Report Finds Human Waste, Trash And Evidence Of Criminal Activity In Seattle's 'Jungle'
Massive amounts of human waste and trash, as well as dirty needles litter the green belt and dirt lots under and around a stretch of I-5 known as The Jungle. These findings are laid out in a 24-page report that was put together in response to a shooting that killed two people and wounded three last month.
Most of the land, which covers 150 acres between South Dearborn and South Lucille Streets, is owned by the state. At a presentation of the report to Seattle City Council, Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw said the situation under I-5 is a clear threat to public health.
“We declared a state of emergency and this is an emergency, friends, And we can't take it one day at a time and hope two years from now it’s going to get better,” said Bagshaw.
Officials from the city of Seattle are going to Olympia later this week to meet with members of the Senate Transportation Committee. The goal is to start a conversation about how the clean-up, and eventual closure of The Jungle will be carried out and paid for. The cost of closing off this area is believed to be anywhere from $1 to 5 million.
The report says the 400-plus people living in The Jungle reside in all kinds of temporary shelter, from tents to cardboard huts. The Seattle Police Department says more than 70 violent crimes have been committed there In the last five years.
Assistant Police Chief Steve Wilske believes this is a low estimate.
“I would expect, I can’t prove, but I would expect we are seeing a vast underreporting of things like sexual assaults, serious robberies, serious assaults. We’re seeing a significant degree of underreporting within the population that is living underneath there,” Wilske told council members.
This week, members of the Seattle Police Department will accompany officials from the state Transportation Department to remove propane canisters from The Jungle. The flammable objects could not only pose a threat to people, but also to the concrete roadway.