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Temporary homeless camp opens in Seattle for ‘The Jungle’ exodus

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SEATTLE — The notorious homeless camp under Interstate 5 called ‘The Jungle’ is on the move.

Dozens of homeless people are moving out of The Jungle into a new holding camp much closer to local businesses.

Both city and state officials said the new holding camp is temporary.

It’s an effort to clear out The Jungle underneath I-5 so WSDOT can start work on repairs.

Cheyenne Reynoso said she never though she would end up homeless.

She and her partner first tried living inside The Jungle but quickly moved down to the stretch of state land at S. Royal Brougham Way and Airport Way S.

Cheyenne said she feels much safer to be out in the open.

In January, five people were shot and two were killed in The Jungle.

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission said about 120 people remain there, but down at the new holding camp the mission estimates about 80 people have already moved in.

“We’ve already seen a little bit of growth since we’ve been here the past few days,” said Brian Chandler with the Mission.

The ministry said it will continue offering addiction and shelter services for the homeless.

Chandler said he agreed with Reynoso, saying the holding camp is a much safer place for everyone.

“There’s a lot of females that are here now in this area that have come down from some really unsafe places,” he said.

The city of Seattle said it has provided portable toilets for the holding camp – and soon dumpsters are planned to be delivered to deal with the growing piles of trash.

WSDOT needs The Jungle to be cleared so crews can begin maintenance work underneath I-5 – but the state said it is waiting for a green light from the city.

The Union Gospel Mission said it will continue its outreach, hoping to move as many people out of The Jungle as quickly as possible.

“They want their lives turned around, they want a change,” said Chandler.

The temporary homeless camp should be open until Seattle opens its new Navigation homeless shelter in either December or January, according to the city.

A plan detailing the homeless camps’ transitions is expected to be revealed next week by city officials.