@ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: The Myers Way dilemma

(NHUAC meeting video by David Krause)

By Marika Lee
Reporting for White Center Now

Despite miscommunication and accusations early on, Myers Way residents, King County officials, and Seattle’s director of homelessness agreed that there is no quick solution to the problems on Myers Way.

“We just can’t keep up with (the amount of homelessness). We have got to be more aggressive. We have got to figure out ways to do that,” Senior Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett said at last week’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, focused on the homelessness problem along Myers Way.

Concerns focus on two different situations: Camp Second Chance is the City of Seattle-sanctioned camp on the city-owned Myers Way Parcels, and unsanctioned camping in the woods on the other side of the street, along with long-running vehicle camping that has recently been swept.

Myers Way includes the border between the city of Seattle and King County. King County Sheriff John Urquhart, part of the panel at the NHUAC meeting, called it a “jurisdiction issue.”

“If they are living in the woods, there is not a lot that we can do about that. They are not trespassing if we do not have a victim to prosecute,” Urquhart said. The wooded area includes both city and state land.

Numerous residents of Myers Way and the surrounding neighborhood voiced their concerns about the two areas. One resident described the danger of driving down the street because of people wandering into traffic.

“I have heard that Camp Second Chance is in a state of implosion, that they are falling apart. That their structure is disintegrating. That they no longer have 24/7 guards in front of the gate. They are calling the police department regularly for response. We are hearing reports of violence. We are hearing reports of drug use,” a Myers Way resident said. (Recent trouble as the camp’s management changed was detailed in our report on the recent meeting of its Community Advisory Committee.)

Others described seeing people driving RVs into the woods, moving into a vacant house, and participating in drug use and prostitution.

Seattle’s Director of Homelessness George Scarola said he would look into the traffic issue, blocking off unofficial roads into the unsanctioned camp and doing a recount of people living in both camps. “We will work on the things that we can. I’ll get back involved with management,” Scarola said. The Low Income Housing Institute has taken over management. Arthur Warmoth, from LIHI, said the goal is to find housing for everyone in the camp and to reduce the amount of time people stay at the camp to three months. Residents and officials agreed that there is a lack of affordable housing for people to move into.

“We need to stem the tide of homelessness and people coming into homelessness as well. We don’t have enough resources to solve it,” said King County Council Chair Joe McDermott, who represents District 8 on the council, which includes White Center, West Seattle, and vicinity.

Multiple large-scale solutions were suggested throughout the meeting, such as creating an income tax or doing away with the 1 percent cap on property tax in addition to building more affordable housing.

“We have to figure out the subsidies for people to afford housing. It is a difficult problem. We are learning and trying new things,” Jarrett said.

In the short term, Urquhart encouraged people to call 9-1-1 if they see something and to know when they call what jurisdiction they are in so they are not transferred between his office, Seattle Police Department and State Patrol, which is a problem with mobile phone users.

“Call 9-1-1 if there is a problem. We are the government. We operate on statistics,” Urquhart said.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

One Response to “@ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council: The Myers Way dilemma”

  1. If taxes such as property taxes keep getting raised, we’re not going to be able to afford it. We’re struggling enough as it is now.

Leave a Reply