Green Lake constituents angry with city councilman over homeless encampment

SEATTLE -- An unsanctioned homeless camp that caused quite a stir in Green Lake has packed up and left the block.

But many residents there are still angry with what they were forced to deal with for nearly two months.

Neighbors say the tents first popped up on 5th and 58th in early March.

Residents say there is a lack of accountability by city leaders.

Q13 News heard from concerned residents who say they emailed City Council Member Mike O’Brien for help. Some say they never got a response back. Others who did get a response say it was inadequate.

Residents feel ignored.

“I feel expendable and that makes me feel angry,” Green Lake homeowner Betsy Peto said.

Neighbors say not all the campers were committing crimes but many were.

Kristin Frosaker says residents have had to deal with property crime, open drug use, theft and defecation on their yards.

“We are not going to shut up because we are not safe when our kids can't walk down the street to the park and I can’t go to my car,” Frosaker said.

Frosaker says she and many others in the past several weeks wrote to O’Brien.

“I’ve sent emails and had no response I don't have a direct dial to him, wish I did,” Frosaker said.

“You email this heartfelt passionate letter to your representative, you get a canned response,” Peto said.

Peto says about a week after emailing O’Brien, she received a response from O’Brien's intern.

The response said the office had received many emails from constituents. It said O’Brien’s office has continually advocated to the mayor’s office that the encampment needed to be addressed immediately.

But at the time in mid April the encampment did not meet the executive’s criteria for removal.

Betsy says the response was disappointing since, she said, she and other neighbors had already been victimized by some of the campers.

Betsy says she caught one of the campers siphoning water from her property. Frosaker says her son’s cellphone was stolen from the car. When they tracked it down, it was located at one of the tents at the encampment.

“I voted for the man because he favors rights for the homeless and so do I,” Peto said.

But Peto says not at the expense of homeowners.

These are residents who stayed silent on the matter before -- but not anymore.

“It’s personal, I can’t just drive down the street ignoring the mess, it’s damaging my family,” Frosaker said.

Q13 News emailed  O’ Brien directly and received no response.

We requested an interview last Thursday and then again on Monday, hoping to sit down with O’Brien but a spokesperson said he did not have the time.

Spokesperson Dana Robinson Slote did say O’Brien did not have the power to remove an encampment and that it was up to the navigation team headed by the mayor’s office.

But even so, Green Lake residents say they deserve a better answer than that.

The navigation team in an email confirmed the removal of the encampment on the week of April 30th because of human waste and garbage. The email also stated that the site also posed hazards to both unsheltered and sheltered communities using the road.

But even before the city’s move, people at the camp had decided to voluntarily move.

The Neighborhood Action Council helped the campers move to another location on Sunday. According to neighbors, the campers moved a little over eight blocks to the Eastside of I-5 near 50th.

The cycle continues and residents say they need accountability.

“I want them to cease allowing camping, it shouldn't happen if I have to move to Edmonds to stop living next to campers who are taking advantage of innocent people. I guess I will, even though I love Seattle,” Frosaker said.

Frosaker says she has compassion for the homeless but she says the issue isn’t homelessness, it’s now lawlessness.