MYERS WAY ENCAMPMENT: Updates from the city

(WSB photo, taken Friday morning)

Last weekend on partner site West Seattle Blog, we published an update on the Myers Way Parcels encampment Camp Second Chance, now officially “sanctioned” by the City of Seattle, and starting to get services as it prepares to expand. Tonight, we’ve just received an update directly from the city, mostly in the form of this letter from the city’s homelessness director George Scarola (including some information that was part of our earlier update):

Dear Community Members:

First, I want to thank those of you who could come out to talk with me at the second community meeting on February 1. A lot has happened since then, and I want to provide a status report on opening of Camp Second Chance and on general issues related to the City’s response to homelessness.

Importantly, I want you to know that Camp Second Chance will be ready to accept campers as soon as next Thursday, March 16. The site will ultimately host up to 70 adults. Patacara Community Services will operate the encampment.

Residents moving to Camp Second Chance are referred there by the City’s Navigation Team, comprised of outreach workers and specially-trained police officers, conducting outreach. This site will have ongoing trash-recycling-compost service, drinkable water, portable toilets, security, and pest control. As the camp comes online, Patacara Community Services will also provide case management to the campers to help them access services and housing.

Here is an update on the commitments we made in response to concerns raised at the February 1 meeting. As always, this is an ongoing conversation:

*Seattle City Light will install street lighting on the east side of Myers Way from Olson Place to the King County border starting Monday, March 13.

*The City engaged an environmental firm to do surface soil testing, and the results show safe levels of contaminants in surface soil.

*The City installed a perimeter fence to delineate the site and protect the wetlands.

*Seattle Police Department (SPD) has cited and towed several RVs parked along Myers Way.

I will be organizing a third community meeting in the coming weeks and inviting King County officials, the King County Sheriff’s office, dispatch officers from 9-1-1, WSDOT officials and SPD officers to discuss better coordination, on-going issues with dispatch calls, and improved response to reports of criminal behavior. For those interested, I have also enclosed the transcript of the February 1 meeting.  

Lastly, Patacara Community Services, with Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, will establish a Community Advisory Committee to provide input on the operations of the Camp Second Chance. This committee will be made up of residents, businesses owners, and other community stakeholders. Meetings will be public, and meeting notes will be posted online. If you would like to serve on this committee, an application is attached. The first meeting will be held in early April; more information to come.

Below are phone numbers that may be helpful for you: 
•         Police-Fire-Medical Emergency: 9-1-1
•         Police Non-emergency: (206) 625-5011
•         Patacara Community Services – Encampment operator: Polly Trout at (206) 465-6342
•         Seattle Public Utilities 24-hour line to report trash, illegal dumping or needles: (206) 684-7587 
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me or Patacara.

George Scarola

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6 Responses to “MYERS WAY ENCAMPMENT: Updates from the city”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I noticed on Sunday night that some of the lights on Myers Way have already been replaced with super bright LED – hopefully that will discourage some of the people that drive up and dump stuff in that area, as well as some of the other shady activity. The city also recently got some of the dumped or gathered/piled stuff cleaned up. If you see something new dumped in the area, report it ASAP! They say they will respond to needles within 24 hours and most other stuff within 10 days (hopefully less).

  2. The installation is under way on the east side today – we just went over for a photo.

  3. Fred Miller Says:

    The last trash pickup took about the full ten days.
    I suspect the cost of trash removal would exceed the cost of installing wireless video surveillance in a short time.
    The idea that it is infringing on someone’s privacy is absurd. It’s public property. We’re not talking about watching someone picking their nose, it’s a matter of illegal activities and public safety.
    There are so many suspicious vehicles frequenting the area that virtually every one is suspect. Few law abiding citizens visit the area anymore. The times our neighbors have visited and taken pictures they have been chastized for supposed harassment. I have seen vagrants dragging bags down the road but unless I see them depositing them I couldn’t swear they were leaving them on the side of the road. It’s quite a coincidence that after the motor homes depart there are piles of trash where they had been.
    Yes, there are residents who also drop off piles of junk. They are confident that they will not likely be caught because they see the trash being left behind all the time.
    Residents stopping to take a picture or get a license number may not be the smartest idea. There is an element of danger in law abiding citizens confronting someone breaking the law and manipulating a camera while driving is hazardous and illegal in the case of a phone. It is the function of the Law Enforcement we pay for to identify and capture the perpetrators and if they don’t have the time and resources to do so there are other ways it can be accomplished, like a simple video camera.
    Therein lies the rationale of my proposal to install a video camera to capture activities along the roadway. One good high definition camera strategically positioned high up on a pole in a location that would cover the entire area could help identify the culprits. Conspicuous signage along the road would help deter offenders.

  4. I would welcome city installed/monitored cameras there – and signs all over the place telling people about them. As for the time it takes for things to get picked up, it seems to be improving – and reporting asap is one of the most important things we can do – so the city can document, schedule and track it. I often assume someone else has reported it, but will not any more. The map they have on the site is cool too.

  5. White Centaur Says:

    Now that it’s lighter during commuting hours I noticed how many people are camping in the greenway to the east of Meyers Way on the hill. It’s visible from 509. Are those folks being outreached to, to move them into the sanctioned area?

  6. My understanding is that the city navigation team prioritizes their outreach to address those in places that are unsafe or disrupting public use first. I know that at least one person that had been camping in the greenway moved into the camp a couple of months ago. Camp Second Chance does accept applicants that come to them directly – and they have rules and a code of conduct that perspective residents must agree to.