We need the vegetation and trees to heal at Woodland Park and Green Lake Matt. Think of that.


I’d like to feel safe in the park. It’d be nice to see kids running around in it too. Was the original intention of parks to be safe harbors for addicts?


sweeps address sanitation issues - human waste, garbage. the camps are a health hazard to residents and park users alike. and to the park itself. just ask the non-burned sections of the 3 sequoias at the i-5 lake city exit.

yes, I know that housing is a right, etc. except it isn't, obviously. not in america.


@BAD Intersection:
surely there cannot Be
That many Bad Drivers out there

I'm guessing the bridge
just before the Intersection
blocks the view of the Stoplight

also: how long
till Gated Parks?

"It's peeps like Me
who have to carry on
and pretend to be Modest."

tell me about it Orson
oh and Do carry on


Housing is not a human right. All human rights are free. Housing costs money and you must constrict other peoples human rights to get it.


"Are we still pretending these have any effect other than pushing unhoused people from place to place?"

Of course not! For unhoused persons, Seattle's city limits function exactly as the event horizon around a black hole functions for all energy and matter: once an unhoused person enters the city, there is literally no force in the entire universe which can cause that person to leave. No way, no how. It's doubleplus unpossible. Just considering the possibility of it is thoughtcrime. You can't argue with physics, now can you?

Or, you could read Matt's own source material, which seems to imply otherwise:

"Woodland Parks’ community is being swept Tuesday 5/10. They’re one of the last larger communities in the North/Central Seattle area,"

Also, I like the use of "Woodland Parks’ community" to describe persons who were probably never housed anywhere near Woodland Park, have occupied the park illegally, and are both preventing actual residents of Seattle from using Woodland Park, and causing environmental damage to the park. (Matt, do you recall the term "gay community"? Is the "Woodland Parks’ community" like that? Do tell.)

Also, too, I like Matt's constructions, "...get ready for another raid on Tuesday. The city is expected to descend on Woodland Park at 8 am." Let's try them for other situations:

"Matt's plants are getting ready for another raid, when Matt is expected to descend on them with a watering can."

"Marcia's dog is getting ready for another raid, when her groomer is expected to descend upon her with a brush."

"The Colman dock is getting ready for another raid, when the Washington Department of Transportation is expect to descend upon it with a ferry."


The state already provides free & below-market rate housing to people & we manage to do so without infringing on anyone’s rights (???)

Not sure how that would even work tbh. Do you think the government would forcibly remove people from their homes & give them someone else? Conservatives have the most paranoid beliefs about the welfare state, just willful self-delusion to rationalize treating their fellow citizens like garbage.


Matt and his fellow Strangers still haven’t moved past the Denial stage of grief after losing the Mayoral, City Attorney, and District 9 elections.

The majority of Seattle residents support the sweeps and want to see them continued and even accelerated.

I don’t understand how or why the Strangers will always support the criminals in the encampments, no matter how reprehensible their actions.


And blip is probably still in Denial about the San Francisco school board recall.


We tried public toilets remember? They were opium dens by the afternoon of their instalment. Tolerating degenerate anti-social behaviors make it so none of us can have nice public accommodations.


@5 lol look at you unwittingly making a good case for free housing for everyone. Well done.


Not sure what the sf school board recall has to do with the nonsensical argument that state-subsidized housing infringes on our rights but i’ll say this much - focusing on renaming schools when there is a once in a century pandemic is a great way to lose your elected seat. I know parents who were sympathetic to their actions but livid about their priorities & recalls by nature will always be an uphill struggle for the side supporting the status quo. Their ouster surprised no one. That was like 3 months ago tho?

But anyway we’re talking about housing, not school board elections. if you’re seeing connections where none exist you may have a terminal case of culture war brainworms. You might want to have that checked out, or at least log off and go outside or something.


@7, @11: Seattle spends $100M annually on homelessness services. It spends money on public housing, too. None of these expenditures imply any human right to either. (Consider an analogy: the existence of NASA does not imply a human right to space travel. See?)

Matt, thanks for introducing me to tye eats the rich, who posted an excellent question:

"the city of Seattle is home to more housing non profits than actual fucking shelters for homeless ppl which leaves me wondering what the fuck are these orgs doing??"

Indeed. If only Seattle had a local, independent, journalistic outlet which published constantly about homelessness policy and local politicians. What could such an outlet's fearless independent journalism tell us about the $100M Seattle spends annually on homelessness services, local housing non-profits, and why there are still homeless campers in Seattle?


13 that doesn’t address the argument that subsidized housing infringes on people’s rights, it only makes the case that we’re not doing enough


@13: they're building and managing affordable housing - mainly permanent units for people <30% AMI. many are seniors, many are families. WTF do you think they're doing?

just because they're a non-profit housing provider doesn't mean their mission is homeless shelters.


@12 I thought it was about dropping the merit based admission standards at Lowell.

And the relevance has to do with how even us crazy left coast liberals in San Francisco and Seattle are completely fed up with the overreach and incompetence of the far left progressives and are starting to vote them out of office. And how those same extremists are still in denial over their electoral losses


That Union St exit video was making the rounds on Wednesday (at least; that was when I saw it, anyway), but congrats to Urbanist and Matt for finally discovering last week's news!


1. not everyone in a tent is a criminal. often they are the 1st victims of criminality.
2. the degradation and despair of living on the streets can drive a person into drug addiction and criminality.

get a brush that is less broad.


"Clean, dignified bathroom access ought to be something the city provides" This is 100% correct however what Matt fails to acknowledge is that "clean and dignified" bathrooms require both sides to live up to that end of the bargain. The reason these private businesses feel the need to lock their bathrooms is because our unhoused neighbors insist on going in there and trashing them and/or using them as drug consumption sites basically rendering them useless to actual customers and employees. If/when we get to the point that bathrooms aren't destroyed from having anyone use them then you can bitch about access. Until then i have no issues with them being locked away for actual customers.


I'm all for the sweeps. What has happened to Woodland Park is disgusting. Almost as disgusting as the fact that we allow people to live in that kind of squalor, many with untreated health problems. The citizens - all citizens - pay taxes for the upkeep of the parks, and they should be there for all to enjoy.

Homelessness, like economic inequity, is a national problem. But homelessness has fallen disproportionately onto the coastal cities with temperate climates and generous social safety nets. It needs a national response, but the feds are happy to keep it a "big city problem" - even though 82% of the citizens live in urban areas.

That's what the city, the social service agencies, and the advocacy journalists should be screaming from the rooftops about. Because the status quo is cruel, stupid and wasteful.


3 - Concur. Pop-up encampments become open, septic sewers that do a great deal of contamination. It has to be cleaned up as a public health hazard.


18 - That is true and worth reinstating. In our frustrations it gets forgotten.


16, I have no idea what lowell is. The only thing people talked about here was the timeline for reopening schools & these board members’ focus on renaming schools when people had much more serious & immediate concerns.

Recalls are not great indicators of public sentiment, though the fury over the school board was an obvious exception bc parents had so many reasons to be frustrated. The mayor-appointed replacements are still progressives though so that’s not the issue here.


@14 Housing is a resource and like any resource it is not endless. You could create 20k units of affordable, subsidized housing tomorrow and it won't solve the problem for the same reason you could never build a freeway wide enough to solve traffic. Increasing supply also increases demand. How many people who live in Federal Way and commute to Seattle every day would love to have a subsidized apartment in the city? A lot.

Beyond that the issue of housing and vagrancy are continually intertwined. You can give housing to many of the people who are in Woodland Park and they'll be back out on the street because they are incapable of living independently and being self sufficient either due to mental issues or addiction or both. What they need is supportive housing but in our society we can not compel people to go into treatment even if we had a ready supply of it available. So all you can do is ensure there are consequences for anti social behavior and that is why sweeps should always be part of the conversation. You can not live in the park, trash the environment and be an asshole to your neighbors because you have some right to live life the way you want until you are good and ready to change. That is a non-starter and if you want to do that then you should be prepared to pack your shit and move around the city every few weeks. Maybe after 5-6 times of doing that you'll realize this isn't that much fun and accepting services might be a better alternative.


@18, "not everyone in a tent is a criminal."
If their camping in a city park that's against the law.

This should be a Federal Problem. Move them to our National Parks.


Sweep early, sweep often, sweep relentlessly until the homeless go somewhere else. It's clear there is no will to do what is really needed to fix the problem once and for all, and so in that case all we can do is do whatever we can to make being homeless in Seattle more difficult than being homeless somewhere else.

Hope those people there at 8am who are so enraged by these sweeps don't get poop on their hands or clothes and take precautions not to get pricked by a dirty needle.


24, i agree we need supportive housing & considering we already have cities in this country that rigidly enforce shelter occupancy, there is no reason to assume we somehow can’t compel people to live in subsidized housing if it were available to all. The people who are currently choosing to sleep on the streets are doing so because the shelters are less clean & less safe, not because they prefer to be exposed to the elements when they sleep.

The ideal would be permanent assisted living, because our jails & hospitals are not built for this & it is a greater financial drain than supportive single occupancy housing. But the debate over land use & general opposition to “something for nothing” make this impractical even though it would improve urban living conditions for all without spending much more, perhaps even less, than we already do.



Hmmmm, maybe the New York Times coverage was wrong huh?

“In echoes of debates in other cities, many Chinese American voters were incensed when the school board introduced a lottery admission system for Lowell High School, the district’s most prestigious institution, abolishing requirements primarily based on grades and test scores.”


@26: In past sweeps of large, chronic encampments (Ravenna Park, City Hall Park) approximately one out of five persons residing there was found to have an outstanding warrant from another jurisdiction. However many or few of such persons now live in Woodland Park, I doubt they will be happy with an 8am rousting. Those enraged volunteers may suddenly find themselves having much, much larger worries than feces or needles.


@27 I think if people knew that building and maintaining supportive housing would actually make a difference there would be support for it but its hard to see that right now. Like I said you would still have to solve the demand problem through some set of qualifications (e.g. have to prove you have lived in Seattle for at least a year before becoming homeless) and then you'd also need to sort out the quagmire that is the current homeless response industry. I honestly don't know why someone can't take one building, put forth the model and prove it works. It always has to on a mass scale with no goals/metrics/accountability by either providers or residents. Much of the public distrusts that model and I can't blame them.


28 was obviously @24.

Darn our inability to edit posts.

Weren’t they moving these comments to Disqus or something.


28 probably to a degree, yes. Whether this was an issue that reporters would pick up on is one thing but what issues people here were talking about is another & this is literally the first i’ve heard of this particular school’s admission policies.

The school board members who were focused on changing school names when parents did not have clarity on reopening plans was a huge story here for many months. Admissions at a fancy school would have been at most a niche issue that affected a much smaller percentage of sfusd parents & it would be improbable for that to be the top concern when the entire planet was in the throes of a world-historic destabilizing event. Arguably it’s just as worthy of “who fucking cares” as which slave owner your school is named after when people are dying. I have no doubt some parents cared greatly about it but most of them had much more pressing concerns.


@27: The price of land in Seattle, and therefore of housing, has risen to the point where simply building enough housing for all of the campers would be very expensive. If Seattle were to build that much affordable housing, then @24 noted, there would be huge political pressure to provide that housing to people who actually work in Seattle. Therefore there would be a residency requirement; to become eligible for this housing, each unhoused person would have to show he or she became homeless after having lived in Seattle for some period of time. That will exclude almost all of Seattle's current homeless population, who arrived in Seattle already homeless (and often addicted, as well). So, for them, the answer would devolve to sweeps.

Now, add in the cost of treating all of their mental disorders (including Substance Use Disorder, the root of addiction) and we're looking at far more than the "mere" $100M Seattle spends annually.

Thanks in part to the Stranger, Seattle has had absolutely no civic dialog on any of these points, and as @26 noted, there is no reason to believe the political will exists to pay for any of this, so again the answer devolves to sweeps. If the Stranger wants to keep whining about sweeps, then the Stranger really needs to ask why it keeps pushing the false "housing affordability" claim, instead of talking about the public health problems which either caused the homelessness crisis, greatly exacerbated it, or both.


@20 -- as per Usual
THANK YOU Catalina.

the Furor over the Symptoms
of massive Inequality
is Misplaced

but at least it's
Easy to find
some nice
& Handy


Housing as Commodity
will NEVER Solve this.


33 this is an extremely long-winded visual aid for my point so thx for that. It always comes down to “but our land use” and whining about people getting handouts.

Expect to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year in perpetuity on jails, hospital stays, and sweeps bc people lack the will to spend that money in a manner that might affect any meaningful change. At least you will still have the thrill of blaming people you hate for someone else’s existential problems.


Let me see if I have this straight: housing is not a human right, even though it's glaringly obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together that without at least basic protection from the elements one cannot survive physically, let alone exercise ones inalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", just as one cannot do so without food, water or air.

But, while shelter is indisputably a basic human need, nevertheless humans aren't entitled to it, because - why again? Oh, right. Because some segment of the human population at some point in time arbitrarily decided that shelter is a commodity from which a few may profit at the expense of the many and not a right to be freely enjoyed by all, even though human existence is nearly impossible without it. By this thinking we end up with what is essentially a tautology: housing is not a right, because someone decided housing is not a right. So, shelter must be purchased, because we say it must be, and those who for whatever reason are unable or unwilling to pay for it are deemed criminals if they do not.

Does that sound about right?


@20 - AMEN!! This is a national problem and there is just no way Seattle, Portland, LA, etc. can solve it. Under the current system, anything we do to help people is just going to increase the magnitude of the local problem and create a never-ending spiral.


“It’s completely wild that we built freeways in our cities and just freely let people speed cars through them.”
And SLOG is in the forefront lobbying for more police officers to enforce the traffic laws......because SLOG is so supportive of police.

“She recently broke the 34-year-old Washington Women's shot put record.......”
I thought lady shot putters was a joke about Russians during the olympics.

“Orson Welles talking shit.......”
(yawn) More rage generated publicity. If this keeps up, next we’ll see two stars generating publicity by one slapping the other on stage at some awards event........

“..... game of fetch with a beautiful Siberian husky....”
My dear sweet sister is up in Heaven smiling at that video.

@3, “I know that housing is a right....”.
Really. A RIGHT?????? More stupid crap. Is there somewhere in this world where houses grow on trees? I mean it needs to be much more widely available........but it exists now as a right????? More evidence of the dismissal state of education in this country.....even the dismissal state of language comprehension.

@10, if only we could hire a group of people. They could go around enforcing laws. What would we call them?.......Po......po......


@37, saying something is a right means it MUST be given to them, free, & without them having to lift a finger to get it. Is THAT what you believe? Does THAT sound about right?

  1. Here’s how it works: a well-meaning student from the East Coast gets a very expensive degree in social work. Some rich foundation opens up an office in Seattle to ‘do something about homelessness’. The new graduate gets the job online and heads out here. They rent a shabby but expensive apartment and go to work, giving circular telephone referrals to existing agencies that are out of funding and have nothing left to offer; except employment to their useless staff. But they all have a degree, so get paid good money to do exactly what 211 does. (8 hours in, 12 calls later and the last agency asks “have you called 211?”)

Ask every social worker where they’re from. Ask them what happened to the last person who was living where they do now at doubled rent.
They will never know. It does not occur to them they they TYPIFY THE PROBLEM! Useless selfish people moving here- a place with a housing crisis- for their own resume goals.

The city spends a ridiculous amount of money on this with little to show for it. If the money went directly to LOCAL displaced seniors and disabled (kids always get priority even if they just showed up here) to just pay rent there would be less homelessness. Subsidized Housing is full with 3-4 year wait lists.
Don’t think for a minute that Section 8, a Federal Program, is any kind of option. This life-saving concept is only distributed by lottery and only every few years. You can vote for and pay taxes for public housing all your life in Seattle and see it go to some Californian or other refugee.
St Louis is begging for refugees. They have the housing! Why are we shoving 1000 new refugees into King County? Because of these imported social workers who haven’t got one clue about displacement!



Speaking of "the dismal state of education in this country", clearly you were never properly taught that, along with caves, trees were the very first habitations employed by early humans - a direct result of our pre-human ancestors being primarily arboreal - and in fact there are still humans who DO live in trees, and who have done so for probably thousands of years, the Korowai people of New Guinea being just one example. So, there are indeed places where "houses grow on trees" (

Heck, even in the modern, post-millennial United States one can find shelter in treehouses all over the country (

And we won't even get into the obvious fact that many houses are made OF trees, hence some houses, or at least the basic raw materials for them, grow on trees.



According to the definition of "inalienable", yes.

No one needs to be GIVEN an inalienable right, because by definition it cannot be transferred to, taken away from or given away by the possessor. That is literally what "inalienable" means.

unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. "freedom of religion, the most inalienable of all human rights"


@39: can you at least read what I wrote before you start ranting about it?

"yes, I know that housing is a right, etc. except it isn't, obviously. not in america."


Right. Booooo, mean - the Woodland is a perfect place to destroy because junkies don’t have anywhere better to set up their junk fort.

Waaaaaaaay overdue to sweep the shit out of that beautiful park.


@37: That was a lot of words to ignore what @24 told you in just the first sentence. Yes, you are correct, food is a human necessity. To discover why it is not a 'right,' you could try asking all of the persons who've died of famine, but as they're dead, they can't tell you anything -- even though each one of them knows at least 100 million billion times as much about how economies work (or don't) than you're showing here.

No one "decided" that housing was a commodity, or that the profit motive can be one great, if limited, way to get that commodity built. Housing is a commodity because, like food and clean water, it takes resources to create/obtain. You can kill or drive away every last capitalist from a society, and that society can still suffer famine. (We know this because it's been tried.) Seattle supplies electricity and clean water to all residents, and housing to some. Supply of housing now outstrips demand, but that is not something Seattle, or any other entity, can solve simply by wanting to. It takes resources, because housing takes resources, because that's what commodities require, in every human society we've ever observed.

@36: Yes, if you simply cannot argue with the logic or facts presented, one possible response it to try and co-opt the comment, add a petulant threat, and accuse the commenter of being a hater. (Because the only reason a commenter would talk about the complexities of housing policy in a thread about homelessness is to relieve the intolerable tedium encountered whilst getting fitted for jackboots.) It's not a very good response, but it's the best you have, apparently.

(Also, although I won't endorse the making of bitter threats, you probably could have chosen a topic other than one I'd already mentioned. And no, pulling vague numbers straight out of your ass didn't improve matters. Sorry I have to be the one to tell you that.)


@44, “I know that housing is a right....... not in america."
Sorry, didn’t mean to offend. I just didn’t know housing was a right anywhere. Could you tell me where it is a right that you know of?
@42, thanks for proving my point. Unless you actually think the solution to housing really grows on trees.
@43, you’re another reading comprehension problem....,..1st, even inalienable rights are only allowed, not given. 2nd, rights which are inalienable are such because you already have them. The right to life is inalienable because you are alive. No one is born with a house which can’t be taken away. In that sense you’re correct. Everyone has a right to housing. Just to whatever housing they can provide for themselves .


@46, “Supply of housing now outstrips demand......”
It does???? Then why does the price keep rising?
Housing isn’t a right. But it needs to be provided. The reason housing is so scarce now is because our Real Estate industry is so horrendously corrupt, restricting supply & promoting bidding wars. Right now we don’t have a housing market, we have a system of Real Estate & mortgage fraud used to provide a major source of income to this nation.


we have Planet-wide
Speculatoors snatching
it up hand over fist & all it
Is is commodification of Human
Beings. and we can Allow it, or not


According to the Seattle Times, Woodland Park was swept, without incident (

"Over the last four months, the city’s HOPE team, which coordinates outreach services for encampment removals, have worked with partners to assess residents’ needs and offer them shelter."

(Funny how the anti-sweeps crowd somehow didn't mention that...)

'David Sandoval, who has been living in the park since last winter, watched the encampment grow substantially in recent months.

'“I’m pretty sure because they see on the news, and the word around here, that people in the park are getting housing,” Sandoval said.'

(Cripes, David, please do try to stay on message! Repeat after Matt: sweeps are counterproductive and do not move anyone into housing. Now, please pass the word along.)

We also got a glimpse of why some persons remain unhoused:

"Lolë has been living in the park on and off for the past year. [...] Lolë has an apartment in Bellevue through the legal system diversion program LEAD, but says she can’t stay there because she was asked to get rid of her dog, Ragnar, who she’s had for two years.

"She said the city’s outreach workers did not offer her a different housing option. She understands that neighbors want access to the park, but said that perhaps they could coexist with those living outdoors."

No, people who actually have jobs and pay taxes toward the park do not want to "coexist" with someone who has unilaterally decided to live there, rent-free, indefinitely, because she decided her unlicensed dog was more important than her getting housed. Being an adult means making choices, and taking responsibility for those choices.

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