Tacoma clears two more encampments as residents say outreach efforts have fallen short

TACOMA, Wash. — It’s been weeks since Jon Kalista was told by the city of Tacoma that he has to move.

He received a notice from the city four weeks ago, which stated that the encampment he’s living in under the Murray Morgan Bridge, will be cleared.

The encampment is one of two the city is clearing on Monday. The other is located at Milwaukee Way.

Workers are working to clear debris and fencing may also be put up.

Officials say the encampment is tied to a significant increase in 911 calls. But the people living there told KIRO 7′s Kevin Ko that they are being unfairly blamed.

“It’s discrimination,” said Kalista. “You’re profiling me with everything else that’s ever happened in the past, and thinking that I’m one of the such. Which I’m not.”

The city says that outreach at these encampments has been consistent, while the people needing the help say it’s fallen short.

“They’re trying to literally chase us out completely from being anywhere, and I think it’s ridiculous cause we have to be somewhere,” said Sonja, who also lives at the Murray Morgan Bridge encampment.

Some are also worried that the expired tags on their vehicles will lead to the vehicles being towed away if they leave the encampment.

“I’m not moving anywhere until I’m forced,” said Kalista. “And they’re going to have to do it by law or arrest me.”

These are the 10th and 11th encampment clearings in the city so far this year. Seven encampments were cleared last year.