Re: Tent City II in Seattle

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Wed, 10 Jun 1998 12:36:14 -0700 (PDT)


Well, it isn't quiet anymore!  I just listened to the News at Noon, and am
still furious!  The first "expert" (give me a break, a Parks
Representative!) said of encampments:  "This is a lifestyle choice" (first
words out of his mouth..bypassing brain entirely, I surmise). 

The entire piece gave the impression that homeless willingly refused to
utilize space at existing shelters, preferring the encampments, and
without the hint of interrogating how shelters might be failing to meet
homeless needs, or act in opposition to same.  Another park rep said that
the bulldozing of the Jungle was to *protect homeless, citing and
exploiting the recent murders in this area, and failing to validate that
the encampments themselves provide protection to residents, and help
circumnavigate the abuse of power that often occurs in shelters.

SHARE was mentioned briefly, "wanting to meet with the Mayor" and "will
give information about another encampment when the Jungle is bulldozed.

And today, Seattle was voted the best largest city in which to live.

gag me.  Pat Myers

(good luck, Anitra and SHARE!!!)



On Wed, 10 Jun 1998, Anitra Freeman wrote:

> I know it's been quiet on the Western Front.  I'm busy again.  Here's an
> update:
> 
> Locally, in Seattle WA, the City has been stepping up pressure to "sweep"
> the encampments, especially the largest central (and most visible)
> encampment, the "Jungle".  Recent murders among homeless women have been
> capitalized on, not to increase real safety programs, but to justify
> clearing the Jungle -- effectively making those who have to sleep outside
> even more isolated and vulnerable by scattering them.
> 
> I'm preaching to the converted.  To cut to the chase, SHARE has been
> talking with the Mayor's office for months about setting up a model
> encampment, and the City has been making soothing noises and dragging its
> feet.  They promised us that they would let us know before they actually
> cleared the Jungle, and we promised them that we would talk to them before
> we actually set up tents.  We wrote a letter last week saying that we have
> waited on them long enough; our people will be in additional danger when
> the Jungle is bulldozed, so as soon as the City clears the Jungle we will
> set up our encampment, with or without the City's cooperation.
> 
> Today at 2PM SHARE/WHEEL meets with the Mayor's office, fulfilling our part
> of the bargain to talk with them before we set up tents.  The tents and
> supplies are assembled, a site is selected, and word has gone out for
> participants to meet at 4th & James downtown to go out to the encampment
> site and set up. (The site location won't be publically announced until we
> are actually there.)
> 
> It is always possible that the Heavens will open, a great Light will
> descend, and the Mayor's office will say, "Well, yeah, until we have enough
> housing and shelter we *need* encampments, so here's 100 tents and sleeping
> bags and official permits, and what else can we do to help?"  In which case
> my next post will be all about the wonderful new cooperative encampment
> program in Seattle.
> 
> Hopefully, that will be a post, eventually, somewhere down the road.   But
> it is more likely to take a period of building pressure, with an open
> encampment as visible proof that clean safe encampments are possible with
> community support, and that the homeless community is doing more for itself
> than the Mayor's office that has vowed to "have every homeless woman and
> child off the streets by Christmas."
> 
> Last night I helped get tents, blankets, food and hygiene supplies ready to
> go.  I'm heading back to the SHARE office now to help get the word out to
> more people on the street.  It's raining today, but I expect that both the
> Mayor's office and SHARE are going ahead.
> 
> I'll keep you posted.
> 
> Write On!
> -- Anitra
> http://www.scn.org/~alf1701/ "Effective Activism on the Internet"
> -- help in designing and promoting your website and
> survival in the electron tunnels of email lists
> 
> 
> 

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"To live dangerously is to live
in the Borderland, where desire,
justice and love meet."
                    Henry Giroux