Seattle vagrants have now constructed a homeless encampment in the trees above the crime-ridden city, prompting one stunned local to liken it to the Ewok Village from Star Wars.
Local journalist Jonathan Choe stumbled across the ramshackle treehouse high in the city’s trees on Friday, and deployed a drone to get a closer look.
The Ewok encampment has a wooden stepladder to let its residents reach the ground below it. Its floor appears to be comprised of foam blocks, with a net supporting the soft material, which likely gives the shelter’s residents a comfortable sleeping experience.
Up top, the sci-fi style enclosure is covered with a green tarpaulin. It has been stuffed with mounds of trash and the sort of detritus commonly seen in other encampments, including clothes and a black plastic crate.
It’s unclear who lives in the treehouse and no residents were visible during Choe’s visit. The Ewok Village appeared in Return of the Jedi, the 1983 movie that was the third in the original Star Wars trilogy. But unlike the sight that greets Seattle locals, it was a peaceful and idyllic location home to a tribe of Ewoks – furry creatures native to the fictional moon of Endor.
Upon venturing into the encampment on Friday, journalist Jonathan Choe was stunned to find a resident living high up in the evergreen trees – a scene reminiscent of the iconic EWOK village from ‘Return of the Jedi’
Residents in an affluent Seattle neighborhood were outraged earlier this month after homeless people set up a swimming pool at their encampment – which officials refuse to remove
Choe compared the scene to that of an Ewok Tree Village, which was village built within the evergreen trees in Bright Tree Village, home to an tribe of Ewoks during the Galactic Civil War in Star Wars
He said of the discovery: ‘After all the smoke cleared Friday afternoon, I went into the I-5 homeless encampment in downtown Seattle and found someone living up high in the evergreens. It’s like the EWOK Village scene from Return of the Jedi.
Earlier this month, Seattle hit the headlines after a swimming pool was constructed at a separate homeless encampment which saw a murder in May, with senior citizens living close to the slum left terrorized by its presence.
In addition to the tree dwelling individual, Choe discovered a man building an intricate underground cave tunnel system.
‘I met one guy who is extremely talented and should be working, said Choe accompanying a footage he took of the cave and its architect. ‘He built one of the craziest encampments I have ever seen with an underground tunnel system in the works.’
The sheer complexity of the structure shocked Choe as it suggested a level of engineering skill beyond the usual makeshift dwellings found in homeless communities.
In addition to the tree dwelling individual, Choe discovered a man building an intricate underground cave tunnel system
‘But the state might want to get on this ASAP,’ he added. ‘Imagine if this collapses on someone? Why take the risk? Only in Seattle.’
After complimenting the skills and craftsmanship of the man he calls ‘Jesse,’ Choe asked: ‘Why don’t you be an architect?’
To which the man explained that he can’t get a job because he didn’t go to school, but if he was offered one, he would take it.
Jesse said he built the structure because he had no job, no money, and struggled with drug use.
The Seattle encampment is situated on Washington State Department of Transportation property, Choe said, as he toured the property, stopping at various tents that were surrounded by trash and debris.
‘I counted at least 40 suspected situations,’ he said. ‘Lots of drug use, trash, and no doubt there is run off going into the waterways. It’s an environmental disaster in the making.’
The Seattle encampment is situated on Washington State Department of Transportation property, Choe said, as he toured the property, stopping at various tents that were surrounded by trash and debris
Officials in the crime-ridden city are dragging their heels with removing it, despite outrage from law-abiding taxpayers living nearby
What initially drew attention to the West Seattle homeless encampment, was a fully inflated adult-sized swimming pool, which became a controversial topic in recent weeks.
Residents in an affluent Seattle neighborhood were outraged earlier this month after homeless people set up a swimming pool at their encampment – which officials refuse to remove.
Homeowners in Highland Park – where the median house price is nearly $600,000 – said the addition feels like a slap in the face after months of voicing their concerns.
Video captured by KOMO shows one woman sitting on a couch next to the pool and smoking fentanyl in broad daylight.
The encampment witnessed a recent murder, as well as theft and open air drug use – but the sight of a new inflatable swimming pool was what really threw neighbors off the edge.
However, officials in the crime-ridden city are dragging their heels with removing it, despite outrage from law-abiding taxpayers living nearby.
‘When I hear the shooting, I stay down and away from the windows,’ said a neighbor Cheryl Galyeam. ‘There are times I’ve had to get on the floor in the middle of the night.
The sheer complexity of the structure shocked Choe as it suggested a level of engineering skill beyond the usual makeshift dwellings found in homeless communities
Some of the inhabitants, however, are not pleased with Choe’s investigation
Residents of one Seattle neighborhood are furious vagrants living in an encampment have been spending summer days installing blow-up pools and smoking fentanyl
Video captured by KOMO in the Seattle neighborhood shows one woman sitting on a couch next to the pool and smoking fentanyl in broad daylight
Last week, Choe spoke with the woman who set up the pool and lives on the property, Monica Parrish.
Parrish told Choe that the homeless are getting a bad rap and all she was trying to do was bring some ‘positivity’ to the community.
Choe asked if she was aware that the state might come and clear the area soon.
Parrish said she heard the plans to clear out the encampment are rumored to occur within the next one to two months.
‘So why build all this if you’re time is limited here?’ Choe asked.
‘I guess I was hoping for something a little different,’ Parrish said while tearing up. ‘I hate to see it go, but for the time being I wanted it to be nice, to look nice.’
‘I was hoping it would be something I could keep, and hang on to, and maintain … but it doesn’t see like that’s going to be a choice that we are going to be able to make,’ she added.
Since then, Choe said he has been venturing out and exploring the constellation of mini encampments in the deep woods nearby.
Some of the inhabitants, however, are not pleased with his investigation.
‘Who is that?’ one disgruntled man asked as Choe walked toward his tent. ‘Why are you walking into peoples camps man?’
Choe ignored the man’s question and asked: ‘How long have you been here?’ to which the man replied: ‘Over a year.’
‘I thought, “oh my God, what next?”‘ said Cheryl Galyeam (pictured) in reference to the pool
Highland Park homeowners – many who are elderly – say the addition of a pool in the area feels like a slap in the face after months of voicing their concerns
Seattle: one man can be seen here openly using a hypodermic needle as he lays on the sidewalk
‘You know the states going to come and start clearing this out,’ Choe declared.
The man, now in an irritable state, said: ‘That’s fine, just go away, go away, god damn.’
Many viewers praised Choe on YouTube for investigative the encampment and revealing his discoveries to the public.
‘In the past several years, WA state, King County, and Seattle have spent BILLIONS on the homeless. It is revealing to see the results of that spending,’ one commented. ‘Keep up the good work!’
‘That took nerve to do what you did. Those people are very independent and some are very violent be careful,’ another commented.
As the investigations continues, the public eagerly awaits further updates on those dwelling in this unusual homeless encampment, hoping that these discoveries can shed light on the broader issue of crime and homelessness in the city.
‘The madness of community leaders who believe the rights of the selfish are more important than the contributing members of a society paying for everything.. Get organized, get out and vote for changes. Their lining their pockets with your money all awhile making empty promises.’
Some viewers expressed concern for Choe’s safety, emphasizing the dangers involved with intruding on the space of these homeless individuals.
‘These are human beings like you and I. Why are you intruding into their lives? These individuals are extremely vulnerable, they have little sense of security. You’re gonna end up on the evening news as another statistic. I’d be careful where you tread, be safe,’ one commented.