Earlier: Members of Occupy Seattle plan to protest near Mayor Mike McGinn’s Greenwood home today, beginning at 4 p.m. The activists say they are protesting the city’s stance on homelessness.
From the Occupy Seattle press release:
At 4:00pm on Friday, April 20th, activists of Occupy Seattle’s Camp Safety workgroup, Media workgroup, and Food workgroup, together with soon-to-be-evicted resident’s of “the Jungle,” will stage a protest at the corner of Greenwood Ave. N. & N. 87th St., an earshot away from the Mayor’s house. The protest is expected to last through the weekend with meals being provided daily by Food Not Bombs and Occupy Seattle’s Food Group. A generator has also been donated so the Occupy Media workgroup can successfully cover the entire event.
Darryl Smith, Deputy Mayor of Seattle, is expected to attend and share a meal with the activists on Friday evening.
The protest was planned after word spread that the homeless encampment of West Beacon Hill’s “The Jungle” would soon face eviction by the Seattle Police Department. Based on uncorroborated reports of gunfire near the area and a need for Department of Transportation to clean, an eviction notice will soon be posted at the site, giving the 20-30 homeless residing there, 72 hours to pack up and disappear. “These people have nowhere else to go,” says David Delgado, a 37 year old social worker and member of Occupy Seattle. Protestors tout that the majority of the people living in “the Jungle” are already on long waitlists for housing.
Momentum and support strengthened when it was found that, contrary to news reports by KING 5, no social service workers or outreach had been done at the site. “The only service that was provided was the Parks Department came by with a number to the Crisis Clinic,” said Enoch Madison, a 45 year old US Army veteran and resident of “the Jungle.
With nowhere else to go, yet thousands of homes continue to sit vacant due to foreclosures, the protestor’s message is clear: Let’s change our process and approach.
We have a message in to the mayor’s office and will update this post when we hear back.
Mayor McGinn’s spokesman, Aaron Pickus, provided this response to protestors’ concerns about the homeless encampment on Beacon Hill:
Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith is the lead on a Neighborhood Action Team to help support the Beacon Hill neighborhood as we deal with challenges presented by the Duwamish Greenbelt. One of the outcomes of this work has been assisting in the construction of a new trail on the north end of Beacon Hill through the Greenbelt, accompanied with lighting. As a part of this ongoing work and since the trail has been opened to the public, we have heard concerns from the neighborhood about people camping in the Greenbelt south of Holgate, where the trail terminates.
South Precinct Officers had been hearing rumors of various assaults, including shootings and potential homicides in the East Duwamish Greenbelt and under I-5. There have been several reports of shots fired in this area over the last couple of months. During one recent incident possible suspects scattered as officers arrived; a pistol was recovered. The weapon is believed to be linked to other serious crimes. The intelligence gathering resulted in reports that weapons are hidden in that area and possible victims of gun violence/violent assaults (unreported) and/or natural deaths may be in these areas that are untraveled. The Anti-Crime Team has interdicted organized drugs sales under the freeway and has purchased narcotics there during the last month.
On Monday April 2nd, SPD South Precinct conducted a violence suppression/crime victim sweep. This work included Anti-Crime Team, Community Police Team, Department of Corrections, SPD Mounted Patrol Unit, SPD Bomb Dog Team, King County Search and Rescue, Northwest Disaster Search Dog Teams, SDOT/WSDOT, and patrol assets. The purpose was to ensure that access remains open to law enforcement, search for weapons (firearms in particular), and search the area for crime victims and/or persons deceased from natural causes. SPD arranged for the use of multiple bomb dogs to locate potential weapons and search/rescue dogs to locate potential victims. The K9 officers and the search and rescue dog teams largely used this as a training opportunity that could lead to the discovery of weapons and victims of crimes.
On Thursday April 12th, the Neighborhood Action Team sent representatives from Parks, Human Services, Neighborhoods and SPD to review two encampments that appeared abandoned based on staff and neighborhood reports. Both of these encampments are south of Holgate where there are a total of six to seven encampments in the Greenbelt. One of the encampments was determined to be abandoned. Staff determined that both of the sites being surveyed that day would require clean up based on litter, evidence of human waste and neighborhood complaints. It was determined that the encampments were on Parks property and a request was made to Union Gospel Mission to perform outreach with their search and rescue staff.
On Monday April 16th, Union Gospel Mission informed city staff that outreach would be performed the evening of the 16th.
On Tuesday April 17th, a 72-hour notice was posted at both of the encampments that had been surveyed on April the 12th. Clean-up has not yet been scheduled. The city policy regarding encampments, updated in early 2010 after consultation with homeless advocates, calls for on-going outreach before clean-up occurs.
Notices for clean-up have not been posted at the other existing encampments in the Greenbelt, south of Holgate.
Typically, outreach work includes telling those without shelter how they can connect with services and shelter. There is currently shelter space available at City Hall and Frye Hotel. There are also beds dedicated for those leaving encampments available at Roy St. and First Church shelters.