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00000181-fa79-da89-a38d-fb7f2b910000KUOW is joining forces with other Seattle media outlets to highlight the homeless crisis in the city and region on Wednesday, June 29, 2017.The effort was modeled after a collaboration by more than 70 San Francisco outlets to focus a day of news attention on the issue and possible solutions.Read more about the Seattle project and check out our coverage below. Follow the city's coverage by using #SeaHomeless.HighlightsThe Jungle: an ongoing coverage project going into the notorious homeless encampment under Interstate 5.Ask Seattle's Homeless Community: KUOW is launching a Facebook group where anyone may ask a question about homelessness, but only people who have experienced it may answer. This was inspired by a recent event KUOW co-presented with Seattle Public Library and Real Change, where residents of the Jungle answered audience questions. No End In Sight: an award-winning investigative project from KUOW about King County's 10-year plan to end homelessness.

Homeless encampment known as the Jungle will be cleared, but not fenced

A homeless encampment in what the city calls the I-5 East Duwamish Greenbelt. It's unofficially known as The Jungle. But officials say they are preparing to move the people who live here.
City of Seattle Photo
A homeless encampment in what the city calls the I-5 East Duwamish Greenbelt. It's unofficially known as The Jungle. But officials say they are preparing to move the people who live here.

State and Seattle officials have a plan for emptying out a two-mile stretch of homeless camps under Interstate 5 around Dearborn. It means the end of the area known as the Jungle.

Officials say the plan is to keep people from returning - without building a fence.

TRANSCRIPT

The Jungle has been with us for decades, but the city and state says it will be gone in a matter of weeks.  

Scott Lindsay is the public safety advisor to Mayor Ed Murray.

Lindsay: “This site is uniquely problematic and we can’t let it stand anymore.”

It's the scene of murders, fires, drugs and human waste.

So over the next two weeks workers for Seattle’s Union Gospel mission will talk with the more than 300 people living there, connecting as many as possible with at least temporary accommodation.

Lindsay: “At the conclusion of that there will be a deadline where ultimately people will be asked to leave by law enforcement.”

At the same time, crews with bulldozers will move in to clear the place.

Lindsay: “There’s going to be a lot of heavy equipment involved and so it’s simply not safe. “

But officials know that many of the people who have been living there won’t or can’t go to a shelter.

It’s a concern for City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw.

Bagshaw: “Biggest worry I have got is that if we don’t have places to put people, the folks are just going to scatter. And if they scatter down under 99 or they’re underneath other bridges, it just creates problems elsewhere.”

The city says shelters will have emergency staffing to take in everyone who wants a bed.

Another big question is what to do with the space under the highway so that people won’t come back to live there.

Officials say they will spend part of the $1 million given them by the state on redesigning the spaces so they can have other uses.