(UPDATED 9:04 PM with photos from our early-evening return visits to the four sites – scroll down)
11:56 AM: This is the date set by the City Council in June for closure of the West Seattle site that for more than two years has been home to the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville.” As we’ve reported in ongoing coverage, the encampment announced it has three new sites. We’re checking in on the move as today proceeds, starting with a look at those three sites (mapped here) so we have “before and after” photos. At 11 am, an hour into the announced schedule for “moving day,” we stopped at 2020 S. Jackson:
Porta-potties were in view, as were “no parking” signs for today only. The only person in view was someone getting ready to do some weed-whacking. The site is owned by the Low-Income Housing Institute, per county records; it owns Ernestine Anderson Place next door, described as “60 units for homeless and low-income seniors.” From there, we headed north to the 1419 22nd Ave. site, photographed at 11:07 am, no one there yet:
That site is owned by the adjacent-to-the-south Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. From there, via I-5, we got to the Skyway site at 11:25. It’s at 12914 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., a busy freeway-like stretch between I-5 and Renton, which according to property records used to hold a tavern and motel; its ownership is listed as an LLC held by Pete Sikov, who gained fame in 2005 as owner of Jimi Hendrix‘s boyhood home. Photo
It’s the largest site but also, as had been noted on the Nickelsville Works Facebook page, choked with overgrowth. No one on site as of 11:35 am, but two porta-potties are in view, as with the other two sites. Next, what’s happening at the West Seattle site right now; arriving in the area, we found ourselves behind a van containing the Nickelsville goats, whom we’re told are headed to munch on the Skyway overgrowth.
12:51 PM: The photo above is our overview from right about noon. Lots of work in view:
And belongings gathered up:
The view further into the camp:
We’ll revisit the sites late in the day for updates.
2:55 PM UPDATE: In our update last Thursday, we showed the encampment flyer that included a schedule for cleaning up the site over the next three days. Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer says the city has sanctioned that: “I just heard from Jerry DeGrieck / Mayor’s office- with an update: They are going to allow access to the current Nickelsville site through Wednesday for time to move, clear and clean up the site; there will be added security at the site through that time, and a fence will go up on Thursday.”
8:55 PM UPDATE: As planned, we revisited the sites past and present early this evening, in the 6 pm hour. If you’re reading this from the home page, click ahead to see; otherwise, just keep scrolling:
On 22nd, north of the hosting church, not much had changed, except for the addition of stacks of pallets:
In Skyway, those we found included – in the foreground – the Nickelsville goats.
And at the site on Jackson, an intake shack was set up:
At this site, we received a copy of a letter addressed to neighbors, by the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, which is leasing the site from the Low-Income Housing Institute, developers of the building next door. The church itself is about half a mile east, at 2801 S. Jackson. The letter read in part:
… Our church will lease a vacant lot owned by the nonprofit Low Income Housing Institute at 2020 S. Jackson Street to provide a place for the community to access supportive services and for us to provide shelter for approximately 35 men, women, and children from Nickelsville.
We will help homeless veterans, families with children, and single people. They will be living in tents on platforms and in simple well-built wood structures. There are not enough shelters and affordable housing in Seattle. …
The church will offer a variety of services at 2020 S. Jackson for the community to access including information and referral, counseling and outreach, food, clothing, children’s school supplies, and other services. There will be strict rules for the campers and 24/7 security at the site. There is a fence surrounding the property. Staff at the Church can share a copy of the encampment rules. We expect that Nickelsville will stay for one year. …
One tent was up.
Our last stop was the West Seattle site, where Nickelsville began five years ago (here’s our first report from September 22, 2008). The dismantling continued:
Yet more pallets, cinder blocks, and other material remained to be transported:
The camp recruited drivers to give rides to the new sites; after we left from the south (parking lot) entrance area, we drove back around the north side and noticed cars heading out. According to this Facebook post, they’re also looking for rides to get back to the West Marginal Way site tomorrow morning to keep working on the breakdown and moveout.