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Encampment Grows on Burned Down Burger King Property

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Tammy Town

Councilmember Tammy Morales (@CMTammyMorales) continues to ignore the homeless encampment off Rainier Ave S and Plum St that’s spiraling out of control. As of Wednesday evening, I counted 15 tents and 13 vehicles on the grounds of the former Burger King and 7-11 that recently burned down. New people keep moving in. Drug use is rampant and there are signs this is turning into a chop shop for bicycles.

At the same time, there are babies on the premises and kids playing catch. Overall, everyone is chill. But most homeless people here are rejecting the shelter options being offered. They want tiny homes, apartments, or an RV lot. This is the on-going narrative at a lot of these illegal camps.

I’ve been tracking the situation for the past few months. I spoke to dozens of homeless people living here including Cheryl. Listen to the frustration in her voice as she tries to navigate the cluster of housing agencies and the bureaucracy. She’s tired of dealing with the wait lists. Unclear what role the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (@KingCoRHA) is playing in all this. Cheryl says she’s never heard of KCRHA.

As for CM Morales, neighbors and biz owners are really starting to complain about the urban blight in South #Seattle and now call this place, “Tammy Town.” She remains MIA on this crisis. I asked her about it a few weeks ago and she ignored my question.

Finally, some outreach workers are now telling campers to vacate this property by June 30. We shall see what enforcement will look like moving forward. By the way, cluster of RV’s and tents on side streets in this hood. They’re just moving around to nearby #Chinatown-ID and #SODO. Unending crisis. “Housing first” policies are failing these people because it’s not addressing the root causes like drug addiction, mental illness, and broken relationships.

Morales Whiffs

Constituents accuse @CMTammyMorales of ignoring their concerns, especially the crush of crime, homelessness, and open air drug use in her D2 district. But Morales seems unfazed as she tries to hold on to her city council seat.

Tammy’s Watch

During past few months, squatters took over the abandoned Burger King. Grease Monkey shut down due to crime in area. Then abandoned 7-11 got torched. Finally, Vietnamese American owner of the Baskin Robbins left the area for good.

It’s All Upside Down

Before being demolished earlier this year, former Burger King property on Rainier Ave S. was being used by homeless squatters. There was an encampment in the drive-thru. Let that sink in.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.