Murray Asks Council to Greenlight Mass Homeless Eviction in ‘the Jungle’

Murray’s plan would relocate Jungle campers to an ad hoc encampment on an adjacent field.

Tuesday, Seattle City Council will introduce and refer to committee a resolution submitted by Mayor Ed Murray two weeks ago which, if passed, would signal council’s approval of his plan to evict the hundred or so campers the city believes are still living in the Jungle, an archipelago of homeless encampments beneath and along I-5. The mayor and the state Department of Transportation say in they need the area cleared so they can clean out trash and inspect the highway. But pressure against mass evictions has been growing from the public, advocates, and some city council members in recent months.

The proposal is more humane than earlier plans to simply sweep the Jungle clean of human beings. It would require the city to let campers move from the Jungle to an ad hoc encampment on an adjacent field at Airport Way S. and Royal Brougham. And, as written, it wouldn’t try to clear the Jungle forever: “No design solution will completely prohibit future encampments; rather, the intent is to make the area safer and more secure for everyone.”

On the other hand, Murray’s resolution doesn’t go nearly as far as a bill proposed by the state ACLU and others last month. Their bill would only allow the city to evict homeless encampments (in the Jungle or anywhere else in Seattle) if there were somewhere for them to go—either housing or another campsite, depending on the circumstances.

Real Change founder Tim Harris, one of that proposed bill’s signatories, acknowledges that Murray’s watered-down proposal “is an enormous improvement over their previous ‘plan’ for the jungle, but is no substitute for the more comprehensive approach” proposed in the advocates’ bill, he says.

According to the city clerk’s website, councilmember Sally Bagshaw is sponsoring Murray’s resolution and will introduce it when the council convenes on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Chair of the Public Health and Human Services committee, Bagshaw has said previously that she supports the advocates’ bill with minor changes. We’ve contacted her office to ask whether and how she can reconcile the mayor’s pro-eviction resolution with advocates’ anti-eviction bill.

UPDATE. Councilmember Bagshaw replies that she has “no conclusion yet” about the mayor’s bill.

This post has been edited to clarify that Murray’s resolution was transmitted to Council two weeks ago and that the ACLU bill would apply to encampments across the city.

More in News & Comment

What Becomes of Animal Rights Activists After the Action Is Over?

Peter Young and Justin Samuel helped launch a new era in the fight against fur. Then they went their separate ways.

Sound Publishing archives
State Gets an Earful on Legalizing Home-Grown Marijuana

Unique among the states that have legalized cannabis, Washington bans homegrows.

Judge Veronica Alicea-Galván’s courtroom just after hearing arguments on the I-27 lawsuit on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. From left to right: Mark Cooke of the ACLU-WA; State Rep. Drew Stokesbary, serving as counsel to the defendants; Bothell City Council member and I-27 organizer Joshua Freed; Jeff Slayton, counsel from the Seattle City Attorney’s Office; court staff; and the brown-coated shoulder of Dr. Bob Wood, former director of the HIV/AIDS Program at Public Health Seattle/King County. Photo by Casey Jaywork
Judge Blocks I-27, Saves Supervised Consumption Sites

The ballot initiative would have prohibited supervised consumption sites (CHELs) throughout King County.

King County Executive Dow Constantine tells President Trump that he is “failing the American people” at the protest of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ trip to Bellevue on Friday. Nicole Jennings/staff photo
Betsy DeVos’ Bellevue Visit Draws Hundreds of Protestors

“You are failing the American people.”

Photo by Casey Jaywork
DOJ: Seattle Police Are Complying With Consent Decree

But Judge Robart could side with monitor Merrick Bobb, who has said SPD is not in full compliance.

Steve Fournier (with microphone) and Loverboy lead singer Mike Reno (in glasses) on stage at Xfinity Arena last Friday. (Diane Webb /
Everybody’s Working For a Refund: Loverboy’s Concert in Everett Was a Flop, and Fans Want Their Money Back

Last month in Everett, the ailing lead singer left the stage and an audience member stepped in.

Trump Move Will Send Insurance Premiums Soaring in Washington

The state was prepared for Trump pulling the rug out from under Obamacare. But it’s not pretty.

Photo via Washington Convention Center
Sister’s Work Could Raise Conflict Issues for Jenny Durkan If Elected

T. Ryan Durkan has worked on projects ranging from the Convention Center to Sound Transit.

Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kirsten Harris-Talley speak to reporters in the Sam Smith room at City Hall on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 12. Photo by Casey Jaywork
Proposal: Tax Big Business to Raise Over $20 Million Annually for Housing and Shelter

Seattle City Councilmembers Harris-Talley and O’Brien want a #HousingForAllSeattle budget.

Most Read