SEATTLE - Washington State Department of Transportation begins the removal of a large homeless encampment underneath the I-5 and I-90 junction in Seattle. In preparation of the cleanup, Friday, crews gathered near the intersection of 10th Avenue South and South Dearbborn Street.
WSDOT closed one lane of the I-5 North Dearborn exit to make room for the equipment and space needed for the encampment removal. The lane will remain closed until clean up at the site is finished, likely by the end of the weekend according to officials.
Just Care, a partner with WSDOT, has been at the site every day this week offering services. WSDOT officials said members of the program helped most of the people transition to a shelter, while others decided to find a play to stay elsewhere.
WSDOT said it posted a notice on Wednesday requiring everyone to clear the state owned property. By Friday morning, there were only a few people remaining at the site collecting the last few of their belongings.
The removal and cleanup comes after WSDOT and Governor Jay Inslee received criticism from the public for not doing enough to manage encampments along highway shoulders, underpasses and inside the cloverleaf of interchanges.
WSDOT said the goal is to have the space cleared out by the end of the weekend. However, with so much debris left behind, officials said the work could continue into next week.