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Seattle residents plead for help from city clearing RV encampment, with no results

Lake City residents said they’ve reached out to the city, councilmembers and lawmakers pleading for help with no results.

SEATTLE — Trash bags are piled up on the sidewalk of 35th Avenue Northeast in Lake City. There are bikes with missing tires next to the line of RVs that line the busy Avenue.  

Neighbors have been reaching out to city officials, councilmembers and lawmakers looking for help in cleaning up the encampment, but they've gotten nowhere.

“It is really disappointing and it’s not the Seattle I knew growing up,” said Lily Crawford who grew up in Lake City and came back to Seattle after twenty years to raise her family. 

“It gets very volatile there, especially in the evenings,” said Crawford. Her kids aren’t allowed to roam the neighborhood like she did as a child. “And we have to explain things to kids that are uncomfortable like why people are having fires there, why the police are always there, why trash bags are there, why people are putting needles into their bellybuttons.”

Crawford is one of many neighbors at a loss over what to do with the RVs. 

“I think we’re in a huge amount of compassion fatigue, it was okay for a little while to have some RVs here, but it’s been a really long time now,” said Teresa Posakoni who has spent the last five months calling the city, using the Find it Fix it App and online portal.

“I don’t feel like there’s any coordinated response within the city, they’re pointing to different departments,” said Posakoni.

Recently five households wrote a letter to the Seattle City Council requesting immediate action be taken. They say it’s a safety hazard for kids with schools blocks away and trash and human waste are piling up and going into an environmentally sensitive area.

“It makes me feel frustrated and sad and really confused about what the city is doing about it. I like to think we’re a kind city and a welcoming city, but it makes me feel like we’re being taken advantage of,” said Crawford.

According to Mayor Bruce Harrel’s proposed budget, it would have 'unprecedented investments in affordable housing and homeless response in Seattle.' The budget includes $353 million to help pay for multifamily housing investments, King County Regional Homelessness Authority, and City Homelessness Programs and Services. However, that doesn’t fix the problem now. 

“They seem to use this space right here in front of my neighbor’s house as a public toilet,” said Crawford who spent her weekend cleaning up human waste along her street.

“There’s no answers, no, there’s no answers,” said Posakoni.

KING 5 reached out to Councilmember Debora Juarez for a comment but was told the council is in an all-day budget meeting. Mayor Bruce Harrell also declined an interview.

For now, some neighbors said they’re adding extra security and will continue to try and engage the city.

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