Seattle Council forwards bill to extend encampment eviction period

The Seattle City Council made a controversial move on homeless encampments.

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council referred legislation Tuesday, which in its current form, could give unauthorized encampments more time to move.

The Council voted 7-1 to move the measure to a committee next week.

The legislation, in its current form, includes language that would give encampments a 30-day notice before eviction. Currently, they are given a 72-hour window.  Seattle has moved 441 encampments, according to the City, in the past 10 months.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant spoke in support of the legislation on Tuesday.

"The city is literally spending millions of dollars moving homeless people from one street corner to the next and not solving the problem,” Sawant said.

The legislation was crafted by the local chapter of the ACLU and homeless advocates. 

Councilmember Tim Burgess was the lone dissenting vote, saying in part, "The proposed ordinance is not the balanced approach the people of Seattle deserve."

Eighteen different Chinatown International District business owners have written letters to the council asking them to reject the 30-day clause. 

Harry Chan, who owns Tai Tung, Seattle's oldest Chinese restaurant, said customers have been complaining about the rise in encampments, and concerns about safety. 

"I feel sorry for those people, but on the other hand, I have to look at that," Chan said.

The signed letter from Chan and others says, to "Increase the encampment eviction wait period from 3 days to 30 days would destroy our neighborhood economically. Please vote "NO" on the proposed 30-day eviction wait period to allow time for the Mayor's taskforce to explore more options and the impact they will have on the entire community."

Copyright 2016 KING


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