Shane Harms/Ballard News-Tribune
Campers hanging out last September. 12 campers were moved from the site after a verbal notice and signs were posted on tents and makeshift structures 72 hours before the sweep.

City sweeps ‘Ballard Jungle,’ relocates 12 campers

After numerous complaints the City conducted a sweep and cleanup on Feb. 9 at an area outside the Ballard Locks known in some circles as the “Ballard Jungle.”

The site is located along a an easement and embankment on the west side of the parking lot of the locks.

12 campers were moved from the site after a verbal notice and signs were posted on tents and makeshift structures 72 hours before the sweep.

“The City has received multiple complaints from the community that trash, waste and rats were accumulating on the site. … FAS(Finance and Administrative Services) staff inspected the site, confirmed the hazard, and added the site to the queue for cleanup. The cleanup effort was conducted by the City’s multidepartment outreach team (MDOT) with two members of the newly announced Navigation Team and their sergeant providing monitoring,” wrote Julie Moore, Communications Director of City of Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services.  
 
According to the City, YouthCare and Reach had both visited the site multiple times before the sweep occurred. Moore said all campers were provided alternative shelter locations, and one camper accepted a referral to Peter’s Place. Reach is working with other individuals to find an alternative location.

Two campers were found to be hoarding a large collection of possessions. Officials allowed those individuals to stay on the site longer in order to move their belongings.

“Reach is actively working to get them case managers and has made arrangements to meet with both for mental health evaluations and to help them fill out Section 8 lottery information for housing vouchers. MDOT and Reach are continuing a multi-day plan to help these two campers set apart the waste from possible items of value, if needed.”

The site has a reputation for large heaps of garbage building up and late night noise complaints. The Ballard News-Tribune reported on a growing trash heap and mounting disturbances at the site last September. Since then the trash pile has been moved and a dumpster was placed at the site as a pilot to mitigate the mess. However, Moore reported that the dumpster was not being used.
 
 

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