Man injured in another I-5 homeless camp fall

I-5 tents the day a man fell 50 feet and died (Images: CHS)

I-5 tents the day a man fell 50 feet and died (Images: CHS)

That camp area is currently cleared

That camp area is currently cleared

Thursday night just before 10 PM, yet another man fell from the walls above onto I-5 near the Convention Center, just below Capitol Hill. This victim was luckier than others. He fell only 10 feet, Seattle Fire says, and suffered only non-life threatening trauma.

The incident was the latest in a spate of similar falls in recent weeks along this stretch of I-5. Thursday night’s victim, like most of the others we are aware of, was headed to a camp on WSDOT property where homeless people set up and junkies shoot up along, above and under the freeway.

Earlier this month, a man fell near the same part of the I-5 express lane exit where Thursday night’s victim was injured. He fell 50 feet and died of his injuries after being rushed to the hospital.

A person beneath E Pine -- on a ledge high above the freeway

A person beneath E Pine — on a ledge high above the freeway

IMG_5577It’s not clear if there is a measurable increase in incidents or just a return to awareness about the I-5 encampments. CHS has reported on similar falls in the past. Here’s an example from 2011 in which a woman survived her fall. In another 2011 incident, this man died trying to cross I-5 on foot.

There are regular sweeps involving WSDOT and Seattle authorities to clean up the camps. CHS reported on a past effort here. The Stranger reports that Seattle homeless sweeps are increasing. One takeaway could be that homeless people are driven to more dangerous camp areas when this kind of push is underway. CHS reported earlier this year about the increase in trespassing enforcement around Capitol Hill as the homeless population showed signs of shifting up from downtown. What’s it like living under I-5? One cop called it a “no man’s land populated by the homeless, mental cases.”

Structured camps have managed to find new places to provide shelter for some in the area. Earlier this month, Nickelsville moved its Central District tents to a new space on state land across from the Dearborn Goodwill. With permits for only dozens of residents, the camps present a solution for only a small fraction of the estimated 2,300 people living on Seattle’s streets.

Meanwhile, the proposal for the new City of Seattle budget includes millions to increase and restore homeless services as the infrastructure erodes elsewhere in the county and the state.

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8 thoughts on “Man injured in another I-5 homeless camp fall

    • The camps use the ledge shown, but more are UNDER the convention center, out of camera (and news reporters efforts) view. And its dry under there.
      They enter via the Union St off ramp.

    • Timmy, we should cap I-5, using the money that was meant for the asinine waterfront tunnel (pull the plug already). For sure :-)

      However -HELLO!- for the cost of capping I-5, we could build housing for every homeless person in Seattle. That’s the disgusting thing. City Council has blood and broken bones on its hands by failing so incredibly miserably to deal with our homeless crisis and, in fact, is only making things so much worse by allowing developers to drive rents skyward.

      Then again, these are the idiots that bungles public toilets (remember that one?)

  1. I don’t understand why WSDOT can’t effectively fence off the areas along/under the freeway where homeless people camp. The argument is always made that homeless people are very adept at getting past fences, but isn’t there some kind of fence design which would be tamper-proof?

    Instead of sleeping in dangerous areas, homeless people have the option of going to a shelter. My understanding is that beds are available on most nights, except for really cold weather.

    • I encourage you to visit, or even stay overnight in, one of the shelters. It will become clear to you why some people will not go to a shelter. They are extremely well managed but they are dangerous and dismal places.

      • I understand that shelters are not very nice, but they have to be safer and warmer than sleeping on a freeway ledge. Some people repeatedly comment that shelters are “dangerous,” but I have not seen any media reports of crimes being committed in them.

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