state transportation crews, began around 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The King Street and 8th Avenue encampment isn’t the only area being cleared by WSDOT, they are focusing on three main areas of the CID, according to a WSDOT spokesperson, including the north side of the I-5 at the Jackson Street underpass with the I-5 right-of-way paralleling northward up the hill up to Kobe Terrace. Other areas include the I-5 and King Street underpass and the west side of I-5 between the freeway and the back of the buildings along 8th Avenue between King Street and Weller Street.
WSDOT crews began tearing down tents, gathering debris left behind, and cleaning up the area. A spokesperson with the agency tells KIRO Newsradio it may take up to a week from now to complete the work.
It follows another clearing from the state under the Ship Canal Bridge. Officials said all 14 of the people there accepted housing offers.
“A lot of people will avoid walking under this specific overpass on King Street because of the mental health issues of the encampment, people are very threatening and unpredictable,” Yanamura said, who volunteers with a neighborhood watch organization called Chinatown safety patrol.
Just a few days ago, Seattle Police confirmed they found a dead body during another fire response. The cause of death is still being determined by the medical examiner’s office.
Tanya Woo, a Seattle City Council candidate for District 2, said she previously volunteered at the site.
“I’ve been out here applying Narcan and doing CPR,” Woo said. “We’re kneeling amongst needles and for people who are our age just dying here in the streets. You only have to see a couple of deaths to see this is not a way to live, this is not safe for people here.”
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Woo said outreach needs to happen much sooner than it does. Woo claimed outreach workers connected with people living here too late before the clearing was set up.
District 2 Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales’s office declined KIRO Newsradio’s request for an interview, citing a prior engagement.
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