Another Autonomous Zone Set Up in Seattle to Protest Homeless Encampment Sweeps
Seattle, WA – A new autonomous zone has been set up in Seattle, this time in an abandoned house on 1106 E Denny Way.
Over the past months, a homeless encampment has taken over Cal Anderson park on Capitol Hill, the former home of Seattle’s first autonomous zone, known as CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone). Residents and businesses have complained about the smell of human waste, as well as the presence of tents, needles, and garbage piling up.
Also at the park, fires were set, assaults were reported, police were assaulted at least once, threats made against park workers, and a murder. The homicide was allegedly committed by Travis Berge, who is said to have killed his girlfriend, Lisa, by stabbing her to death and then falling or jumping into a tank filled with bleach and water, where he died himself.
The City was planning on conducting a sweep to clean up the encampment Wednesday morning, and activists joined the homeless to set up barriers meant to keep police out of the park.
The sweep was delayed by a lawsuit filed by one of the homeless women set up in the park.
Ada Yeager, with the help of Braden Pence from Everett-based Mazzone Law Firm, filed a lawsuit against the city, saying that the encampment was actually a “protest encampment.” According to the suit, if the park was cleared out, it would violate Yeager’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Judge Richard Jones heard the case. He said Yeager “has hardly given the Court anything to scrutinize. The evidence she has offered to show that the city’s intended evictions are content-based is slim.” The judge threw out all claims in Yeager’s case.
While waiting for the judge’s decision in the case, the park dwellers expanded, and were joined by outside activists, to the aforementioned abandoned yellow house. They broke into the home and made it known that they wouldn’t be leaving until the city agreed to cease the encampment sweeps.
This group told us they are “advocates for the people who need housing,” and they will occupy this house in protest. They say the house is owned by an LLC which is behind on tax payments—and was boarded up. pic.twitter.com/SeWvGPPRT3
— Gary Horcher (@GaryKIRO7) December 18, 2020
During a press conference on the matter, one activist said, “Ultimately, we a demand permanent housing for all. Housing is a human right. You cannot sweep away the human beings that our capitalist society deems undesirable. These systemic injustices must be dealt with by top-down reform or they will be met with bottom-up dismantlement.”
The occupation of the home, she said, was “in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, in recognition of the stolen Duwamish land upon which we live.”
It’s unknown if police are still planning to go ahead with the clearing and three-day clean up of Cal Anderson Park following this delay and new autonomous zone.
Local reporter Jason Rantz said, “If city leadership would stop giving in, these activists wouldn’t feel so emboldened. But Seattle activists can get away with almost anything. They try to murder cops, and city leadership rewards them by defunding the police they tried to burn alive in a police precinct. They break a law, and councilmember Lisa Herbold tries to change Seattle criminal code so the crime is effectively legalized.”
LENN previously reported on Herbold’s proposed legislation essentially legalizing over 100 misdemeanors. Check back here for more updates on the yellow house “autonomous zone” in Seattle.