Interbay Camp gets Thanksgiving visit from Seattle Mayor

SEATTLE, Wash. -- It’s a city-sanctioned homeless camp not everyone has been happy about since it’s arrival. But on this Thanksgiving Day, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray spent some time with those at the Interbay tent city.

Mayor Murray said these city sites are a much safer place for the homeless than illegal encampments, like the ones under a freeway, but he said the outpouring of support at the camp Thursday shows others in this region are seeing the need too.

On this chilly Thanksgiving Day, those at the Interbay Camp felt a touch of warmth as local restaurants, volunteers and Mayor Ed Murray himself served meals to those who live there.

“It means a lot to me because I don’t have family,” said Shyann Osterberg, who isn’t just thankful for the meal but a safe place she can now call home at the Interbay Camp. “This is a very structured community. We don’t just let anybody in, especially since there are families here and children.”

Not everyone is in favor of the location. Neighbors urged the Seattle City Council to reconsider putting a camp here during the selection process.

“There are people who are supportive and there are people who are very very upset,” said Mayor Murray. “Certainly I as mayor and the city council wouldn’t impose a legal encampment on folks if we had another choice, but we don’t have another choice.”

Murray said on this day of thanks, he is highlighting what he calls the homeless epidemic in Seattle, a crisis he believes needs to be addressed on the state and national levels.

Murray said he will soon be meeting with mayors from Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco to discuss how to address the homelessness issue.