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caption: Homeless advocates gather outside Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's office.
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Homeless advocates gather outside Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's office.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Closing the Jungle: 'People are going to get hurt'

Some homeless people and supporters are pushing back against plans to close the encampment under Interstate 5 known as the Jungle. They interrupted a Seattle City Council meeting this week and say they plan to keep fighting.


The protesters included people who live in the Jungle, or at other homeless shelters, and some concerned citizens, like retired accountant Anne Beach.

Beach: "Why have these people have been treated like animals? They’re not! They’re human beings."

Beach, 65, said she can’t fathom how the city can evict hundreds of people from the encampment.

The protesters briefly disrupted the council meeting Monday, chanting "Stop the sweeps!", then rallied outside the mayor’s office.

The Jungle’s been in the spotlight since two people were killed there in January. City and state officials aim to clear the camp in the coming weeks and help connect people with shelters.

Kevin Newsom has lived in the Jungle a few months.

Newsom: "Where are we supposed to go? Into resources that are already smashed and overflowing?"

He knows the camp is dirty and hazardous – he’s been hospitalized four times recently for bacterial infections. But like many others, he says affordable housing is impossible to find.

Newsom: "So when you start looking at reality of what’s happening, these tent cities are a must."

Some council members are still questioning the plan. And the eviction date is still unknown. But Beach – the concerned citizen – said she’s worried for that day to arrive.

Beach: "Some people are going to get hurt, and it’s going to be bloody. I truly believe that."

The group plans to hold another demonstration Friday at Westlake Center.