Homeless camp in Green Lake to be moved after neighbors voice outrage

SEATTLE -- Several neighbors who say a homeless encampment has taken over their Green Lake neighborhood met for the first time on Thursday.

“When I am home alone, I don’t feel that safe,” Betsy Peto said.

Residents say when the tents moved in overnight a stone’s throw away, they didn’t know what to think. Now they are just mad.

Neighbors have vented on social media and with each other, but many stayed silent, fearing retaliation. Now many are fed up and willing to talk about it.

“Bowel movement on her driveway last week and then a needle on her driveway the other day,” Phil Cochran said of a neighbor's home.

Residents along 5th and 58th say they are dealing with theft, needles, defecation and now aggressive behavior from some of the campers.

“Verbally abusing, walking past calling my wife human trash and garbage for no reason whatsoever,” Mike Liddell said.

That is just the beginning, residents say. A couple of times they’ve seen people at the camp throwing things over the wall next to the encampment, they say. Over that wall is I-5 and dozens of what appears to be stolen bicycles now left abandoned in a wooded area next to I-5.

“They basically have a bicycle store house going; yes, it’s shocking. I had no idea and that they operate so openly,” Liddell said.

Liddell and his neighbors say they have repeatedly reached out to Seattle city leaders for nearly two months.

“We haven’t had any useful info from them so far, all we understand is that council has told the police to back off,” Liddell said.

“I am not trying to criminalize the homeless; I am against people breaking the law,” Peto said.

Shortly after interviews with neighbors, Q13 News saw city crews posting eviction notices around the encampment site.

The Neighborhood Action Coalition, the group that helped move the campers to Green Lake, is against the eviction.

But Matt Lang, a member of the group, acknowledged to Q13 News that things have gotten unruly.

“It’s caused a lot of tension in that neighborhood, not best for anyone for that camp to remain,” Lang said.

Lang says he will help move the camp somewhere else this Sunday but a location has yet to be determined.

The news comes as a relief to Liddell and others but they worry about other neighborhoods.

“He’s going to help them set up this exact type of camp, the cycle is going to repeat,” Liddell said.