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City says removal notice doesn’t mean full sweep of Miller Playfield encampments — UPDATE

Seattle Parks says notices left with homeless campers at Capitol Hill’s Miller Playfield apply to only a portion of the city property and aren’t part of a full sweep of the encampments.

The notices left at encampment sites on the north lawn area require the area to be cleared by January 11th.

A parks representative said the area needs to be cleared for construction work of a solar microgrid project at the Miller Community Center.

Campers impacted are being notified that they must move personal property or it will be removed to a city collection site. The notice also provides information on shelter resources in the city.

The notice comes three weeks after police led a city sweep of encampments and activists from Cal Anderson. CHS reported on how encampments have grown in other Capitol Hill parks including Miller following the December sweep.

UPDATE 7:10 PM: Seattle Parks has released a statement on the situation:

In late December 2020, City Light requested the HOPE team’s assistance in notifying those living in nearby encampments about the project for their awareness only. At that time there were no tents or structures in the construction area or the construction staging area, and therefore no request for anyone to relocate. On Dec. 28, the project contractor erected construction fencing in preparation for work to begin on Monday, Jan. 4. Over the past weekend, a handful of tents were erected within that safety zone, prompting the notification. 

In order to allow a Seattle City Light contractor access to the construction area for the Miller Community Center microgrid project, and to ensure the safety of individuals living unsheltered nearby, today the City posted notices for personal property to be removed from the affected area by Monday, January 11. The posted area currently includes six tents.   

Outreach has been engaging those in the construction area and will be supporting individuals as they relocate out of the park’s work-zone area. Seattle Police will not be onsite, and will only be called if there is dangerous illegal activity.  

At Miller Playfield, the City has increased its purple bag program and litter clean up, and hopes to expand outreach in the coming weeks.   

The Miller Community Center microgrid project, which will provide backup power storage for the community center during emergency events, such as a windstorm or unplanned power outage, has been in development for several years. Seattle City Light awarded the contract in June 2019. Construction was supposed to begin in fall 2020, but was delayed due to COVID-19. 

UPDATE 1/12/2021 10:00 AM: Tents and belongings have been removed from the construction area:

Meanwhile, Seattle Parks has shut down the community center’s public restroom:

Crews were struggling to regularly clean the restroom at Miller because people were refusing to leave when staff came to clean. We have closed the restroom for now and have installed a sanican to provide restroom access. Sanican will be cleaned and restocked regularly.


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caphiller
caphiller
9 days ago

The removals “apply to only a portion of the city property”? So the jokers like @zion_1312 (from the tweet above) can continue to cos-play the anarchist revolution from another part of our public parks?

CHqueer
CHqueer
9 days ago

Zion “No face no case” sounds like a law-abiding, long-term Seattle resident that is vulnerable and marginalized. I am sure their presence on Capitol Hill has nothing to do with CHOP. LOL

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
9 days ago

The sidewalk on the N. Side of East John/Thomas between 20th and 21st Ave E. Is now blocked by a large encampment. Thoughts?

RWK
RWK
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Taylor

My thought is that tents which block a sidewalk should be promptly removed.

It appears that the “outreach” staffs are not having much of an impact on the numbers of people camping in our local parks. What exactly do they do? Is it just a matter of having a friendly chat and handing out some socks? If so, they need to be held accountable for not getting homeless people into more humane housing.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Taylor

<em>The sidewalk on the N. Side of East John/Thomas between 20th and 21st Ave E. Is now blocked by a large encampment. Thoughts?</em>

My thoughts are that Seattle dislodged a large homeless encampment from a nearby park, but didn’t provide any alternate means for housing. So where were they going to go, Timbuktu?

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
8 days ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

There’s ample non sidewalk space there.

p0rk-Zombie Puke
p0rk-Zombie Puke
3 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Taylor

have you ever been in a tent during a rainstorm when the ground becomes oversaturated? If not I suggest you go out and get into nature.

Remember this IS Seattle, rain is a constant and this has been THE WETTEST January on record ever. Maybe try understanding someone’s behavior before passing judgment. It’s not hard just STOP, think, and if you haven’t figured it out by then maybe roleplay yourself in their situation. Because no one will ever fix a problem if it’s not fully understood (except for maybe exceedingly rare shot in the dark scenarios I suppose). That means understanding primary causes, secondary contributing factors, variables, who’s effected, and any other pertinent contributing information.

Mickymse
Mickymse
8 days ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

Of course alternate means of housing were offered. A number of campers took those offers. Sure, we can debate about whether shelter options should be better, but I don’t feel sorry for people who refuse to take offers of shelter simply because they don’t like it. Would you feel the same way if you offered to share a sandwich with someone and their response was they only wanted a steak?

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
8 days ago
Reply to  Mickymse

<em>but I don’t feel sorry for people who refuse to take offers of shelter simply because they don’t like it.</em>

It’s clear your knowledge (and quite a few of your fellow MyNorthwest comment section refugees as well) of how homeless shelters work is flawed. People experiencing homelessness don’t refuse shelter because “they don’t like it”.

Every time somebody says this, my first response is to go spend a night on the streets of Seattle during a cold, dark, rainy night in January and then come back and tell me that people would choose that over a dry, warm bed. Until then, you come across as a fool.

There’s many reasons people would not accept shelter. Some of them are due to sobriety requirements, some have severe mental health issues, others are due to men vs. women and children, some are nights only and you’re on your own during the day, etc. “Popping into a shelter” with our current situation is not as easy as some people seem to think.

It’s also very disturbing that these are human beings who have hit rock bottom, whether by their own devices or not, and need our help. But all you and your MyNorthwest ilk can give them is complete and utter contempt and then turn around and complain that the problem can’t seem to solve itself magically and blame everyone but themselves (and of course the political party that you don’t adhere to).

This is not a Seattle problem, it’s a nationwide problem that’s the result of extremely poor economic and social decisions at the national level, compounded with decades of dismantling what’s left of our nation’s safety net. But hey, we were told “something” would trickle down with all those tax cuts on the wealthy, right?

Tom
Tom
8 days ago
Reply to  Mickymse

But they didn’t ask you to feel sorry.

CHqueer
CHqueer
8 days ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

My thoughts are that the Seattle City Council has created a right to privatize and destroy the public realm by eliminating the Navigation Team. Providing anarchists and drug addicts from across the region a choice between occupying a Seattle park indefinitely or going to a shelter is absurd. The billions of dollars spent on homelessness in King County should be redirected to emergency shelter beds. Once everyone is indoors, then we can focus on longer term housing solutions and treatment.

RWK
RWK
7 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

Exactly right! Many of the homeless are addicts of various kinds, and they don’t want to give up their habit for only one night (or more) by accepting shelter. In other words, they don’t want to help themselves.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
6 days ago
Reply to  RWK

Most shelters don’t provide drug addiction or mental health treatment.

But you knew that.

BER
BER
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Taylor

Thought: shit happens when you pay cops to displace encampments instead of paying for services

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
8 days ago

Put off the project! Let the people live on public lands! Let’s be brave during an international crisis. I’d hate to be in a high pressure situation with people that can’t just walk around a tent or be content with their own warm home and electricity.. Oh wait I AM!

Sojohnative
Sojohnative
8 days ago

The fact that immediate neighbors are experiencing an ongoing increase in car break ins and mail thefts (most recently experienced 1/8/21) is the tip of the iceberg.
The city council is allowing campers, but Miller Park is being starved of the usual maintenance, clearing walkways and common areas of leaves and litter, that the long suffering neighbors, most of whom accept and understand the situation, are feeling abandoned and deprived of the services they pay for.

Selena Goodwin
Selena Goodwin
8 days ago
Reply to  Sojohnative

Try asking the city why they keep sweeping these people from one park to the next, refusing to create actual long-term solutions to this problem. If they get swept from this place, where do you think they’ll go next? Why do so few residents understand this is not the unhoused folks fault—it is the CITY OF SEATTLE’s fault. It is AMAZON. It is SPD and their violent tactics. And most of all, it is housed people who don’t know what community or mutual aid is and only care about their fucking PARK.

Sojohnative
Sojohnative
8 days ago
Reply to  Selena Goodwin

Read my statement.

Rosho Rado
Rosho Rado
8 days ago
Reply to  Sojohnative

Speaking as a local resident only a couple hundred feet from the obstruction, abandoned is an understatement. At this point I’d settle for just not being kept awake at midnight and beyond from the very loud speakers that are playing music from the encampment nearly every night.

It is actually hell living here now.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
8 days ago

I’m really tired of being accused of being selfish or uncharitable because I don’t want these people living in my parks, which I pay for with my taxes.

Their occupation of the parks comes with a cost to the rest of us. It’s no longer safe for our children to play in the parks. It’s no longer safe for us to use the parks for recreation and exercise. We can no longer take a walk through the park and enjoy the nature, greenery, and community as we used to. We can no longer spend a sunny day reading a book and people-watching.

These are not trivial losses! The park experience is a core part of life in the city.

And this is to say nothing of the dramatic increase in crime that the neighbors suffer. Our “houseless neighbors”, like the proud antifa criminal in the tweet (“no face, no case” indeed) reject city aid, and instead subsidize their lifestyle with theft, prostitution and narcotics. There is also a large increase in vandalism and other property crimes.

Sadly, I realize that as a property owner with a family and a job I am at the bottom of the Seattle caste system. Whereas “no face, no case” guy is at the top of the totem pole. That gives him the right to do whatever he wants to me, my family, and my property.

steve
steve
8 days ago

The hilarious thing for me is people argue for the rights of the homeless to be there. They are fighting for their rights to live in unsafe, unhealthy, horrific conditions. That’s the best case scenario. Most, as you say, reject city aid.

I live less than a block from Miller Park and get woken up by homeless people going through the large garbage bin here. Almost bought a house here and instead bought a place in Bothell. Another gay man who has been living in Cap Hill for 20 years and had enough. Sorry that you’re going to have to continue accepting this idiocy.

A.Joy
A.Joy
6 days ago
Reply to  steve

From a person who has spent more than average amount of years on the street(Literly more than half my 46 years of life) I see both sides of this argument clearly. I believe strongly in human rights and this includes the rights of people who don’t have homes. During most the years I spent sleeping rough on the streets people weren’t trying to talk about the rights of homeless people. In fact this seems relatively new. Bathrooms and other needs were even harder to find, but I was still able. I was never a junkie but had plenty of friends with the sickness, they didn’t just leave rigs laying around! The needle exchange required you turn in dirty rigs to be exchanged for clean ones. I now understand you can just go get “cleans” without having a “dirty” to exchange. I had what I could carry in one backpack that I packed up every day and kept with me. I wasn’t trying to make a permanent camp I could fill with more than I could ever carry letting trash pile around me, I threw all my garbage away in a proper place (aka the dumpster or garbage can) what is being allowed to happen under the guise of protecting homeless people is doing just the opposite. It makes us targets for ire even when we don’t deserve or want to be lumped together with people who just don’t give a shit! What I find lacking in all the conversations I see is the other side of rights. This is responsibility. You can’t really have one without the other. Yes you should have a right to sleep in a park. You should also be responsible to use a toilet and keep your stuff cleaned up! You don’t automatically have the right to become a horder trying to build structures that would never stand up to code and let garbage pile around you just because you find yourself without a home. I find it interesting how often I’ve heard from my homeless brothers and sisters this fuck society attitude, yet without society most of their means for survival would be gone right down to the dumpsters being dived. We need civil laws to keep life civil for people who are without homes and people lucky enough to have them. I pay taxes too. Maybe not as much as some but maybe comparative or maybe more when it comes to the income gap. Please remember that we all deserve to feel safe. Rights yes! But also responsibility!

RWK
RWK
4 days ago
Reply to  A.Joy

Thank you for your perspective! I just wish all homeless people were as responsible as you were. All the trash, and human waste, are a big part of why the general population cannot support homeless camps.

A.Joy
A.Joy
4 days ago
Reply to  RWK

Letting people live in filth should never be supported. Especially if they are mentally I’ll! It’s inhumane and shameful. At the same time I also think it’s shameful to have single family house only zoning in the middle of any large city or town. If you want that type of housing move to the burbs, that’s what they were built for. All intercity land should be mixed income and mixed type housing inclusive. There are many cracks one can fall through and find themselves homeless but resource hording is closing all the doors that lead out of it to self sustainability. I’m convinced there is just too much money to be made off of having homeless people to really do anything fundamental for them. Just keep collecting money and try same old tricks that do that bare minimum but little to help in the long-term. Why not only hire people from the homeless community to run the “non profit ” that pay CEOs more than a livable wage? It’s time to get waaay outside the box!

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
8 days ago

How’d you get wifi on your flight back from DC? Much like the rest of the insurrectionists, you’re at the TOP of the caste system. This is why your tolerance for having to “just deal with it” is extremely low. I understand this can be a hard pill to swallow for someone in your position but I believe your family and property will help you get through it. Others are sleeping in parks to get by so it could be worse eh? Homeless people often have jobs and do and have paid many a taxes so if you can still hear me atop that very high horse you’re on.. uh.. i think i lost you.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
8 days ago

You’ve made a lot of assumptions about me that are completely false. But it seems you do that about a lot of people.

For the record, myself and my husband are both proud Biden/Clinton/Obama x2 supporters. Like every other decent American we have been horrified by the Trump administration since day 1.

You seem like you’re just full of rage and want to take it out on people by using the homeless as a weapon.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
7 days ago

Most of what I say is in jest, I know you weren’t in DC ;) You weaponize your privilege when you complain about poor people and the police come and hurt them and make their lives miserable. Shame on you for that. I do assume you have a roof over your head and food on your plate and that if that should be enough to keep you thankful and content. Why are you trying to make things harder for other people who are going through some of the worst times of their lives during a pandemic none the less? Why? Who do you think you are? Be happy for what you have and stop wishing violence on homeless people.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
7 days ago

I am not “trying to do” anything. I am just writing comments on a blog.

But you are very wrong to say that, simply because someone else is worse off than I am, that they have a right to commit crimes and degrade the lives of folks like me in order to improve their own situation.

And I’m sure you wouldn’t apply that logic if the crimes were impacting your life in the same way they impact mine and those of my family and neighbors.

RWK
RWK
7 days ago

Please provide proof that homeless people “often” have jobs. I highly doubt it.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
7 days ago
Reply to  RWK

People like ghost rely on overall statistics about all homeless people, ignoring that we are talking about a small subset when we are looking at tent campers and doorway occupiers. While it may actually be true that many people who are homeless for short periods, couch surf, double up with family or friends, use transitional housing, etc. do often have jobs, don’t have addiction issues and will accept assistance, they are generally *not* the people trashing our outdoor spaces. It’s not some sort of secret that these are the folks that have the most and most severe problems – very often with addictions and /or mental health issues and that they often resist all efforts that might change their lifestyle…

CHqueer
CHqueer
7 days ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

Well said. They use bogus statistics that apply to a much broader group of people in a broader area. The narrative around the homeless encampments in Seattle has been a lie for so long…they are from here….they have jobs….they don’t steal…they are more likely to be the victims of crime than perpetrators….it is an affordable housing crisis not a drug and mental health crisis…there is no room in shelters…where are they going to go?…letting them live in parks is compassion….most are bipoc….x% are children….30% are gay….if we tax Amazon this will end…if we build 10,000 new apartments for them there wouldn’t be people living in the park…mandatory treatment doesn’t work…heroin injection sites are the solution….it is like this everywhere. The people perpetuating the lies benefit from the status quo, are using the homeless encampments as political leverage, or are uninformed. Maybe they haven’t been in Seattle long enough to connect the dots? I agree that we have a major affordability crisis and that so many lost souls are a product of a sick country. I also agree that we should raise more progressive revenue and pay more taxes to help solve these huge systemic problems, but I call bullshit on the lies about the current encampment situation that has overwhelmed Seattle. We can’t fix it unless we acknowledge the reality. It will never end as long as we let people camp in the parks.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
7 days ago
Reply to  CHqueer

It’s so ridiculous to see so many voices on here that think they just have it all figured out but then offer 0 solutions, just hinting that the human garbage collectors should just sweep em off to the park down the street.

My plea to that audience is to withhold your endless complaining and witness the dire situation around us and consider what elements of our society create these situations and know.. know for sure.. that moving people 300 ft from where they already are will not solve anything.

All of these problems in the present are unaddressed issues from the past. All the solutions being instituted now will only bear fruit in the future.

At this exact moment we must be brave, not whiny babies. How stupid and worthless is a world where keeping the park tidy while millions are suffering is the top priority?

If you have a house.. and you have food.. Be quiet.

You’re already living your best life on land that was stolen and genocided by white supremasit colonists that none of us have any god given right to.

When you see poverty feel thankful and be quiet.

CHqueer
CHqueer
6 days ago

It is exciting to see so many voices speaking up against the zealots on the far right and far left that have controlled the narrative for too long and turned the country and city into a sh**hole with their ideological bullshit.

S. Martin
S. Martin
6 days ago

How can you live with yourself considering you’re living on stolen land?

A.Joy
A.Joy
6 days ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

Last I knew illegal drugs are still illegal. Rights AND responsibilities!

A.Joy
A.Joy
6 days ago
Reply to  RWK

I’m so sorry you haven’t had a chance to educate yourself enough to understand that many walks of life can find themselves homeless! Of course many people who aren’t lucky enough to have a proper home are working! I’d venture to guess their jobs are just as hard if not harder than yours, differences being most likely the pay gap. Would you be able to live where you do without support if you made minimum wage? Can anyone afford Seattle on min wade? Why is it that sitting in a comfortable place tapping on a computer pay better than being a janitor for instance? One we need to help keep public health, the other is just data, something invented and not as necessary as you’d like to believe. Even my waking up at 4am in order to be clean and ready to serve coffee to snobs was harder than some of the tec brat jobs. Harder still because I didn’t have a place to call home and if I ever showed up to work obviously homeless I’d probably lose my job. Wake up under the bridge and make it look like I didn’t so not to make the likes of you uncomfortable. Now days they call it “the hidden homeless ” please spend some time educating yourself!

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
6 days ago

The two outdoor toilets at Miller (with handbasins and sharps disposal) have been closed – see sign posted at Miller. A single port-a-potty has been provided at the Park on the N side of 20th & John/Thomas.
I’ve been told that the Miller toilets have been vandalized in the past (and deranged people have locked themselves in the toilets). Nonetheless, the access to sinks seems humane. Are there any workable short term solutions, other than the campers asking politely to use construction toilets, as they did when I lived there?

A.Joy
A.Joy
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Taylor

Closing bathrooms is definitely not a good or humanitarian solution! Everyone should have access to basic hygiene needs, especially in a pandemic. This should be a solid right. On the flip side we obviously should have a responsibility to not trash the place! Rights AND responsibilities!

Andrew Taylor
Andrew Taylor
5 days ago
Reply to  A.Joy

Self governing villages ( like the tiny house ones) would help campers police themselves , but there’d still be the issue of the ( voluntarily non compliant or mentally ill) people who get expelled.

A.Joy
A.Joy
3 days ago

Why aren’t we using county and state fairgrounds to allow homeless people a clean safe environment with proper facilities a place to simply exist? Why don’t we stop lumping all homeless people together and start seeing clearly that there are many solutions if we have the gumption to explore them and a willingness to include people who aren’t lucky enough to be homed into the conversation? I personally think some of the outage I see should be directed at the long standing and long failing practices of drug rehab centers. Catch, bill state (aka tax dollars) ,keep for 20-30 day program while they detox and get some “tools” , and then put ’em back out there (sometimes into halfway homes) with little to no safety net or follow up. Creating a revolving door that is also a sinkhole for tax dollars. I’d like too see treatment be treated as treatment not triage. Longer term (like a year) where real and fundamental help can be explored through counseling, medicine and life skills support. This way when people are graduating out they have a working skill and job placement along with a place to call home in order to maintain a new lease on life. There are many ways to fall down, let’s start building ladders and bridges and rising each other up. Let’s all stop thinking only of our rights but of our responsibility to each other too. We have all been shoved into boxes and some are starting to realize there is so much more possibility outside of the box. Take down the walls that separate. Talk with someone who has led a different life, learn from each other. Help each other grow. Except the things you cannot change but have courage to change the things you can.
I challenge you all to a social experiment, I’m sure because I believe in you that you can coordinate this, I challenge (both homed and not) to participate in that take a step forward or back depending on answers to certain questions experiment. I can’t remember what it’s called but I’m sure one of you can look into it. I hope you do. Some of you will realize how lucky you have been in life and how one might never make it too far forward while others might realize some of the reasons you can’t seem to move forward aren’t your fault while seeing other obstacles that you can get past if you so choose.
Take a stand not against each other but for each other.