‘We’re not safe’: Seattle seniors worry as homeless encampment expands

Daily Caller News Foundation

A homeless encampment next to senior living apartments in Seattle has taken to heavy machinery as a means of expansion, according to KOMO News, a Seattle-based news outlet.

The residents at Arrowhead Gardens senior living report hearing gunshots on a nightly basis and that the homeless camp has brought in tractors to clear trees for more RVs, KOMO News reported. The encampment has grown by multiple RVs in the past month, and they even built fencing between the road and RVs.

“We would like to have as much emphasis put on the protection of our home as they seem to be staying there,” said Arrowhead Gardens resident Diane Radischat. “It’s our front yard, it’s our backyard, it’s our home, and we’re not safe. They’re not safe.”

While the seniors have seen homeless encampments in their area before, the use of tractors to remove trees and fencing is unlike previous encampments.

“The other times were encampments, this one I call an occupation,” said Radischat. The area the encampment is on is owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

“They have a bobcat over there felling trees,” Radischat said. “This is state property. I think they have a lot of nerve to be felling trees. Why are they doing that in the first place?”

According to a Seattle Chamber of Commerce poll of 700 Seattle residents in the spring of 2023, 56% of residents consider homelessness the major issue for the city, followed by 38% saying drugs/public safety. Further, 59% of residents think that closing encampments would have a “very significant impact” on improving the quality of life.

Bonnie Baker, an Arrowhead Gardens resident, said her patio was struck by a stray bullet she believes came from the encampment. “We are very vulnerable people and we came here to live our lives out, we don’t feel comfortable, we feel scared,” Baker said.

“You have to take care of problems, next thing that is going to happen is somebody is going to be physically hurt or killed here,” said Baker.

“Homelessness is a complex issue with no easy solutions that requires a coordinated approach for the safety of those who are in need, nearby residents, the traveling public and our workers who must access sites for inspections and repairs,” said WSDOT to KOMO News. “We work closely with local partners, who have access to the resources and human services required to provide a pathway to temporary and permanent housing.”

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) did not immediately respond to Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment

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