Police and outreach workers evacuated a homeless camp along Airport Way South near Interstate 5 and Interstate 90, very close to where a tanker truck crashed Monday morning.
They asked campers to extinguish fires and offered them rides to a nearby shelter out of concern they might be in danger near the overturned truck, which carried liquid petroleum gas.
The camp, where roughly 50 people have been spending the night, is scheduled to be closed and cleaned up by the city on March 7. The city says the camp is infested with rodents, filled with waste, and poses a public health and safety hazard.
“Over the last several months, this encampment has drawn police and fire response for increasingly serious public safety threats. Most recently, SPD arrested two men and is investigating others for sexual exploitation of minors. Aside from the sex trafficking, this includes multiple serious assaults, including a shooting and stabbing,” city spokesperson Julie Moore wrote in a statement.
Outreach teams posted the initial closure notice on Friday. The Union Gospel Mission is offering shelter and services to the campers and has been visiting the site for months, Moore said.