Homeless encampment known as the Jungle will be cleared, but not fenced | KUOW News and Information

Homeless encampment known as the Jungle will be cleared, but not fenced

May 17, 2016

State and Seattle officials have a plan for emptying out a two-mile stretch of homeless camps under Interstate 5 around Dearborn. It means the end of the area known as the Jungle.

Officials say the plan is to keep people from returning - without building a fence.


TRANSCRIPT

The Jungle has been with us for decades, but the city and state says it will be gone in a matter of weeks.  

Scott Lindsay is the public safety advisor to Mayor Ed Murray.

Lindsay: “This site is uniquely problematic and we can’t let it stand anymore.”

It's the scene of murders, fires, drugs and human waste.

So over the next two weeks workers for Seattle’s Union Gospel mission will talk with the more than 300 people living there, connecting as many as possible with at least temporary accommodation.

Lindsay: “At the conclusion of that there will be a deadline where ultimately people will be asked to leave by law enforcement.”

At the same time, crews with bulldozers will move in to clear the place.

Lindsay: “There’s going to be a lot of heavy equipment involved and so it’s simply not safe. “

But officials know that many of the people who have been living there won’t or can’t go to a shelter.

It’s a concern for City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.

Bagshaw: “Biggest worry I have got is that if we don’t have places to put people, the folks are just going to scatter. And if they scatter down under 99 or they’re underneath other bridges, it just creates problems elsewhere.”

The city says shelters will have emergency staffing to take in everyone who wants a bed.

Another big question is what to do with the space under the highway so that people won’t come back to live there.

Officials say they will spend part of the $1 million given them by the state on redesigning the spaces so they can have other uses.