Video: New storefront deputy & bog-area encampments @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

That’s our video of last Thursday’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, with two major topics, plus some other updates:

KING COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE UPDATE: Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (explained here) is coming to White Center, announced Major Jerrell Wills, who says this is “a perfect location for it … another tool to help us help you … to address some of the homelessness, afflicted, mentally ill in our communities.” The state Department of Corrections has arrested some felons in WC, including “registered sex offenders that were not in compliance,” he said.

But the big attraction in the KCSO appearance (the sheriff himself, by the way, couldn’t be there after all) was the introduction of new Storefront Deputy Julian Chivington. “I’ve never had a job where I’ve had to do public speaking,” he warned. He talked about his background – born and raised in Ohio, served in the Army including “a couple tours in Iraq,” member of the KCSO SWAT team, six years in the Sheriff’s Office but new to this precinct.

He’s working “2 to 10 pm on a rotating schedule,” he noted. That’s a change from the four/10s that his predecessor Deputy BJ Myers worked. It’s a flexible schedule, Maj. Wills noted, so it can be adjusted for special events. But he’ll also be away at times for training and other duties related to the SWAT (Tactical) Team (including callouts). He *will* be at NHUAC meetings, as were his predecessors, he confirmed to NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin.

The discussion with KCSO reps also included safety concerns, one of which had taken up the first part of the meeting:

WHITE CENTER BOG ENCAMPMENT PROBLEMS: Wesley Chin from King County provided the first part of the update, including details of cleanup efforts – removing 6 truckloads of brush and debris, in hopes of discouraging encampments from returning. Assistance was also offered to those who had been illegally camping. It wasn’t just a matter of public safety, he said, but also a matter of protecting water quality. Ken Gresset also spoke, with more details about how they hope to “open up” the site in the next round of work, because, he said, it’s not the homeless people there who are the major problem, but criminals including sex offenders and drug addicts. So many hypodermic needles, in fact, that some volunteers can’t work there any more, he said – piles of them. They might try to get a grant to help pay for more cleanup.

In Q/A with NHUAC members, Gresset explained the problem isn’t just going to go away entirely – the area has so much accessibility and is convenient to services, such as the two drug stores just up Roxbury. Some of what he’s seen there, he said, was downright scary – even a “one-man underground bunker.”

OTHER NOTES: North Highline Fire District‘s board has a special meeting this Thursday, November 13th, at 5 pm, to talk about the implementation of the benefit charge approved earlier this year by voters.

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