SEATTLE — Outreach providers were joined by city and county workers Tuesday at City Hall Park in Seattle’s Pioneer Square to begin clearing what’s become a notorious and controversial homeless encampment.
According to an email from the King County Executive’s Chief of Staff April Putney, homeless outreach group JustCare and partner organizations have been working with about 52 people living at the park over the last six weeks to create a long-term plan for them to move into indoor shelter.
The initial planning was completed at the end of last week, Putney’s email said, with workers conducting the moves through this week.
These roughly 52 individuals will be placed in various 24/7 shelter options that include hotel-based shelters, tiny home villages and other spaces.
The county expects almost all of the individuals living in the park to accept shelter services voluntarily in the coming days.
On Tuesday, shuttle buses could be seen on standby to transport the individuals and their belongings to the various shelter options.
Seattle is closing City Hall Park this month for repairs and restorations, which will take two to three months to complete.
The encampment has been the subject of controversy after workers at the nearby King County Superior Court have blamed it for various attacks and assaults near and even inside the courthouse.
On Friday, frustrated courthouse workers held a walkout rally over safety concerns, calling on city and county leaders to ensure the area around the courthouse is safer.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 25 people living at the park had accepted shelter referrals. Some tents and people still remained.