As promised last week, Mayor Ed Murray issued emergency orders this morning to allow permitting of three sanctioned homeless encampments in the city.
The Mayor used his authority under the 2015 declaration of emergency to fast-track the permitting of the encampments. The City Council may ratify, modify, or reject the Mayor’s emergency orders. In this morning’s Council Briefing, City Council president Bruce Harrell said that he would be introducing a resolution for consideration this afternoon that would ratify the orders.
Here’s a map listing the existing and proposed locations for sanctioned encampments. There are separate orders for encampments at:
UPDATED: This afternoon the Council chose to modify the Mayor’s emergency orders before ratifying them.
Council member Herbold added some specific requirements for how the sanctioned encampments will be operated, and how the neighboring community will be involved:
- The encampment operator must establish a Community Advisory Committee “to provide advisory input on encampment operations including identifying methods for handling community complaints or concerns as it relates to the facility or facility clients.”
- The encampment operator must prepare an Encampment Operations Plan to address “site management, site maintenance, provision of human and social services, referrals to service providers for youth who show up without a parent or legal guardian, and public health and safety standards.”
- The encampment operator must provide toilets, potable or running water, and garbage collection.
Council member O’Brien added an additional recital to the resolution, to acknowledge that those living in sanctioned encampments are still unsheltered, but that one goal of having sanctioned encampments is to reduce the need for “sweeps” of encampments from unsanctioned locations:
WHEREAS, the sanctioned encampments have provided safer living situations for some unsheltered residents, and the Executive should continue working with community groups and unsheltered residents to increase adequate and accessible indoor spaces to reduce the need for encampment removals;