Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Dispatch from the Seattle Homeless Scene

 

For months, residents of Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood have been lodging complaints with the city about a homeless “camp” by the side of Interstate 5 near an onramp. More than one fire has occurred at that location and nearby businesses have been threatened by “campers.” KOMO News has a story on the cleanup of the camp [emphasis mine]:

Seattle’s Navigation Team spearheaded the cleanup with help from WSDOT crews and Seattle Police. They arrived at 9 a.m. Wednesday and cleared the lot by the early afternoon, offering resources to the campers who were forced to leave.

“I have a lot of anxiety,” Benjamin Eddy said. He’s been living in the Northgate encampment since it started. He’s been homeless for four years, battling drug addiction.

“I’m used to this,” he said. “They come here and they sweep the camps, and then we squish like a ketchup packet, and then we somehow come back together again. They need to find some better solutions, I know that.”

But many neighbors were excited to see the cleanup.

“It’s a big relief,” Jessie Singh said. He owns the Chevron across the street and says campers trespassed, harassed customers and one even threatened him.

“I asked him to leave, but instead of leaving he pulled a knife on me,” Singh said.

Neighbors complained to the City for weeks, some feeling ignored. But the City says planning a cleanup like this takes time. They had to bring in several agencies and special crews to clear needles, hazardous waste and trash. They even scraped the soil to clear waste.

…Under City rules, the Navigation Team had shelter beds available to every person cleared out of the encampment. They say, as of Wednesday afternoon, only one person took them up on that offer.

Some neighbors are concerned the campers will come back to that empty lot or another nearby. Eddy agreed, saying he would join them if the tents return.

“Not right away,” he said. “But I probably would if I knew I could get away with it.”

The main reason this got cleaned up was that it was on Washington state DOT property.

Very polite, those members of Seattle’s Navigation Team. If a vagrant does not agree to go to a shelter, he cannot be made to. No consequences.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 68 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Contributor

    In Minneapolis we had Sudden Camp Syndrome erupt in the fall last year, and it followed the usual narrative.

    1. The legality of the camp is irrelevant from the start.

    2. Its existence highlights a social problem of structural racism / inequity, which inhibits practical discussion of the camp’s impact.

    3. Then you get stories about the quotidian miseries of the camp itself – fires, overdoses – and the lustre of the camp’s usefulness as a societal critique is dulled.

    4. Then it is dismantled.

    5. Then it is forgotten. 

    • #1
    • January 9, 2019 at 10:11 pm
    • 22 likes
  2. Member

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    • #2
    • January 10, 2019 at 3:31 am
    • 9 likes
  3. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    I say Hollywood. And pass laws mandating persons with incomes over 2 million house them. 

    I know it is an unconstitutional solution, but I can dream.

    • #3
    • January 10, 2019 at 6:17 am
    • 7 likes
  4. Thatcher
    RushBabe49 Post author

    James, Seattle follows all the Minneapolis steps, until Step 5. Seattle’s Step Five is “It comes back”. No homeless camp is ever cleared completely. As the “resident” says, he will come back if he can get away with it, which he will be able to. Seattle bends over backwards to cater to its homeless, and spends more every year on them with no effect except more homeless come to town.

    • #4
    • January 10, 2019 at 6:18 am
    • 2 likes
  5. Member

    Patrick McClure (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    I say Hollywood. And pass laws mandating persons with incomes over 2 million house them.

    I know it is an unconstitutional solution, but I can dream.

    The problem with that is they can leave Hollywood – or anywhere on the US mainland. An island in the middle of the Pacific or the Carribbean? Since both are part of the US, they cannot get repatriation (they are already in the US) and they have to fund their own return. Besides, if you are in Hawaii, would you want to leave?

    • #5
    • January 10, 2019 at 6:22 am
    • 3 likes
  6. Lincoln

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    My guess is the same Hawaiian judge who rushed to issue the stay on Trump’s immigration law would rule that plan unconstitutional, under grounds of “you’re not putting those people in my back yard!

    • #6
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:03 am
    • 8 likes
  7. Lincoln

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    James, Seattle follows all the Minneapolis steps, until Step 5. Seattle’s Step Five is “It comes back”. No homeless camp is ever cleared completely. As the “resident” says, he will come back if he can get away with it, which he will be able to. Seattle bends over backwards to cater to its homeless, and spends more every year on them with no effect except more homeless come to town.

    Minneapolis also has the benefit of climate, in that homeless encampments there are far less appealing to maintain or bring back in January than they are where the warm Pacific currents mitigate the winter weather a bit (Austin and El Paso here in Texas seem to be the preferred places for the homeless to stay in the winter due to the milder climate than up north, though not with the types of encampments you’re seeing on the West Coast right now).

    • #7
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:08 am
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    In Minneapolis we had Sudden Camp Syndrome erupt in the fall last year, and it followed the usual narrative.

    1. The legality of the camp is irrelevant from the start.

    2. Its existence highlights a social problem of structural racism / inequity, which inhibits practical discussion of the camp’s impact.

    3. Then you get stories about the quotidian miseries of the camp itself – fires, overdoses – and the lustre of the camp’s usefulness as a societal critique is dulled.

    4. Then it is dismantled.

    5. Then it is forgotten.

    6. Then it reconstitutes somewhere else.

     

    Rinse and repeat.

    • #8
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:16 am
    • 2 likes
  9. Thatcher

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    My guess is the same Hawaiian judge who rushed to issue the stay on Trump’s immigration law would rule that plan unconstitutional, under grounds of “you’re not putting those people in my back yard!

    “Of course they aren’t going into your backyard. They’re going into your basement.”

    • #9
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:28 am
    • 2 likes
  10. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    My guess is the same Hawaiian judge who rushed to issue the stay on Trump’s immigration law would rule that plan unconstitutional, under grounds of “you’re not putting those people in my back yard!

    “Of course they aren’t going into your backyard. They’re going into your basement.”

    They would probably bring back sacrifices to the volcano gods once the courts overruled that judge, because accepting a ticket is a voluntary transaction between a municipality and an individual.

    • #10
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:35 am
    • 4 likes
  11. Member

    Most are drug addicts, mentally ill, or both (The people who are just down on their luck are usually in shelters and working to get out). They need help but choose to deny it. Seattle does seem to encourage homelessness. Why else would people choose such a rainy place to sleep outside?

    The rain, however, does wash away the stench of urine so Downtown Seattle doesn’t smell as bad as NYC.

    • #11
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:52 am
    • 5 likes
  12. Member

    Ironically, if a government set up a camp for homeless folk it would likely be accused of fascism.

    • #12
    • January 10, 2019 at 10:14 am
    • 13 likes
  13. Coolidge

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    In Minneapolis we had Sudden Camp Syndrome erupt in the fall last year, and it followed the usual narrative.

    1. The legality of the camp is irrelevant from the start.

    2. Its existence highlights a social problem of structural racism / inequity, which inhibits practical discussion of the camp’s impact.

    3. Then you get stories about the quotidian miseries of the camp itself – fires, overdoses – and the lustre of the camp’s usefulness as a societal critique is dulled.

    4. Then it is dismantled.

    5. Then it is forgotten.

    Nice job, RB. James commented on your post. This is the equivalent of playing hoops with Charles Barkley. Yes, James. Charles Barkley. ;-)

    • #13
    • January 10, 2019 at 11:11 am
    • 5 likes
  14. Coolidge

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Seattle does seem to encourage homelessness. Why else would people choose such a rainy place to sleep outside?

    I spent some time working downtown Seattle with homeless, in the Union Gospel Mission, and a women’s shelter. I spent time actually talking with the homeless, some drug addicts, some alcoholics, many both. 

    There are reasons that people choose to come to Seattle to be homeless (most of the people I talked to were not from Seattle): 

    First, there are beds for about half the homeless population that want them. So if you know where to go and show up early you’ll have a dry place to sleep at night.

    Second, there are hot meals for nearly all the homeless, at least twice a day.

    Third, the weather, though rainy in the winter, is mild year round. Not too hot, not too cold. If you can get under cover, you probably won’t die from exposure here.

    Finally, one guy told me he liked Seattle because he could buy a bus pass to get him from Everett to Olympia. He could, if he wanted to, ride the bus all day long. In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack. That’s how he made his…alcohol money. I sort of liked that guy. Enterprising young chap.

     

    • #14
    • January 10, 2019 at 11:16 am
    • 19 likes
  15. Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    Serious question: Is there an indian reservation close enough to Seattle that one could get there by municipal bus? One could get really cheap trade goods on an indian reservation.

    • #15
    • January 10, 2019 at 11:58 am
    • 2 likes
  16. Coolidge

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Most are drug addicts, mentally ill, or both (The people who are just down on their luck are usually in shelters and working to get out).

    Even so, why would this stop them from wanting a bed in a shelter? Full disclosure: I was homeless by choice, only for a couple of weeks, due to mental illness. It was summertime in New England: I appreciated that bed in the shelter. I cannot imagine why someone would prefer to sleep outside, even if the weather is nice and even if they are mentally ill. Every year, a couple of very severely mentally ill people freeze to death here in the winter, because they refuse to go to a shelter, but as far as I know, they represent a few hard cases: I have heard of a very small number of scattered homeless living in obscure wooded areas where no one ever goes ( when the weather is nice), and I assume that is because the shelters are downtown and in areas they don’t want to be in. But their numbers are very small.

    • #16
    • January 10, 2019 at 12:40 pm
    • 3 likes
  17. Coolidge

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    Serious question: Is there an indian reservation close enough to Seattle that one could get there by municipal bus? One could get really cheap trade goods on an indian reservation.

    ahem: Native American. Or if you are Canadian “First Nations.” ;-)

    I think so, yea. Not sure if the transit system goes out there or not.

    • #17
    • January 10, 2019 at 12:45 pm
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    Serious question: Is there an indian reservation close enough to Seattle that one could get there by municipal bus? One could get really cheap trade goods on an indian reservation.

    ahem: Native American. Or if you are Canadian “First Nations.” ;-)

    I think so, yea. Not sure if the transit system goes out there or not.

    I debated with myself which word to use, but I was under the impression that they’re still officially called “indian reservations” in the US. 

    • #18
    • January 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm
    • 2 likes
  19. Member

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    Most are drug addicts, mentally ill, or both (The people who are just down on their luck are usually in shelters and working to get out).

    Even so, why would this stop them from wanting a bed in a shelter?

    Shelters have too many rules.

    • #19
    • January 10, 2019 at 12:50 pm
    • 6 likes
  20. Member

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):
    Even so, why would this stop them from wanting a bed in a shelter?

    Some shelters can be dangerous. Also, some homeless have too much stuff to bring into a shelter or just don’t want to follow whatever rules there might be at shelter (no smoking, etc.). There is lots of help available but you can’t force people.

    • #20
    • January 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    • 3 likes
  21. Coolidge

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    Serious question: Is there an indian reservation close enough to Seattle that one could get there by municipal bus? One could get really cheap trade goods on an indian reservation.

    ahem: Native American. Or if you are Canadian “First Nations.” ;-)

    I think so, yea. Not sure if the transit system goes out there or not.

    I debated with myself which word to use, but I was under the impression that they’re still officially called “indian reservations” in the US.

    My wife is a card carrying member of the Lummi Nation. She attends school at…wait for it…the Northwest Indian College. But you ain’t supposed to call them Indians. For my part, I don’t. Because we have a lot of actual Indians living in this area. You know, people from India.

    My wife and I joke about. When we are making Indian tacos. Out of lard and white flour. Which is something that came about because of the “commodities” the federal government handed out. Wait…I should write a post about Indian tacos…because that’s a lot of cultural mish-mash right there.

    • #21
    • January 10, 2019 at 1:02 pm
    • 6 likes
  22. Coolidge

    Spin (View Comment):
    hen rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    I suppose it would be crass to point out that this would get him killed in New York City. Oh snap! There he goes again!

    • #22
    • January 10, 2019 at 1:04 pm
    • 1 like
  23. Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    My wife is a card carrying member of the Lummi Nation. She attends school at…wait for it…the Northwest Indian College. But you ain’t supposed to call them Indians. For my part, I don’t. Because we have a lot of actual Indians living in this area. You know, people from India.

    That’s where the question “Feather or Dot?” comes in handy.

    • #23
    • January 10, 2019 at 1:07 pm
    • 3 likes
  24. Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    Serious question: Is there an indian reservation close enough to Seattle that one could get there by municipal bus? One could get really cheap trade goods on an indian reservation.

    ahem: Native American. Or if you are Canadian “First Nations.” ;-)

    I think so, yea. Not sure if the transit system goes out there or not.

    I debated with myself which word to use, but I was under the impression that they’re still officially called “indian reservations” in the US.

    My wife is a card carrying member of the Lummi Nation. She attends school at…wait for it…the Northwest Indian College. But you ain’t supposed to call them Indians. For my part, I don’t. Because we have a lot of actual Indians living in this area. You know, people from India.

    My wife and I joke about. When we are making Indian tacos. Out of lard and white flour. Which is something that came about because of the “commodities” the federal government handed out. Wait…I should write a post about Indian tacos…because that’s a lot of cultural mish-mash right there.

    Apropos of nothing: Up here in the Great White North the Trudeaupian government has moved away from “first nations” and has worked really hard to replace it with “indigenous people”, If there’s one thing The Dauphin really hates, it’s nationalism. It’s the conservatives who use the term “first nations” these days, because we like nations (and also because “indigenous people” seems like a woke euphemism for “noble savage”).

    • #24
    • January 10, 2019 at 1:18 pm
    • 4 likes
  25. Coolidge

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    In his case, he rode the bus out of the city and bought cigarettes by the carton, then rode the bus in to town and sold them by the single or the pack.

    Serious question: Is there an indian reservation close enough to Seattle that one could get there by municipal bus? One could get really cheap trade goods on an indian reservation.

    ahem: Native American. Or if you are Canadian “First Nations.” ;-)

    I think so, yea. Not sure if the transit system goes out there or not.

    I debated with myself which word to use, but I was under the impression that they’re still officially called “indian reservations” in the US.

    My wife is a card carrying member of the Lummi Nation. She attends school at…wait for it…the Northwest Indian College. But you ain’t supposed to call them Indians. For my part, I don’t. Because we have a lot of actual Indians living in this area. You know, people from India.

    My wife and I joke about. When we are making Indian tacos. Out of lard and white flour. Which is something that came about because of the “commodities” the federal government handed out. Wait…I should write a post about Indian tacos…because that’s a lot of cultural mish-mash right there.

    Apropos of nothing: Up here in the Great White North the Trudeaupian government has moved away from “first nations” and has worked really hard to replace it with “indigenous people”, If there’s one thing The Dauphin really hates, it’s nationalism. It’s the conservatives who use the term “first nations” these days, because we like nations (and also because “indigenous people” seems like a woke euphemism for “noble savage”).

    Ok. I’ll keep that in mind.

    • #25
    • January 10, 2019 at 1:42 pm
    • 1 like
  26. Thatcher
    RushBabe49 Post author

    There are two Indian reservations, but they are about 20 miles north and south. Tulalip is North, and they are very prosperous. Muckleshoot is South. Both have casinos.

    • #26
    • January 10, 2019 at 2:45 pm
    • 2 likes
  27. Coolidge

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    There are two Indian reservations, but they are about 20 miles north and south. Tulalip is North, and they are very prosperous. Muckleshoot is South. Both have casinos.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Tulalip tribe is also making bank off all those shops and restaurants west of I5. And I think they get “per diem”. And they get commodities for making fry bread.

    • #27
    • January 10, 2019 at 4:15 pm
    • 2 likes
  28. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    They need to offer every vagrant a non-refundable one-way ticket to either Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A ticket to a tropical paradise is cheaper than dealing with them.

    There’s been rumors for years that the cops in Idaho buy bus tickets to Portland and Seattle for them.

    • #28
    • January 10, 2019 at 4:39 pm
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    Here is an excellent, albeit lengthy, article that I have been sending to as many people as possible.

    • #29
    • January 10, 2019 at 6:53 pm
    • 1 like
  30. Coolidge

    Susan in Seattle (View Comment):

    Here is an excellent, albeit lengthy, article that I have been sending to as many people as possible.

    I didn’t know you were still around, Susan!

    • #30
    • January 10, 2019 at 7:35 pm
    • 1 like
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3