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Scandals in Seattle’s Homeless Camps

David Preston
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link to David’s blog THE BLOG QUIXOTIC

added 2 new photos.

Seattle’s newest “sanctioned” homeless encampment is about to open. This photo came to me through a neighborhood resident who said: “They are already moving in, right around the corner. The entire community just found out about it last week. This area is riddled with crime.”
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According to the South Seattle Emerald neighborhood blog: “Seattle’s Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will operate the encampment on two adjacent properties recently purchased at 7544 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South and 7529 Renton Ave. South. The encampment, toDavid Preston's photo. be called Othello Village, will house a maximum of 100 people in tents and tiny houses.”
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LIHI is the same organization that ran the Nickelsville Dearborn homeless encampment until last month, when there was a rebellion against perennially unpopular camp boss Scott Morrow. After trying to force the residents to reinstate Morrow, LIHI’s director Sharon Lee pulled her group out of the project and sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council, asking them to evict the camp. (You can read more about that in the links below.)
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In 2013, LIHI had an income of $17,000,000 and it’s director, Ms. Lee, made $176,000. LIHI does not release information to the public on what it costs to run a homeless camp or how many people people move from the camps into permanent housing. Campers I’ve talked to estimate the number to be quite low, in the neighborhood a few per year. This despite the fact that LIHI controls hundreds of units of subsidized housing in the city.  

A homeless camper’s testimony.

David Preston's photo.

Photo by Kevin McClintic

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Here’s some info that was sent to me by someone who wishes to be known only as “A Victim of Scott Morrow.” This person has spent time at two of Mr. Morrow’s roving homeless encampments that are located outside the Seattle city limits. These encampments are known as Tent Cities.
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I have heard many similar stories over the years, but I do NOT vouch for the authenticity of this particular testimony. I have removed specific details for privacy reasons. –David
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H.A. was at Tent City 3 & 4 at different times. She was put into her own tent alone at Tent City 4 for trying to “tent hop” with the boys too often.
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I was at Tent Cities* before. I saw how she and her friends would make up any reason to kick homeless people out on the grounds that they did not cater to her whims. She sells food stamps and smoked a lot of pot before it was legal. She would always live in the fantasy that she was [of a certain ethnicity] and a rock star.
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She was Scott Morrow’s insider when he was not there.
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Scott Morrow structures his camp schedules to make it very hard for people to get into a good job. He requires weekly meetings, 3 or more 3-hour details in a week called “securities” and whenever a person in charge feels like punishing you they tell you to work a security shift with no advance notice. Too bad if you needed to be somewhere else. Do that shift immediately or get kicked out. Several campers would steal from other tents while working the EC desk (short for Executive Committee). Lies were reported on people and then they were kicked out. They belongings were stolen or trashed.
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There is mandatory fundraising to the homeless campers every year. For 3 months in summer you had to buy a gift card for 25.00 each month or get an agency to donate 100.00 or more. There was a camper named M.B. (aka _____) who would raise $ 2,000 in donations each year he was there. If you failed to fundraise you were out. The forced community service was doing legal meetings, grant writing for fundraising, or forced church attendance. Even atheists and non-Christians were forced to do those things.
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A bunch of campers that left are on Facebook as Happy Campers. They have share/wheel core values but not Scott Morrow as a fat fake mafioso to yell at them. They focus on working and community service.
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Thanks for letting me tell you my part of the story.

David Preston Just to refresh you, the subject of the testimony above is Scott Morrow. Morrow runs three homeless encampments inside Seattle David Preston's photo.and two outside. In addition, he operates dozens of church-based shelter beds scattered through the city for which the City pays him around 800K annually.

Morrow is friends with two city councilmembers (Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold). Two other councilmembers (Mike O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw) run interference for him, selling his tent camps to reluctant neighbors and helping him expand his operations in the city.

The Seattle City Council has ignored my requests to create an independent grievance board to hear complaints against Mr. Morrow and his organization.


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