Sodo homeless camp to close over health, safety issues

The homeless encampment proposed as an alternative for people leaving The Jungle is scheduled to be closed next month over health and safety concerns.

First the homeless camps inside the East Duwamish Greenbelt, otherwise known as The Jungle, were closed. Now, residents of the camp proposed as an alternative by city officials say it’s being closed, too.

City outreach workers traveled to the camp Friday, going from one tent to another to inform people it will be closed for health and public-safety hazards, residents said. A cleanup of the camp is scheduled for March 7.

Residents of the camp Sunday met with supporters to discuss how to keep the camp open.

What the campers want is an opportunity to build a community, said Reavy Washington, who has lived at the Sodo camp for several months.

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“We have problems, but they’re the same ones that every other camp has,” he said. “And we can handle all of them if we got enough room and time from the city.”

The move to close the camp comes on the heels of a pair of recent arrests over complaints that three underage girls were sexually exploited and raped there. Several of the camp residents said they were unaware that the teen at the center of the case was underage.

Called “The Field” by its residents, the camp is located on a sliver of state-owned land near the intersection of Royal Brougham Way South and Airport Way South.

In August 2016, as outreach workers began encouraging people to leave encampments inside and adjacent to The Jungle, city officials obtained a permit from the state Department of Transportation to use the field as a transition site.

Seattle officials said at the time it would be used as a stopgap solution, while officials worked on plans to develop more permanent housing options. Several trash Dumpsters and portable toilets were delivered to the camp…

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