Shooting at homeless encampment in Sodo brings up more concerns for businesses

SEATTLE -- The shooting of a homeless man at an encampment at the junction of Royal Brougham and Airport Way started with an argument.

The shooting happened around 11 p.m. Sunday and, as of Monday, Seattle police were seeking more information on the shooter and hoping to make an arrest.

“A man on the planting strip shot once in the neck,” Seattle Police spokesperson Patrick Michaud said.

Police say the victim is a homeless man living at the encampment.

As the man recovers, Erin Goodman with Sodo Business Improvement Area says the shooting Sunday night is an example of the criminal element plaguing many unsanctioned homeless encampments.

“We have break-ins, we have a really big problem in Sodo with needles and biohazard,” Goodman said.

One example is 6th and Massachusetts, where a group of homeless people live along MacMillan- Piper, a trucking company.

Employees and customers have to dodge needles, trash and human feces.

“Workers are parking here to go to their jobs,” Goodman said.

Goodman says many businesses don`t speak out, worried about retaliation but the frustration is palpable. In September, MacMillan-Piper wrote an email attached with pictures to city leaders describing the problem.

“This is what we deal with every day: unsanitary conditions, drug deals and drug use, people who are high and are abusive.”

As the mayor and several City Council members disagree on how to solve the homeless crisis, Goodman says Sodo needs help in the meantime.

“Outreach needs to keep coming and keep going,” Goodman said.

On Monday, Q13 News saw several workers with the Union Gospel Mission doing just that, reaching out to the homeless along Airport Way.

Goodman says not only does she want more outreach and resources for the homeless, but she supports the mayor`s latest idea to open up four more sanctioned homeless encampments in addition to the ones the city has already opened.

She believes that’s better than letting the homeless stay in unsafe places like the one along Airport Way.

“There are cars and trucks going by at a high rate of speed; it was never intended to be a permanent location,” Goodman said.

Sodo BIA says the homeless encampment may not be one of the authorized encampments but the city does provide some resources for the people along Airport Way.