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Problematic encampment below the Ship Canal Bridge cleared

A homeless camp under the Ship Canal Bridge has been cleaned up and 100% of its residents already have keys to other housing.

SEATTLE — Tractors picked up the last remnants of the East Pasadena encampment under the Ship Canal Bridge.

“To watch all of our stuff get shredded and put to the dump like that, that hurts,” said Summer who is homeless. Summer spent the day packing up her friends' belongings.

“Actually everybody here got housing and they’re already in their places, like they got their keys yesterday," said Summer. "That’s just incredible." 

According to the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, all 14 people who lived at the camp have accepted more permanent housing. This marks the sixth site to be resolved since KCRHA received state funding.

“It’s not right to leave someone under a bridge like this out in the cold and filthy, it’s not right," said Wallingford resident Kenneth Wilson. Wilson is also running for the District 4 City Council opening. 

Since April of last year, the Seattle Fire Department has been called to this encampment 11 times for fires or illegal burns.

“The crime that has gone on here has gone on for decades," said Tim Counts, another Wallingford resident. 

While this is the first time Counts has seen the camp closed in his decades of living in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, there’s hesitation this will resolve the problem.

“I’m 66 years old, I’m running out of time, I mean I have hope, but we have to do something,” said Counts.

This has been a long time coming for parents at John Stanford International School which is about a block from the encampment.

“As parents, we were concerned and were trying to be very kind and thoughtful with what we were sharing with our kids and the fear of the many things that could happen,” said Jennifer Ricaldi whose child attends the school. 

According to letters from the Washington State Department of Transportation, it first contacted parents after a shooting at the camp in late January. Since then, state patrol conducted regular safety monitoring until the camp could be closed.

“We know the people need to have a safe place to live, but we also need a safe place for our kids," said Ricaldi. 

The east side of the camp has been taken down. Later in the week work will be done to clean up the west side.

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