SEATTLE - A two-day cleanup is scheduled for a portion of the Interurban Trail in Seattle on Wednesday and Thursday.
The city posted notices that it will be cleaning encampments and trash in the areas between North 128th Street and 110th Ave.
There are a number of tents and other structures currently set up along the path. One man says the number of people living on the trail has ballooned over the past two months. Some neighbors believe the increases may have been caused by other sweeps in the neighborhoods.
While most neighbors said they will be happy to see the trash cleaned out, there were mixed opinions on relocating the homeless who live there.
Many did not want to give their names for fear of retaliation, but told us that the cleanup was a long-time in coming.
"I’m happy it’s happening. I wish it would have happened sooner," said William Hargrove, a regular on the trail. "I’m glad it’s not getting so far out of control like it was at Green Lake…because once it gets past a certain point, it’s hard to clean up."
He says that the numbers of homeless people staying on the trail had increased dramatically.
"In the past 60 days it’s gone from no one being back here to probably about 20, maybe 30 campers. Plus, the guy down there in the middle is actually building a structure and he’s got his car down there," said Hargrove. "In the past 20 years, of me cruising through here, that’s probably about the first time I’ve ever seen a vehicle down in this area for any reason except for the city doing work on the grass or something."
There were cars parked on the path Monday, despite signs stating that no motorized vehicles are allowed. Some residents say kids often use the trail, along with pedestrians and cyclists, and a crash could easily occur.
Meantime, others argue that those living on the trail don't have anywhere else to go and there aren't enough services available to move them.
Mason Reed, Uses trail frequently
"It’s not unwelcome," said Mason Reed, about the cleanup. "I don’t know if there’s been too much trouble with the people that are living here. There has been some stuff in the neighborhood."
He says that the city and community should focus on rehabilitation.
"I notice that there is a lot of money being spent on cleanups and I just think that the city, or all of us in the community, needs to focus on a path to rehabilitation for some of these people," said Mason. "Most of these people in my experience ARE ON the street because some kind of mental illness or addiction problem."
The cleanup was originally going to start Tuesday, but the city posted new notices, indicating it would now begin Wednesday and run through Thursday.