SEATTLE - On Friday, city officials and protestors met behind closed doors at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Capitol Hill to talk about the future of the 'CHOP' protest zone.
In a meeting not announced to the public or media, Mayor Jenny Durkan, Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, Andre Taylor, founder of Not This Time, and protesters talked about the CHOP.
On Saturday, a spokesperson for Mayor Durkan later provided Q13 News with additional details on the meeting.
During the meeting, Mayor Durkan proposed a series of steps to be initiated in the coming days, including removing the barriers at CHOP to allow for more access.
"The City’s goal remains to allow any individuals to use their first amendment rights while also preserving the public safety of local residents and small businesses," the spokesperson for the Mayor said.
The spokesperson said Mayor Durkan also believes in further plans to keep some art installations and community gardens inside the CHOP and Cal Anderson Park, long-term.
The City is also looking to provide social services at the protest zone, and encourage those living inside the CHOP, to begin to leave, and if they are experiencing homelessness, to take an offer for shelter.
Human Services Department and Public Health of Seattle & King County will continue to be on-site to provide necessary support seeking support with food, shelter, healthcare, mental and behavior health services and COVID-19 testing. The spokesperson also noted many people have left in an effort to join community-led events in Seattle.
In additional, it was stated that Seattle Police does not currently have plans to return to the East Precinct this weekend.
Outside on Saturday, church officials prevented dozens of people and news outlets from getting into the meeting. Q13 asked Mayor Jenny Durkan for comment after the meeting, but she refused to give any statement.
Officials with Seattle Fire said Chief Scoggins was unavailable for interviews during the day.
The specifics of the meeting were unknown at the time of the meeting, however the protesters who made it inside for this meeting said they left feeling hopeful.
"I can understand their frustration of not being allowed in to hear the meeting. And what I must say is all of the protestors that were a part of the meeting, asked for to be live-streamed. We asked for it to have full transparency. It was by the mayor's orders that it not allowed to be live-streamed," said Mark Anthony.
Mark Anthony is a protestor and after this meeting, said there was a sense of hope and that change is possible.
“There was a lot of emotion from both sides and after discussing each other, we were able found out that we have more in common than what was separating us,” said Anthony.
Protesters said the city asked to remove the barriers from the street by Sunday.
At this time, there is no new information from city leaders about what topics were discussed in the meeting and what, if any, new decisions were made about the future of CHOP.