DORI MONSON

Aberdeen property owner can’t shake homeless squatters

May 10, 2018, 5:57 PM

Aberdeen, homeless, homelessness, Seattle, homeless crisis, homeless population...

(File, Associated Press)

(File, Associated Press)

The issue of people setting up tents in random places is not one limited to the Seattle area. Aberdeen property owner Mike Lang told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that there are over 100 uninvited guests living rent-free on his 8.5 acres of property along the Chehalis River.

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“In the last few years, we’ve run into the recurring problem of having a bunch of people … camp out on the river in violation of the city’s ordinances,” he said.

Lang described that the people are “building tent camps and almost a plastic tent city.” He counted that he has removed 200 shopping carts from the camps over the years.

Lang has gone to the city to complain several times, but said that the police don’t have the resources to adequately address the situation, and the city is at a loss for what to do about a seemingly eternal problem. As soon as the homeless people leave his property, Lang said, they will just go and camp out on someone else’s property, or even on downtown sidewalks in front of small businesses.

“As soon as you turn around, there are three of them camped out again … it just becomes more and more overwhelming all the time,” he said.

Part of the problem, he said, is that homeless advocacy groups tell the homeless people around Aberdeen that they have squatters’ rights and don’t need to move. At city meetings, Lang said, the advocacy groups paint the frustrated property owners as “heartless people.”

However, Lang said that it’s not heartless because the people being disputed are addicts who choose to not have a home.

“It’s not so much homeless as drug-addicted people who are living outside the law,” he said.

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