SEATTLE – Officials called it spring cleaning along Interstate 5
Anyone who has driven into Seattle lately has seen the piles of garbage and debris littering the roadside.
City officials said outreach workers have spent several days notifying the few homeless campers left about the cleanup, offering services and shelter.
Even so, some homeless campers said they didn’t have enough time to find somewhere else to move.
“These areas where chosen in part because there are very few people among them,” said city spokesperson Meg Lording.
Beginning Friday, dozens of city and state work crews started began sifting through the debris – they were also saving and storing what could be important property.
Crews also had to wear protective clothing while dealing with hazardous material.
“They have to wear protective gear, they have to have sharps containers,” said Lording. “We actually have a bio team that went in in advance of the regular cleaning team, they’re specially trained people.”
Living in a tent along the freeway is dangerous enough as it is. Last September, police said an impaired driver killed a homeless man when his car careened off the freeway and into his tent.
Both the city and neighbors said living by the freeway isn’t safe for anyone.
“I don’t think living in a homeless camp is ever safe, but people have to do what they have to do,” said neighbor Adam Griffis.
Griffis said he feels compassion for his homeless neighbors, he just hopes the next place they call home isn’t as dangerous.
“No one wants to be moved from where they’re from,” he said. “The hope is they’d find somewhere safer.”
Work crews plan to collect trash over the weekend and into next week between 45th and 65th streets.