Longview clears homeless camps ahead of holiday parade


Police said only campers in the median, not on the sidewalk, have to move before Saturday's parade

LONGVIEW, Wash. (KOIN) — The city of Longview cleared out homeless camps set up outside City Hall on Thursday to make way for the annual holiday parade.

Two weeks ago the City Council banned homeless camping from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. beginning later this month. People voiced concerns about the homeless blocking the annual parade route.

The Longview Daily News reports organizers considered changing Saturday’s route but ran into logistical issues.

Longview Police Chief Jim Dushca said the campers were given a 2-day notice to move by 1 p.m. on Thursday. He said campers along the sidewalk did not have to move in time for the parade, only those in the median. Many people forced to move simply relocated to the sidewalk.

City leaders are now looking for a new location for the campers. Dushca said officials are considering a few possible spots.

“They haven’t narrowed down a spot yet — a semi-permanent type camp area — but until city and county officials get that ironed out, I don’t know where they are going to go, quite honestly,” he said.

‘Nowhere to go’

A homeless woman camping in the area told KOIN 6 News the campers were not given enough notice.

“City Hall and the cops need to find a different place for all the homeless to go so we can be in a safe area where we are not being harassed every day,” she said.

“In Longview, we don’t have nowhere to go,” she added. “We can’t go down to the river, we can’t go to the parks — this is the only place we got.”

Another camper who also wished to remain nameless said complying with the city’s request to move in time for the parade required a lot of work.

Many homeless campers who had to move out of the median of a road in Longview simply moved to the sidewalk closer to City Hall, Dec. 5, 2019. (KOIN)

“They want us to take it all down, put it back up,” she said. “That’s a lot of work. I’m going around, not just moving my tent, but moving everyone else’s — like 6, 7 tents — to make sure this gets done.”

The parade begins at 5 p.m. Saturday and organizers are expecting a record turnout.

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