We are the Save Bitter Lake and Broadview Thomson Kindergarten through 8th ( BT K-8) group. The Seattle Public School (SPS) District and their board of Directors has allowed a homeless encampment to reside upon school district property since 2020, and the population in the encampment has recently exploded. SPS has largely ignored the concerns of the city, the surrounding community, as well as families of students at BTK-8. They have allowed camping, trespassing, weapons, drugs, drug dealing, dumping, fireworks, and endangerment of children on their property which has spilled out into the surrounding community and has been repeatedly reported on via multiple media outlets, including KOMO 4, KING 5 and FOX News (local and national.) SPS has left BTK-8 families and the surrounding community no other option than legal recourse.
The encampment is adjacent to the BTK-8 school playground, separated by nothing but a chain link fence. This homeless encampment has become increasingly problematic and dangerous to both the students and families of BTK-8, as well as the surrounding community. We were recently stunned to see that King County Public Health’s needle exchange program is providing services to people living on property belonging to Seattle Public Schools. Serious incidents include multiple instances of dangerous weapons requiring removal including a samurai sword and throwing axes. Recently a gun was spotted in the encampment from the playground, and forced the school to shelter in place until police could arrive and investigate. Sadly, the incidents also include an overdose death in 2021. The encampment has also severely impacted the Bitter Community Center and limited their childcare/teen programs, as well curtailing numerous sporting activities on Bitter Lake soccer and baseball fields.
Bitter Lake is designated an Environmental Critical Area (ECA) and a Riparian Waterway by both the city of Seattle and the State of Washington and there are serious concerns with the ongoing harm to the area due to the amount of trash and biohazardous material, including syringes and human feces, being disposed of in and around the lake. In addition, members of the encampment are cutting down trees, digging up shrubs, and setting uncontrolled fires, further endangering an already stressed ecosystem.
In an ideal world, no one would have to experience homelessness. We understand that not all people experiencing homeless are bad actors, but the school district has failed the people in the encampment on their property, the children and families of Broadview Thomson K-8 as well as the surrounding community. We want to ensure that SPS enforce their own policies, allow city support and services for those who need them, remove the encampment from school property, and create and follow through with a sustainable plan to repair the damage to the shoreline and surrounding area, making it safe for people of all ages and abilities.
Please note that funds are earmarked for our legal fund. Any remaining funds will be reinvested into the area, whether that's remediation and cleanup off the area or donations to a community group.. Find our group on Facebook at Save Bitter Lake and BTK-8 . Thank you for your support!
DonationsSee top donations
- Linh-Co Nguyen
- Michael Kirkham
- Lucinda Porter
- Rochelle Burke
- Charles Lewis