News

Razor wire fence could encircle the ‘Jungle'

SEATTLE — There's a new plan to fence off Seattle's homeless camp known as the “Jungle.”

A razor-wire fence could encircle the green space from Interstate 5 and the Interstate 90 interchange south to Spokane Street.

The idea comes from the state Legislature and the Washington State Department of Transportation, which owns all of the land underneath the I-5 corridor.

According to the Seattle Times, the fence would be about 8,000 feet long.

It would be a chain link-style fence, about six feet tall and topped with three strings of barbed wire circled with razor wire, similar to what is seen at prisons.

WSDOT hopes the cost of building the fence would be less than $1 million, so about $100,000 could be spent on cleaning up the area once the fence is in place.

But a WSDOT spokesperson told the Times they are concerned that after the fence is finished, homeless people will find a way to get back into the area.

The Times reported that one private security firm said it would cost $600,000 a year for three guards to monitor the fence and the area inside.

The Jungle has been called a public health hazard and a hotspot for crime.  Two people were murdered there last month. Frequent fires there often force crews to shut down traffic on nearby I-5, and fire crews won't enter the area unless they have a police escort.  Use of drugs, such as heroin, is rampant and it’s loaded with trash, human waste and drug paraphernalia.