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. Continue reading

After Cal Anderson sweep, other Capitol Hill park encampments grow

A sign of protest before the Cal Anderson sweep

Though outreach efforts moved many campers into shelter in the sweep and clearance of tents and encampments from Cal Anderson just before Christmas, officials acknowledge camps have grown in other parks away from Capitol Hill’s core and tell CHS work to connect people to available facilities continues.

At one Seattle Parks field, Cal Anderson campers moved in immediately following the Friday, December 18th police raid and city worker sweep. Some brought vehicles and the shelter materials that had become parts of the scene for weeks along 11th Ave where Cal Anderson has now been officially reopened to the public after six months of closure.

Others joined the camps at Capitol Hill’s smaller park in the following days. A Seattle Parks representative tells CHS “there is no limit or measurement managed by SPR about how many people can camp.” Continue reading

Quieted by pandemic and trashed by break-ins and squatters, Capitol Hill gay dance club Neighbours says it needs your help to survive

(Image: Neighbours)

Break-ins and squatters have decimated the space home to Capitol Hill dance club and iconic Seattle LGBTQ venue Neighbours, shuttered for months under COVID-19 restrictions.

“After 9 years in Vancouver and 38 years in Seattle, Neighbours may have to close their doors,” performer Roxy Doll writes in a fundraiser plea launched to help the nightclub. “COVID-19 is one thing, but to have to replace and rebuild everything on top of being shut down for who knows how much longer. I don’t know if they are going to make it.”

The goal, Doll tells CHS, is to raise enough so that Neighbours can reopen again when restrictions are relaxed and to give any extra to a charity to help others.  You can give here.

But that day is currently a long way away — made even more distant by a mix of brazen and desperate actions. People breaking in cut through the fire door and even a walk-in freezer door at one point. The sound systems, all alcohol, lighting equipment, and all the cameras have been stolen, Doll said. The club has ended up filled with human waste, needles, and trash dragged in from outside. The floor and walls have been spray painted and tagged. Someone cut holes in the walls looking for copper pipes. Continue reading

Cal Anderson sweep: As snow temporarily blankets park’s problems, city tempers expectations about next steps — UPDATE

(Image: Renee Raketty)

A short burst of snowfall greeting the Winter Solstice across Capitol Hill also blanketed Cal Anderson Park’s challenges. Monday night, the park was busy with people enjoying the space.

For now, Seattle Parks says, Cal Anderson remains technically closed and the department has said weeks of work could still be ahead to fully repair and clean up the park. While there are hopes for new efforts to help Cal Anderson and make real changes to help address ongoing needs for shelter, addiction, and mental health resources, the first steps will be modest, according to details of some of the plans provided to CHS by city officials.

Meanwhile, the snow was also a reminder of Seattle’s challenges to help the thousands who live unhoused here. The city’s cold weather emergency shelters only open if there is a “a snow accumulation in excess of 1-inch and/or forecasted temperatures of 25 degrees or below.” Continue reading

Cal Anderson sweep — Day 3: 11th and Denny gunfire, pre-sweep molotov cocktail attack, sad update in park overdose — UPDATE: ‘Antifa soccer’ arrests

Seattle Police investigated reported gunfire on the edge of Cal Anderson overnight as the clean-up effort is slated to continue following Friday’s sweep of protesters and homeless encampments from the park. Meanwhile, a medical emergency in the park earlier this week had a tragic outcome, police say.

According to East Precinct radio updates, police received reports of multiple shots fired and three vehicles speeding away from the area of 11th and Denny early Sunday around 1:30 AM. There were no reported injuries or property damage and it is not clear if police found any evidence of the shooting at the scene identified by at least one witness. Continue reading

Cal Anderson sweep — Day 2: Police in the park, outreach update, graffiti removal, and plans for adding ‘ongoing connection to social services’ — UPDATE

Work crews clear the park Friday (With permission to CHS)

After a Friday raid and sweep to clear remaining campers and activists and the first day of work in what city officials say will be a weeks-long effort for Seattle Parks to clean and reopen the park, Seattle Police maintained a late night presence in Cal Anderson including a cruiser parked on the Bobby Morris turf. Overnight brought no reports of significant efforts from activists to reenter the space. A large group of protesters was reported in the area. Continue reading

SPD sweeps Cal Anderson to clear homeless encampments and protesters from park — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

Chief Diaz and Seattle Police officers sweep the encampment at Cal Anderson Park, on Friday, December 18 2020. (Tom Walsh/CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Seattle Police in riot gear and accompanied by armored vehicles and chainsaws to cut through makeshift barriers entered Cal Anderson Park Friday morning starting just before 8 AM in a sweep anticipated for days but met with little resistance.

Campers scrambled to clear tents and activists gathered to protect the park camps and protest for homelessness services and rights recorded police movements and shouted at officers to stop the sweep. Activists have vowed to continue to hold space in the area — if not in Cal Anderson, in a nearby house destined for demolition around the corner on E Denny.

Bicycle police pursued one group of black bloc marching in protest from the park on 12th Ave and moved into position near the yellow squat house. Continue reading

City of Seattle’s plan to sweep homeless encampments and protesters at Cal Anderson waits on judge’s decision — UPDATE: DENIED

Some of the hastily arranged barricades around encampments at Cal Anderson Park

UPDATE 4:30 PM: A federal court Thursday denied a motion to request a temporary restraining order to halt the planned sweep. More details and the full decision are below.

Original report: A Washington district federal court judge will decide the immediate future of Cal Anderson Park Thursday morning.

Is it soon to be cleared and swept of campers or will “community defense” volunteers mark a victory — however brief — in holding back City Hall?

The decision from Judge Richard Jones expected Thursday morning could open the way for Seattle Parks to move forward with its announced plan to clear Cal Anderson of tents and belongings.

Activists and black bloc protesters did their best to fill the park Wednesday, the city’s deadline for clearing the area after what it says has been an intensive outreach effort to offer homeless campers shelter across the city. The Seattle Police Department circled and patrolled the area of the occupied protest but did not enter the park to engage with protesters Wednesday and overnight into Thursday when Judge Jones was expected to announce his decision on a requested temporary restraining order to halt any sweep.

The federal civil rights lawsuit brought on behalf of “an unhoused resident of Seattle” put a daylong pause to any clearance plans Wednesday but lawyers for the Seattle City Attorney said further action to clear the park would be “imminent” if the request for the restraining order were denied.

The lawsuit been filed in U.S. District Court seek a stop to the sweep on behalf of Ada Yeager whose lawyer say has been living in Cal Anderson since early June and has been subjected to “repeated harassment from the City of Seattle by way of ‘sweeps.’” Continue reading

‘Community defense’ and activists — but not police — fill Cal Anderson as sweep deadline arrives — UPDATE: Restraining order ruling expected Thursday

Police circled Cal Anderson Wednesday morning but did not — immediately — move in (Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Activists and community defense volunteers filled Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Wednesday morning as an announced city and police sweep of the park appeared to be paused — if only temporarily.

Police did not immediately enter the park and made a few shows of cruisers and lights while a mix of law enforcement and media helicopters buzzed the area around the 7:30 AM deadline for the announced clearance of “personal property” from the homeless encampments and mutual aid activities inside the 7.4 acre park in the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

CHS reported here on the city’s order posted Monday morning to clear the park after months of closure, protests, and camping in the wake of the CHOP occupied protest and Black Lives Matter rallies and marches. The city says outreach workers have been in contact with campers including 40 in the past week with 10 being referred to shelter facilities. Continue reading

As it prepares to clear Cal Anderson Park, city cites neighborhood support from nearby property owners, Seattle Central College, and businesses — UPDATE

(Image: CHS)

The City of Seattle is citing support from property owners, businesses, and community groups as it prepares to clear homeless encampments and activists from Cal Anderson Park.

“The situation within the park grows worse and more unsafe by the day,” one key letter — sent to Mayor Jenny Durkan December 14th and provided to CHS this week — reads. “The park has now morphed into a safety concern for both the individuals within the park and the neighboring community. Violence, drugs, vandalism, and other harmful activities in Cal Anderson are adversely affecting our community members to the point where any park activation efforts cannot make any lasting impact.”

The December 14th letter is signed by Hunters Capital’s Michael Malone who owns properties across Capitol Hill including the Broadway Building across from Cal Anderson, Shelia Edwards-Lange, president of Seattle Central College, Chris Persons, CEO of affordable developer Community Roots Housing, and a dozen more signatories including property owners, small business owners, and the developer of the major mixed-use project rising above nearby Capitol Hill Station. Continue reading