The 2015-17 supplemental Senate Transportation budget includes a $1 million appropriation to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to clean up and secure the homeless encampment area under Interstate 5 known as the “jungle.” The investment was requested by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D- Seattle, and members of the Seattle delegation.
“Our city has unfortunately seen firsthand that the Jungle is dangerous and deadly. It needs to be safely cleaned up, secured and responsibly fenced off,” said Carlyle. “The partnership between Mayor Ed Murray, city leadership and the state is vital to long term success of ensuring this dangerous area under I-5 is no longer accessible as an unsanctioned homeless encampment.”
Plans call for fencing to be installed on both sides of the WSDOT right of way with gates at either end from the city’s maintenance yard off of South Dearborn Street to South Bayview Street, from approximately milepost 164.2 to 163.6. An estimated 8,000 lineal feet of new fencing will be required to build the “box,” and where it’s possible the new fence will tie into existing fencing. The fence will be six feet high and made of heavy gauge metal with razor wire wrapped around three strands of barbed wire.
Officials say the fencing will not be a singular solution and the Seattle Police Department will be asked to patrol the area during construction to ensure safety.
The supplemental Senate Transportation budget has been approved by the committee and will move on in the budgeting process.