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Mayor Bruce Harrell Responds to Encampment Inferno

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Officials Respond to Encampment Inferno

Monday morning, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell (@MayorofSeattle) spoke publicly for the first time about the I-5 fire last week on a WSDOT (@wsdot) right of way in downtown. The Mayor would not go into details, but I could tell he was frustrated as he tries to maintain a positive working relationship with state agencies. The city continues to make progress with illegal camping, but the ones on WSDOT properties are being cleared at a much slower rate.

As for this ARSON investigation, multiple sources say it was related to a DRUG TURF WAR. Two fellas were allegedly selling drugs out of tents and got into a beef. One guy retaliated by tossing an “accelerant,” causing the propane tanks to explode. It appears TARGETED. The blaze also left notorious graffiti tagger Casey Cain(EAGR) with serious injuries. Unclear if he was directly involved in this dispute. There’s a lot more to this story.

I also caught up with WA State Dept. of Commerce Director Michael Fong (@WAComDirector.) His agency has already allocated millions of dollars to remove encampments and house the homeless on WSDOT properties. But it appears they will need even more money to do the job. Still more than 2K homeless encampments on WA state right of ways. #Seattle

In Serious Condition

Notorious graffiti vandal Casey Cain checked himself into Harborview Medical Center where he remains in the ICU. #Seattle

The Aftermath

The homeless remain along this I-5 encampment in downtown Seattle. No timeline for removal. Meanwhile, this EWOK Village set up is still here as of Monday morning.

Questionable Pace

These encampment situations on WA right of ways are out of control. That’s why I keep asking Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) about the timelines for removals. But right now, I’m only getting talking points.

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.