by Martin Barrett
Kristine Moreland and her team at “The More We Love” have found placement for all 22 campers on 152nd in front of Grocery Outlet. In the next two days, all campers will be in a new place where healing can start, all tents will be removed, and the ground will be filled with rocks to prohibit the return of camping.
This appears to be sudden. For a year, the city of Burien has been struggling with a growing number of homeless campers and their tents. The camp on 152nd has been there since mid-June. Now, beds for all? But Moreland is clear, “This has been months in the making, of building relationships and networking with service providers.” It is not sudden in her thinking!
The contrast between Moreland’s team and the city and county is stark. “The More We Love” has a few volunteers, and they are motivated by deep compassion. Allowing these are friends of theirs (for they truly think of and treat them as friends); this is a vast departure from the paid professionals of the city and county for whom solving the problem only means unemployment for them. Moreland and the team cut through the red tape to get folks where they need to be to start the road to recovery.
While the tents are being broken down, some of Moreland’s team is cleaning up the site. A large pile of waste was being piled in a corner of the parking lot for removal by the city. Unlike city and county staff, “The More We Love” seems willing to get their hands dirty to help.
As the clearing was going on, tension was in the air. While this reporter was at the site, Moreland entered into several conflicts between campers. It only highlighted the quality of the relationships the team has built. Calling them all by name and speaking to them like a good mom, they respected her authority with a smile and stopped the conflicting behavior. It is the opposite of what has been witnessed in observing enablers like Cyndey Moore.
Moreland and the team are not responsible for the rocks which are being placed there by the landlords and businesses who are suffering employee and customer losses due to the encampment. Many store owners have experienced theft and safety issues. Needles and human waste proliferate in the alleys.
With the campers from this site moving to opportunities for hope and the stores regaining safety for staff and customers, it leaves the encampment issue on Ambaum and 120th.