City and state officials have told residents of The Jungle, the sprawling Sodo homeless encampment, that they must remove all their property as the city will begin clearing the area in about a week and a half.
City staff and Department of Transportation officials posted notices at access points to the encampment on Friday morning, and also handed notices to any people they found in the encampment, said Julie Moore, a city spokeswoman.
Moore said staff from the Union Gospel Mission were on hand to offer services to residents, who would have to leave the encampment.
Earlier this year officials found more than 200 tents in the encampment, which stretched under and near Interstate 5 from Georgetown to Interstate 90. The city estimates there are 42 people remaining, after ongoing efforts to move residents out, Moore said.
Officials will begin removing property and clearing The Jungle at 8 a.m. Oct. 11, residents were told.
Personal belongings will be available to be picked up for 60 days at a city storage facility on Airport Way South near South Industrial Way.
“This is not an authorized area for storage or shelter,” the notice posted at The Jungle says. “Crews will begin work in this area. There is risk of injury from heavy equipment that prohibits general public access.”
Once the area is clear of people, trash and belongings, the Department of Transportation will begin work to upgrade a dirt access road to The Jungle area, said Travis Phelps, a WSDOT spokesman.
They’ll pave the road, Phelps said, so both emergency responders and Interstate 5 bridge inspectors can have better access. He expected the work to be done by the end of the year.
As the city struggles with its homelessness crisis, its sweeps of encampments have been plagued by disorganization and miscommunication that has often resulted in homeless residents losing their possessions, a Seattle Times investigation found.
The City Council is considering legislation that would require 30 days’ notice before an unauthorized encampment could be cleared, although “unsafe or unsuitable” encampments could be cleared with just two days’ notice.
Five people were shot, two of them fatally, at The Jungle earlier this year. An assessment by city, county and state officials after the shootings declared the encampment lawless, unsanitary and dangerous.