New ‘Nickelsville’ ordinance: Declares ‘public health and safety risk,’ would spend $500,000 to help ‘campers’ before closing

June 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm | In 'Nickelsville' encampment, West Seattle news | 45 Comments

Seven City Councilmembers‘ letter proposing closing the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” is now followed up with a proposed ordinance to be introduced next Monday. It declares the situation an “emergency” for reasons including:

The City Council finds that the encampment located at 7116 W Marginal Way SW has created a public health and safety risk due to ongoing and potential public health and safety issues, as indicated by (1) numerous 9-1-1 calls and police investigations of criminal activities, and (2) a Phase I Environmental Assessment that addresses potential environmental contamination of the property. As such, the City Council finds that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety and believes that the City should act immediately to move the campers off of the site and into appropriate shelter, housing and services.

If passed, the ordinance would appropriate half a million dollars for “a non-profit organization to provide outreach, engagement, case management, shelter, housing and other services to the campers at 7116 W Marginal Way SW” in order to move them out and close the camp by September 1st. We’re checking now on how that organization will be chosen and when.

2:23 PM UPDATE: City Council communicator Dan Nolte says this is scheduled for a vote during the full council’s 2 pm meeting July 8th.

45 Comments

  1. Half a million dollars seems like a lot for 125 campers. I say no f-ing way. I want my tax dollars going to education before it goes to a bunch of urban campers. Sorry, but throwing money at this problem gets us NOTHING but more and more campers coming for the free services. These people already know where the existing (and funded) services and shelters are. They can get there on the bus for about 3 dollars a piece.

    NO WAY on this give away.

    Comment by 33Pete — 2:35 pm June 14, 2013 #

  2. Since the vote is more than 3 weeks away, anyone who wants to express opposition, support, alternatives, certainly would be advised to contact councilmembers – http://seattle.gov/council has contact info of all kinds for all 9 – TR

    Comment by WSB — 2:41 pm June 14, 2013 #

  3. 33Pete — My sentiments exactly. It is a total give-away that somehow these campers think they are owed. Why have any motivation at all if you are given everything on a silver platter. Non-profits never seem to complete intended goals and we never get an exact accounting of where all the money goes…hmmmmm.

    Comment by Seattlite — 2:54 pm June 14, 2013 #

  4. So the non-profit organization that would get that money “if passed” I assume would be SHARE/WHEEL? Hahahahahaha!! The extortion continues.

    Comment by jiggers — 3:06 pm June 14, 2013 #

  5. Just where does this City have an extra half million dollars sitting to spend in this manner? What part of the budget gets busted, and most importantly, why should we believe this is the right amount to address and solve this issue?
    IF there were an easy solution, this problem would have long ago ceased to exist. It hasn’t, there isn’t, and I predict that after paying a non-profit to solve the City’s problems, this problem will remain unsolved.
    Kicking this can down the road is the road to perdition.

    Comment by Dead End Marc — 3:13 pm June 14, 2013 #

  6. If they want to spend 500k on 125 people, just hand out the cash tomorrow and tell them to dash. Why wait until 9/1?

    Comment by dsa — 3:27 pm June 14, 2013 #

  7. Maybe we should send our kids down there to get some free taxpayer money for their schools.

    Comment by Sally — 3:28 pm June 14, 2013 #

  8. Be nice to know how many of these people are professional homeless. That is, who do not look for work and do nothing to further their skills or in any way help themselves to try and get out of their situation.

    How many have known family who could help but the homeless person chooses not to go to their family.

    Howe many are professional beggars, making enough money to keep them in cigarettes and booze/drugs since a dutiful city is expected, nay demanded, to shell out for their basic housing, sanitation, food, transportation and medical needs?

    Comment by Jim P. — 3:41 pm June 14, 2013 #

  9. And of course we know that the only people who show up to those nice mid-day council meetings are those people without a JOB – i.e., the people looking for, or who have a vested interest in, a handout.

    Comment by 33Pete — 4:08 pm June 14, 2013 #

  10. About $4000 per camper??? This is completely bogus! It didn’t cost the city a dime when these squatters came to Nickelsville; left to their own devices, they can find their own way again. Don’t underestimate their resourcefulness; they’ll figure something out.

    If the city has a half-million worth of MY (and other folks) tax money to throw at a bunch of vagrants and ‘professional’ homeless campers, there’s no excuse for the pavement on Beach Drive and other WS streets to look like the surface of the moon. Take care of the needs of productive citizens first, layabouts later.

    Comment by Citizen Sane — 4:25 pm June 14, 2013 #

  11. Good god, the above comments just reek of good ole Amerocan love for our fellow citizens. May the pox never fall on those who sit high and mighty, the fall would be enough to destroy them. Hoover and Rand are cheering from the depths.

    Comment by Rocky raccoon — 4:26 pm June 14, 2013 #

  12. This is an appalling waste of tax dollars. Since these people were camping there illegally, the city is basically rewarding them for breaking the law.

    Time for an indepth investigation into Scott Morrow and SHARE’s finances.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 4:27 pm June 14, 2013 #

  13. the money may or may not be excessive..

    but the intent is clear.. to move the homeless people currently in Nickelsville into the system and out the revolving social services door and back into mainstream society…

    and still.. there are those who have a problem with that.?

    Comment by JoB — 4:39 pm June 14, 2013 #

  14. Its a lot of money per head. It might work or it might lead to new camp declarations expecting services and money.

    Comment by cj — 5:05 pm June 14, 2013 #

  15. Extortion indeed.

    This proves the American dream is dead. Compared to other countries, we are becoming a nation of unmotivated, entitled, and spoiled slackers.

    I work with many people who emigrated here from SE Asian countries, arriving here with literally nothing but the clothes on their back. Through hard work (sometimes working 2 or 3 jobs) these folks now have their own homes, multiple cars, and are putting their children through college.

    Even the folks who stand outside Home Depot are just looking for an honest days work, not a handout.

    The folks of the this illegal encampment should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. The few supporters they have should be as well.

    Thanks for the link to email our city “leaders”, I will be contacting them with my concerns about paying off criminals. I am sure when they are asked to leave the next place they squat in they will be paid off as well.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 5:06 pm June 14, 2013 #

  16. My biggest question to NIckelsville is, do you want this kind of assistance? I thought Nickelsville has billed itself as a Community that chooses to live in an encampment rather than one that are just “down and out” From their website: “A self Managed Eco Village in Seattle for up to 1,000 homeless people!” I’m not saying that their situation is ideal, and if it were up to me, I would be looking into something that is progressive – like taking that $500,000 and buying permanent shelters that let them maintain autonomy, but are less of a hazard. But throwing this kind of money at the encampment to try to change them is not going to work. What they want is acknowledgement of the fact that they choose to live that way, and want a permanent place to be able to do that. Could Seattle buy property out in Snohomish County with that cash?

    Comment by Amanda — 5:09 pm June 14, 2013 #

  17. What in the world????? Who thinks up such stupid ideas?? 4000 per person???

    Comment by NewNeighborDlrdg — 5:34 pm June 14, 2013 #

  18. You wanted a nanny State, You got it.

    Comment by Lifetime WS. — 6:05 pm June 14, 2013 #

  19. It goes to show, you can break the law and violate city health codes for two years and instead of being held accountable, we taxpayers pay half a million. I fear thus just tells future groups how to go about freeloading on a massive scale. There has to be some kind of giving back clause for NV residents along with that half million – some kind of community service, some kind of thank you to the taxpayers who gave you a hand up. If they don’t include some kind of reciprocal gesture, it feels like throwing money down the drain. The reciprocal gesture should be more than taking these people out of NV. Do ongoing roadside cleanup, paint bus stops, paint out graffiti, something. Say thank you with actions.

    Comment by Seriously? — 6:24 pm June 14, 2013 #

  20. Wow, you people are heartless…

    Comment by Patrick — 7:47 pm June 14, 2013 #

  21. $500k? Not close to the amount of precious tax dollars this will end up costing. Prepare to soon learn of legal action estopping eviction. Oh — who do you think will take care of clean up the materials left at this site once 125 people finally move along?

    Comment by Under_Achiever — 7:53 pm June 14, 2013 #

  22. Seriously?, I couldn’t agree more. The WSB posts weekly stories looking for volunteers in West Seattle for various clean-ups and I have NEVER seen the illegal encampment participate.

    Patrick, how so? Please justify the “heartless” comment.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 7:56 pm June 14, 2013 #

  23. Let’s all sing:

    Auf Wiedersehen. To Nickelsville. La De Da Da Da… Auf Wiedersehen….woah yaaaa….

    Or:

    Hit The Road, Jack, Don’t You Come Back. No More, No More, No More, No More…….

    Comment by Das Dump — 8:22 pm June 14, 2013 #

  24. Knowledge is Power! Scott Morrow has insolated himself using a few criminal thugs for his security and to best up those that speak out. NO ONE HAS MORE SELF SERVING RULES AND USES and throws out the homeless that dont serve his needs. CHILDREN AND PREGNANT LADIES animals all reach groups of DONORS. ASK MAYOR WHO HAD A HANDS OFF HOMELESS DONT HARASS HOMELESS APPROACH DIRECTION. ??? Have you ever told a policeman a concern say SHARE. TENT CITY HOMELESS. CANNED ANSWER. “We have had NO PROBLEMS!” NO problems you know of. It was a big Political scam. Kid you not to pull this off 20 years And the crap of last 8 years. Peoples complaints fell on deaf city ears. We wrote no answer. SCOTT MORROW has private cell. # emails and they do much of what he demands. What Wednesday Meeting. Nick licata and Lisa not thinking of whats right whats fair. Scott might as well run city hes got people encouraging his agenda. Jean godden Tom Rasmussen and Bruce Harrell seem to honestly care about right and wrong fair listened. Mayor and Licata seem to forget Scots poor choices affect and impact neighbors. Time you DEMAND TO BE HEARD ALSO.

    Comment by Mom — 9:07 pm June 14, 2013 #

  25. Greg Nickels got it right. Booting the bums, thugs, and freeloaders off city land.

    As I said two years ago.

    Now folks are shocked at the problems?

    What? You thought these losers were a church social?

    Comment by Nickels Got It Right — 9:42 pm June 14, 2013 #

  26. if any sheds are left behind I’d like to get one for my backyard. they’ve been putting up some real nice shelters. they ain’t sleeping in no tents!

    Comment by joel — 10:19 pm June 14, 2013 #

  27. Cool down! They aren’t going to hand $4000 to each person camping out. No. The fund will be to pay for an organization to help folks find a safe place to stay, buy more beds for the local shelters takin these people in and so on. If our sommunity can’t support this, then get ready to see more homeless people in your everyday life… But don’t worry ‘citizen sane’ the bumpy roads on beach drive should deter them from hanging out on your street. Remember; a large percentage of homeless are veterans and/or mentally ill. Have a heart…

    Comment by Mena — 11:20 pm June 14, 2013 #

  28. and that organization is unlikely to be SHARE.
    The proposal species an organization that will not only shelter but provide services to the homeless.
    That pretty much lets SHARE out.

    Comment by JoB — 11:36 pm June 14, 2013 #

  29. By the way, no amount of money funded will end the homeless problem. So, it has to stop sometime… Get it?

    Comment by jiggers — 11:42 pm June 14, 2013 #

  30. I have several specific followup questions in to the Human Services Dept. (who will decide who gets the contract? is there a prequalified pool of possibilities or does it go to an RFP – seems unlikely given the council vote will be less than two months before the shutdown date … etc.) but as often happens when media comes calling on a Friday afternoon, especially in the summer, the answers can’t always be rounded up quickly, so I hope to have that part of the followup Monday … TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:00 am June 15, 2013 #

  31. joel, the majority ARE sleeping in tents.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 5:58 am June 15, 2013 #

  32. what will happen to those simple sturdy sleeping shelters is a good question. every one of them represents about a thousand donor dollars…

    they weren’t simple cheap sturdy sleeping shelters as they had to be built by arbitrary specifications to be accepted by the camp.
    .
    presumably, if they aren’t moved the city could auction them off.
    they are designed to break down flat for moving…

    Comment by JoB — 7:49 am June 15, 2013 #

  33. We went to Nickelsville as part of a school unit learning about habitat and shelter. They gracefully accepted our oresence. I was very impressed with how neat the camp was and the systems they had out in place. Of course at a deeper level I have no idea what happens there. Positive first impression though. I agree that it would be great to allow them to continue Nickelsville somewhere safe and sanitary.

    Comment by Jafalla — 9:01 am June 15, 2013 #

  34. Rocky r, Patrick, JoB & mena, seems to be a small percentage of us that care that these people get the assistance they need AND deserve. These are fellow humans that many times by no choice of their own, are out there trying to survive. Some do work and some can’t. You heartless people should think for one second what would happen if you lost your job and have no one to help.

    Comment by Steph — 5:56 pm June 15, 2013 #

  35. In a city that gave Paul Allen 55 million to build his toy train, and spent $124.7 million to research, RESEARCH! a monorail $500,000 is small change chump change.

    Comment by Neal Lampi — 5:56 am June 16, 2013 #

  36. I would rather the city dontae $500,000 of taxpayer money to cancer research than to those living the homeless lifestyle.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 10:01 am June 16, 2013 #

  37. West Seattle hipster..

    the homeless lifestyle?

    homelessness is only a lifestyle if you find yourself homeless by choice… which isn’t the truth for most of the homeless people i know.

    but putting that assumption aside….

    an organization that actually assists homeless people getting off the streets will stretch that $500,000 past your wildest dreams…

    they may even stretch it to helping the person who holds the clue to the cure for cancer.

    who knows.. int he great roulette wheel of life.. even you might benefit from this investment.

    Comment by JoB — 11:55 am June 16, 2013 #

  38. Cancer research funding tops $150 billion annually. $500k is chump change.

    Comment by datamuse — 12:22 pm June 16, 2013 #

  39. this does nothing to get these people off the street. handouts do not make someone a responsible self sufficient member of society.

    you know what helps pay the rent and bills that a normal person has to deal with? get ready….a JOB!

    Comment by flimflam — 2:54 pm June 16, 2013 #

  40. I guess, count me in the “heartless” camp of wanting to wash away this human debris. better “heartless” than brain-less (those of you who think another $500K will get this all straightened out). we have spent $$trillions on this as a society/country over the last few decades, and it isn’t any better. one of these days you “people with heart” need to understand that freedom comes with responsibility. you want to get high all day and say whatever you want, wherever you want…. then be responsible enough to conduct your existence on your OWN property and/or in a place that doesn’t impinge on those who contribute and actually PAY for the very society and resources that you soak up, squander, and then rail against.

    Comment by pete k — 8:01 pm June 16, 2013 #

  41. pete k..

    how exactly do you expect people without jobs… and without the basics like hygiene, an address to get jobs and a place to leave their stuff while they work … to pay for anything?

    that is, if they are well enough to work in the first place.

    kind of a rough catch 22 you have created for them. isn’t it?

    Comment by JoB — 8:38 am June 17, 2013 #

  42. As I find myself reading some of these comments, I don’t know what to say. Currently I am a high school senior working on projects to help Nickelsville residents by providing meals and everyday items commonly took for granted. I’ve met occupants from the ages of ten to sixty living in a well oiled community. Firstly, to the sarcastic comment of sending our kids down there to “get some free taxpayer money for our schools” I hope you do, because I’ve gotten a more beneficial, real-world education by spending time there than sitting in a classroom reading Grapes of Wrath. Did you know each tent has its own address? That you have to be voted in by all the members to join the encampment? The pride on the faces of these people is most likely ten times the amount of an average joe coming home to his middle class house in a suburban neighborhood every day. I wish my neighborhood in West Seattle was half as close! I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, or to advocate the excecution of this proposal. But try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Maybe not to the thirty year old crack head that you believe lives down there, but maybe the twelves year old girl’s who attends Denny and who’s family of four lives in a tent, raised on blocks so the rats won’t get in.

    P.S. Most of the residents have electronic devices, and regularly check all West Seattle bog activity…..including comments.

    Comment by CSHSSenior — 11:16 pm June 17, 2013 #

  43. CSHS, thanks for your comment, and for your community service. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 8:33 am June 18, 2013 #

  44. CSHSSenior, thank you, from a former Nickelsville resident, six months back into permanent housing.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 5:37 pm June 18, 2013 #

  45. Come on homelessness is a multiple trillion$$$$ a year industry. While the rich continue to get richer and corporations buying and selling them self s to over seas 2 world corporations just so they can get richer. The middle class is gone now its ether you have a star on your belly or not. Thank you Dr. Seuss for teaching me to be real

    Comment by Tony — 1:06 pm June 23, 2013 #

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