As-it-happened coverage: City Council committee takes up encampment-location issue – Nickelsville and elsewhere

May 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm | In 'Nickelsville' encampment, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 44 Comments

(TOPLINE, 4:12 PM: Council discussion’s over; next step, public hearing June 25th)

(Editor’s note: What was the “live” video, above, has since been replaced with archived video of the meeting in its entirety)
We’re in the City Council chambers at City Hall downtown, along with more than 100 people, as the Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee prepares to take up two hot topics – encampments and marijuana.

We’ll be updating live, mostly on the former topic, because of the Nickelsville issue. We also hope to add the live-video window here in a moment (the 2 pm meeting is running a bit late). More to come.

2:13 PM: Public comment is about to begin. Council chair Nick Licata says each speaker will be limited to a minute and a half. First, Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness says he supports Licata’s proposal. “What we all agree about is that we need to keep working on remedies to enable interim survival plans,” he says. Next, a woman identifying herself as a Tent City 3 resident, who says excluding campers from residential areas would be discrimination. “Because I’m homeless, you don’t want me in the residential areas where kids are and stuff like that … (but) I don’t want to hurt kids.” Another Tent City 3 representative speaks next, about discrimination. “We support our friends at Nickelsville and want a good solution to their current dilemma,” but this is not it, he says.

A Nickelsville resident who says she is living there with her son and two cats is next. She says more than 125 people are there now and last summer peaked at more than 180 people. She says conditions and order are OK – except for the lack of running water, sewer, and “little police protection … We are doing great but our preference is to be moved someplace” where they would have such things. She says they “hope to move within next 2 months” without any new city codes and that they oppose the ordinances because they are not necessary.

Another Nickelsville resident, Trace DeGarmo, brings up the newly proposed Nickelsville “Option 7,” which he says would work within the current religious-encampment ordinance. They would move to two sites under control of religious organizations with whom they would sign contracts, he says. “This plan is now entirely doable” and would enable Food Lifeline to take over the current site

He is followed by Carolyn Stauffer of Highland Park Action Committee, who mentions the petition they have circulated with more than 200 names.

“We would like to see you act now and enforce the existing land use codes, because that’s your job … That it’s taken the council two years to have this conversation is shameful and disappointing,” she says, reiterating their demand that the encampment be moved before “it begins a third summer” there.

CLICK AHEAD TO READ THE REST OF OUR DETAILED AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE:

She is followed by Linda Nageotte of Food Lifeline, who expresses appreciation for the City Council’s work on the issue, “but we also ask that you act expediently.”

2:27 PM: The next man says, “There is a crisis of unmet need in our community” and brings up the most recent One Night Count of people sleeping on the street. “The tent cities meet a dire need out there” including a need for safety, he says, next alluding to Nickelsville’s limbo, “tolerated but legal .. an unworkable solution.”

HPAC co-chair Billy Stauffer speaks next, recalling the Highland Park fight against a proposed city jail several years ago, and now their challenge leading a community that has been “at times looked over, at times abused … But this time it’s different. It’s not solely about our community. It’s about the homeless community too, and other communities around Seattle.” He refers, as did Carolyn Stauffer, to the precedent that Nickelsville’s unsanctioned 2-year presence seems to have set. “Let’s not allow our egos to get in the way of a multi-pronged approach” involving all parties. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” and get in the way of a solution, he exhorts.

Kay Kirkpatrick, also from Highland Park: “We are calling on you in our petitions and letters and comments via the press to please move the Nickelsville encampment.” She talks about having donated to the camp and supporting its people, but that it’s not a fit site – “how un-perfect this site is to hold a camp of this type,” including its adjacency to “our 10 miles of West Duwamish Greenbelt,” where people “move to” if they are not allowed in the camp. “Hence, we are hosting not only Nickelsville but also the suburbs of Nickelsville.” She runs overtime and is heckled as she returns to her seat.

The next man says he has a challenge to the City Councilmembers in attendance: “Tonight, I want you to try to find a bed in a shelter.” And/or, see how many of the people on the streets get beds: “Every single day (as a worker at an emergency shelter) I have to turn people away.” He says he is “not seeing any solution other than Nickelsville and tent cities” for the overflow – and gets the loudest applause of the meeting.

Following him, a man who says it’s “incredibly embarrassing” that the city of Seattle, “so beautiful a city,” has “a growing number of people” without a roof over their head. “We’ve got to do something about this – we have such creativity about other things, but these people are invisible, too much of the year.”

Next, another Highland Park resident who says its “hosting” of Nickelsville for two years is long enough. Her brief comment is followed by a man who says he believes “a win-win is possible” in moving Nickelsville. And he says “the religious community” wants to help find a location. (No one has mentioned a specific location, to our knowledge, so far.)

The next commenter has moved on to the cannabis-zoning issue that’s also on today’s agenda. (And after a second related comment, that is the first item on the council agenda, so we won’t be updating again until the encampment-related discussion begins. Present, by the way, along with Councilmember Licata, are Council President Sally Clark and Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell.)

3:22 PM: Now, to the encampment items (after the marijuana-zoning measure, with amendments, was approved for moving out of committee – it’ll go to full council week after next).

The first ordinance that comes up – the Licata legislation – is scheduled for a public hearing June 25th, a council legislative assistant notes. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is at the table now too, by the way.

It’s noted that non-church properties in this bill would have a one-year time limit – six months with an option to renew for another six months; church properties would not have a time limit since it’s simply “an allowed use.” There would be public-notice requirements included, too. Licata notes there will be “no votes today – just discussion.” And he says his legislation was changed based on discussion with SHARE/WHEEL and ‘Nickelodeons.’ Among the changes, a minimum lot size – 5,000 square feet instead of previously proposed 7,500 square feet. Harrell is asking, “Is that SAFE?” O’Brien points out that there’s a minimum of 100 square feet per occupant, so if it was a 5,000-sf lot, that would limit it to 50 people. DPD would have to review the plan, points out a staffer present for the presentation. The review would take a couple weeks, he says.

The legislation also would allow an encampment to return to a site it had used for a year – after a year away.

3:44 PM: Now, they’re discussing the mayor’s proposal, which specifically would set up an environmental study regarding the current Nickelsville site. Staffers from the mayor’s office and Finance and Administrative Services join the group at the table for this. Bagshaw asks why this is even being discussed if Nickelsville itself says it has a plan to move. Staffer says this would be due diligence even for the Food Lifeline sale, given everything that’s happened on the site previously. (It should be noted, that’s not what the draft ordinance says – it says “an environmental assessment must be conducted in order to determine whether the
Glassyard property is potentially a suitable site for providing temporary shelter and
transitional services.”)

The assessment could be done with Nickelsville still on the site, says staff; it could take 12 to 16 weeks. “Seems like it’s the right thing to do either way, I suppose,” says Harrell. Discussion continues to try to clarify where everything stands. Licata and his staffer mention claims filed by an adjacent property owner and by HPAC over Nickelsville being there now. Licata observes this is a complicated situation. Now his staffer Lisa Herbold mentions Nickelsville’s own proposal, finding religious entity/ies to host them so they could move off the current site. That would NOT require a permit process. But, “they are looking for property,” says Licata, in response to Bagshaw’s question.

A few minutes later, she says pointedly, that while everyone is expressing concern about Nickelsville residents’ health and safety today, it looks like they haven’t for the past two years. “We really ought to be looking at a whole network and system here and not just leave people out in the rain,” she says, following up on a concern expressed by Harrell previously, what might be done toward “rapid re-housing” of the NV residents rather than just letting them stay or move to another encampment site. She then said she’d like to know what their plans and intentions are.

With that, the discussion ends, and there’s a smattering of applause, as the committee goes on to its final, unrelated item.

POSTSCRIPT, 4:10 PM: We just talked with Herbold from Licata’s staff to be sure we’re clear on what happens next. Nothing will happen until the June 25th public hearing on the proposed encampment legislation – 30 days’ notice is required for the hearing, so that’s why the discussion was scheduled here today. After that, it would go to the council. Stay tuned.

44 Comments

  1. Was able to watch the live feed and very much appreciated the passionate commentary made by the Highland Park citizens.
    _
    I am curious as to how so many people were able to attend the city council meeting to applaud and cheer for anyone who thought the current location for Nickelsville is a good one for all people concerned. Is this an indication of a professional group of advocates who have nothing to do during the day and have no need to work? Do their positions include getting paid to go to city council meetings? Are they trust fund kids? I don’t get it.

    Comment by D I D — 2:49 pm May 22, 2013 #

  2. I was happy that someone mentioned that it’s hard for people who work to go to the meeting; the people who live in Nickelsville would of course have a somewhat easier time getting to the meeting.

    While I have sympathy for the folks living there, and have donated to the group, I also want to keep Highland Park safe for residents. It’s a tough situation and I appreciate everyone who took time to speak their mind.

    Comment by PangolinPie — 2:52 pm May 22, 2013 #

  3. “2:27 PM: The next man says, “There is a crisis of unmet need in our community”
    ~
    this is Timothy Harris, Founder & Executive Director of Real Change

    Comment by Diane — 2:58 pm May 22, 2013 #

  4. Thanks, Diane, met him years ago but it takes me multiple meetings to remember faces; I’m mostly a word person (I can spell something, though, after seeing it once).

    Comment by WSB — 3:02 pm May 22, 2013 #

  5. I am curious to know the number Nickelsville people that are homeless Seattleites and how many traveled here (and from where) because they can illegally squat.
    Disband Nickelsville and don’t force it on any other tax paying citezens in Seattle

    Comment by j — 3:31 pm May 22, 2013 #

  6. The time has LONG since passed for Nickelsville to move along. There are a large number of residents there who have no conneciton whatsoever to Seattle – they just came here because its convenient. Go squat somewhere else. And heck, if every homeless advocate out there would take one person into their house, we wouldn’t need Nicklesville.

    Comment by 33Pete — 3:54 pm May 22, 2013 #

  7. For anyone who didn’t want to wade through everything above: Bottom line, nothing’s going to happen with this legislation until after a June 25th official public hearing – we just verified that with Councilmember Licata’s assistant Lisa Herbold. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:13 pm May 22, 2013 #

  8. and the public hearing will be at 5:30 pm on 6/25, here at City Hall.

    Comment by Lisa Herbold — 4:49 pm May 22, 2013 #

  9. Excellent coverage once again by WSB, thanks for keeping us in the loop on this issue.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 5:04 pm May 22, 2013 #

  10. j.. do you also want to know the number of people who live in your neighborhood who came from out of town?
    my hand goes up. i came from Oregon.. by way of Minnesota.

    Comment by JoB — 5:33 pm May 22, 2013 #

  11. 33Pete..
    i am tired of the cracks at homeless advocates.
    I have employed over 50 in the last two years and helped roughly two dozen transition from the camp to some kind of outside housing.
    I know lots of homeless advocates
    and the intimation that homeless advocates are in the business of keeping people homeless and dumping them on your streets is false.
    .
    personally i am at a loss as to why the good citizens who complain about the homeless don’t want to get better value for their dollars when it comes to services for the homeless.
    locking them down at night in segregated facilities and turfing them and their belongings on the street in the morning is guaranteed to keep them on the city dole for a long long time since it prevents them from swing or night shift employment and turfs them out too late to get showered and get to a job via public transportation.
    NOT the best use of taxpayer dollars.

    Comment by JoB — 5:39 pm May 22, 2013 #

  12. Some people are lazy. Most are not. You will find the former in the village that calls itself Nickelsville.

    Time to boot ‘em on to the next camp…hopefully, far, far, away from West Seattle…

    Comment by Rain City — 6:01 pm May 22, 2013 #

  13. Once again the biggest problem in Seattle is Nick Licata his assistant Lisa and their tight relationship with SHARE/wheel who has constantly disrespected the law, neighbors. Police and Donors. donations are missing bus tickets sold, threats to lose tent if you don’t advocate. The Fact that the Council knows and doesn’t see SHARE/Wheel is going to fight whatever. They have a mess going.

    Comment by Mom — 6:23 pm May 22, 2013 #

  14. Apparently, homesteading on City of Seattle land is A-OK. This burns me. I say keep the bums moving…outta town…and outta state…

    Comment by Outta Here — 7:26 pm May 22, 2013 #

  15. Huh? doesn’t look like anyone on the console took up my challenge. Any of the commentators willing to give it a try?

    Comment by Jesse — 8:48 pm May 22, 2013 #

  16. I’m starting to notice and increasing number of homeless people panhandling outside local businesses which I’m not a fan of, also my GF who jogs often through west Seattle has taken me to spots off of California ave where It decends down to the water taxi on the more secluded section as well as fairmount ave where small homeless tents/shelters are being constructed. Def doesn’t make it comfortable for a female jogging alone…. Or for the homes nearby in my opinion.

    Comment by Big Tone — 11:12 pm May 22, 2013 #

  17. mom.. i am going to take a wait and see attitude..
    but yesterday’s news didn’t say anything new.

    Comment by JoB — 7:10 am May 23, 2013 #

  18. Big Tone
    you are seeing what is happening pretty much everywhere in Seattle. I am seeing tents spring up in plain sight along the freeway.
    Nickelsville might be the focus of attention.. but it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our current homeless population.

    Comment by JoB — 7:13 am May 23, 2013 #

  19. “locking them down at night in segregated facilities and turfing them and their belongings on the street in the morning is guaranteed to keep them on the city dole for a long long time since it prevents them from swing or night shift employment and turfs them out too late to get showered and get to a job via public transportation.”

    Really? Seems like most Nickelsville residents have been in the encampment for 2+ years. In other words, its become a lifestyle. The more you make it a lifestyle and make it a sense of community, the less inclined people are to get the heck out – which is the goal in case you forgot. Yes, there are some in the encampment temporarily – and yes, I’ve been there – but there are also long term, semi-permanent residents. They outnumber the short termers and they are the real problem.

    “do you also want to know the number of people who live in your neighborhood who came from out of town? my hand goes up. i came from Oregon.. by way of Minnesota.”

    Great, and I assume you are a productive member of your community, and that you didn’t move somewhere with the sole purpose of living off of your neighbors’resources and creating a nuisance.

    Comment by 33Pete — 7:36 am May 23, 2013 #

  20. “The assessment could be done with Nickelsville still on the site, says staff; it could take 12 to 16 weeks.”

    Brilliant plan mayor. Waste (what I assume would be) hundreds of thousands on a study, for literally no potential gain, and delay the decision to move them out of here. Just brilliant.

    Meanwhile, the squatters with cars are driving up into our neighborhoods, parking in our alleys and shooting up.

    Comment by Danny — 7:38 am May 23, 2013 #

  21. 33Pete, JoB is very involved in her community.

    .

    Another thing; without the ongoing, deeply involved help of JoB, and several other West Seattle neighbors, and considering the lack of true support from Nickelsville “Staff/Advisers”, I strongly believe that the situation at Nickelsville, and any true negative impact on surrounding neighborhoods, would have been much, much worse, as more and more NV residents would have lost hope, and not gone on and bettered their lives, or at least tried to do so.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:09 am May 23, 2013 #

  22. Pete.. “most” of the residents of Nickelsville have not been there for 2+ years.
    .
    In fact, i don’t believe any of the Nickelsville residents who spoke when first invited to HPAC meetings are still in Nickelsville… unless Trace DeGramo was one of those speakers.. and even he hasn’t lived there continuously.
    .
    i remember Big Daddy (who hasn’t lived at Nickelsville for a year) Mike (who is in housing in our community and contributes regularly to the West Seattle Blog and the other Mike (he and his wife have been in housing in Kent for over a year).
    .
    in fact, i know only a handful of current residents who moved with Nickelsville two years ago..
    and of those only a couple who have lived continuously at Nickelsville since then. so i am at a loss to know where you got the idea that long term residents outnumber the transients…
    .
    the trouble is that if you don’t get to know them and their stories.. they can all look the same.
    .
    we moved here for the same reason that most of the residents of Nickelsville moved here.. for the opportunity… and not that to live off of the taxpayers. Seattle has more opportunity than most of the rest of the country.
    .
    hubby’s skills were marketable and he is less likely to be laid off than his peers… but only less likely.. nothing is guaranteed. An unexpected layoff is what precipitated our 3 year U-turn through Minnesota.
    .
    Hubby is lucky.. he worked hard and as it turned out he worked hard at the right things. Other people aren’t so lucky… they too worked hard but didn’t end of with skills that kept them employed. I have met people from all professions at Nickelsville.
    .
    and me? I am disabled and have collected social security for the past 20 years… so you could say i am on the public dole.
    I would have collected the cushy top dollars but i stubbornly put off filing until the deadline…
    not the best decision where my personal security is concerned. if we had to live on my social security we would be struggling to do so on less than $700/mo :(
    .
    and there is the other reality for some of the residents of Nickelsville. There are a lot of disabled people in Nickelsville who are either in the process of filing for their disability (that process can take years) or have received disability and are on the waiting list for subsidized housing (another process that can take years).
    .
    it is too easy to believe that our safety net works and to write people in trouble off as a danger to our community.
    .
    Danny..
    for the most part, the “squatters” don’t have cars .. very few of those parked in the lot actually run.. so they are not likely to be the folks driving into your alleys and shooting up.
    .
    those are your neighbors or your neighbor’s kids.

    Comment by JoB — 10:06 am May 23, 2013 #

  23. Mike,

    So are you saying, that without outside monitoring, that the people living there would have caused more damage and problems for the community? Yet you want these people to continue to squat there?

    Comment by cr — 10:59 am May 23, 2013 #

  24. JoB,

    The car I have seen in my alley twice has been parked regularly at Nickelsville. I drive by Nickelsville on my commute every day. So it is not a mistake on my part.

    Additionally, I frequently ride the bus down to the stadiums during the summers for baseball games. I can’t recall the last time that I didn’t see someone get on the bus at the Nickelsville stop and proceed to use some sort of drug.

    And while your story is charming and all, it doesnt excuse the fact that squatting on land that isn’t yours is illegal. It sets an absolutely horrible precedence that our city council is willingly allowing it to happen.

    Comment by Danny — 1:55 pm May 23, 2013 #

  25. “…if every homeless advocate out there would take one person into their house, we wouldn’t need Nicklesville.”

    Well played, 33Pete. Well played.

    Comment by MCJ — 1:57 pm May 23, 2013 #

  26. “And heck, if every homeless advocate out there would take one person into their house, we wouldn’t need Nicklesville.”

    I third 33Pete’s plan. Sounds like a problem solved to me!

    Comment by Danny — 2:31 pm May 23, 2013 #

  27. Danny..
    “The car I have seen in my alley twice has been parked regularly at Nickelsville. I drive by Nickelsville on my commute every day.”

    if this is true, have you given that information and the plate number to the local police?
    illegal activity is illegal activity and should be reported to someone who can do something about it.

    if you witness illegal drug use on the bus, you should report that as well.

    i would.

    Comment by JoB — 2:33 pm May 23, 2013 #

  28. The majority of the residents I have spoken with who actually live in Highland Park and are directly affected by NV are advocating for a better, enforceable, legal framework within which homeless encampments can operate. These same people are not simply wanting them evicted. They prefer a smart solution providing emergency short-term and humane shelter for the homeless and a policy that prevents communities from having to host encampments for unreasonable amounts of time, or multiple times.

    It is a nuanced stance that is at times confusing for those who wish to portray HPAC as insensitive to the plight of the homeless. It is just as irresponsible to push this meme in the comment section as it is to ignore the reality that some people become homeless by no fault of their own.
    HPAC, and any host community leaders have a very difficult job riding this picket fence.

    Those who are confused should know there is a lot of potential within Nick Licata’s proposed legislation. It should not be dismissed, do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is evolving and if you want a say in it, you must get involved and write the council members, specifically Nick Licata. One can rant and rave about how qualified they are to help and understand the homeless for whatever reason or say “throw the bums out”, but unless you actually present your ideas to the council members, you’re just blowing hot air, and quite simply…a drag.

    HPAC’s purpose is to serve the best interests of its residents, based on feedback from the community. HPAC has woven into this task an additional role. That is to take the city to task to ensure that those who find themselves suddenly homeless can have a safe place to stay for a short time until better opportunities arise, either a shelter space downtown or, friend or relative. And hopefully, one day, more available affordable housing and more jobs that pay people enough to live within the city where they work.

    I’m sure there are several ways Seattle can solve this very important issue, and several ways to do it at once. It is not up to our community to solve this alone. What we do know is Food Life Line would like to build a facility there. What we do know, and should be obvious to us all, is that helping families that are in need, to feed themselves, should be a priority in any plan that claims will help prevent future homelessness.

    Sign the petition http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/nickelsville-updates-hpac-petition-food-lifeline-status if you’d like to see a workable solution for helping the homeless have safe legal havens that do not create compassion fatigue within Seattle’s neighborhood communities.

    Comment by hp resident — 3:03 pm May 23, 2013 #

  29. “Seems like most Nickelsville residents have been in the encampment for 2+ years. In other words, its become a lifestyle. The more you make it a lifestyle and make it a sense of community, the less inclined people are to get the heck out”

    Well said, 33Pete.

    I have empathy for those who are homeless through no fault of their own, and will do whatever it takes to be a productive member of society. I do not see that with the squatters at their illegal encampment. They have received so much, but continue to hold their hands out demanding more.

    As a dedicated reader of the WSB, I see numerous stories on a weekly basis requesting volunteers for different events, has the illegal encampment ever joined these causes?

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 4:44 pm May 23, 2013 #

  30. Thank you, hp resident & HPAC!

    Comment by Delridge Neighbor — 5:15 pm May 23, 2013 #

  31. cr, I didn’t claim it as fact, just that it may be quite possible, from my six and a half months living there in 2011.

    .

    And I stated, “…any true negative impact…”. I meant that as opposed to the speculation going around blaming area crimes on Nickelsville residents.

    .

    Where I was coming from with that, was that if we didn’t have the help we had; getting fresh water delivered, firewood delivered, food donations, clothing donations, WS neighbors hiring “day help” out of NV, or taking the occasional NV resident for a shower, etc, that there likely would have been a greater sense of hopelessness among the residents, and it could have taken an emotional toll on them.

    .

    If I hadn’t had the help from these generous people, many who have become personal friends, if they were not already, I’m honestly not sure if I could have coped.

    .

    I can say with almost certainty, that I would have not turned to crime, violence, or drugs, but then one never totally knows in a situation that feels hopeless. I know I sure as hell would have been very depressed, and I have been diagnosed with a minor, or situational depression. A fair amount of Homeless have much more serious Mental Health issues.

    .

    One thing I should probably mention, is that there other people, groups, and institutions outside of our peninsula that helped, but I’m not sure if that had been enough. It was the folks from West Seattle, that were our most consistent Donors. Some of them, such as JoB, on pretty much literally a daily basis.

    .

    A final point, that I haven’t brought up for awhile, is that many of the Homeless are our U.S. Veterans. Some of them have mental and/or addiction issues, that are Service related. People come back broken physically and/or mentally, are given drugs to ease the physical or emotional pain, and then become addicted.

    .

    I would like the “naysayers”, as I refer to them; the ones that refer to NV residents, or Homeless in general, as “bums”, lazy”, whatever, to really think about that. Especially if you claim to support our Veterans.

    .

    I understand that many people have legitimate concerns. My biggest problem are the ones that have nothing better to do than make assumptions about the Homeless, call them names, and consider them to be some sort of pariah.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 6:00 pm May 23, 2013 #

  32. Gee, if they stay 5 more years, they will own the property by adverse possession. Then they can stay permanently.

    Comment by joan bateman — 6:21 pm May 23, 2013 #

  33. I too think that there is much to recommend Nick Licata’s proposal
    as amended
    .
    the fallacy is that people either think those at Nickelsville are bums that should be moved on..
    .
    or they think Nickelsville should permanently reside in it’s current location
    .
    neither position reflects the opinion of this homeless advocate

    Comment by JoB — 8:04 pm May 23, 2013 #

  34. Mike and JoB,

    Both of you appear to be very caring people that are paying forward the care that you received while homeless. I truly admire both of you for that. I get the sense though that you may not have spent much time in internet discussions and you should understand that there are trolls in every discussion that will say things simply to make others upset. You cannot take those personally or to be representative of ANY population. Go look at any Yahoo news item involving Obama and check the comments to see what I mean.

    I have lived in Riverview for 25 years. I know that there have always been homeless in the greenbelt and that there has always been crime taking place there…from time to time. I used to be able to walk through the greenbelt without seeing anyone, most of the time. The last time that I walked down to the West Seattle Bridge and tried to come back up the hill, I hit encampments at the stairs to Pigeon Point, at the next option just south of Herring’s House Park, and then by Highland Park Way. This is way beyond what we used to see.

    I want the homeless taken care of and I feel shame for those that are there because they are mentally ill, due to war experience or any reason. We are a better country than that. However, I don’t think the people of this neighborhood should be expected to bear this burden. To suggest there has been no burden is to show as little empathy for my neighbors as some of the posters have shown towards the homeless.

    Keep up your fight for the oppressed, but include my neighbors in that fight, rather than fighting against us. We are with you in more ways than we are against you.

    Comment by Alan — 10:24 pm May 23, 2013 #

  35. Alan..
    .
    contrary to popular opinion i don’t believe that the people of Arbor Heights are the problem here.
    .
    I attended a couple of the Highland Park meetings concerning Nickelsville and I have followed the coverage of those I didn’t attend here on the West Seattle Blog.
    .
    I get that the intention of the association is to make sure that the people currently residing at Nickelsville get compassionate care when the city closes the site down.
    .
    However, that intention is not reflected in the petition that we as people who care about the homeless have been asked to sign… nor does that concern seem to extend beyond to the greater homeless population.
    .
    Ask me to sign a petition supporting passage of Nick Licata’s latest proposal… and i am there.
    I will still be advocating for 24 hour shelters with secure storage in addition to a viable tent city ordinance.. but i am still there.
    .
    i know there are homeless people living in the woods surrounding Highland Park. But I also know there are homeless people living in the woods just about any place you would choose to wander in metropolitan Seattle… and there are more of them there now than there were 2 years ago.
    .
    It may be a truth that more homeless people have discovered our greenbelts as a result of Nickelsville’s 2 year occupation..
    but it doesn’t necessarily follow that moving Nickelsville along will reduce the population in those greenbelts.
    .
    People seem to have bought into the notion that the people in those greenbelts are somehow supported and sustained by the resources of Nickelsville… just like they have bought into the notion that Nickelsville is a static population of people whose only goal is to somehow catch a free ride at taxpayer’s expense.
    .
    Neither of those concepts are accurate.. but that doesn’t stop them from being pithy rallying cries.
    .
    I think you are going to win the fight to get Nickelsville move along.. or at least you will appear to since the timing of your fight coincides with a move in that direction.. but sadly you will find that your problem remains long after Nickelsville has vacated the premises.
    .
    I would advocate for solutions that would come closer to solving your real problem …
    but that conversation isn’t going to surface as long as neighborhoods think their homeless problem can be solved by just moving them along.
    .

    Comment by JoB — 8:21 am May 24, 2013 #

  36. I am no raging conservative, but it’s time for this sham to stop. West Seattle has become the Redheaded Stepchild of the city. This is about the beautification of downtown. Push the problems out of site and don’t deal with them. I bought in West Seattle to get away from this stuff so I could raise a family in a solid community. I am sick of the disproportionate time spent to “serve” those on the fringes who don’t contribute.

    I am thinking about starting a West Seattle Political Action Committee since money is the “ONLY” thing the city council and Mayor respond to. I am sure it wouldn’t be hard to raise enough dollars to influence things for the better on our island.

    Comment by WsEd — 9:32 am May 24, 2013 #

  37. Hp Resident and Alan,

    Thank you. Whoever you are, I am proud, grateful and fortunate to have you as my neighbors.

    MiWS and JoB, please.
    Enough.
    For the love of God, this compassion fatigue (I never knew there was a term for it) is an unholy burden for many here – those of us whose life savings are invested in this community and those of us who give time as well.

    So, show some good thinking by respecting that and consider holding your tongues because you are not clearly comprehending -you are being offensive and incindiary.

    I think both of you should consider taking time away from the issue to emotionally/spiritually heal after your traumatic year spent at Nville; One I wish neither of you – OR the community of Highland Park – had to endure. You need to heal. You both need to heal. God Speed.

    Comment by Justice requires critical thinking — 9:07 pm May 24, 2013 #

  38. So, show some good thinking by respecting that and consider holding your tongues because you are not clearly comprehending -you are being offensive and incindiary.

    .

    OUCH!

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 10:07 pm May 24, 2013 #

  39. Justice requires critical thinking
    .
    my year and a half at Nickelsville was spent helping .. i have never lived there
    .
    i am in my 60s now..
    the time i spent homeless is over 30 years in my past
    .
    i would ask that you indulge in some critical thinking
    compassion is not an incendiary device

    Comment by JoB — 7:56 am May 25, 2013 #

  40. I am truly sorry that what i am saying is not what people want to hear…
    .
    what they want to hear is that there is a neat tidy solution to all of this that removes “the” problem from their doorstep
    .
    that they took action, were heard and solved the problem the rest of the city “dumped” on them
    .
    i wish that was the case.. but spending the last couple of years with West Seattle’s homeless… both in and out of Nickelsville… has taught me that while Nickelsville has not been the ideal solution for our city’s homeless… the concept of managed “tent” communities is viable.
    .
    Nickelsville didn’t fail because the community was not willing to be supportive.
    Nickelsville didn’t fail because the residents didn’t care enough to attempt to create a safe self-managed community.
    .
    Nickelsville failed because it’s management and mission statement were in direct opposition to each other…
    .
    and because people like me respected “the system” and tried to work with and/or around that dichotomy.
    .
    political management that thrives on confrontation derailed both residents and supporters best efforts at improvements.
    .
    even the great flood this last year was a manageable event had the camp’s management insisted that the tools put in place by volunteers were immediately utilized.
    Instead, they pandered to a resident who took “his” pump and left camp..
    celebrating him as a hero and a rainmaker when he finally brought it back.
    .
    the concept of some kind of “tent” community for the homeless is viable,
    but only if the management of those communities has the best interests of the individual residents and the community in mind
    .
    i know.. that goes against all of the past standards for community action.. sacrificing the needs of the individual for the greater good.
    .
    the problem here is that the greater good is illusive while the prolonged suffering of individuals continues unabated.
    .
    i wish i had a neat tidy solution… the peasant versus Goliath scenario has what the news business would call “legs”…
    .
    what doesn’t have “legs” is the mess that left behind.
    Who do you think cleaned it up?
    .

    Comment by JoB — 9:13 am May 25, 2013 #

  41. for the record.. i am cutting and pasting part of my comments here on facebook.
    .
    You can find them and more on the Nickelsville group facebook page

    Comment by JoB — 9:16 am May 25, 2013 #

  42. People need to contact council members directly. Bottom line.

    Government might read comments, but council members’ assistants keep actual numerical count of what people are concerned about. That is how it works. But you MUST directly contact them with your specific concerns. And you have to be able to somewhat cogently express yourself. This is advice from a longtime community member who knows from years of actual experience – not a “writer” trying to gain recognition.

    If you ONLY use Facebook or WSB, you are missing the target – regardless of your point of view.

    Truth.

    Comment by blah blah boring — 1:05 pm May 25, 2013 #

  43. blah blah boring..
    .
    not so boring comment
    .
    and yes, contacting council members and the mayor’s office is a fine idea.
    .
    i would love to see a petition supporting the current Nick Licata tent city ordinance…
    .
    hopefully someone is tech savvy enough to create one

    Comment by JoB — 5:28 pm May 25, 2013 #

  44. Its almost June. The 211 king county system for helping homeless is still sending FAMILIES WITH children to Nicklesville. Its my belief we need public disclosure and accounting as where our 6 year Vet and Homeless Levy is going to. Why is nicklesville recommended no services help not a place for kids that need to be in school. Whats wrong with KC AND SEATTLE MAYOR. I hope hes not voted again and Nick Licata doesn’t listen.

    Comment by Mom — 6:30 am May 30, 2013 #

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