SEATTLE - There's debate growing about a homeless encampment on Seattle's south side.
It comes just weeks after there was already focus on land along Myers Way. The City of Seattle planned to sell parcels along Myers Way to help pay for the homeless crisis. Then, last month, Mayor Ed Murray reversed course after some argued land should be preserved as green space.
In a twist, there’s now an encampment that sits just west of State Route 509, off Myers Way.
David Yu, a camp resident, said he lives at Camp Second Chance with his girlfriend and 1-year-old son.
“This is home for all of us. A lot of us here don’t have anywhere else to go but here,” Yu said. “We’re just asking the city to let us stay here for a couple months until we find our next spot.”
Residents received notice that the city would potentially clear the site on Tuesday. A truck came to pick up the portable toilets but then showed back up less than an hour later, returning those toilets to the site.
“We don’t know what he’s trying to do and we don’t think he does either,” Steven Means said about the mayor. “Well we’re going to sweep on this day. Well – maybe later. Uhhhh … not at all. Is that a policy?”
Means pointed to The Jungle, the area under Interstate 5. The Mayor's office announced the city was going to clear it. Then decided not to.
“Why wouldn't he allow us to stay on public land also,” Means asked. "I don't know if it's a double standard. What I think it is – is that there is no standard. He's doing it on the fly."
KING 5 tried multiple times Tuesday to speak with city staff about the issue. The Mayor's communications team said he was unavailable for an interview but a spokesperson said crews will likely clear the property along Myers Way later this month.
There are visible no trespassing signs on the fence. John Spisak said he lives nearby and neighbors are concerned about crime in the area.
“I think when you look around Seattle – it’s filthy. I think that’s a reflection on our mayor and our city council,” he said. “I think it’s our mayor’s responsibility to keep our city safe and clean.”
Yu said Second Chance is a sober camp with no drugs, alcohol or violence allowed.
“I would rather be sleeping here than sleeping on the side of the street or under I-5, in the Jungle or anything like that,” he said. “I’m not worried about anyone living here either because we all protect each other.”