Seattle mayor meets with CHOP leaders; protest zone remains occupied

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan met with leaders of the CHOP, hours after demonstrators stopped city crews from removing barricades.

Conditions changed this week, but the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone remains largely in place.

This, even though the mayor met for a little less than an hour with the protestors and after an impromptu tour of the CHOP by the top brass of the city’s Fire Department.

Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins exited a closed-door meeting with the leaders of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone just after 12:30. He was soon tailed by protestors, still angry with Seattle police over the deadly shooting here last weekend.

“The fire department, I love you guys,” Mark Anthony told Scoggins. “The ambulances, I love you guys. But they are making your jobs harder and you need to hold them accountable.”

“And we all have to own it,” Scoggins replied.

But when asked whether the area likely would not be cleared Friday, Scoggins replied, “Yeah, I don’t have that answer. You can draw your own conclusions.”

“We’re gonna have parks crews coming in, meeting, cleaning up some of the park,” added Stephanie Formas, Seattle Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

Indeed, the Homeless Navigation Team was working to clean out and restore Cal Anderson Park.

SDOT crews arrived early Friday morning to continue dismantling CHOP, but protestors would not let them do the work. One person lay in the street, others sat on barricades.

The crews backed off waiting for a signal that they could return. It never came.

Then just before 2 o’clock, on word that Mayor Jenny Durkan would be meeting with a select group of protestors, a raucous crowd gathered outside First A.M.E. Church, jockeying for position.

KIRO cameras weren’t allowed inside. But pictures were posted online that show the mayor sitting at a round table discussing the group’s demands.

The mayor left without speaking to reporters. The group’s demands were written on a banner.

Cutting the police budget in half remains a principal goal. They say they won’t leave until those demands are met.

Later Friday, KIRO 7 found out that the protest zone would be cleared over the weekend and barricades would come down on Sunday.