Portage Bay/Roanoke

Park Community Council

Portage Bay/Roanoke Park Community Council Minutes

Monday, October 7, 2013

 

Purpose of the meeting

Election of officers

Discussion and Q&A with City and State Officials about Public Safety Issue

Community Business Review

 

Anne Preston, retiring PB/RP CC president called the meeting to order at 7:00pm Minutes

The minutes from the February 12, 2013 meeting which were posted on the Forum prior to this

meeting were approved.

 

Election of Officers for 2013-2015

Anne Preston announced the nominations for Community Council officers.

Barbara Krieger moved the nominations of officers

John Gaines seconded the nominations

The candidates were elected unanimously.

 

President Pete Delaunay

Vice President John Gaines

Treasurer Walter Oelwein

Secretary Joan Stewart

 

Treasurer’s Report

Submitted by Walter Oelwein, Treasurer

Overall Balance $24,272.43

General Fund 5,379.02

Allocated Funds Roanoke Park 1,050.57

Astrid Park 1,275.97

Elms Fund 16,568.87

 

This includes having already paid for this year’s round of Elms inoculations, so that’s how much we have available for the next time around.

PB/RP neighbor, Jim Simpkins, was thanked for his leadership in the drive to raise money for the Elms Fund, which provides for the inoculation and pruning of the Elm trees at Roanoke Park to protect them from Dutch Elm disease.

 

Introduction of Panel Guests

 

City Officials and Social Services Representatives

Jerry DeGrieck

Senior Policy Advisor to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn for Human Services, Health, Education, Housing and Financial Empowerment

jerry.degrieck@seattle.gov

 

Bruce Harrell

Seattle City CouncilChair: Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, Vice-Chair: Transportation Committee

Bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

 

Mark Misiorek, SPD East Precinct, Community Police Team

mark.misiorek@seattle.gov

 

Art Garza, SPD East Precinct, Community Police Team

art.garza@seattle.gov

 

Jason Johnson, DirectorCommunity Support and Assistance Division, Seattle Human Services Department

Jason.johnson@seattle.gov

 

Ruth Blaw, Director of Orion Center a division of YouthCarei

info@youthcare.org

 

State Officials                                                                                                            

Lorena Eng                                                                                                                 Scott Plusquellec

SDOT Northwest Regional Administrator                                                                   Legislative Aide to Senator Ed Murray

engl@wsdot.wa.gov                                                                                                   Scott.plusquellec@leg.wa.gov

 

 

Advance questions and discussion items for City and State Officials on the panel

 

1. Crime has been increasing in the PB/RP neighborhood with 63 crimes in our neighborhood in the last two months including an arrest for narcotics on the edge of the illegal encampment site. Illegal encampment on WSDOT property

 

i. Explain the policies for managing the no trespassing laws on WSDOT property.

 

WSDOT has no enforcement power in regard to encampments.

 

ii. What is the current process for evicting people from the illegal encampments? What is the 72 hour notice requirement ? What is the purpose, who created it, etc.?

 

WSDOT posts a notice 72 hours before an illegal encampment is cleaned up.

WSDOT workers notify and are accompanied by SPD, City of Seattle Department of Corrections and Seattle Homeless coalition personnel during cleanup process.

Outreach workers attempt to give information on housing and other available assistance. Belongings removed are held for 70 days. A homeless advocacy group assisted with these WSDOT guidelines which are similar to those of the city of Seattle.

 

iii. How many people are estimated to be living in the illegal encampments at 520 and I-5 surrounding out neighborhood?

 

Sometimes as high as 10-12 and sometimes as low as 2 in either location iv.

 

iv. When an illegal encampment is cleaned up by the State and City, what items have been found? (drug paraphernalia, weapons, trash, human waste camping gear, burglary gear and tools, ladders, hand trucks to carry stolen items)

 

All of these items have been found

 

v. How many times have the cleanup and eviction processes occurred? What was the cost to taxpayers?

 

WSDOT cleans illegal camps every 5-to 6 weeks. WSDOT spends $220.00, annually for cleanup of illegal encampments around the city

 

vi. Will the new bridge design deter illegal encampments?

 

The design, in progress for the new bridge, is definitely looking at ways to buildbetter connectivity between Roanoke and Boyer with a lighted path between the 2 levels and open space for people to enjoy. This is still in the design stage.

 

vii. Is it possible that the “no-trespassing law” could be enforced by the SPD daily?

 

There is not enough police force to provide for daily enforcement. The East Precinct is quite large and stretches from East John to 23rd to East Lake and Portage Bay.

 

viii. Could large permanent sign be placed on walls under 520 and 1-5 stating that police will enter the area daily to evict anyone who is there? Campers will know in advance that this will be done daily, so they won’t stay there. Could there also be a phone number, website, and physical address on the permanent no trespassing sing that directs campers to get services and support from the City and State ?

 

WSDOT has not had much luck with signs. They are damaged, painted over or removed. Increasing crime

 

ix. How can we counter the increase of crime and actually prevent crime in our neighborhood?

 

Suggestions were to develop Block Watches, get know your neighbors, call 911 if you suspect any unusual behavior, lock your cars, do not leave anything in your car at night, keep lights on at night in and around your home, install home security systems and keep your doors and windows locked.

 

x. What should we provide for ourselves? (private security firm to patrol, defensive weapons in our homes, security cameras in the neighborhood?)

 

Security cameras may be useful under SR 520. They are being used in the International District under I-5. Criminals do not like to be filmed.

 

xii. Can a fence be constructed by WSDOT to keep people from making an encampment?

 

Fences do not keep intruders out. They can climb over or cut through them. It would be better to make the area more attractive and open for use by the neighborhood. Lighting would be useful under SR 520.

 

2. Specific crime questions

 

Was there any evidence that the pant-less boat rammer that was shot at the QCYC was from an illegal encampment?

No

 

How many of the people arrested in our neighborhood have been connected with the illegal encampments?

Not many arrested are from the encampments.

 

How many of the people that have been arrested have previous criminal histories in other neighborhood? Can we receive pictures and names of individuals arrested in our neighborhood on a regular basis so that we can be cautious when/if we see them again in our neighborhood?

No. The police cannot provide this information due to civil rights laws.

 

General Statements by Panel members

 

Homelessness in Seattle by Jerry DeGrieck

There are not enough shelters or affordable housing for the homeless population in Seattle. 2000 people are sleeping outside each night. There are sanctioned religious encampments but no ordinances for non religious encampments. Many homeless do not want to go to a shelter. Couples may not be together and you cannot take a pet. Shelters should be a transition measure not a permanent housing solution. There is an attempt to have 24 hour shelters so people are not put out on the street all day. We need more resources and better pathways to affordable housing. Shelters are not the long term answer.

 

City Responsibility by Bruce Harrell

We need to review the city’s policy on trespassing enforcement on WSDOTproperty and the 72 hour notification rule. The Seattle City can give resourcesfor working with these problems. The previous mayor was in hot water for moving aggressively to clean up encampments. We need to involve SPD, WSDOT, homeless advocates and community council leaders to address these situation. We need to find the right balance between outreach with social services and law enforcement. The PB/RPneighborhood needs to feel safe. The Seattle police are now using new software to anticipate “hot spots” so that they can send their officers to the areas most impacted. It is vital that people report any crimes or thefts.

 

SPD Comments by officers Mark Misiorek and Art Garza

Homelessness is not an excuse for illegal behavior. Many encampment dwellersenjoy using drugs and alcohol. Some of these people are living under SR 520 and I-5.The PB/RB neighborhood is a target location since it lies directly between the University District and Capitol Hill. Intruders have easy escape routes in this attractive neighborhood. WSDOT considers this local crime but one would need to look at the Police Department’s report to the city. It would be impossible to assign one police officer to this neighborhood alone because the precinct is such an extensive area. Trespassing is not a reason for arrest today. In the past a trespass notice could be given on day 1 and if on day 2 the person trespassed again, they could be arrested. Laws have changed and now campers cannot be arrested.

 

YouthCare Comments by Ruth Blaw

YouthCare serves homeless youths ages 12-24 with a coordinated set of services including emergency shelters, traditional housing, specialized counseling, high school classes and employment training. YouthCare sees 20 runaways a month. Ruth and her staff visited the encampment under SR 520 on Oct. 5th and spoke with 3 campers who admitted to using drugs and alcohol. Many homeless youth have mental illness and feel unwanted anywhere. She will speak at the home of Katherine DeForest Evans and Jon Evans , on Sunday, October 13th from 7-8pm at 2636 11th Avenue East .

 

Open Discussion and Questions

 

Following the advance questions posed to the Panel, questions and comments flowed from the general community attendance.

 

A representative from the Queen City Yacht Club, reported that 2 trucks parked in the Yacht Club parking lot had been broken into and $500,000 damage hadbeen done to his boats and one dock. He suggested that WSDOT fence off the entire area beneath SR 520 to protect the neighborhood from further theft and damage. He said that if he owned property that attracted criminal behavior he would be required to clean it up, and then asked why, WSDOT, a state agency, is not held to the same standard as a private citizen.

 

One person asked whether one policeman could be assigned to our neighborhood. PB/RP neighborhood with the hope that everyone could know that police officer who would be familiar with the neighborhood people. Together they could work to keep the neighborhood safe. Officer Misiorek explained that there are not enough police assigned to the East Precinct to allow for that.

 

Another representative from the Queen City Yacht Club described being traumatized by recent events at the yacht club which included the damage to boats and dock, the theft of a credit card and defacing of carts. An urgent request was made for the City Council and the Mayor to supple resources leadership to the Seattle Police Department to enable them to end the lawlessness in our neighborhood.

 

Someone asked whether there is any legal action that might be taken to address the “no trespassing” law that does not allow the police to make arrests.

 

Another resident asked whether all these crimes are being committed by people in the encampments or whether a larger group or gang are involved.

 

Other suggestions from the community included the following:

Improve the trail from Boyer to underneath SR 520.

Clean up and open the area for neighborhood use.

Add lighting under SR 520.

Clean up the needles that are being found beneath SR 520 and in Roanoke Park before any children are endangered.

 

Community Business Discussion

 

Report on Boyer Ave East Stats Annie Stixrood presented a report on the measurements that she and her husband, Carl, have made of Boyer Ave East that is designated as an arterial. Their concern about the safety of Boyer led them to undertake this analysis. (Scroll down for their report.)

 

Transportation Committee Anne Preston announced that Ted Lane has agreed to be the chair of a transportationcommittee for the community.

Anyone that has concerns or comments is welcome to contact Ted at Ted@thomaslaneassoc.com

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm

Respectively submitted by, Joan Stewart,

 

Secretary Boyer Ave East Stats

We measured parking lanes and travel lanes on Boyer Ave E. in the 2500 block, a representative section of the Fuhrman/Boyer corridor, to compare the dimensions with standards in Chapter 4- Design Criteria 4.6.2 of the Seattle Transportation Department’s Right of Way Improvements Manual.

 

Here are the results:

Feature width/ft Standard Boyer

Parking lane w/bus 10 7

Through Lane traffic 11 10

 

For two lanes of traffic, the width of Boyer with parking lanes on each side, curb to curb, is 34 ft. The standard width for design of arterials with transit, per the manual referenced above , is 42 ft. Boyer Ave E in the 2500 block is 8 feet narrower than the standard for an arterial. The narrowness combined with high volumes of traffic of cars, trucks, transit and bikes, no clearance for drivers to enter or exit their cars, speeds at 30mph and tire noise results in the perception of a street operating beyond capacity for safety and quality of life.

Earlier efforts at traffic calming through efforts of FABNIA(Fuhrman and Boyer Neighborhood Improvement Association) and a City of Seattle grant (bulb outs, contrasting pavement at intersections, islands) have not been effective. A lower speed limit appears to be one option not yet tried that may make a difference in reducing the level of intensity that exists now as cars, expecting to travel at 30mph, hover dangerously close to bikers, looking to roar past them at yet higher speeds.

The difference between 30 mph and 25 mph to bring a car to a stop when avoiding an obstacle is significant: tables of “stopping sight distances” in various roadway design manuals show that a car travelling at 30 mph needs 200 ft to come to a stop whereas at 25 mph the car can stop in 155 ft. Perhaps the knowledge that Fuhrman/Boyer does not meet design standards for its designation and utility will give us an opportunity to approach the City with some strategies, including a lower speed limit, to promote safety and quality of life in our neighborhood. Annie and Carl Stixrood 206-325-0442 astixrood@comcast.net

 

Portage Bay/Roanoke Park Community Council Meeting Minutes

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