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Seattle pays $10,000 to settle lawsuit over homeless sweep

Seattle Parks and Recreation personnel work behind a makeshift barricade to clear debris from an encampment that was occupied by people lacking housing on Dec. 18, 2020, at Cal Anderson Park.
Ted S. Warren
/
The Associated Press
Seattle Parks and Recreation personnel work behind a makeshift barricade to clear debris from an encampment that was occupied by people lacking housing on Dec. 18, 2020, at Cal Anderson Park.

Seattle is paying $10,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman who challenged a homeless encampment sweep at a city park last December.

Ada Yeager filed the federal lawsuit hoping to block the city's plans to clear the encampment at Cal Anderson Park. She argued that a sweep would violate her civil rights, including the right to due process before being deprived of property, and that the encampment was targeted for a sweep for political reasons because residents had criticized officials and police.

A judge declined, and the city cleared the encampment amid escalating protests and about two dozen arrests despite protests. Yeager also sought damages over the removal or destruction of her property. The city agreed to the settlement to avoid further litigation, The Seattle Times reported.

Seattle officials had insisted that the encampment, which they cleared repeatedly after the closure of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest last summer, posed a public safety risk. They cited threats to city officials, fires in the park and other dangerous conditions. They also noted that shelter beds were available.

Yeager told The Times she ended up in Seattle, where her partner is originally from, after living in Texas. Since the park was cleared, city officials helped her relocate to a tiny home operated by city-contracted nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute.

“This case was an opportunity to recoup some of the losses for me and my community and possibly to help prevent future sweeps,” Yeager said. “We decided to settle since it would be a long time until we could go to trial and the settlement could immediately provide some relief or resources for the unhoused in Seattle.”