Highland Park Action Committee: From Nickelsville to coyotes

October 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm | In 'Nickelsville' encampment, Highland Park, West Seattle news | 41 Comments

More than 30 people came to tonight’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting – a “full house and a full agenda,” as co-chair Carolyn Stauffer put it, starting with the encampment that is technically within HPAC’s coverage area, on a site once proposed for the potential city jail that HPAC fought ferociously three years ago. The 2-part Nickelsville discussion bookended the meeting:

NICKELSVILLE, PART 1: As the meeting began, four people from the encampment, including staffer Scott Morrow, presented an update to HPAC. They recapped its history and its rules, and its quirks – “we have one pet coordinator, which happens to be me,” said Mike Stahl, the longtime WSB Forums member who moved there shortly after Nickelsville returned to West Seattle in May. They hope to have a permanent encampment of about 350 people, they said, and discussed their “small, simple, sturdy structures,” built as possible. They hope to have kitchen, laundry, and office services on site – and they say they’ve been told the City Council will vote in March on whether they can stay permanently (the land is owned by SDOT).

If they get that permission/recognition, they hope to hook up to city water and sewer services. But once there is “enough affordable housing for the homeless” in Seattle, they will close the camp, they said. Where does their money come from? they were asked. “Public and private donations.” What do you use for transportation? “Bus, walking, bicycling.” (They have an entrance on the northern side now, and a bus stop is steps away, we noticed while driving past there the other day.)

NICKELSVILLE, PART 2: At the end of the meeting, long after the Nickelsville visitors left, HPAC’s co-chairs offered a chance for the group to discuss their thoughts on the camp’s ongoing presence. HPAC had been supportive in the past, Carolyn noted, but had recently received some e-mails from community members expressing concerns, and had also recently learned about the camp’s hope of being there “permanently” – so, as a “megaphone” for the community, they thought HPAC should offer a forum for opinions. One attendee said he has lived about a mile away for a long time and has noticed some things – someone he found “lying on his lawn”; when police responded to the call, he said, they warned of a “huge homeless population” nearby. They also saw someone going through trash cans, he said, and voiced concerns about property values if the encampment expands.

Answering some of those concerns was former HPAC chair Dorsol Plants, who said there are studies that show permanent encampments have not depressed property values in other cities, and also noted that the West Duwamish Greenbelt has its own transient population that has increased recently and would continue on even if Nickelsville left West Seattle. One attendee said, “I find it funny we were not in favor of a jail – where people are tightly controlled – but we are in favor of this self-governed encampment,” and noted many of the arguments made against the jail could have been made against the camp. She suggested, “We need to be more educated,” to hear directly from law enforcement and others. Another attendee wanted to hear from the city, regarding data and regulations, and their intentions regarding the site. Yet another wondered why the city was just allowing the encampment to stay there for free, when a nearby piece of land owned by the Port of Seattle had been offered for rent for $10,000/month. Many agreed it’s troubling that there’s been no opportunity for official public comment on the encampment’s continuing stay there. The co-chairs were going to look into asking the city to send someone to a future meeting to discuss the situation.

WESTCREST PARK: The park’s native-plant stewards Jill and Brenda came to ask the neighborhood for support “to help restore Westcrest. … Seattle’s parks are dying of old age,” and of invasive plants smothering the trees. English ivy is a well-known invasive; they also listed Japanese knotweed, purple loosestrife, English laurel, Himalayan blackberry. But they discussed the good plants too, saying they’ve just received a donation of more than 100 native plants, with 200 more expected early next year: “So we’re going to creative a native, diverse habitat.” They said they are hoping to plant more madrones, too, and that their restoration efforts are focusing on the area “in front of the (south) parking lot.” They say they hope to form a group of people who will keep revisiting the park and expanding the restoration efforts. They’re getting support from Seattle Parks, they said, and circulated a sign-up sheet. Westcrest Park also will be a major site for efforts during Green Seattle Day, coming up November 5th (you can sign up to help by going here).

ALSO AT WESTCREST … POTENTIAL P-PATCH/COMMUNITY GARDEN: The group heard a pitch for a community garden at the Westcrest Park expansion – not just a place to grow food, but also a place to congregate, a place to educate, and more. Funding will be sought starting next winter. A sign-up sheet for involvement in this was circulated as well.

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY GRANT: Rachael Wright, who has organized walk-to-school activities in HP, secured a $25,000 grant that was matched by the city with $50,000 more to do something regarding pedestrian safety. What exactly will be done? She said there is a workshop coming up November 20-21 that will result in creation of a plan, and that participants are being sought now. She is also setting up a survey link to help bring about some community consensus. One requirement is that it be within the Highland Park Elementary “walk zone” – no more than one mile from the school, in any direction. She says a traffic-safety instructor is coming to lead the event. She also cautioned that it’ll be tricky to figure out what they can get – because some improvements in turn require others. But what she needs now more than anything is people to attend that upcoming workshop.

COYOTE WOES: A resident named Gene mentioned several recent coyote sightings and lost cats. “Does anybody know who comes and eradicates coyotes before they get rid of the entire cat population?” he asked. “No one,” came the reply. Well, maybe they do, someone else said, pointing to a case in Magnolia last year in which authorities trapped and killed one. “It’s in our neighbor’s yard in the middle of the day eating Asian pears,” Gene said, as discussion turned to whether humans and coyotes are getting too close to each other. Co-chair Carolyn suggested that she might be able to get a guest to come speak to a future meeting. “We want to get something done (about the coyotes) before it’s more than cats,” Gene suggested.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: Cindi Barker from West Seattle Be Prepared was a guest. The discussion turned in a direction beyond the usual – toward the value of knowing your neighbors, knowing their needs, so that in times of trouble you can band together and have a bank of knowledge. Cindi also said a new “captain” is needed in the Highland Park area. She mentioned this Saturday’s drill – for anybody who wants to see what the captain’s responsibilities are – at several sites around West Seattle, including Fauntleroy and Alki.

HAPPENINGS AT HIGHLAND PARK IMPROVEMENT CLUB: The site of tonight’s meeting, Highland Park Improvement Club, continues to be a neighborhood hub of activities, everyone was reminded, with food trucks on Saturdays, and more movie nights coming up. Keep an eye on hpic1919.org for full details.

Highland Park Action Committee usually meets the fourth Wednesday of the month, 7 pm after a 6:30 pm potluck, at HPIC (12th/Holden).

41 Comments

  1. Incredible, $75,000 in grants awarded for pedestrian safety with no plan.
    Can that be right?

    Did anyone at the meeting suggest that Gene keep his cats indoors or in his securely fenced yard, as required by the city?
    Or did the asian pear grower realize that fruit on the ground attracts raccoons, possums, rats and coyotes?
    And reporting the case in Magnolia where one of the dozen local coyotes became too familiar with humans the Seattle times, “Unless this neighborhood changes its practices, everyone makes sure wildlife isn’t inadvertently fed, this condition will happen again,” Chandler said.
    He said people should be careful to keep their small animals indoors and children supervised.”
    Makes sense to me.

    Comment by HP Homeowner — 10:38 pm October 26, 2011 #

  2. I would like to thank the HPAC, and Highland Park neighbors for allowing Scott, Basil, Daddy (yes, that’s his real name!), and myself to attend the meeting, and speak about Nickelsville.

    .

    Also, thanks to Dorsol for addressing those concerns. One of the reasons for having our Security do regular bike patrols of the neighborhood is to look for any improper or suspicious behavior.

    .

    If any such behavior is observed, we can make note of it in our Security Log, and if warranted, contact the authorities.

    .

    As Dorsol pointed out, there are transients in the area that are not associated with Nickelsville. If a Nickelsville resident were to be observed participating in such behavior, we would have our Security Heads and/or Arbitration team deal with them.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 10:47 pm October 26, 2011 #

  3. did Carolyn bring her new baby? she was way way overdue at last meeting

    Comment by Diane — 11:00 pm October 26, 2011 #

  4. Yes, she wore her three-week-old in a front pack during the meeting – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:08 pm October 26, 2011 #

  5. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend tonight’s meeting as I had to work. As a Highland Park resident I am very concerned and troubled in hearing that “Nickelsville” this homeless camp is now being considered for a permanent placement in this location. I completely agree with the person who mentioned that there was such a strong opposition to a jail (which I opposed as well) yet a permanent homeless camp just down the road from us (in the same location as the jail would have been) is perfectly fine with everyone! To me this seems ridiculous!

    I would like to see the data from Dorsal Plants where it proves that property values are not affected because of a transient population moving into a neighborhood. As I find that very hard to believe. If that is true then lets spread this homeless population around and have some homeless camps in the Admiral area, junction area, etc. Somehow, I don’t believe that the residents in those neighborhoods would be too thrilled to having a homeless camp in their area!

    When entering Highland Park through Marginal Way, I do not want to have a homeless camp of 350+ residents as the entrance to my neighborhood! There needs to be opportunities for public comments on this as I know that myself and many of my neighbors will not be happy that this may become permanent and also nearly triple in homeless population.

    Comment by WSSC mom — 11:30 pm October 26, 2011 #

  6. It sure is heartwarming to know that the homeless are considered the equivalent of criminals by so many of my neighbors. Wow.

    Comment by datamuse — 11:59 pm October 26, 2011 #

  7. I have a few questions.

    1. If I even want to build a deck off of my house on my own property (which I had to pay for and get taxed on) I am required by the city to get permits and go through a lengthy process to do so. Not to mention I have to pay for those permits. However, the city is allowing this group of homeless people to build structures on city owned property without permits or even the right to be there. Not to mention the health codes they are violating. How is this OK?

    2. If the city is using their land to house these people, are they going to be responsible for them? Is the city, via tax payers money, going to pull out liability insurance for what happens in Nickelsville?

    3. What is being done to provide ways for these homeless people to find work? I hear many workers are needed to pick apples in Eastern Washington. They could be paid up to $150 a day for this work. More than 100 workers are needed according to what I have heard. I think more focus needs to be on finding job opportunities for these people so that they will not need to be homeless any longer. How many of these homeless people are looking for jobs each day? How many of them leave the camp at all? It seems like many of them are milling around at the bottom of Highland Park Way each day while I am on my way to work. I see them dragging large tree branches from the green belt across the street for fire wood. It seems that many of them are fit to work. Why are they not spending their time job searching? There are very few businesses in the Highland park residential neighborhoods to scope out for job opportunities. Why are they walking around Highland Park and how will this benefit them or the neighborhood?

    4. Why has this possible “Permanent” location been slid under the radar of the Highland Park neighborhood? It seems that this is much worse than a jail which it looks like some of the meeting attendees mentioned.

    5. I would also like to see the links to the studies that support that property values did not depreciate when a permanent homeless camp was placed in a neighborhood.

    6. Is the new spray park that residents of Highland Park worked so hard to get going to be the new shower for the homeless in 2012? That will not be too much of a kid friendly atmosphere and a little awkward.

    7. Why are there no other site options at this time? I agree with WSSC mom, who says to spread the homeless population around the West Seattle Peninsula if everyone is so supportive of a homeless camp in this area.

    8. How can West Seattle and especially the heavily impacted Highland Park resident’s comment on this or state their opinions? Should we be sending letters to the Department of Transportation, City of Seattle or the Mayor’s office?

    Hope many others in the HP area support my concerns!

    Comment by Fred — 5:23 am October 27, 2011 #

  8. Hello Highland Park neighbors!
    .
    Don’t you love that the Westsiders furthest (ie: Admiral District, Gatewood, etc) from this situation are calling US selfish “NIMBY(s)” for researching the impacts of Nickelsville, when we’re the ones directly impacted by the encampment?
    .
    Please consider an organized walk through the greenbelts surrounding Nickelsville. There is literally a surge of homeless folks setting up camp there, where they’ll be close enough to enjoy the benefits of the encampment…yet “outside” and therefore not required to follow the encampment’s rules.
    .
    Nickelsville has had multiple cases where Registered Sex Offenders have been housed in the encampment. They were asked to leave only when the neighborhood exposed the issue. Incidentally, one of those neighbors was you.
    .
    I have lived here all my life. I love the community and am very concerned about the long-term impact of this “1500 person Eco-Village”!
    .
    Clearly, there is lots of work to do in order to minimize the number of people who are without housing in our region. However, gifting them freedom from the reqirement to “earn” their way through life is NOT the answer.
    .
    Much thanks to you all, for your amazing work to improve our neighborhood.
    .

    Comment by proudpugetridger — 7:06 am October 27, 2011 #

  9. Fred, nicklesville has been there since March. How exactly has this hurt you? For those of you worried about your property values, your property values are decreasing because some of your neighbors aren’t paying their morgages and their houses are in forclosure. That is a far more real situation than nicklesville lowering your property value. I drive the hill every day and I have noticed how much cleaner the intersection at HPW and e marginal is since the residents of nicklesville regularly do trash pick up around there.

    Comment by Cclarue — 7:37 am October 27, 2011 #

  10. Small correction CC, they returned in mid-May.

    Comment by WSB — 7:45 am October 27, 2011 #

  11. People the folks at nicklesville are not who we need to fear!! Nearly everyday there is a kickdoor break in in wseattle basically by punk crack heads and meth heads and druggies stealing our things and our security. Our country is in a major economic crisis , people are losing their homes, jobs and livelihoods, and it’s not always due to laziness. How about being grateful that you have a property value to worry about and a hot shower and clean clothes to wear and a heated bedroom to sleep in. Not a wet tent on a pallet. I can speak on this because I’ve been to nicklesville many times and I live in highland park and have young kids. Nicklesville does not allow drinking, drugs or sex offenders.!!!! What more could we ask for???would you rather the tents around the neighborhoods and under overpasses???

    Comment by Cclarue — 8:02 am October 27, 2011 #

  12. I too share the real concern about building a large, permanent, homeless encampment so close to our community.

    I’ve lived in Highland Park for around six years, without any crime issues at all. However, recently, I’ve witnessed drunken homeless people wandering around our streets and my neighbours have their car ransacked on our driveway

    In a progressive society we need to help people who’ve lost their footing regain it – and I’ve got no problem with that. I am not convinced, however, that the solution is a self-policed tent city in the middle of woodland with nowhere to go but into the neighbouring communities.

    Comment by Alistair — 9:22 am October 27, 2011 #

  13. Fred, I can answer your question #1.
    Many building codes are in place for your and others safety.
    You can build all the deck that you want as long as it is 18″ or less above ground, without any permit. If you build a deck that is higher, you are required to get a permit and have it inspected. This is for safety reasons such as the manner in which the deck is attached to the house (a common failure area) and safety railing that prevents falling and injuries.
    Few people do get the permit and they are highly unlikely to get ‘red tagged’ unless someone files a formal complaint to DPD. Unless Fred is in a ‘Critical Area’ he should have been able to get an ‘over the counter’ deck permit or STFI (Subject to Field Inspection). The cost is minimal. The process is not lengthy – an hour or two.
    The city also allows a ‘small project waiver’ for a 120 square foot structure on your property with absolutely no permit.
    I don’t know what health codes Fred is referring to.

    Question #2. I do not understand what liability is Fred’s concern? No high decks, large dangerous structures or tall buildings have been built.

    Fred’s other trumped up scares and comments define him as a NIMBY. The ‘property values’ argument is a prime example. In this case it is especially true because the camp is not in a residential neighborhood. But Fred could just compare house price declines in other comparable parts of West Seattle – Delridge, Pigeon Point, Southern Highland Park or Westwood or if he really wants to know, just call and ask the King County Assessor.
    I would like Fred to explain just how Highland Park is ‘heavily impacted’? I have seen or experienced no impact.
    If Fred and the other NIMBY’s want the homeless spread throughout West Seattle, he could start with offering up his own home, deck or property, but then he would truly be ‘heavily impacted’.

    Comment by HP Homeowner — 9:40 am October 27, 2011 #

  14. I was at the meeting last night and found it quite disturbing that on the heels of fighting to keep a jail out of the neighborhood the city would think we would accept a permanent homeless camp.

    There are only a medium number of people in this camp now around 140 people. I was shocked to hear that they are seeking a permanent encampment with hopes of growing to 350 people or larger. I heard one person say they read it could grow to around 1,000 people.

    Cclarue, yes we are in the middle of an economic crisis and many owners are losing their houses and are under water on their mortgages because of it. How is adding a permanent self governing homeless encampment to this neighborhood going to help them? I am not sure how this encampment can’t impact the Highland Park owners and resident’s when we are already seeing an impact with only 140 “non-permanent” resident’s in this camp.

    I also heard at last nights meeting that these people are not just homeless they are people that are not accepted at many of the homeless shelters. Yes I understand that one of the reasons is that many shelters don’t accept families. However based on the statistics I read about this camp there are very few families there. It sounds like it is made up of mostly single men. 100 to quote what I read.

    I have kids as well that play in this neighborhood just as I did growing up here. It is hard enough for us as parents to track the sex offenders that are registered and have permanent addresses. That is only taking into account the ones that are registered. You can’t tell me that they will be able to track the people that are going in and out of this camp. Besides we should feel better that they are not going to tolerate those individuals that are offenders, predators, or that fight, drink, or do drugs because they are going to kick them out into our neighborhood and the green belts surrounding. I am well aware that people have been living in the green belts for years. However, now that many more are becoming aware of the area due to the camp the green belt dwellers will undoubtedly grow. You could ask where the studies are that prove this and I will tell you they are right next to the ones that show that this will not hurt the neighborhood or have any negative impact on it.

    There were so many other positive items presented at the meeting last night such as P-patches, improving West Crest Park, and crosswalks for the kids to get to school, disaster response protocols, and wildlife talks. These are the items that will help improve our community and the Highland Park neighborhood.

    Comment by Todd — 10:03 am October 27, 2011 #

  15. If you read the entire statement…the homeless camp was to go away after permanent housing solutions were provided by the City. Maybe this temp. solution would be an incentive to City Officials to really try and help our homeless population. Nickelsville is more organized than the city government. Ponder that for a few…as for the Coyotes leave them be they were here first. As a pet owner you are responsible for your pets you are reducing your cats life span by even having it outside..cars kill more cats than coyotes. Leash laws are in effect and cats are not excluded keep all pets inside or not unattended in a fenced yard.

    Comment by 3dogslater — 10:54 am October 27, 2011 #

  16. Todd, how are “we are already seeing an impact with only 140 “non-permanent” residents in this camp?
    And what further impact do you predict?
    Please be specific.

    I don’t understand your concern about kids playing in the neighborhood. I assume you live in a residential neighborhood and you or now your kids were/are not allowed to venture down the big hill to play in the long standing industrial area at the bottom.

    Todd’s point about mythical research, “studies (are) that prove this and I will tell you they are right next to the ones that show that this will not hurt the neighborhood or have any negative impact on it.”

    Well, Todd those studies are right next to the studies showing “so many other positive items presented at the meeting last night such as P-patches, improving West Crest Park, and crosswalks for the kids to get to school, disaster response protocols, and wildlife talk have increased home values, not hurt the neighborhood or have had any positive impact on it.
    Underneath these skeptical claims and unwarranted concerns lies the basic NIMBY argument.

    Comment by HP Homeowner — 11:43 am October 27, 2011 #

  17. Hi..I live in the Admiral District. I’ve been to Nickelsville, as I know someone who resides there. Have you been there? Have you any idea what you’re talking about? Go tour the place. They welcome you. Just sign in first. You can’t just walk in and go about your business.

    If there was a plot of land large enough to hold them, I would welcome them into my neighborhood. The plot of land that they’re on now is not in your residential area. You wouldn’t give it a second glance if it was empty. It was a dirty, crappy, neglected piece of land, good for nothing. Now it’s helping people out that have NOTHING. Yes, a whole lot less than you have.

    Not all crime is caused by homeless people, and not all homeless people are bums, and felons. Yes, NIMBY is a good term for some of you.Go meet these people, shake their hands, see where some of them work. There but for the grace of your god go you, for goodness sake.

    Comment by JanS — 11:56 am October 27, 2011 #

  18. HP Homeowner it is not “NIMBY” it was “IMFY” (in my front yard) when I confronted someone sleeping there at 4:30p.m. in the afternoon. My four year old told me there was a man sleeping in our yard under our tree! My 8 year old and the neighbors kids also confirmed.

    The next week I noticed a man going through the neighbors garbage and dumping it all over. He collected a bunch of it and took it across the street to go through it. He left it there and I cleaned it up the next day.

    I can’t prove that any of this is directly tied to this camp but we have never experienced any of this activity in the past on our dead end street. All we are asking for is a chance to talk about this and get all the information.

    a temporary “roaming” camp for a month or two in the location is one thing a permanent camp with structures and the ability to grow to 1000 residence is another.

    Comment by Todd — 12:10 pm October 27, 2011 #

  19. @proudpugetridger, Fred, WSSC mom and others,
    .
    What we are taking about here is PEOPLE – FELLOW HUMAN beings. How DARE you talk about them in this vein! People lose homes every day and YOU, me, or anyone could be next on the list.
    .
    Go ahead and talk your NIMBYism as long as you want, and then come back and talk about Nickelsville after you have lost YOUR home and have walked a mile in their shoes.
    .
    Just an FYI – there is a standing offer in NV to ANYONE who is wiling to leave their credit cards behind to “COME ON DOWN to Nickelsville” and spend the night(s).
    .
    They (NV) will gladly set you up with a tent, AND YOU will even be able to be a voting member of the community during your stay!
    .
    Oh yeah, please remember to bring some canned food to show that YOU really do care!
    .
    PS – @WSSC mom – if you are looking for inexpensive childcare – please DO consider Nickelsville. They provide a warm and nurturing environment where your children may learn compassion at an early age.
    .
    To ANYONE else, this sort of reminds me of the Ford advertising from a few years ago – “Have you driven a Ford LATELY?’ Have YOU recently visited Nickelsville? Sorry, a drive by does NOT count!
    .
    Go down and take a REAL look at Nickelsville, and then come back and let’s talk! Don’t tell me you have been there when you have not! There WILL be a pop quiz to verify the validity of your story :)
    .
    My contact information can EASILY be found by clicking on WSB profile info. Go ahead – talk to me! I would welcome your concerns even if you are “afraid” to voice them publicly. If that is the case, perhaps we can met at a local coffee shop – one on one… You know, it is OK to agree to disagree!
    .

    Comment by kevin — 12:18 pm October 27, 2011 #

  20. fine to uproot these folks every two months and make them scramble, huh.
    Again, please go down there to the camp and visit, and talk to them. Get to know what and who you’re talking about. There is parking, and they will gladly give you a tour of the place. See how easily or how difficult it would be to uproot them time and time again. Don’t assume that any/all crime is caused by them. You may be surprised.

    Comment by JanS — 1:10 pm October 27, 2011 #

  21. @ Todd-
    First, thank you for having the courage to bring these issues up for discussion. In battling this for the last few years (it started at T-107, and even before that at the current location), I’ve been slammed with “heartless” and “hateful” accusations. It must be hard for people to understand how concerned we are that this is so close to our homes and children. The Port of Seattle, which is clearly a powerful entity, struggled for months to get their property back. Now that our City of Seattle is turning it’s back on the structures (code compliance, zoning, etc) it will be even tougher to regain the neighborhood.
    .
    Your front-yard transient very likely was a product of Nickelsville. When a person shows up at the encampment under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they’re usually asked to leave immediately. Unlike the downtown region, there’s really no place to go from Highland Park Avenue. So, they wander toward the nearest civilization…our neighborhoods. Worse yet, think about when they order a registered sex offender to leave. Scary, huh?? Now think about the people who’s back yards border the greenbelt, such as the Riverview neighborhood. If I were specifically one of those residents I WOULD openly scream “NIMBY”!
    .
    I wish these homeless folks the best of luck, I really do. But condensing them so close to my home, without any government supervision, is simply too much.
    .
    Thanks again, for your collective efforts.

    Comment by proudpugetridger — 1:20 pm October 27, 2011 #

  22. HP Homeowner, were you at the meeting this week? If not, then you might not want to be so quick to cast judgment on the folks that did, on all the items that were discussed, and possibly you might want to realize that there were other opinions and examples brought up that you weren’t there to witness. People are feeling the effect of the homeless camp in their community. Whether directly or indirectly, that is the truth, try to respect that, as we should all be considerate of the concerns of each and every neighbor. Also realize that the Nickelsville is not a locked-down community, so it’s very feasible for people to be feeling the effects of the increased homeless population within their own neighborhoods, as they travel up the hill to get to Rite Aid, grocery stores, etc. And by having an encampment here, it very well can contribute to an increased population of homeless people in our area. I am not against the homeless encampment, I am just asking you to be more open minded, and less quick to demean people and call them NIMBY. All that being said, I think the community members at the meeting brought up really good points, and having more information available to us on the plans for the encampment moving forward and maybe so data on whether or not there has been increased criminal activity by homeless persons in the area, we can all make our own personal decisions about it, and whatever any of you decide, I respect that.

    Comment by HP is my home — 1:22 pm October 27, 2011 #

  23. proudpugetridger,

    My backyard does border the greenbelt, and I do proudly scream “Nimby”! As would most other residents in West Seattle (or other areas) if it was this close to their neighborhood! In fact, we are installing a video security system in the next few days partly because of this issue.

    3dogslater, honestly, when this Nickelsville was a “temporary” solution on and off for the past 3 years I didn’t fight it. Only, when they are now asking for “permanent” status and almost tripling in size is it making me upset. To me “permanent” means just that. They will be here to stay, for good! Or until “affordable housing becomes available”. How can one afford any housing when one does not have a job in the first place?

    The city needs to find a permanent solution for the homeless people in Nickelsville and continue to help in educating them for job training purposes (and with that access to decent clothing, transportation to interviews, jobs, etc.) So that the ultimate goal would be to have these people actually supporting themselves instead of living for years on the generosity of handouts from others. Having them live in tents, or shanty shacks is not how people should properly live in my opinion anyway! The city needs to provide actual housing for the homeless or at the very least more appropriate shelters until these people get back on their feet and are productive members of our society. What are they going to do if it snows? Or the temperature drops down into the single digits? Shacks/sheds which have no electricity, insulation, heat, water, etc. are not a proper solution to this homeless population nor is the growth to upwards of 350 to 1000 residents!

    I know many of my statements above are not “politically correct” but I also would not have moved into Highland Park in 2002 had there been a huge homeless camp down the road at that time. I guarantee that people looking for houses to buy when looking into Highland Park are going to consider the impact of Nickelsville before making their purchase!

    Comment by WSSC mom — 1:48 pm October 27, 2011 #

  24. I just returned from hanging out with our own miws at Nickelsville. As with every other time I’ve been there, everyone was welcoming and friendly. If you have concerns about N-Ville, its residents, or how it’s run, go on down and ask for a tour. Ask to talk to the current camp leader and chat with the residents. It really is just that easy.

    Comment by The Velvet Bulldog — 2:10 pm October 27, 2011 #

  25. Kevin, first of all thanks for the offer but I never leave my children with anyone but trusted family members as I am overprotective like that;) I am also very proactive in teaching them to give to people less fortunate, not that you asked nor is it anyone’s business but our own.

    I am certain that there are plenty of very friendly Nickelsville residents, that I do not doubt in the least. The fact that this would be a permanent homeless camp for up to 1000 residents is what gets me. Self-policing 140 or so residents is one thing, it is a completely different thing when on their own Nickelsville website it states that it could host up to 1000 homeless residents. As I said above, living in shacks and/or tents is not an answer to the problem of the homeless population in or around Seattle.

    Comment by WSSC mom — 2:33 pm October 27, 2011 #

  26. Let me start by saying that the Highland Park Jail is and will continue to be a much, MUCH different situation than the one at Nickelsville. For starters, the people who are unfortunate enough to need places like that are not convicted criminals or even unconvicted criminals. Its comparing apples to oranges.

    Secondly, there are homeless people camped out ACROSS the city. Highland Park is only special in that the majority of the homeless who are encamped here are kept under a watchful eye, are required to follow rules, and are given a sense of actually being a part of the neighborhood. You can drive Nickelsville all the way to Portland and you will still have the same problems you are reporting now. Not to mention, it will likely get worse, if Nickelsville is disbanded where do you think people with no where else will go but back to the Greenbelts.

    Finally, on property values, what I actually said was the a number of cities across the country have encampments similar to Nickelsville (even one in Portland) and that studies have shown that those encampments did not affect the property values there. I strongly recommend people take a look at how other city’s and country’s have handled with and the consequences they’ve seen from these, before pre-deciding what our consequences would be. For example, Nickelsville has not been demonstrated to have increased the crime rate in any other of its guest neighborhoods…..so why, after there second visit, are they suddenly raising the crime rate?

    The truth is, I was against the jail because that is the gateway to our Highland Park neighborhood and I don’t want my neighborhood thought first by a jail. However, I love that my neighborhood in the past has stood strongly for human rights and compassion and I personally welcome such a clear sign at our doorstep that says. “Highland Park, a welcoming, compassionate community”.

    Comment by Dorsol Plants — 2:43 pm October 27, 2011 #

  27. @WSSC mom
    .
    I’m not even going to address your lame comments, as it is CLEAR that YOU do NOT understand what is really going on here!
    .
    I suggest you look up the definition of “compassion.” And by the way, could you please get in touch with proud puget ridger and perhaps you can BOTH visit Nicekelsville at the same time in the very near future.
    .
    If you are lacking transportation – please let me know as I will be more than happy to provide you with a ride.
    .
    As “protective” as you claim to be – “I never leave my children with anyone but trusted family members as I am overprotective like that;)”
    .
    Sounds to me like a closed mind, NEVER has visited Nickelsville – NEVER will, overly paranoid adult.
    .
    Do you have a “night light” in your bedroom to scare away the Bogeyman?
    .
    As always – my personal contact info can be found in my WSB profile info. I’m sorry, I don’t think I caught YOUR YOUR personal info? I don’t have all the answers, but I would love to chat with you.
    .
    Care to meet and have coffee some time and chat? – OTHERWISE please shut up and find another cause!
    .

    Comment by Kevin — 3:30 pm October 27, 2011 #

  28. Wssc mom, Do you have a better or different solution? We all agree that living in a tent on a pallet in a field that is contaminated is not the best answer for these people. There is no argument there. But they need somewhere to go. So where do you propose they go? Goverment funding is shrinking. More people are becoming homeless. Not everyone has a family to help them. I dont think our economy is going to recover anytime soon. I think it will get much worse. I understand your general reaction and fear. I had a (very)brief nimby feeling myself about Nicklesville. Then MIWS.(blogster mike in west seattle) ended up there. Someone I “knew” but had never met. because of the wsb. He had always posted very rational posts even in irrational threads. he has lived in west seattle for years and can name landmarks and previous businesses and their locations like no other. He was a regular guy then he got sick had some medical issues and eventually lost his apartment. He became a nicklesville resident. Like any of us could. YOu may think it couldnt happen to you. But it could. I decided to educate myself first hand on the subject by going down there and learning about their community. I now know that they are a community and just like on your street you like most of your neighbors but one is a pest or a jerk or whatever. Nicklesville is no different. Please go bring an extra sleeping bag or pillow to them and take a tour. You may be very surprised. Look into the eyes of the people there as you give them a blanket and you may be humbled. I addressed the post to wssc mom but I mean it for every one of you who is opposed to Nicklesville living at the bottom of the hill we live on top of.

    Comment by cclarue — 3:59 pm October 27, 2011 #

  29. WSSC mom apparently is unaware that the overwhelming majority of child abuse is perpetrated by “trusted family members.”
    Installing a video surveillance confirms “mom’s” paranoia.
    Todd’s anecdote of someone sleeping in their yard has also happened in Alki, Admiral, Fauntleroy and every other West Seattle neighborhood. A friend in Gatewood had someone enter her house and get into her bed while she was home in the middle of the day!
    This stuff has happened before Nicklesville and will continue to happen long after.

    “HP is my home,” maybe you can share some of those
    “other opinions and examples brought up that you weren’t there to witness. People are feeling the effect of the homeless camp in their community. Whether directly or indirectly, that is the truth.”
    That is a meaningless statement. If ‘HP is my home’ has some truth to present, present it, don’t allude to it.
    Not one confirmed incident has been presented.
    All we see here are unfounded suspicions and rampant NIMBYISM.

    Comment by HP Homeowner — 4:31 pm October 27, 2011 #

  30. Dorsal brings up a valid point..
    Would you rather have the homeless population in a controlled environment in the industrial area at the bottom of your hill or in an uncontrolled environment in your greenbelt?
    The number of homeless people is steadily increasing and they have no choice but to find someplace relatively hidden and safe to stay.
    Any greenbelt area in the city currently has homeless people living in it and the numbers are increasing everywhere… not just where there is a homeless encampment nearby to blame.
    you have an opportunity to help create the kind of homeless community that will enrich your neighborhood and offer safe alternatives to those who find themselves without options.
    or not.
    either way, you are going to continue to deal with an increasing homeless population in your greenbelt.
    unless we can somehow end homelessness..
    this problem isn’t going to go away.

    Comment by Joanne Brayden — 5:10 pm October 27, 2011 #

  31. Well spoken!
    .
    Thank you Joanne!
    .

    Comment by Kevin — 5:26 pm October 27, 2011 #

  32. I would like to point out that many residents of Nickelsville do work. Not all are dependent on “handouts”. Still, housing usually requires first and last month’s rent, plus a deposit. Many are working to save for that, and Nickelsville is a safe community for them in the interim. I also agree with a earlier poster who mentioned how quickly most people could find themselves in the same situation. Peace.

    Comment by Wseavirgo — 7:25 pm October 27, 2011 #

  33. I am really pleased to see a pretty balanced discussion here on this topic.

    I don’t really mind if my neighbors are homeless or not-but I do think that as city residents we should be asking about land use code and temporary buildings etc. As someone pointed out DPD codes are in place for our safety and the safety of the neighbors. Having a bunch of my neighbors living in a bog with no running water or sewer service seems to be a dis-service to the Nickelsville residents and a bit of an insult to those who have to get expensive building permits to do their own projects.

    Perhaps we should we be pressuring our City officials to provide funding so unfortunate neighbors can be taken care of in a more sanitary, comfortable fashion. Plus the city officials also need to have some sort of feedback setup so that land holding neighbors can voice their concerns. Even a zoning change gets this courtesy.

    I think we need to continue this educational process, but the city officials need to be a part of it. Delegating a land use by default is irresponsible and poor governing.

    Comment by Kay K — 7:51 pm October 27, 2011 #

  34. Oh and I remember once looking at a rental when I was a teen on SW Holden st. at the top of Boeing hill and there were GUN SHOT HOLES in the walls. GHETTO!!!!

    Who are you, lower-middle-class neighborhood resident, to talk down to the nickleville residents?

    Comment by tk — 8:39 pm October 27, 2011 #

  35. Kay k
    I couldn’t agree more that their current site is not ideal but I also know that we/they can’t wait for the city council to agree on a better solution. The people living in that field need someplace to be now.

    You will be glad to hear that their simple living structures are built to facilitate moving to another site. They can be knocked down and moved on a flatbed truck.

    Comment by JoB — 8:49 pm October 27, 2011 #

  36. Good points Kay K.
    If you are concerned about land use codes and temporary buildings, you should file a formal complaint with DPD @ http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Compliance/Filing_a_Complaint/default.asp
    File the complaint over your concerns and see how they respond.
    I don’t know where Kay K lives but her neighbors are not this homeless camp as it is located in a industrial area a large hill away from residential neighbors. I don’t recall hearing from any of the corporate neighbors such as Seaway Marine and Pacific Plumbing concerning the homeless camp.
    I also think one of the main points of this camp is to pressure city officials to provide funding for the unfortunate. Unfortunately, the city does not have the money and none of us neighbors are stepping forward with generous donations to solve the problem.

    Comment by HP Homeowner — 8:53 pm October 27, 2011 #

  37. I just have to make one observation re: the funding, since we’ve also been covering the controversy over a proposed 75-apartment project to take homeless people off the streets … That project, and others like it, has a multi-million-dollar price tag. We reported yesterday that $500,000 was granted by the state; the city has made a grant but won’t tell us what it is till they release the entire list of recent grantees tomorrow; a county grant was being sought but consideration was delayed after Delridge residents went to the funding-decision meeting (on Mercer Island) today and made their case. I seem to recall from covering the city council committee visit to Nickelsville recently that the SSS’s cost less than $1,000 each. So, not counting utility infrastructure and land, theoretically 75 people could be housed in 75 SSS’s for $75,000. Compared to … how many millions? Not to say you stop building decent complexes like the DESC-type project, but perhaps the ultimate solution is some of those, some of these. Cost aside, it is surprising that the city has just let this be, TFN. I made the request for comment the day after they arrived, asking whether the mayor planned to force them to leave, and the answer came back from his spokesperson, no, he wouldn’t try to evict them. And that, to my knowledge, for five months, is the only official comment on the subject, aside from that City Council committee meeting. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:03 pm October 27, 2011 #

  38. I have made visits to Nicklesville and donated. I am ok with them walking past my house in Highland Park. But I am worrying about their health down there. Are we not better than this Mr. Mayor? What is the backup plan to your Sunny Jim plan you baited and switched on? You realize you are developing a pattern doing that, don’t you Mr. Mayor? Regardless, we are waiting to hear what you have to say for yourself here in Highland Park and West Seattle, Mr. Mayor.

    IF the city has given permission, and the argument can be made that they have implicitly and explicitly, for 150 or so current homeless to camp on the city property by not “evicting” them, THEN the city implicitly (but not yet explicitly) also assumes the responsibilities of a landlord to these tenants like any other landlord is held responsible.

    The landlord (the city of Seattle) is in gross violation of health codes – there is no running water and no heat source and they are exposed to the elements, for starters. The lack of running water in a landlord/tenant situation is the number one red flag to the COUNTY Code Enforcement inspectors. It is a HUGE Public Health Violation

    Yes, the argument is definitely that the city needs to be held accountable here in Highland Park for the conditions they have given implicit permission to exist. It is not healthy for babys and children to be living in conditions where there is no running water or heat or shelter. That SDOT plot is NOT the third world Mr. Mayor.

    Neighbors: The Seattle Department of Transportation parcel of land can be found on the County Parcel Viewer. There is not a street address for the parcel, but use the cross streets of West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way and the Parcel # will come up.

    The Code Violation form may or may not take the Parcel # in lieu of a street address. But perhaps there is a phone in complaint line?

    Comment by NeighborToNeighbor — 11:08 pm October 27, 2011 #

  39. About the Coyotes…how about the cat owners keep their domestic animals inside. I find tons of cat poop in my yard; they roam the neighborhood like the coyotes. I don’t let my dog run free and deficate in other’s yards….Keep them inside for the wild birds sake. PLEASE

    Comment by M FLASH — 11:30 am October 28, 2011 #

  40. Wsb
    I believe the simple sleeping structures are about half that cost at about $500 each

    Neighbor to neighbor

    O think a very good case could be made for your argument to the mayor

    Comment by JoB — 7:23 pm October 28, 2011 #

  41. Thanks J – I hadn’t referred back to my story where the camp residents explained it to the city council so my memory must have failed me.

    Comment by WSB — 7:27 pm October 28, 2011 #

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