City crews sweep encampment at Woodland Park

SEATTLE — City crews are clearing a large homeless encampment at Seattle’s Woodland Park Tuesday.

It’s an area that’s caused a lot of controversy and debate between those who want public safety and advocates for human rights.

Some local Phinney Ridge residents have been asking for a sweep for more than a year. Last September, several parents gathered at a nearby overpass to protest and demand a government intervention. At the time, residents held signs with messages like, “We want our parks back!”

Before the sweep, Woodland Park held Seattle’s largest park-based encampment.

”I think it’s a good thing overall. Long overdue. And I think the city has listened,” a resident told KIRO 7.

In January, the mayor’s office partnered with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, Parks and Recreation Department and community leaders to develop a three-phase plan for the Woodland Park sweep.


The mayor’s office wrote, “This collaboration allowed for a person-centered outreach effort in Upper Woodland Park to ensure that we offer appropriate shelter and services, address ongoing public health and safety concerns, and restore community access to the park.”

Since the announcement of a sweep, those helping with the outreach effort have found alternative housing for 72 people.

Not everyone agrees with the choice to sweep the park.

“The sweep isn’t the answer. The answer is to build houses,” said resident Mike Shaw. “The bad thing that’s happening is that there’s nowhere to go. There’s not enough resources.”

KIRO 7 spoke with one person living at the encampment who said he is moving to a tiny house village.

“I’m doing what I can do and I wish the best for everybody else,” said Troy Repp.

Following the sweep, the park will remain closed until Monday, May 16. According to a statement from the City of Seattle, the Parks and Recreation Department will “focus on returning the park to its intended use (access to recreation, hosting events and sports, and sustaining critical natural area). Sections of the park will be temporarily closed to allow SPR to begin restoration work after the removal of the encampment.”