• Homeless using boat stuck on Lake Washington; neighbors want it moved

    By: Michael Spears

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Homeless people are using a dinghy to shuttle to and from a damaged boat that ran aground on Lake Washington.  The homeless are also using a second boat near the Adams Street Boat Ramp.

    Both are in the Seward Park area of Seattle, and neighbors want them moved.

    Neighbor Ed Chapin said he walks the pathway along Lake Washington regularly and told KIRO 7 the boat got stuck in the shallows a little over a week ago.  A second boat is anchored nearby with a sign that reads, "We need gas!! Please."

    "One of our neighbors told us he talked to these folks and they're both homeless," said Chapin. "My main concern is, where are they dumping their sewage and is there any oil leak out of the one that's listing?"

    Michael Gilbertson told KIRO 7 he owns the boat that ran aground and is in charge of the second boat with the sign.

    "It was a mistake of mine," said Gilbertson. "Oops, I tried to get it unstuck."

    Gilbertson later told KIRO 7 that "a couple" of homeless people he knew were on the boats but said he was working to get both moved. Gilbertson said one of the engines of the boat that isn't stuck needs mechanical work.

    "They need to be moved out of here," said Chapin. "This is not the place to abandon boats."

    Neighbors said they have been waiting for the city to address the boats.

    "The (Navigation)] Team generally works to address tent encampments on the right away," said Will Lemke with Seattle's Navigation Team. "We haven't worked on the water specifically, to my knowledge."

    Messages to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's office and the Seattle Police Department were not immediately returned.

    "We're attempting to salvage this and get it out of here," said Gilbertson. "The running gear is probably all damaged and stuff, so it's going to be a barge for a minute."

    Gilbertson said he and a friend ran aground at night after underestimating the depth of the water in that part of the lake and needs gas to power generators to run pumps.

    "People are upset about this thing," said Jason Price. "Why don't they come talk to us or maybe try to help?"

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