Seattle councilmember Bagshaw suggests re-opening the Jungle

A city councilmember said today that the Jungle could be part of the answer to the homeless problem.

Could The Jungle be part of the solution to Seattle's homelessness crisis -- not part of the problem?

After a fiery public hearing on a new proposed ordinance, councilmember Sally Bagshaw suggested re-opening the area under Interstate 5 for legal, sanctioned camping.

"I'm not saying it's the best place," said Bagshaw. "I'm saying it may be better than letting them run around in neighborhoods where they're camping and causing problems."

Bagshaw suggested the idea after a two-hour public comment marathon following a committee meeting discussing an ordinance to tighten the rules on when and how the city clears homeless camps.

Under the proposal, homeless campers would get 30 days notice before a clearing happens -- known as a sweep.

Nearly 50 people spoke for and against the proposed ordinance.

Skeptics said it would encourage homeless people to camp in all sorts of public spaces, like parks, sidewalks, and school football fields.

Proponents said the city needed to give the homeless more dignity and help them find suitable places to live.

There is one more public hearing and the full council will vote in early October.

Copyright 2016 KING


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