Homeless camp irks Wenatchee dog park users

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WENATCHEE- A homeless camp located along the riverbank next to Wenatchee’s new Hale Park has become a source of irritation for users of the City’s new off-leash dog park. Steve Hair reports.

Some users complain about panhandlers or threatening behavior by some of the camp dwellers. The encampment is located under the Pedestrian/Pipeline Bridge at the entrance to the park off Worthen Street.

Chelan County PUD spokeswoman, Kimberlee Craig says the PUD is aware of the problem.

“We have been contacted by Hale Park users who have concerns about the trash and about people camping along the riverbank below the pedestrian bridge,” Craig said. “We’ve investigated and we have found the issues are not on PUD property so we have coordinated and communicated with the City on that.”

Craig said the agency keeps a close eye along the riverfront trail for similar incidents adding that the PUD has helped clean up a number of camps that were set up along the 11-mile route.

“Security staff and parks folks have the primary responsibility for that and so far this year we’ve responded to and resolved 26 what we call trespassing incidents involving people who are camping on PUD property on the riverbank next to the trail,” Craig said.

From a law enforcement standpoint, Wenatchee Police say they are also aware of the problem, but more as a sanitation issue than a public safety or criminal behavior matter.

Captain Edgar Reinfeld said last year’s stabbing incident involving a homeless teen in that area is the only case of violence his department has received, and that happened before the park was developed.