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Seattle businesses and property owners are placing 1-ton concrete blocks on city streets to prevent RVs and homeless encampments from forming or returning to the area.
“Even if individual businesses and residents call the city and say that there is an RV in front of their company or home, they cannot do anything about it, so they are trying to solve the problem by themselves and issue ecology blocks. ,” business owner JW Harvey told the Seattle Times.
An anonymous Seattleite hauls giant one- to two-ton blocks known as “ecology blocks” or “eco-blocks” outside residential areas and in front of businesses using special equipment, and parks RVs. and prevent the formation of homeless camps.
Seattle has suffered from a homelessness problem for years, but it has only gotten worse during the pandemic. Seattle and King County ranked her third in the nation for the most homeless people in 2020, with about 11,700 people living on the streets. Washington State has the fifth-largest homeless population in the nation, at 30 per 10,000 residents.
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A previous Seattle Times report found that campsites in Seattle and its counties increased during the pandemic, with a 50% increase in tents in urban centers. About 13,368 people will be homeless in 2022, a nearly 14% increase from the 2020 figure, according to data from the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.
Larger vehicles such as RVs are only allowed to park in the city’s industrial zones, but the city suspended parking enforcement during the pandemic. Since then, anonymous individuals have installed more eco-blocks in front of businesses and homes, especially in areas such as Georgetown, Ballard and Sodo, The Seattle Times reported.
Just in June, the city’s local health club warned its followers and members on social media that the gym would install ecoblocks near the building once the homeless encampment was cleared by the city.
In a June letter, the West Seattle Health Club said, “To avoid the return of campsites, the West Seattle Health Club is partnering with neighboring businesses to place eco-blocks in surrounding areas.” Stated.
The safety of patrons and employees is often a top concern for business owners, but some businesses worry that installing blocks will cost them their livelihoods, said Sodo Business Improvement Area executive director. Erin Goodman told The Seattle Times.
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According to Goodman, doing business near homeless encampments comes with added stressors and responsibilities. Encampments can attract rats that can harm food manufacturers and restaurants, homeless camps can set fires, and RVs can damage retail buildings.
Crime has also soared in Seattle since 2020, when the pandemic roiled society after the death of George Floyd and protests and riots swept the country. Murders in 2020 saw him jump 61% compared to 2019, marking the highest number of murders in 26 years. As of his April this year, previous reports have found that violent crimes have increased by 32% compared to 2021.
Georgetown business owner JW Harvey said he resists installing ecoblocks because they occupy public parking lots and look unsightly, but he sees the “ripple effect” of working near the camp. ‘ exhausted him.
He said that over the past decade, especially during the pandemic, he has spent more time talking to people living in camps and providing them with tools and water than he is actually working. citing that homeless encampments take only weeks to return to areas cleared and cleaned by the city, many business owners see ecoblocks as the only option to keep encampments away from their stores. He claimed that he felt that
It’s illegal to put ecoblocks on city streets, but the Seattle Times reports that the city doesn’t force them to be removed. There are hundreds of such blocks on the streets of Seattle, but the real estate and business owner who was warned he could be fined if he didn’t remove the blocks after June 2021. Only 25 people. $1,000 for his second and third offenses. There is no limit to the number of fines an individual or company can receive in her one year period.
The report states that none of the 25 individuals or business owners who received block warnings received citations on the matter.
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“Do not think [warnings] Goodman told the outlet, “They’re still going to do it, and even if it’s a period before the city finds out, it’s a little comforting.
As parking enforcement in the city resumed this year, homeless advocates face fines for homeless people parking in no-go zones when those who put up blocks aren’t patrolled at the same rate. He argued that what he was doing was unfair.
“The new mayor ran on the law and order platform. This is the law,” Bill Carlin Hackett, head of the task force on interfaith homelessness, told The Seattle Times. “We found that very hypocritical.”
A man who has been living away from his RV for six years told the outlet that the ecoblock is a symbol of hatred towards homeless people.
Garth Carroll said, “A lot of the community has built up a hatred of us. We’re just trying to fend for ourselves until we can get permanent housing.”
The city said it had difficulty identifying the person responsible for the eco-blocks on the road when responding to complaints. It is often installed immediately after asking the
The city said it responds to citizen complaints about ecological blocks, but does not have workers who “continuously patrol the city for violations.” The problem is the cost of moving large blocks. will also return. The city has a contract with a tow truck company to remove vehicles in illegal areas, but it does not remove eco-blocks.
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The office of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and the Seattle Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.