Mitigation Sites

Managed mitigation site vs Unmanaged encampment comparison

Why Establish a Mitigation Site?

The City is faced with the urgent need to respond to the growing concentration of unmanaged homelessness in the Downtown core and the associated public health and safety concerns.

Beyond the need to provide safer conditions for the community and homeless individuals, the City is also responding to recent case law established by the Ninth Circuit Court in Martin v. City of Boise. This case law limits cities from enforcing trespass on public property if there are not an equivalent number of shelter beds to accommodate unsheltered people elsewhere in the community.

This means that the City cannot make people leave unsanctioned encampments if there is not a safe and managed place for them to go.

As a result, the City is trying to balance the health and safety concerns of the larger community with the limitations imposed by the Ninth Circuit Court by establishing a mitigation site. Mitigation sites are temporary, legal camping sites that provide a level of order, safety, dignity and cleanliness to reduce human suffering and the impacts of unmanaged camping on the community.

Orderly row of tents at Oly Franklin mitigation site

Olympia/Franklin Mitigation Site

The City identified the City-owned parking lot at Olympia and Franklin as the most viable location for the temporary mitigation site. While the downtown core is in no way an ideal location for any sort of camping, we must address the immediate situation where it exists.

The Olympia/Franklin mitigation site is not a permanent end state. It is the first step to manage a growing, unsustainable and immediate situation in Downtown. The City will continue to look for more viable alternatives, and will reassess the situation in six months.

This Oly/Franklin Mitigation Site includes:

  • Basic hygiene services (portable toilets, potable water, garbage collection)
  • On-site host(s) managed by the Union Gospel Mission
  • Orderly set-up (fencing, painted rows with 10x10 spaces, consistently sized tents on pallets)
  • A code of conduct and safety protocols

Questions?

Contact Homeless Response staff at 360.753.8231 or homelessness@ci.olympia.wa.us

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