Today, Mayor Ed Murray issued the following statement after U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez denied a request by the American Civil Liberties Union for a temporary restraining order related to the City of Seattle’s procedures to address unauthorized homeless encampments:
“The City of Seattle appreciates the Court’s careful consideration and will continue to move forward with reforms that ensure cleanups of unauthorized encampments occur with compassion toward residents, including increased outreach and the return of stored belongings. Despite efforts to stop the City from addressing public health and safety threats that exist in and around some unauthorized encampments, under today’s ruling, the City will continue to address this crisis humanely while maintaining health and safety on our sidewalks, streets and in our parks.
“For more than six months, the City has been working to update these protocols based on the principles of the Task Force on Unsheltered Encampment Cleanup Protocols. This process included extensive public engagement. The plan for new protocols was announced as part of the Bridging the Gap plan in October, which aims to increase outreach, provide safer alternative places to live for those living in our unsanctioned encampments, create more compassionate protocols for unauthorized encampments and improve trash and needle pickup. The new protocols are currently in the public comment period through Wednesday. The court emphasized the importance of public involvement in this process, and the City continues to invite the community to provide its input during the comment period.”