Police clear occupied house at 23rd and Alder

(Image: Truman Buffett — More images here)

The occupied Central District duplex that has been home to a band of protesters, Occupiers and anarchists since November is, again, empty. According to neighbors in the area, police and sheriff’s deputies arrived early Wednesday morning to clear the Turritopsis Nutricula house that has been occupied by squatters. Thanks to Greg for this report:

The anarchist house is being forcibly evicted by SPD this morning, starting @4:15 am. There must be 25 police vehicles blocking off 23rd ave. At 4:25 the police repeatedly announces over loudspeaker that they were court ordered to leave, and could do so without being arrested, but ‘bad things’ would happen to them if they didn’t comply.


 By 5am the cars are still outside and I haven’t heard any progress. I spoke with one member of the group last week who came to help me when he saw me picking up garbage on Alder. He said they would in fact be barricading themselves in their rooms and it wouldn’t be the first time he’s done it. Very laissez-faire about the whole thing.

We do not yet have information on arrests. UPDATE: No arrests have been reported.

This photo was posted to Facebook Wednesday morning:

The house has been occupied since November 19, when a group of Occupy Seattle protesters marched to long-empty building from their Seattle Central Community College encampment.

The group that took over the unfinished 23rd and Alder duplex dubbed the house Turritopsis Nutricula. The home’s legal owner is Denmark West.

A judge ruled against the anonymous residents December 28, giving them ten days to leave the property. 

Lanes of 23rd Ave were closed as the house was surrounded. They were re-opened as the scene cleared just before 6a.

Twitter user @theLoopsurgeon has reportedly been posting messages from the scene:

 4:30am we were woken by the sound of chainsaw & police bullhorns as  protesters were being evicted from…

…the abandoned home they had occupied. There are dozens of police, streets blocked off NO PRESS …including me…

…I was escorted by two cops off of the corner back to my home when I went to take pictures/video they told me to stay behind the tape…

62 thoughts on “Police clear occupied house at 23rd and Alder

  1. TV news is reporting no arrests. Also, sorry for the poor grammar in my quoted news tip above. I was groggy and typing on my yuppie gentrifying iPhone.

  2. Glad to see they finally kicked these dead beats out. They are a waste of time with zero influence to public policy.

  3. I don’t know the exact context of the Facebook posting that includes the picture of the “Take Notice” flyer included in this post, but it refers to a UK law from 1977. The funny spelling of “offence” and mention of a 5000 pound fine kinda give it away…

    Maybe that’s the source of all the confusion in this whole thing. The Occupiers think they are in the United Kingdom and just swooping in and taking something that isn’t yours is permissible there (although I kinda doubt it).

  4. Right, Leschi “Neighbor.” They don’t have any “influence to public policy” nor do I believe have they ever claimed collectively otherwise. The people that do live in $2.8 million waterfront homes and leave their other properties to rot while people die of cold and hunger on these city streets.

    Go f*** yourself.

  5. Hello neighbors,
    My wife and I, like so many of you were wakened by the bull horns and craziness that ensued. “They” didn’t bother me necessarily (except the insane wake up call this morning), nor (as far as I could tell) do anything harmful to the neighborhood (except paint that house a horrid-end-of-the-world color scheme), but all the same I am glad that they are evicted.

    Oh, also…thanks for the photos!

  6. FYI, they graffitied the local city parks and private property with their flaccid ‘calls to action’. And they successfully got under everyone’s skin by invading this forum, a place where we mostly sane neighbors come to vent, and being so proudly pseudo-intellectual (ignorant). Basically they were trying to start an uprising against all of us because they couldn’t be like the rest of us. Silly, but potentially dangerous all the same.

  7. The overblown response by the SPD to these squatters is beyond belief. Since when have we needed such police force to evict squatters from this neighborhood…but hang the Occupy tag on your door and all hell breaks loose. I’m no fan of the Jellyfish people and I’d be happier not to have them in the neighborhood. But this ridiculous (and expensive) show of force by the SPD has got to stop.
    I’ll be in touch with the Mayor’s office.

  8. The “occupiers” had it coming. They are just jumping on a dying band-wagon. They don’t even know what they are protesting. They’re point was to just create havoc without an agenda. I’m glad to see that the squatters have been removed.

  9. If you listened to the news, the reports are that the Jellyfish folks claimed to have set up booby traps and who knows what else. So the fact that the police sent in an armored car is justified to me. So what if some nut job was in there “defending the property” and an officer was hurt? What then? With the viciousness these folks spewed my guess was that anything was possible.
    HIndsight is always 20/20 and now, knowing that they weren’t armed, it is easy to lay blame on the police for overkill. But, not knowing? Did the fact that an armored car showed up harm anyone in anyway? Maybe it used a little more fuel than necessary… oh well.

  10. I have yet to hear of anyone in the CD dying of hunger. Or anywhere else for that matter. Hunger is a symptom or an urge. People are, however, dying of STARVATION all over the world… just not in the CD. Go occupy a dictionary.

  11. I talked with the anarchists/occupiers/homeless kids over a month ago (Let’s stop calling them occupiers; they’re really just a bunch of angry and [mostly] homeless street kids that easily latch onto multiple world views that fit their general antipathy toward a world within which they don’t perform very well). I never got the impression they were violent… some of them were pretty pleasant actually. I remember one in particular being very aggressive and tightly wound, but he wasn’t representative of the whole group. That said, my personal interactions with them would not lead me to conclude that the excessive use SPD resources was justified.

    However, in recent weeks the Jellyfish have quadrupled the amount of graffiti on the squat building and probably half of their new ‘advertisements’ were threats and insults to police. It’s like they were begging SPD to battle them. I can understand from an SPD perspective why they might think they would encounter trouble.

  12. It wasn’t SPD, it was the Sheriff’s Office. Thank them. SPD was there as window dressing.

  13. Again, it wasn’t SPD, it was the Sheriff’s Office. And there were real reports of weapons present. It was a proper response. But, by all means contact the Mayor’s Office. Have fun with that.

  14. All of you go back and re-read the article before bashing ANYONE. The King County Sheriff’s Office conducted this operation, SPD provided some traffic and crowd control. All this bitching about how SPD handled it just shows you don’t read, don’t understand, and/or are biased. Now if you are going to start dissing KCSO read again the information that they had and ask yourself what you would take with you, if you had it available, to deal with 30 potentially hostile people who are in a position of advantage.

  15. Occupiers: you had your day in court, you lost (it might have helped if your attorney showed up), you were given ample time to leave, and you were evicted without violence or arrest according to the rule of Law. Time to chalk that up as a loss, take a deep breath, and move on. Taking over property on the pretext that “no one is using it” is a losing proposition. Start looking for new strategies.

    P.S. — Hire some competent counsel next time. There’s no excuse for an attorney failing to appear at a hearing, and that “response” he filed was flippant and counterproductive to your interests. You have a right to and deserve better representation than you got.

  16. I don’t think most of us are intentionally calling out SPD because of some agenda. The non-lawyer/non-civics crowd just sees civil authorities and doesn’t know what else to call it. The point was regardless of whose operation it was, it looked like general police force overkill. Of course, this observation is *immeasurably* easier to make in hindsight. I made the point above that my personal impression of the Jellyfish was that such force would not be necessary, however the sum of their graffiti threats and the tip-offs received seems like enough for the (deep breath) Sheriff’s Office to justify taking the route they did.

  17. I was wondering why the fine listed an amount in British pounds. Seems kind of irrelevant.

  18. It is permissable to squat in the UK presently, but not here. These morons have a self adgrandizement complex thinking they are in the UK, that they are recreations of the Weathernam of the 1960′s and their paint scrawl is Banksy. Well I guess it is home to mommy and daddy now for them. First they need to clean up their filthy mess they have left everywhere. They should have been arrested and made to do so! Did anyone check on the other squatted house that they re-squatted?

  19. Even neighbors posting comments admit they had no problem with the occupiers. What is better, having 30 more homeless people and a vacant house , or letting 30 people have a place to live? Why are property rights paramount over the real needs of people? Why accept the current system if it results in mass evictions, foreclosures, homelessness, unemployment etc.—not to speak of wars, environmental destruction , racism etc. Why not take a stand against it and support those who do?
    We can debate strategy and tactics and how to best build a movement to create a society based on humane priorities, but when it comes to the state enforcing property rights vs. people demanding the right to housing , why should any rational person support the state and property rights? The problem is the 1% and their system. Take a stand on the side of the people! The Occupy movement is still on the rise and is supported by vast numbers ( one poll showed 54% support ). Support the interests of the 99% , not the 1%!!

  20. That was posted on the house’s FaceBook wall by someone who was not staying there. Just something they wanted to share, presumably because they thought it was cool.

  21. Hi Steve! Thanks for taking a stand for The People!

    The People and I would like to come squat at your place, since you’ve offered so generously.

    And hey, we promise to be clean and fix your place up, just like we did at the Jellyfish place.

    please provide your address, thanks!

    your new housemate,

    – Anar-Christ

  22. I never said I didn’t have a problem with it. I told them to their face that their house was an eyesore, the graffiti around the neighborhood was stupid and pointless, and that their long-term vision was moronic. I also made it clear that as a local homeowner, I found their squalid squatting very annoying. All I said above was that they were non-violent and nobody tried to beat me up.

  23. The house was empty and unused but just because it was both empty and unused doesn’t mean you can just move in. Regardless of who owns it, it isn’t the right of anyone to take up shop.

    I feel like at this point folks are just using the “Occupy” fiasco as an excuse. Go to a shelter or buy a tent but don’t move into a place that doesn’t belong to you.

  24. At least Doris Lessings “The Good Teroist” was entertaining. This continual rant zzzzz justzzzz puts me to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  25. I think you need a break from the city buddy. Try a cattle ranch or a Kansas wheat field. Might do you some good.

  26. They probably wouldn’t have been evicted if they had kept a low profile. Breaking laws doesn’t call forth the powers that be. Drawing attention to yourself does. I’ve seen plenty of successful squatting in the CD by folks who knew to keep a low profile. The graffiti brought to mind teenagers with anti-establishment bumper stickers who get pulled over by the cops. Using someone else’s property as a billboard does not equate Lacking shelter and taking refuge.

  27. Steve, what is this “right to housing? Do we live in a communist block or something? I’m as liberal as the next guy but this is taking it a bit too far. If you’re so concerned about these vagrants, have them live in your basement. This has nothing to do with the “people” as you suggest the OWS movement needs a much clearer voice and all this nonsense only convolutes the process.

  28. Steve,

    In ‘life as we know it’, you don’t get a ribbon for merely participating. That is all.

    SE

  29. Hey Steve,
    Post your address so i can add it to the “Occupy list” for the great,good,cold,hungry and decent SQUATTERS of the Central District.
    Your a superduper guy Steve.

  30. How do you cut a door down with a grinder? There are meat grinders, grinders for metal or other materials, but I never heard of a door grinder. Sounds kind of slow.

  31. How selfish can you be. There are empty homes and people freezing to death in the streets. The policies have failed. The system has failed and the TN collective were making an effort to change things for the better without being limited by the laws and regulations that protect the rich and repress the poor. Wake the fuck up.
    Up the barricades!

    (A)(///)(E)

  32. “Just … homeless street kids,” Greg? You mean, just KIDS who need shelter in a city in which any social worker (inc this one) could tell you there are too few beds for all the youth freezing on the streets? God forbid they try to make an abandoned building someone’s letting rot into a shelter that actually meets people’s needs! God forbid people be “angry” at the forces (like people like you) who expect them to remain cold each night (and yet … not “violent” and surprisingly “pleasant”; just what was the character flaw your warm heart saw, again?).

  33. Cdun: when we quit making excuses for people and require accountability, society improves. They can get their asses to work and pay for a place to stay just like the majority of the city.

  34. Nice combo of an argument from ignorance fallacy and an ad hominem attack, longtimer. Do they have thesauruses or poetry in your part of the CD for you to occupy? S’pose not.

    Maybe you should ask for them next time you clock in at the precinct.

  35. I’m not currently using my car, it seems that you think it’s ok for someone to just come and use it?

  36. There were 15-30 people living in that house. With no water into the house. During a very dry fall. It doesn’t seem harmless to me. And to those who feel (in earnest) that based on their personal knowledge and experience, the squatters were not anything more than annoying, you might wonder if maybe you don’t have all the information you would need to really make that call. Sensible, reasonable people here on CD News and around the physical neighnorhood are pretty riled up. Why is that? Because they’re so incredibly selfish? So rich and clueless? Or maybe these squatters are not radical innocents but expert troublemakers with violent histories.

  37. Yeah, those kids have been known to throw feces at the cops and had boobie-trapped the house like Home Alone, you know, with ruthless killing devices like refrigerators falling down the stairs and holes in the floor leading three floors downward. seriously, those kids sure did have violent histories. professional trouble makers, that’s what they are, like that pesky Kevin from home alone. always up to no good.

    you know, i bet none of the people in the house were interested in living comfortably. right? cuz every poor person smears themselves in shit and pisses on their own floor, right? I’m just sick and tired of having to sit here in the East Precinct and have to type away making comments like these just so you liberal retards can finally realize these poor maggot anarchists and homeless trash are terrorists and scum. get with it people, the bomb robot was sent in there for a reason. i know they didn’t find a bomb, but still, these guys are dangerous.

  38. Wow, lots of disdain for the rational guy that unlike the rest of you had the guts to knock on their door and complain to them. Who cares if I don’t have all the information to make that call? I DON’T make that call, the sheriff’s office does. And if you bother to read entire paragraphs instead of particular sentence clauses, you can see that I support the sheriff’s office’s methods. I simply offered another viewpoint, one informed by personal interaction with the Jellyfish that nobody else bothered to try. It’s a lot easier to be an Internet neighbor than a real one. Jeez, now we’re fighting among ourselves. Not necessary.

  39. cdun, nice job missing the entire point and ignoring the salient parts of my argument in your retort. And I don’t believe you’re a social worker. I think you’re lying. A social worker should have enough real world experience to make liberal comments that are grounded in common sense.

  40. makes sense. an angle grinder will go right through any locks or hinges faster than any other tool i can think of? external locks maybe?

  41. I was happy to see them get the boot yesterday morning, while I certainly have compassion for homelessness and ALWAYS lean left.. I don’t believe in one’s right to squat or destroy property. This morning when I drove by I could not believe the utter mess left out front. That should not be acceptable to anyone who has pride in the neighborhood. Who’s going to clean that up? Will the “occupy” folks come back and help? I think NOT!

  42. Hey ya’ll left a frickin disaster zone behind. It looks like a biohazard. Come back and clean that crap up. You wrecked the joint and dumped all over everything, nice job. It’s a fire risk and a rat haven more than ever before, geniuses.

    Now come back and fix it immediately. You suck.

    - The People

  43. who was there today cleaning the place? i saw a couple of trucks and a crew hauling crap out of the front door.

  44. I think I speak on behalf of the entire community when I put a giant sigh of relief that this is over. These squatters do not represent the community and they do not represent our values. Glad they are gone. I hope the best to them all!

  45. Swift cleanup and (fugly) paint job, but now it’s basically a blank slate for the local gangs. I wish someone would just bulldoze it down.

    If you tagged the house, I hate you. You suck.

  46. One poster said: “Let’s stop calling them occupiers; they’re really just a bunch of angry and [mostly] homeless street kids that easily latch onto multiple world views that fit their general antipathy toward a world within which they don’t perform very well”

    100000% EXACTLY. Spot on. It’s like a child who is losing at a sport and starts changing the rules half-way into the game.

  47. The only thing I have to add?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pwHLI

    Watch this video, where the actual owner speaks for the first time. Guess what this house of his was? It was a project lead by his wife, to rehab the house and make it into an affordable home. Tragically, she died before the project could be completed.

    But yah. Mr West, the owner of the home, is just another 1% asshole. And his dead wife too.

    You people are disgusting. SMH