HPAC leaders and neighbors met with Kyla Blair, Director of External Relations and Outreach for the Mayor’s Office, to discuss the need for improvements for Highland Park Way and SW Holden intersection. We did brief walk through of the area during the height of the morning commute on Wednesday morning so the Mayor’s office could understand the impact of the back ups, lack of crosswalks, and cut through traffic in Highland Park. We look forward to Mayor Durkan addressing this issue in Highland Park in the near future.
NOTE: Due to scheduling issues, the Mayor will not be attending this month. Mayor Durkan will be joining us for in Fall 2018.
June meeting start time will be 7:00 pm and doors open at 6:30 pm.
Agenda this month will focus on crime and RV parking and policies concerning encampments on Parks Department property.
- Kim Barnes, Delridge Triangle
- West Seattle Emergency Communication Hub Captain Needed for Highland Park
- Additional Issues to Highlight for Mayor’s visit in Fall.
- Joint response from the Highland Park Action Committee and the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to the extended permit for Camp Second Chance on Myers Way
The neighborhoods of Highland Park and the various neighborhoods comprising the unincorporated urban area of North Highline are extremely disappointed to hear that the City of Seattle has extended the permit for Camp Second Chance for an additional 12 months at the Myers Way Parcels (Fiscal and Administrative Services PMA #4539-4542). With this extension, the camp will have effectively been present at the current site for 2 years and 8 months, easily exceeding the allowed 2 year stay duration for encampments as outlined in Seattle Municipal Code Section 23.42.056, subsection E.1.
Over the past decade, Highland Park has hosted three encampments and served as a staging area for a proposed safe lot for individuals residing in recreational vehicles. This burden has impacted not only our neighborhood, but the neighborhoods immediately south of us along the city limit. No other neighborhood in Seattle has willingly or unwillingly taken on as much and to the same extent!
REMINDER: National Night Out is August 7th from 6-9pm
Join us on Wednesday, May 23, 2018
All HPAC meetings are held at the Highland Park Improvement Club, 1116 SW Holden, Seattle, WA 98106 on the 4th Wednesday of the month (from Jan – June & Sept – October) Doors open at 6:30 – Meeting from 7:00 – 8:30 pm
HPAC Meeting Agenda
(Approved May 23, 2018)
The meeting was called to order by HPAC Chair Charlie Omana at 7:10pm, and the minutes for the March 28, 2018 were approved. Executive members present: Vice-Chair Gunner Scott, Secretary James Tucker, and Treasurer Michelle Glassley.
HPAC Executive Committee Updates
Meyers Way Follow-up Letter
The letters sent to the Director of the Human Services Department Catherine Lester were discussed. For the most recent letter, see HERE. Discussion continued with a history of the Meyers Way encampment, followed by discussion of the response HPAC received from Ms. Lester. The response letter is posted HERE for your reference, and further discussion posted HERE.
Meeting with Representatives from Mayor’s Office
Chair Charlie Omana discussed a recent meeting with representatives from the Mayor’s Office, including the Director of External Relations and Outreach. The Mayor’s Office solicited feedback from various neighborhood groups about how to improve communications.
Highland Park Way project Update
Chair Charlie Omana discussed a recent email communication with Jim Curtin who is managing the Highland Park Way roundabout project. In May 2017 $200,000 was committed for design of the roundabout. When asked about an additional $300,000 which was reported as being identified for the project, HPAC was told that no other funds have been committed.
City Council-member Lisa Herbold, who was in attendance at HPAC’s April 2018 meeting, believes that the $300,000 is committed to the project and will follow up on the situation. Currently, SDOT is completing the survey of site conditions, and expects it to be complete within 30 days of mid-April. After the site survey is complete, the design can begin. SDOT also has a public engagement plan which includes public meetings to discuss the roundabout project. HPAC Chair will be following up in late May / early June.
Mr. Curtin also relayed that a grant proposal was submitted for the WSDOT 2018 City Safety Program. He does not expect to hear back on whether the grant is funded until December 2018. The hope is for the project to move forward sooner rather than later, as costs will only increase with time. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.5M with $200K committed thus far.
HPAC is still seeking a mayoral visit to the neighborhood. There were discussions with the mayor’s office about inviting the Deputy Mayor to view the Highland Park Way traffic issue in a morning meeting. This will be communicated out once details are known. There was also discussion of having Mayor Durkan attend a future HPAC meeting.
Open Discussion on Timely Issues
The remaining portion of the meeting consisted of an open discussion of various topics affecting quality of life in Highland Park. The topics discussed are listed below.
How to build a greater sense of community in Highland Park.
- Highland Park Improvement Club
- Park benches
- Roundabout beautification
- Outreach to renters
- Night Out in August
- Create an HPAC listserv for multi-way communication
- Upzone of City Light lot at 16th Ave SW and SW Holden St. An upzone of the parcel would make development more attractive.
- 9th Ave Country Grocery and Deli property is for sale – Discussed rezoning of residential property to commercial to create a larger commercial space. Would require property owner to seek rezone
- Food markets
Transportation & Infrastructure
- Light rail
- Increase in service for bus line 131. An effort will be made to have a representative from King County Metro attend a future HPAC meeting.
- Bicycle service
- Ride-share / taxi service
- Crosswalk at 11th Ave SW and SW Henderson St.
Crime & Safety
- Property crime increase
- Car thefts/prowls
- Police presence
- New Seattle Police chief. An invitation will be made to the new Seattle Police chief, once named, to an HPAC meeting.
In attendance and providing useful information on their programs were the following:
The meeting adjourned at 8:25pm.
Submitted 5/6/2018 by HPAC Secretary James Tucker.
The next HPAC meeting will be Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018.
At our April 25th Open House, I communicated to our membership that HPAC had received a reply from Department of Human Services (HSD) director Catherine Lester (I have attached the letter in a link below for your reference). Although Director Lester replied to each of our concerns in turn, HPAC does not feel her responses sufficiently addressed the issues which we have brought to the attention of the Human Services Department as early as 2016. Namely, HPAC seeks resolution on the following three items:
1) The city’s adoption of our Neighborhood Protocols for Sanctioned Encampments
2) An accelerated timeline and concrete plans on the relinquishment of the Myers Way Parcels to the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department
3) A comprehensive plan that addresses jurisdictional issues related to providing services in the presence of homeless encampments, whether sanctioned or unsanctioned, at the interface of city, county and state lands (It should be noted that Director Lester affirmed that this issue was beyond her department’s purview, and HPAC will follow up with the appropriate contact to address this issue)
As such, a follow-up message was sent to HSD on April 25, 2018 by HPAC Vice-Chair Gunner Scott seeking accountability for the ways in which the City of Seattle addresses (or does not address, as the case may be) issues arising from the homelessness crisis. This follow-up was prompted by a concerned neighbor in Riverview expressing dismay at the continued presence and lack of enforcement of occupied, non-resident vehicles accumulating in our neighborhoods.
HPAC’s position remains that Highland Park has disproportionately borne the responsibility of accommodating the city’s responses to homelessness, hosting 3 encampments and absorbing the increase in incidental crime over the preceding decade. It cannot be stressed enough that Highland Park continues to suffer from a historical lack of public investment, and our neighborhood has seen no commensurate redress while we have hosted these encampments. We therefore believe that the most equitable response from the city would be to decline the renewal of the present encampment at the Myers Way parcels, and to enact a 10-year moratorium on any future encampments in our neighborhood.
Catherine Lester’s final day with the city is May 1, and present deputy director Jason Johnson will assume the position of interim director at HSD upon her departure. As chair, I believe it is in HPAC’s interest to momentarily table this issue during the staff transition at HSD and while we await a final decision on the permit renewal for Camp Second Chance. This time will allow HPAC’s executive committee to thoroughly explore all options and opportunities available to us to bring resolution to the issues outlined above.
Chair, Highland Park Action Committee
From Charlie Omana, Chair, Highland Park Action Committee:
On April 3 HPAC sent a letter to Seattle’s Human Services Department to follow-up on previous letters submitted in March of this year and December of 2016 for which we have yet to receive a response.
As you may be aware, Catherine Lester, Director of the Human Services Department, has tendered her resignation and her final day will be May 1, 2018. As such, I made sure to also address this letter to Jason Johnson, the current Deputy Director who has been appointed by the mayor to oversee the department in the interim upon Ms. Lester’s departure.
Given the length of time that has elapsed since HPAC’s original letter in 2016, I felt it pertinent to request a response from the city no later than Friday, April 27, 2018 addressing the concerns of Highland Park residents and surrounding communities concerning the Myers Way Parcels’ conversion to parks and the overarching issues related to having encampments in our communities.
I must inform you that at the most recent Camp Second Chance Community Advisory meeting, there was discussion about allowing the camp to remain in place longer than the 2 years allowed by city ordinance. Presently, sanctioned encampments can only stay at a site for 12 months, with an option to renew for a 12-month extension. Any changes to this ordinance must be made by the city council. Should the council decide to take up such an amendment, it may prolong the length of time for which Seattle residents and our neighbors in unincorporated King County can expect to see usable park space at Myers Way.
As the city mulls permitting Camp Second Chance for another 12 months at the Myers Way site, it is only appropriate that the city assume responsibility to the community by addressing our 3 requests (found in the letter text below) in turn:
April 3, 2018
Catherine Lester, Director
Jason Johnson, Deputy Director
Department of Human Services
City of Seattle
Seattle Municipal Tower – 58th fl.
700 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98124-421
Director Lester and Deputy Director Johnson:
I am following up on a letter that was sent to the Human Services Department on March 8, 2018 concerning the Myers Way Parcels, specifically, and sanctioned homeless encampments, generally. That letter, in turn, was a follow-up to letter sent on December 13, 2016 to George Scarola, Director of Homelessness under the administration of former mayor Edward B. Murray.
As you are aware, Camp Second Chance became established on the Myers Way Parcels in July 2016, meaning that the encampment has already been present at this site (in both unsanctioned and sanctioned capacities) for one year and nine months. Our most recent letter to you requested that Camp Second Chance not be permitted for an additional 12 months on Myers Way, and that a new site be procured for this camp outside of the boundaries of the Highland Park neighborhood.
In addition to not renewing Camp Second Chance’s permit on Myers Way, our letter requested the following three things:
1) Adoption of a set of best practices (manifested as our Neighborhood Protocols for Sanctioned Encampments which are enclosed below) by which the City of Seattle will abide prior to sanctioning an encampment in a given neighborhood.
2) An accelerated timeline and plan on when and how the Finance and Administrative Services Department will relinquish the Myers Way Parcels to the Department of Parks and Recreation.
3) A plan on how jurisdictional issues that arise from the presence of sanctioned and unsanctioned encampments at the interface of city, unincorporated county, and state land will be resolved.
Allow me to reiterate that per the 2010 United States Census, Highland Park has a lower median income ($47,600) and a higher proportion of residents who identify as a person of color (50.2%) compared to Seattle as a whole ($74,458 and 33.7%, respectively). Our historically working-class neighborhood has suffered from a lack of investment going back at least a century and from being redlined in the 1930s. Yet we have overwhelmingly borne the burden of the city’s response to homelessness by hosting three encampments over the last ten years and serving as a staging area for a proposed safe lot for those residing in vehicles.
The residents of Highland Park and surrounding communities rallied to preserve the Myers Way Parcels as recreational space for the enjoyment of all citizens. Despite our limited resources, we have risen to the challenges brought by the homelessness crisis and have gone beyond what most other neighborhoods in Seattle have been asked to do. The neighborhood of Highland Park now implores the City of Seattle to demonstrate its commitment to equity by responding to our requests as outlined above.
To that end, we respectfully ask to receive a response to our requests by Friday, April 27, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Chair, Highland Park Action Committee
CC: Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
Council Member Lisa Herbold, Chair: Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development and Arts
Council Member Kshama Sawant, Chair: Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights
Suggested Neighborhood Protocols for Sanctioned Encampments
For the Neighborhood
A. Provide information what other sites were investigated and the reasons why that site was chosen.
i. For the Myers Way site – why no other site in West Seattle were viable.
B. Provide information on how the race and social justice tool was used in deciding upon the proposed site.
C. Identify and work with the neighborhood groups/committees to put together community info sessions including locations, dates, and outreach methods to present the plan for the neighborhoods and the encampment.
D. Develop outreach materials that are multilingual and provide language and sign interpreters at community meetings.
E. Utilize trained facilitators to run community meetings and have present the Dept. of Neighborhoods, Dept. of Health, Director of Homelessness, SPD, the non-profit charged with outreach and support of the encampment, and any other relevant Departments and decision makers that can answer questions and make decisions. Take our feedback and incorporate any additional needs/resources.
F. Publish final plan prior to encampment being permitted.
A. Provide a written agreement between Neighborhood Group(s) and the City on how long the site will remain, the size of the encampment, how the encampment will be constructed, and how it will be deconstructed.
i. For the Myers Way site – we are requesting the one year permit for the sanctioned encampment to be retroactive to when the camp was established in July 1, 2016. Therefore, a one year permit until July 1, 2017.
ii. That Highland Park, Myers Way or any other sites in the surrounding South Delridge/Westwood/Roxbury Hill/ Arbor Heights/White Center/North Highline area will not be chosen again for 10 years.
iii. The Myers Way encampment will not grow beyond 35 tents and up to 50 people and will continue as a clean and sober camp.
iv. Why is it tents and not tiny homes?
B. Provide a plan and outline the increase of police, fire, EMS, and other services.
i. Specific to Myers Way – outline of how situations will be handled that cross city lines between Seattle Police and King County Sheriff’s office.
C. Assign a consistent contact person within the City to be a single point of contact for neighbors and businesses for specific issues related to the encampment, as well as the unsanctioned encampments/RVs in the area, outside of any emergency situations.
i. This contact person should coordinate any needs between other departments – such as SPU, SDOT, etc…
D. Implement programs to help reduce homelessness and crime such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and REACH
i. In Highland Park and South Delridge within the next 3-6 months.
E. Provide a timeline and plan for addressing existing unsanctioned encampments and RVs in the area and how any future unsanctioned encampments that may develop as a result of the sanctioned encampment being in the area will be handled.
F. Provide a timeline and plan for addressing existing abandoned homes/squatters in the area.
G. Evaluate and increase of lighting in the area – especially near any bus stops, residential and business properties and have regular trash/dumping pick up.
i. Provide regular trash/dumping pick up at least 2x per week for any problem areas that surround an encampment on Myers Way
H. Plan and execute regular public education sessions on issues of homelessness and substance abuse with the appropriate non-profits for the community at large.
I. Provide updates and feedback sessions via community meetings at least every three months in addition to the community advisory council.
J. Provide each of the local community groups the opportunity to each have a seat on the community advisory council.