Operation Jungle Defense (OJD) is a group that started in 2012 to defend an injured unhoused US military veteran from a city sweep. About 80 advocates and unhoused people living in the Duwamish Greenbelt (“The Jungle”) went to the mayor’s house to demand the housing services that the city claimed to have given the unhoused people that were being swept.
Recently, the Mayor declared a homeless state of emergency. However, sweeps of homeless encampments are higher than ever (Burkhalter, Aaron. “Swept Away”. Real Change [Seattle] 23 Dec 2015). Funds that could be spent on helping unhoused people are being misused on paying private companies to conduct the sweeps, while those unhoused individuals getting swept are not being presented with viable alternatives due to shelter/housing restrictions and barriers (Archibald, Ashley. “ANALYSIS: Everything Old Is New Again.” Real Change [Seattle] 7 June 2016).
Due to Seattle’s current crisis, OJD has turned itself into a direct action group for those living in and around the Greenbelt who need a space to advocate for themselves. OJD is a group driven by unhoused people and supported by community advocates.
In the last several weeks, OJD has contacted the Seattle City Council and Mayor, asking them to work with the community they are making decisions for: the unhoused living in the Jungle. We are also asking the city to stop homeless sweeps until reasonable housing options can be made available.
OJD has received little to no responses from our city leaders. Unhoused people around the Greenbelt overwhelmingly report having their personal belonging thrown out. OJD also received many reports of outreach workers offering to drive unhoused people to other places on the streets, under other highways and bridges. Sweeps do not help the homeless crisis. They don’t help people get into housing. They increase safety issues for the unhoused by driving them into more desperate and dangerous circumstances in order to merely survive. It is inhumane to sweep people when they have no place to go, as well as being a blatant violation of their civil rights. Despite calls from advocates to stop the sweeps, the Mayor continues to pressure and bully our councilwomen into halting ideas that could stop the sweeps (Groover, Heidi and Ansel Herz. “In Frantic Texts, Mayor Threatened to ‘Pull Police Off Enforcement’ If Council Moved Forward with Jungle Plan.” The Stranger [Seattle] 6.6.2016) .

OJD wants two things from the city:
1) Stop all city sweeps and create reasonable housing opportunities for our unhoused neighbors.
2) Stop working against the community and learn to work with the community to help resolve safety and cleanliness issues. The city should have community meetings with this “Jungle” neighborhood just like they do in all other Seattle communities.
Note on the term “Jungle”:
Some city officials and advocates have expressed their dislike of the term “Jungle” and want to use the name “Duwamish Greenbelt” instead. Their reasoning is that the “Jungle” is a term associated with animals. OJD agrees with this reasoning. We would like to point out that the people of the Duwamish Tribe are the real land owners of the Jungle and they never told us to leave. We decided to keep our name as “Operation Jungle Defense” until the city of Seattle stops treating the people that live there like animals. Additionally, a number of OJD members also have an issue with the city of Seattle tokenizing the Natives of Seattle. The Natives had their land taken and this city was named after their Chief. Yet, their Tribe is still not recognized by our government (Tu, Janet. “Duwamish Tribe denied federal recognition.” The Seattle Times 3 July 2015). When the Duwamish Tribe gets their recognition and when the city of Seattle stops treating unhoused people like animals, then we will think about renaming this group.

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Link to the video of the panel from June 3rd's meeting at SPL main library on what residents of the Jungle think should be done about the homeless encampment.

https://www.facebook.com/kuowpublicradio/videos/10154252966268139/


Photo of the panel from June 3rd's meeting at SPL main library on what residents of the Jungle think should be done about the homeless encampment.
An Amazon wish list has been made for much needed items for people that are residing in "The Jungle". Please feel free to order any items on the list or anything you would like to send them via Amazon with this wishlist and Thank you so much. 
Please Click on the link below to go to and order from the wishlist at AMAZON.

http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1IXC40PIS1HL5/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_awwl_iEfBxbEVSTXME


Anyone locally that have items of camping gear, tents or other items they wish to give to people living in the jungle you can contact us using the "contact" tab above with contact information and we will get in touch as soon as possible.
Power sources are needed as well if anyone has old power inverters, gas or solar generators not in use that are taking up needed room in the garqage or basement. Theses items would be greatly appreciated as well. 

The Jungle's given name is the East Duwamish Greenbelt, but no one calls it that. It's been The Jungle since the 1930s, when the city's Hooverville shantytown extended to this stretch of woods. Such shantytowns were called hobo jungles, and The Jungle is believed to have retained its name. 

Interstate 5 has since moved in, providing both shelter from the rain and the noise.  

"You've got that constant traffic drone sound," said Tim Harris, founding director of Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project. "When you're underneath the freeway, you see the freeway maybe 50 feet overhead. There are these big pillars. There's lot of shrubs and vegetation." 

Harris said he would watch himself if he were in The Jungle during the day. He said he wouldn't go in at night alone.

There are an estimated 400 human beings currently residing in the Jungle. They are veterans, college graduates, people with high IQ’s and people with a wide variety of skills that make them invaluable members of humanity. Yet they’re unable to secure safe permanent housing. Their efforts to establish some kind of community within the unsanctioned encampments known as "THE JUNGLE" have met with stigma.

  Always facing the next large-scale sweep of the entire stretch of the Jungle encampments. We’re working to STOP THE SWEEPS of all homeless encampments and employ more humane ways of conducting outreach. We’re not afraid to tell our stories in front of City Council and the media, and we’re definitely not afraid of taking direct action to stand up for ALL of Seattle’s unhoused. And we are expect at least an 15% increase of unhoused people in Seattle due to rent increase. It is time for Seattle to make a pre-emptive plan for those people that are going to become unhoused and add to the already chaotic struggle between Mayor Murray of Seattle and the city of Seattle.

Having a pet including a service animal can make it almost impossible to find a bed in a shelter (when a bed can be found, some shelters are so over crowded people are expected to sleep sitting in a chair) although that's not the only reason they might not want to go into a shelter, some have spouses or significant others that are their only support system,there’s nowhere for your stuff and you have to stand in long lines to get a bed lining up early to be in in time and woke up about 5:30 AM to get up get your things you can bring if it's not too much and get out with everything you own to carry it on your back all day. So many choose to live in "The Jungle" (and other places around the city of course) in a tent rather than to be separate from their loved ones and rather than toting all they own on their backs.


Still others who have medical conditions choose to live in tents because a night shelter just will not work for them with their condition. People with seizures for example sometimes need days to recoup after they have a seizure and a night shelter is not an option they still have to be up with everyone else and out on the street with all they own, maybe onto a day shelter which cannot allow someone a place to lay down and recoup. So what choice do they have other than to live in a tent outside until housing becomes available? There really is none for them. While it's sad it is a reality in the lives of more than most realize.


Most are led to believe the stigma that all homeless are unwilling to work and lazy and just beg others for their hard earned money. That is false, there are many full time employed people out working that are also homeless living in shelters and on the street that cannot afford a place to live because the cost of living now is so high and raising in many larger cities in the United States.


OPERATION JUNGLE DEFENSE IS NOT A NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION. WE PAY FOR FLIERS, AND CARDS ALL MATERIALS TO MAKE SIGNS RUN OUR OPERATION ARE TAKEN OUT OF POCKET FROM ITS VOLUNTEERS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO HELP WITH COSTS OF OUR EVENTS TO BRING AWARENESS AND TO SPREAD THE WORD. LET'S HELP THE PEOPLE OF THE JUNGLE OF SEATTLE.
PLEASE CLICK THE DONATE BUTTON BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO OUR ORGANIZATION AND CAUSE.

    TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!