by: Henry Rosoff Updated:
Police removed at least four propane tanks and some chemicals that were found below the Magnolia Bridge Monday morning -- it's the second time propane tanks have been removed from underneath the bridge.
On April 4, and only after KIRO 7 began asking questions, the city got rid of what neighbors called a bomb under the bridge: 26 propane tanks that homeless campers had discarded.
On Monday -- as well as in April -- the city allowed the people who were piling up the tanks and living below the bridge to stay. KIRO 7 spent Monday afternoon and evening trying to find out what the the city’s plan is for the campers underneath the bridge and if they will be forced to move.
A spokeswoman declined an on-camera interview request, but said she is trying to get an explanation soon.
KIRO 7 will follow up with the city Tuesday and continue asking questions about which situations spur the city to disperse a homeless camp and which allows the camps to remain intact.
UPDATE: On Tuesday city spokeswoman Meg Olberding issued a statement that detailed why dispersing the encampment under the Magnolia Bridge is not a current priority. She said that due to limited city resources other encampments were being addressed first.
"While the site is not authorized for camping, the City prioritizes encampment removals based on several issues, including health and safety, and deploys its limited resources accordingly. The City has been focusing its efforts on mitigating the most hazardous encampments, particularly those:
- Where individuals are sleeping outside in tents.
- Are in locations that are physically unsafe for the individual or surrounding community (e.g., along busy roads, ledges, sidewalks).
- That have become so large that trash, hazardous structures and negative behavior become too problematic.
- Where there is a public health threat to the campers or surrounding community.
With those priorities in mind, the City is spending the next two weeks focusing on addressing the extensive illegal encampments along I-90/Rainier Avenue/Dearborn Street. More on those efforts, including the outreach efforts underway since May 1, can be found here."
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