4:23 PM: One day after the second anniversary of the “Nickelsville” encampment’s return to a mostly-city-owned site in West Seattle (here’s our Monday report), Mayor McGinn says he sees two options for the site – and one of them is to pass a proposal that would allow it to be converted into a “semi-permanent” encampment site. The other option – sell the site to Food Lifeline as that agency has sought, but only after the council passes a bill that would enable more possible encampment sites at “non-religious” locations. Both options are outlined in a letter he has sent to City Council President Sally Clark; read it here (or here, added, uploaded to Scribd):
We received it in response to our query sent to the mayor’s office yesterday asking where the mayor stood on the issue.
4:33 PM UPDATE: Though the mayor’s letter says he prefers the option of selling the site to Food Lifeline once he’s sure the residents of Nickelsville will have somewhere else to go, Highland Park Action Committee chair Carolyn Stauffer, whose group had asked the mayor and council not just to promise to move Nickelsville out but to set a date, is not happy. Her response, shared with us via e-mail:
We have been holding off on contacting a lawyer with high hopes for our elected leaders, but now see the need to speak with one as soon as possible. If anyone out there could help us, please email any names or contacts that might be interested in helping HPAC pro-bono to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4:55 PM UPDATE: We’ve started checking with city councilmembers and their staffs to find out what’s next – since this broke late in the day, we will still be finding out more tomorrow, but for starters, the office of Councilmember Nick Licata – who proposed the “non-religious encampment” bill that the mayor says he would support – says both options will be discussed in the committee he chairs, Housing, Human Services, and Health Care, a week from tomorrow (May 22nd) at 2 pm. Licata favors proceeding with that bill and a Food Lifeline sale, according to staffer Lisa Herbold.
6 PM UPDATE: We’ve also heard back from Council President Clark. She says she is reserving substantive comment until a briefing tomorrow, but adds, “I can say that I’d like to see people living at Nickelsville find open doors into housing as soon as possible, and I’d like to see Food Lifeline land their new facility in the city.” And a statement has just arrived from Revel Smith, on behalf of SHARE/Tent City 3, not regarding Nickelsville specifically, but regarding the ordinance, which Smith says they consider “redlining,” because of what they understand is a “residential zone restriction,” which they oppose because, they say:
• Restricting camps by Ordinance from Residential Zones unfairly plays on, and accommodates, irrational fears of homeless people.
• Residential Zoning Restrictions EXCLUDE 65% of all available land in Seattle!
• NO other city or jurisdiction in King County — many of which also have Encampment Ordinances — restrict camps from Residential Zones. Therefore, there is NO REASON for Seattle to do so.
• It’s a big step back from the successful modus operandi of Tent City3 during 10 years of our operation (2002-2012) under a Consent Decree which did not have any Zoning Restrictions.
• And finally, if it’s OK for churches in Residential Zones easily to host camps (under the Religious Encampment Ordinance), why not vacant private land in those neighborhoods too? Churches can’t carry the weight of solving homelessness all on their own.
We’re checking to see if the text of the ordinance is available online.