Seattle business attempts to clear homeless camp, backtracks after advocates step in

SEATTLE — A Seattle business is facing heat from homeless advocacy groups after they attempted to clear out an encampment off of Lake City Way.

“Apparently the people from Pierre decided that they didn’t want this anymore,” says Karen Whittle, an advocate for the homeless.

An attorney for Bill Pierre says his business, along with other businesses and residents in the community took matters into their own hands to clear out the encampment.

Their attorney sent this statement to KIRO 7, which reads in full; “The Pierre Family have been contributing members of the Lake City community for 74 years, the love for their community is generational and runs deep. They along with other community members made numerous pleas to the City and Police Department to help address issues like the vandalism, theft, property damage and threats of violence coming out of this encampment and were told that something like a shooting needs to occur before the City will respond. After hearing this several members of the business and residential community made the hard decision to come together and help clean up a non-permitted encampment filled with human excrement, rodents, criminal activity and used needles that were unsafe for everyone. The Pierre’s support was driven only by the love they have for the community in which they live and work.”

It’s unclear what other businesses were involved in the attempted clearing.

Tensions rose so fast Friday, Seattle police arrested a homeless advocate after they say she was trespassing.

Whittle says there are a number of ways the business could have handled this situation — rather taking what she calls aggressive action.

“If they’re allowed to get away with it other people will do it to other homeless encampments,” says Whittle. “Do something constructive rather than destructive. Give us a chance to show you that we can be neighbors.”

Bill Pierre’s business eventually left, allowing the encampment to set back up.