CHAZ 2.0: Seattle was supposed to sweep Cal Anderson Park today but it looks like the mayor backed down

Cal Anderson Park in Seattle has been closed for the past six months. It sits adjacent to the former CHAZ/CHOP zone that was set up on Capitol Hill this summer and has become a staging area for protest gatherings in addition to being a home for quite a few homeless people. These images show what it looks like as of this week:

Instead of providing a benefit to local residents the park has become an eyesore and a source of trouble for neighbors and local businesses who sent letters to Mayor Durkan this week asking for help:

“The situation within the park grows worse and more unsafe by the day,” one key letter — sent to Mayor Jenny Durkan December 14th and provided to CHS this week — reads. “The park has now morphed into a safety concern for both the individuals within the park and the neighboring community. Violence, drugs, vandalism, and other harmful activities in Cal Anderson are adversely affecting our community members to the point where any park activation efforts cannot make any lasting impact.”

The letter went on to say that some of the people in the park are not homeless but “are treating the park as a base of operations for their occupied protest.” In other words, Cal Anderson Park is becoming CHAZ 2.0.

In addition to the problems involving locals, the city itself has been unable to maintain the park because city workers who show up are met with threats, making it unsafe for them to be there without police protection:

“Recent regular (Seattle Parks & Recreation) maintenance efforts have been met with threats of physical violence which is why SPR has had to request the assistance of the Seattle Police Department to ensure the safety of park maintenance and other City employees,” a Seattle Parks Department spokesperson said. “Individuals have barricaded a portion of the park and intentionally set a fire to a tent. SFD has reported five fires in the last month.”

For all of these reasons, Mayor Durkan authorized a sweep of the park this week. Signs were put up Monday morning warning that it would take place Wednesday, i.e. this morning at 7:30 am. A call went out to local anarchists asking them to show up to “do what’s needed.”

Here’s one of the signs calling on people to “stop the sweep.”

Last night a KOMO news crew went to the park to report on the impending sweep and were chased out by people in black bloc:

After dark, a reporter did go into the park and spoke to some of the people there. One homeless person suggested that the black bloc protesters actually make things worse by starting conflicts with police.

Another local report made it clear the occupiers were closing off the park and getting ready for a fight:

So this morning finally came and police drove around the area but didn’t stop. No sweep took place. The city has decided to postpone it:

The City of Seattle has postponed their expected sweep to clear homeless campers out of Cal Anderson Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

A Seattle Parks spokesperson told KOMO News they still plan to eventually reopen the park but the sweep that had been scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. would be postponed.

Police never entered the park but black bloc anarchists set a tent on fire anyway:

And someone pointed a laser at a news chopper:

The delay gave the occupiers more time to set up barricades. It now looks just like CHAZ did this summer. All we need now is a new warlord and a few random shootings.

So it appears the mayor saw what was brewing and backed down, just like Mayor Wheeler recently backed down and apologized in a similar confrontation in Portland. Of course that’s only going to reinforce the idea that all it takes to change the Mayor’s mind is a show of willingness to battle the police. The occupiers are once again in charge of a portion of Seattle.