Asylee Encampment at RPUMC


Due to the overcapacity at the Riverton Park United Methodist Church and housing and support services shortages, asylum-seekers are strongly advised to seek temporary residence outside of the City of Tukwila. Important information about how to navigate the asylee process can found here:



Over the last 10 months, over 500 asylees have passed through an encampment site owned and managed by the Riverton Park United Methodist Church (RPUMC) in Tukwila. Most of the residents are asylum-seekers from Venezuela, Angola and Congo, fleeing violence and conflict in their homeland. The site is beyond capacity, with over 350 individuals onsite as of this month. The situation at RPUMC raises significant public health and safety concerns and qualifies as a humanitarian crisis.

An asylum-seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution, but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee. The process requires them to apply and receive a decision on their asylum claim.

Given the increasing number of asylees and potential impacts to neighboring cities, Tukwila is committed to finding an effective regional solution.


City actions

On Oct. 6, the City of Tukwila declared a “state of emergency” in an effort to help address the crisis and raise awareness. The declaration allows the City to adopt emergency zoning rules, suspend competitive bidding, and seek funding from the State of Washington and the Federal Government to address the growing need of asylum-seekers.

The City has deployed an emergency management structure to help organize and coordinate the response – including assigning several staff and external subject matter experts to assist. Currently officials are focused on working with King County, the state, partner agencies and local stakeholders to develop a firm plan to directly assist the families.

In addition, City staff have been in regular contact with church leaders and are advising them directly on various health, safety and sanitation needs for the site.


News clips


How you can help

Many members of the community have reached out directly to city staff offering to help. For smaller donations (blankets, supplies, food, etc.) or offers to assist please contact RPUMC directly at

School age asylee children can benefit from contributions to the 2023 Spirit of Giving campaign.

For large scale donations or housing proposals, please forward the inquiry to Pete Mayer, Acting Deputy City Administrator/Parks and Recreation Director, at

Media Contact

Brad Harwood