Encampment at Jefferson County Fairgrounds may be moved

Commissioners to discuss options at special meeting Thursday

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners will conduct a special meeting Thursday to discuss plans on where to move the homeless encampment currently at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds campground when the state moratorium on evictions expires at the end of the month.

The fairgrounds association is planning to evict more than 50 homeless people now camping at the fairgrounds after the eviction moratorium set by Gov. Jay Inslee expires June 30.

County Commissioner Greg Brotherton has suggested setting up an encampment at the Cape George equestrian park at 1172 Cape George Road.

That idea remains under discussion, Brotherton has said, but commissioners and residents are also interested in considering other options.

Thursday’s special meeting will be online at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-CapeGeorgeMeeting. It will start at 10:30 a.m.

Public comment will not be heard. Several Cape George residents did give verbal and written comments, both pro and con, during the commissioners’ Monday meeting regarding the topic.

Comments can be emailed to the three county commissioners at [email protected].

The county has requested that social service providers such as Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP), Bayside Housing and Dove House Advocacy Services, as well as Port Townsend Police Chief Tom Olson, Port Townsend Navigator Jud Haynes, Jefferson County Sheriff Joe Nole, East Jefferson Fire Rescue and Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro attend the meeting.

As of Tuesday morning, the attendees were not confirmed, said Carolyn Gallaway, clerk of the board.

The immediate goal would be to have a temporary encampment set up for homeless to use after the fairgrounds evicts the campers, and then work toward a permanent solution, said Brotherton, District 3 commissioner, during Monday’s meeting.

The fairgrounds encampment was originally a temporary solution.

Brotherton has been working with Goodman Sanitation to organize portable sinks and toilets for the Cape George property. No showers are available at the site.

The agenda item is listed as “Discussion and Potential Action re: Relocation of the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Homeless Encampment,” and commissioners may or may not take action on the next location for the homeless encampment, Gallaway said.

The fairgrounds is county-owned property, but it’s contracted to the Jefferson County Fair Association, and the commissioners want to allow the campground to return to its intended use, Brotherton said.

“The fairgrounds have an intended use that we have to get back to,” Brotherton said during the June 7 commissioners meeting.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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