It was a bright spring morning and the sun was glinting off two white pickups parked at an industrial supply company off Airport Way South. In the back of one were personal belongings that state workers had cleared from a site under Interstate 5 where Jason Irons camped for a year and a half.
The site is called the Jungle, and on Feb. 23, Irons came "home" to it and discovered that everything he owned was gone; removed, he later learned, by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Agency guidelines say WSDOT is to store belongings for 70 days, but peering into the truck bed on March 15, Irons wasn't warmed by what he saw:
A half-dozen sleeping bags and one backpack, all bagged and dated in clear plastic, none of them his. No red tent. No bear-skin blankets. No DVD player, flashlight, pillows, books or clothes. What was in the truck, says Irons, a Real Change newspaper vendor for seven years, was all that was left of at least 30 other tents that had occupied the site.
"Where's my red tent?" he asked one of three WSDOT workers leaning over the truck bed. "It's probably gone," one of them said