Homeless encampment along the Green River resurfaces

A homeless encampment that was cleared out along the Green River just outside the city of Kent is back. The county has been handing out and posting flyers letting those staying here know they will need to leave by Oct. 12.

“What you’re seeing along Green River Road is just an example of failed policies,” Reagan Dunn, a King County councilman, said. “Since there aren’t any restrictive laws in unincorporated King County and the county has chosen not to, unfortunately, enforce those laws and codes, you’re seeing larger and more people out at these homeless encampments in unincorporated King County and that is a big problem.”

When the camp was cleared in July, there were an estimated 30 camps and about 100 homeless people living alongside the road and in the wooded area. Dunn estimates it’s closer to 200 people now.

“That was really window dressing. I mean, that was along the right of way of the road. That was it, you go up the trail, they didn’t clean up the encampments, the dugouts up there,” he said.

The encampment is just outside the city of Kent, which just approved an ordinance to strengthen its camping ban.

“I would say we are probably well, well into the 90th percentile where people refuse shelter,” a Kent police officer, who spoke at a city council meeting earlier this week, said. The ban allows police to remove encampments immediately in specific public areas.

“It really focuses on the concept that there is a lot of damage being done to the facilities that you all have invested in and it’s really focusing more on the effects of the action than the action itself,” a Kent city official said. However, the ban does not apply to the encampment along the Green River.

“It’s kind of like whack-a-mole. That’s what the mayors do, you know. You stop the homeless encampment here and it pops up over here,” Dunn said.