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Where to go? City of Olympia sweeps the homeless encampment along Deschutes Parkway

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

When the city of Olympia started giving notice of an impending sweep of the homeless encampment on the Deschutes Parkway it admitted that it had no place for the camp residents to go.

The best the city could come up with was some limited-time hotel vouchers, so a private Gofundme campaign was established. By Thursday evening after the sweep, the account had raised more than $5,000 to help with accommodations.

Once the hotel vouchers and private money are spent, it’s unsure where the 70 people who resided in the wooded area near the parkway will live. The encampment, created for people experiencing homelessness, was founded in 2019 after the city swept a previous camp under a bridge on Fourth Ave.

Residents facing the Dec. 8 deadline imposed by the city began clearing out over the past few weeks though several stayed on until Wednesday morning, which is when the city brought in an orange excavator to paw through the debris that had built up over the years. Members of Olympia Mutual Aid Partners (OlyMAP) assisted those remaining by helping pack belongings.

Dignity City contributing photographers Mark White and George P. Hickey spent a couple of days documenting the camp. White photographed the camp prior to the clearing and Hickey was there Wednesday morning for the sweep.

Photo by Mark White, Dignity City

The weekend before the scheduled sweep, residents prepare for the move.

Photo by Mark White, Dignity City

During the rainy season, residents placed panels along the path to avoid the mud.

Photo by George P. Hickey, Dignity City

On Wednesday morning, a camp resident clears some belongings as city workers arrive.

Photo By George P. Hickey, Dignity City

The city of Olympia brought in an excavator to scoop up large items and put them in a bin.

Photo By George P. Hickey, Dignity City

Volunteers remove a tent from the camp along the Deschutes Parkway Wednesday morning.


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