Council weighs in on ‘Jungle' cleanup plan

SEATTLE — The City Council passed a unanimous resolution that aims to protect the people living in the notorious “jungle,” even as the effort to clear out the area continues.

The resolution says no one should be removed from the jungle, where a January shooting left two people dead, until there are documented efforts to offer shelter and services to everyone living there.  The council also wants to see people doing outreach to offer trash bags and needle receptacles.

Furthermore, before anyone is moved, the council is demanding review of the outreach documentation.  Mayor Ed Murray must also give three days’ notice before removing people unable or unwilling to accept help.

In mid-May, the Mayor mentioned that groups would spend two weeks doing outreach before people would be kicked out.  However, last week he acknowledge it would probably take more time.  KIRO asked the mayor if the council resolution would only slow down the clean-up with more red tape.

“It won’t slow it down,” Murray said. “The two week idea was something the social service agency suggested, as a way to move people.  But we have to have places to put people.  I don’t think it’ll slow it down.  I think it shows unified support on the part of the city.”

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole also weighed in, saying documented outreach is already being done by her department.

“We always offer services first,” she said.  “Enforcement is a last resort.  We’re doing that outreach now, and we’re documenting it in each instance.”