King County clears homeless vehicles from Green River Road

No parking signs and barriers to be installed during Nov. 6-22 closure near Kent, Auburn

After a few years of numerous homeless vehicles and camps along a portion of Green River Road between the cities of Kent and Auburn, the area will take on a whole new look with all vehicles required to move and the installation of no parking signs.

King County has closed portions of Green River Road and 94th Place South from Nov. 6-22 in the unincorporated area to clear, clean, secure and enforce no parking along the right-of-way areas, according to a Nov. 3 county news release. All vehicles will be required to permanently move.

The road closure will be in effect 24-hours a day, 7-days a week during this period. Access will be available only to emergency response vehicles. A detour route will be provided for all other traffic.

The project was initiated this past summer when the King County Council approved supplemental budget funding to restore the area.

Barriers, fencing and no parking signage will be installed in the area to maintain public safety of the right of way. No parking will be allowed on the paved road surface and approximately 10 to 20 feet beyond.

“After a period of requests and multiple meetings between Kent and King County, King County has started the process of cleaning up camps, waste and inoperable vehicles from the roadway at the Titus Pit area in King County,” wrote Pat Fitzpatrick city of Kent chief administrative officer, in his report to the City Council for its Nov. 7 meeting. “Kent has no jurisdictional authority over the area as it is outside of the boundaries of Kent. The city appreciates the county’s willingness to take action.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued the following statement on Nov. 6:

“During the beginning of the pandemic, a large number of cars and campers gathered along Green River Road, in the unincorporated area just outside of Kent and Auburn. Per public health guidance, the group was allowed to stay during the pandemic, but this year it has grown, with an increase in unlawful behavior and expanding dangerously close to the roadway.

“Allowing the situation to persist would further jeopardize the safety of the individuals, and the neighboring public. That’s why we proposed – and earlier this year the County Council approved – funding for cleaning and securing the area and today, after providing notice and offering a temporary alternative site for the vehicles being relocated, the King County Department of Local Services began that process. Following the cleaning of the site, we will enforce no parking in the area, and vehicles will not be allowed to return.

“The allocation of resources and the months of planning have helped to ensure the safety of all the individuals involved, our staff, and the public. This project is only possible through the collaboration of Local Services, the King County Sheriff’s Office, service providers and the King County Regional Homelessness Authority to help the individuals make connections to shelter and other resources.”

• All vehicles parked in the area were required to leave the area by 8 a.m., on Monday, Nov. 6 and will not be allowed to return.

• Outreach teams will be working with individuals in advance of the removal of vehicles and clean-up of the road.

• King County provided access to a temporary, off-site parking lot for people living in vehicles and RVs who are displaced by the project.

“King County’s utmost priority is the safety of all individuals residing in and using this area – this includes permanent residents, unsheltered individuals, employees, and people traveling through or using local recreational or other facilities,” according to the county’s project website. “Overnight parking and camping along the road right-of-way in this area has resulted in a public safety hazard.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the county noted overnight parking and camping in the area were allowed to continue due to pandemic-related public health concerns. With the pandemic now over, the area will be restored to its intended use and function.

Project location

Work zone with full closure Nov. 6-22:

• Green River Road from 259th Street (near Kent city limits) to slightly south of the Green River Park (soccer field and P-Patch) parking lot.

• 94th Place South from the intersection of Green River Road (aka the Triangle) to approximately one third of a mile to the south. The closed segment does not include any adjacent private residences.

Work zone with intermittent closures/restrictions Nov. 6-22:

• The project also extends approximately 1.5 miles south along Green River Road to the Auburn city limits. This portion of the work will require only intermittent road closures or restrictions.

• Temporary lighting will be in place at the three full road closure barriers. The lighting will be on during all hours of darkness and is powered by generators, so some small engine noise should be expected.

• Work hours will be from approximately 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, including weekends.