Greenwood homeless camp grows, as does neighbors’ frustration

Dec 8, 2023, 9:02 AM

Image: Seattle Police Department officers stand at a homeless encampment just off of Interstate 5....

Seattle Police Department officers stand at a homeless encampment just off of Interstate 5. (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

Longtime residents living near the corner of 1st Avenue Northwest and North 87th Street in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood say the camp has been located at that corner since at least 2016. It has been cleared away and returned more times than neighbors say they can count. They don’t like it at all.

“It’s about the garbage, the needles, the human waste. They are destroying the property,” resident Diane Knezovich said.

On any given day or night, dozens of the unhoused call the corner home.

Just driving down the street can be a problem. A group of people were halfway across the road, many of them taking and selling drugs.

More from Seattle: City clears a homeless encampment in Ballard neighborhood

One nearby grocery store had to increase security to stop shoplifting and people who walk to that store tell me they no longer feel safe in their own neighborhood.

“The city comes through. I think it’s (the city’s) Parks and Recreation (department). They pick up their garbage but then a day later it looks like nothing happened and it’s really bad today,” Knezovich said.

But there are those who see the issue differently. Those who think their neighbors should show more compassion and more humanity.

“Part of it is safety, but I think a lot of it is a moral judgment they’re passing on these people and it is coloring their approach to how to deal with the problem, a resident named David said.

‘Sticker shock’: Despite past costs, Inslee seeks $100M to prevent homelessness

For now, neighbors say they will wait and hope something changes with the camp so they can get back to enjoying their neighborhood the way they once did.

“Billions of dollars have been spent, taxpayer dollars we’re paying, and for what? What are we getting here? I don’t know,” Knezovich said.

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Greenwood homeless camp grows, as does neighbors’ frustration