Story and photographs by Magnolia Voice contributor Steven Smalley
UPDATE: We spoke with Dewey Potter from Seattle Parks and Recreation regarding the encampment in Discovery Park. She says that when a situation like this is identified, the city first sends in representatives from a service organization to speak with the members of the camp. They will give them information and help with housing and services. They will visit the camp twice in an effort to relocate the people living there.
If the campers do not leave after those two visits, the Parks Department will post a notice for them to leave the park. After that a cleanup crew is sent in to remove the items at the campsite and break down the site.
A Magnolia Voice reader happened upon people camping in Discovery Park in the area adjacent to the sand dunes this week. She says there are eight to 10 people at a makeshift campsite. She says that she saw them burning a fire, cutting trees, and leaving human waste near trails.
The tipster takes daily walks with her dog through the area and was frustrated to see feces and other human litter near the camp.
?It was shocking to see them with big sticks…they looked like weapons,? she said. ?I would not want to go on that trail for awhile.?
She said it was the disrespect for the land that upset her the most. She called the Parks Department and other officials in city government until she got action and police stepped in to investigate.
Two SPD officers went into the park to question the campers and run their names through police computers for arrest warrants. It is unknown whether any were found. Unless they have warrants, police tell us that officers are instructed not to rouse the homeless in campsites like this one.
There is a link on the Parks and Recreation Department website to report illegal campers here.