Tag Archives: Encampment Sweeps

Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Mayor Jenny Durkan released the final budget of her term yesterday, Sept. 27, outlining the proposal at a very high level in a six-minute speech from North Seattle College. In the coming weeks, the proposal will be debated, analyzed, and rewritten by the Seattle City Council (the addition of 35 net new police officers is an obvious target for their red pens), and PubliCola will be covering every aspect of those upcoming discussions. For now, though, here are a few initial notes on the plan, which reflects better-than-expected revenues and incorporates a lot of ongoing federal funding for COVID-19 relief.

Continue reading Durkan Budget Would Gut JumpStart Spending Plan, Increase Funding for Encampment Response

Judge Strikes Homelessness Charter Amendment from Ballot

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article originally appeared on PubliCola and has been reprinted with permission.)


Late Friday afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Christine Shaffer struck Charter Amendment 29 (CA 29), the “Compassion Seattle” homelessness initiative, from the November ballot, agreeing with opponents of the measure that it went beyond the scope of the initiative process. Specifically, Chambers said, the amendment attempted to overrule the City of Seattle’s authority to determine its own homelessness and land-use policies — authority granted to local jurisdictions by the State Legislature that cannot, she said, be overturned by an initiative at the local level.

The amendment, if adopted, would require the City Council to spend a minimum of 12% of its general fund revenues on homelessness, dictating further that in the first year, that money would have to pay for 2,000 new units of “emergency housing” (shelter). It would also change local land use and zoning laws by requiring the City to waive code requirements, regulations, and fees to “urgently site” the projects it would mandate.

The groups that sued to remove the proposal from the ballot, including the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and the ACLU of Washington, argued that the voters of Seattle lack the authority to overturn these sort of legislative decisions and that the amendment would effectively undo the agreement the City and County made to create the new King County Regional Homelessness Authority. Judge Shaffer agreed.

Continue reading Judge Strikes Homelessness Charter Amendment from Ballot

March to ‘Protect Public Spaces’ Meets Anti-Sweep Protest at City Hall Camp

by Hannah Krieg

(This article was originally published by Real Change News and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


On the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 11, two residents of the City Hall Park encampment gingerly pulled their belongings out of what was among the site’s last remaining tents. In and out of the tent, they emerged with blankets, a pink backpack, a shopping bag — things that made up their home in the park at the foot of the 14-level King County Courthouse.

One of the residents borrowed a lighter from a couple on a nearby bench. They talked like neighbors.

Behind them, a Seattle Parks and Recreation truck was parked and appeared to be hauling away garbage. One of the residents asked a worker in a vest a question that was ignored.

Continue reading March to ‘Protect Public Spaces’ Meets Anti-Sweep Protest at City Hall Camp

OPINION: Courthouse Assault a Symptom of Failing Systems, Not Individuals

by Erica C. Barnett 


Last week, a 35-year-old man who had been released from jail less than one week earlier attacked a county employee in a women’s restroom at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. The assailant, a Level 1 sex offender with a history of attacking women, told detectives he had smoked “homemade meth” immediately before the attack. A police report filed after the incident indicates the attacker, who is a person experiencing homelessness, may suffer from mental illness.

The particulars of this case might lead a reasonable person to conclude that people who commit sex offenses need closer monitoring once they’re released from custody, along with access to housing and mental health care to prevent them from reoffending once they’re released.

Instead, the assault became a symbol for conservative officials, who suggested “solutions” that included sweeping dozens of homeless people from a nearby encampment and directing women to change the way they behave in public. 

Continue reading OPINION: Courthouse Assault a Symptom of Failing Systems, Not Individuals