Mount Vernon, WA – A Skagit Breaking Moderator shared a submitted cell phone video on the Skagit Breaking Facebook Page on June 2nd, 2019 and frankly, we owe the City of Mount Vernon an apology.
The video (embedded at the end of this article) contained images of Trash and Garbage and “Drug” Needles strewn about a wooden area and our moderator titled the video with the following title “Warning: The Video you are about to see may upset some viewers. This Video was taken on the outskirts of EDGEWATER PARK in Mount Vernon, Washington on June 2nd, 2019. The video shows one of the many homeless encampments around #Skagit County that contains, trash, feces, stolen items and many many drug needles. EDITED: To Clarify video is on the “outskirts” of Edgewater Park.
The cell phone video was viewed and shared thousands of times and ended up being very disturbing to many community members. As a result of the video, many angry community members made phone calls and sent emails to the local Mount Vernon City Government Offices.
A representative of the City of Mount Vernon reached out to Skagit Breaking to clarify one important detail. The cell phone video, while disturbing, was investigated and it was found to not have been taken in Edgewater Park or even on the outskirts of Edgewater Park. The title we posted on our social media page with the submitted video was wrong and when we get something wrong, we want to make sure to update our readers and get it right.
The video was determined to be taken on property outside the park, and outside of Mount Vernon city limits, making it (clean-up and enforcement) a Skagit County Government or Sheriff issue if it is on public land, and a property owner issue if it is on private property.
As a result of our moderators post, we have unintentionally misled hundreds, if not thousands of residents to believe that Edgewater Park is not safe or clean, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Edgewater Park is clean, safe and very family friendly. The City of Mount Vernon has spent a lot of time and energy over the last year to get the park cleaned up.
In a statement from the Mayor’s Office, the City of Mount Vernon has aggressively removed and cleaned up sites like the one in the video all over various places within the Mount Vernon city limits over the past year. The Mayor hired a new position that is dedicated to the oversight of projects like this, and the City of Mount Vernon has seen a reduction of 90% of homeless encampments within city limits over the past year.
The City of Mount Vernon has done a large amount of cleanup work at Edgewater Park and installed an 18 hole disc golf course that has already been effective in attracting more positive park use in places where people used to camp, litter, sell and do drugs.
The moderator who shared the initial post, went to Edgewater Park for a visit and to take pictures of the park. The park is very clean, safe and there were several small children playing on the large playground with their parents.
The disc golf course was being used by people enjoying the sunshine and playing disk golf and the walking trails were clean and had several people strolling along them.
The only trash the moderator found at Edgewater Park was one beer can and two empty water bottles in the gravel near the boat launch.
The moderator picked these three pieces of discarded trash up and placed them in one of the many trash receptacles that are available in the park for visitors to put their trash in.
One of Many Trash Receptacles at Edgewater Park
As a community resource for information in Skagit County ran by members of the community, Skagit Breaking felt the responsible thing to do was to update our original post to clarify that the video taken of the trash, feces, broken items and “drug” needles was unfortunately taken in Skagit County, but NOT in or on the outskirts of Edgewater Park. Skagit Breaking understands the reach we have in our community and pride ourself in doing the right thing and admitting when we are wrong. To all those who have worked tirelessly to clean up the homeless encampments throughout Mount Vernon and specifically at Edgewater Park, Mount Vernon, we sincerely apologize for the misinformation given out or implied in our initial post by our moderator. Below we would like to share and highlight some facts about the work that has been done by the City of Mount Vernon already to address these sometimes overwhelming issues.
Edgewater Park Ball field
The City of Mount Vernon has cleaned 253 homeless encampments from January to December of 2018. They have logged 721 man hours to clean up encampments in City Parks and spent $26,390 in disposal and labor costs.
Edgewater Park Restrooms
In response to community concerns of aggressive behavior, public health issues, criminal activity in the downtown area, and impact to the city parks system, the City’s created a Problem Elimination & Reduction Team (PERT) in early 2018. The team has identified specific actions to be taken, as well as community partners and resources, to reduce the impact to quality of life and expense for our residents, businesses and visitors. PERT is a core team with representatives from Code Enforcement, Police, Sanitation, Parks, Fire, Library, Development Services, and legal Facilitated by the Mayor.
Actions developed by PERT are listed in a comprehensive work plan which can be viewed on the city website. They include several interrelated issues including, shopping cart theft reduction, Encampments on public & Private property, Downtown Law Enforcement Park Ranger, Nuisance RV Parking enforcement and impound, Pedestrian Interference Enforcement and many other issues.
Please view the photos of Edgewater Park below. They were taken on the afternoon of June 3rd, 2019 and show how beautiful Edgewater park is and how much work the City of Mount Vernon in conjunction with many other organizations have put into making Edgewater Park a clean, safe, family friendly place for community members to visit.
North Edgewater Park Sign
There are several links available on the City of Mount Vernon Website on the City’s Efforts to Address Homelessness. Please click a link below to read more.
Below is the Embedded Video that was initially posted on Skagit Breaking’s Facebook Page.