Pierce County homeless camp, site of unsolved murder, to be swept

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. – Another homeless camp sweep is scheduled soon, this time inside a notorious camp where police are still trying to solve a murder.

Come Monday morning, everyone living inside a specific greenbelt area west of Steele Street South will be evicted by the property owner with help from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

But there’s another camp right across the street that many neighbors worry will only grow larger because of the nearby eviction.

A free wandering chicken makes the Wildwood Lake neighborhood charming.

“It started out as a great place to live,” said Trent Porter.

“We have a lot more neighbors than we thought we did,” added Jennifer Quaife.

For folks living along 102nd Street South just north of Parkland, hearing about an upcoming sweep of a nearby homeless camp is good news.

“I don’t even like my daughter to play in the yard herself because of the people who come into our neighborhood,” said Quaife.

Sheriff’s deputies say problems connected to the camps go beyond property crimes. In fact, they are still investigating an unsolved murder.

The property owner told Q13 News they have been working on getting these sites cleared since December and the sweep was not spurred by the homicide.

Officers recently went in and offered services to some, but many people didn’t take them. Some of those service pamphlets we found scattered on the ground in one camp.

And while the area is scheduled to be swept Monday, another camp around the block on land owned by the same company won’t be swept for another couple of weeks, according to the owner.

The property’s owner plans to sell after the sweep and security guards are planned to patrol both areas.

But neighbors worry the illegal camps will only return – even if somewhere else close by.

“It has become worse and worse,” said Porter.

“It’s scary having somebody that close to where you’re sleeping,” added Quaife.

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