Campers return to Northgate lot days after encampment cleanup

One homeless tent has already returned to a Northgate encampment that was cleared out last week. (KOMO News photo)

SEATTLE – Campers have returned to a Northgate lot less than a week after the city of Seattle cleared a growing encampment.

The city cleared the lot last Wednesday after two months of complaints. Around 30 people lived in the encampment, according to one of the campers.

Over the weekend, neighbors noticed a tent return to the lot. A KOMO News crew found a woman inside the tent Tuesday, and a man sleeping a few feet away.

“My heart sinks a little bit because it’s coming back,” neighbor Brandon Redinger said. “This is exactly what I thought was going to happen.”

Redinger spoke to KOMO News during last week’s cleanup, predicting that the campers would return.

Seattle’s Navigation Team leads the cleanups of homeless encampments. A spokesperson tells KOMO News they are aware campers are back, but he said they have other encampments to remove in the meantime. He says city crews will likely clear those campers in the future, but it could take time.

The woman living inside the new tent wouldn’t come out to speak with our KOMO News crew. From inside, she confirmed she was one of the campers cleared out last week. When asked why she came back to the lot, she wouldn’t give an answer.

Stephanie Share is also homeless in the area, but she says she doesn’t live in that lot.

“I think it’s pointless,” Share said. “I think that they’re going to kick them out, and they’re going to wait, and going to come back. I don’t think there’s anything they can do to get people to leave. We don’t have anywhere to go.”

But Redinger is fed up, feeling ignored by the city. He says he might just move out of Seattle.

“It feels like, almost like, the city did housekeeping, like hotel housekeeping, and I don’t know how much that cost.”

The Navigation Team spokesperson told KOMO they don’t track the cost of individual cleanups, but least year the city spent around $7 million total to clear camps across Seattle.

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