SEATTLE — The city of Seattle began removing a homeless encampment in the city’s Ballard neighborhood Tuesday morning.
Crews started removing the encampment at Ballard Commons Park at 9 a.m. The city posted signs around the park earlier this week warning of the removal of the camp.
At least two dozen tents remained at the encampment early Tuesday morning.
Residents and businesses in the area have been voicing their frustrations about the camp for months, saying the encampment has become a safety issue and a hotspot for crime.
The number of people living in unsheltered encampments has increased over the past few years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not the first time a homeless encampment in the area has been removed.
In May 2020, the city Navigation Team removed an “unmanaged and unlawful encampment” in the Ballard Commons area due to ongoing health and safety risks, including a Hepatitis A outbreak.
During a town hall meeting last month, Seattle City Councilmember Dan Strauss said he expected the camp to be cleared, but he did not present a clear timeline at that time. King County Regional Homeless Authority CEO Marc Dones said at the time the authority planned to continue outreach across the county, but also have a laser focus on specific neighborhoods.
The city of Seattle said it has opened more than 350 new units of non-congregate shelter in the past three months. Most recently, the Human Services Department announced the opening of Benu Community Home and Friendship Heights Tiny House Village. The two new shelters are expected to serve more than 200 people experiencing homelessness.