Pepper Spray Productions has produced a wonderful video with footage from our March and June encampments at City Hall. Why would 150 people care enough to voluntarily camp on pavement during a cold March rain? Watch and find out. Then contact Natalie to find out more about the Real Change Organizing Project.
Meanwhile, KIRO radio has an excellent story today on the weekly sweeps beneath the Cherry Street viaduct. The logic is inescapable. People who have nowhere to go will return. The City has anticipated this and, according to the Mayor's press spokesperson is moving to the next step: criminalization.
So what do you do when your guests don't want to leave? Alex Fryer, a spokesperson for the Seattle Mayor's Office, acknowledges the difficulty in moving people out of the area, "It's a constant struggle, it really is, we have a shelter system. We encourage people to use it, and we want to move those folks into transitional housing."
Many inhabitants of the area prefer the outdoor living to the thought of moving into a shelter, "Shelters are full and they're full of diseases. I'd rather sleep outside," says one person.
The homeless we spoke with didn't want to give KIRO Radio their names for fear the city would crack down on them. But the city is well aware of this particular site. It's just three blocks from the mayor's office. "We expect that there will be more of a deterrent as law enforcement goes in there and starts talking to people and making sure everyone understands the rules," says Fryer.
"Making sure everyone understands the rules" is a euphemism for writing no trespass citations. The area has reached permanent posting status and the city is moving to the next phase, as predicted.