Major changes at West Seattle’s city-sanctioned encampment Camp Second Chance

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Earlier this month, the scheduled meeting of the community advisory committee for city-sanctioned Camp Second Chance on Myers Way was abruptly postponed.

“Unforeseen circumstances” were blamed. No elaboration at the time – but now we’re learning about change and upheaval behind the scenes.

Patacara Community Services is withdrawing as the camp’s operator/fiscal sponsor, responsible for the $200,000+-a-year city contract.

The camp has been hailed as a model for its drug-and-alcohol-free policies and self-governance.

But Patacara’s executive director Polly Trout says, “The Patacara Board has determined that given that the self-governance process at camp has broken down, and it is no longer a safe place, we do not have the organizational capacity to continue the contract.”

Camp Second Chance’s resident manager and one of its co-founders, Eric Davis, says he was evicted a week ago, and fired from his paid position, after a confrontation with Trout. He says police came to the camp and told him he was trespassing and had to leave. He’s now staying with camp supporters.

IMG_20170125_172509(Eric Davis, in photo from January 2017 WSB report)

Davis said in a phone conversation with WSB that the confrontation followed camp leaders asking Trout at a July 30th meeting about the status of privately donated money that was to pay for more “tiny houses” to be built at the camp – something the city does not fund.

(Polly Trout, at May 2017 city-convened meeting)

Trout, asked about the circumstances of Davis’s eviction, told WSB via e-mail that “Eric Davis’s employment was terminated because he was failing to uphold the camp’s code of conduct. Several camp residents have been breaking the code of conduct and abusing their power in the camp.” She did not elaborate; Davis said he was falsely accused of offenses including sexual harassment. The camp’s Code of Conduct is linked from the city website here.

Trout added, “I am heartbroken about the whole situation and will be resigning from Patacara as of 9/1.” The Patacara website is now simply a page headed “Under Transition” and lists Trout as executive director through August 31st. In the meantime, she says, the Patacara Board is “working with (the Low Income Housing Institute) and the city and hopes to transfer the contract to LIHI.”

LIHI currently is working with the city in connection with all five of its other sanctioned encampments, as listed here; it’s listed as fiscal sponsor and case-management provider for Nickelsville Ballard, Georgetown Village, Interbay Tent City 5, Licton Springs Village, and Othello Village, but other organizations – Nickelsville or SHARE/WHEEL – are listed as the actual managers of those sites.

Transferring Camp Second Chance to LIHI oversight is not a done deal yet, city Human Services Department spokesperson Meg Olberding told WSB via e-mail: “The City has engaged in one meeting with LIHI to discuss assuming the contract for the rest of the year for the management of the camp. This is based on their demonstrated experience managing five City contracted, permitted encampments over the past 3 years. No firm decisions have been made, but for the stability of the camp, we’d like it to be as soon as possible.”

Asked if the city has reviewed the status of its funding for Camp Second Chance, Olberding said, “The City has found no irregularities with the handling of City funds.” Any questions about the status of money outside the city contract would be up to the Patacara board to look into, she added.

Meantime, Davis says, “My character’s being slandered and I’ve been made homeless.” But he said he is also looking forward to participating in conversations with LIHI about their prospective assumption of the camp contract, as are the CSC supporters who originally contacted us about the situation. He is hopeful he might regain his job as camp manager as part of the change: “Our leadership is not broken.”

Davis and more than 20 others founded Camp Second Chance in April 2016, after breaking off from Tent City 3; CSC originally was hosted on the premises of a South King County church, but when its three months at that site expired in July 2016, it moved to Myers Way (as first reported here, including Trout’s explanation that Patacara had been providing “supportive services”), originally setting up on a private parcel on the east side of the road, then moving to the city-owned Myers Way Parcels on the west side days later. At first, the camp was on that city property without authorization; eventually, the city dropped a plan to sweep the camp and decided to sanction it.

Up until now, Camp Second Chance has been considered by many to be an island of semi-stability amid the unsanctioned camping, including RVs, along Myers Way, though some nearby residents have contended that its presence has been a draw for more campers who don’t want to live by its rules but do want to take advantage of its services. Some involved in this situation wondered if CSC’s drug-and-alcohol-free policy would survive a change in management; city spokesperson Olberding says, “Any operator contracted by the City will be required to maintain a safe environment for residents and the neighboring community.”

CSC had 62 residents as of the July meeting of the Community Advisory Committee, and as noted in the meeting minutes, that was described as being at capacity – with tents on all 50 of the city-provided platforms, which the camp had been hoping to convert to “tiny houses” by fall.

36 Replies to "Major changes at West Seattle's city-sanctioned encampment Camp Second Chance"

  • Shockley August 19, 2017 (7:31 am)

    The Patacara Board has determined that given that the self-governance process at camp has broken down, and it is no longer a safe place, we do not have the organizational capacity to continue the contract.””


    Quelle surprise.

    • A Board Member CSC August 20, 2017 (8:09 am)

      The governing body of CSC is still in place , overseeing it’s day to day operations. The accusations from Polly Trout are unfounded accusations , and anyone who is interested , is more than welcome to stop by and get the real facts from residents and leadership , who are still maintaining , monitoring, the camps code of conduct and policy. 

      • Jay August 23, 2017 (12:39 pm)

        How about your IRS tax filings and bank accounts? Are we welcome to look at those real facts, too?

  • Alki Resident August 19, 2017 (8:23 am)

    I’ll bet you anything, that private funding was spent and there will be no tiny houses.

    • WSB August 19, 2017 (9:31 am)

      There were six as of the July meeting.

      • Snow Bunny August 19, 2017 (7:36 pm)

        Those tiny houses currently exist at the camp were purchased by privately funded non-profit organizations. Patacara Community Service or Polly Trout did not purchase any of them. Some donors gave money to Patacara to purchase tiny homes and no one at Patacara seem to know where the money went.

        • Alki Resident August 20, 2017 (1:12 am)

          YEP, my point. I saw that coming. Pathetic isn’t it?

    • A Board Member CSC August 20, 2017 (8:31 am)

      The tiny house project at CSC is an agreement between the original founders of CSC and Polly Trout (Patacara Community Services) There has been an ongoing issue about how these funds were being used. It’s unfortunate that Polly Trout, founder of Patacara Community Services , didn’t use the funds for CSC tiny micro homes. CSC Board of Directors acquired the BECU bank statements from January 1 to July 31 via Petra Wilson (account / bookkeeper) . We were not surprised about what we found. It’s unfortunate , that with the amount of donations from community members , and family members of residents , that many unfortunate houseless residents of CSC will be cold this winter and still living in tents. 

  • Isitanywonder August 19, 2017 (10:47 am)

    What a cluster-futz!?!

    When it comes to managing the homeless emergency, and using hard, cold tax $$$$- this is the best Seattle can do. 

    How futzing embarassing..

  • A. Heights August 19, 2017 (11:58 am)

    Everyone, take a breath.  We don’t have all the facts yet.  Managing a transitional community is bound to be fraught with challenges. Well-intentioned plans sometimes go awry. 

  • Liz Giba August 19, 2017 (1:23 pm)

    WSB, please add this to WCN as the Top Hat and White Center neighborhoods of unincorporated North Highline are right next door to C2C.  Also, any information you can share about LIHI will be appreciated.  If safety is a concern, what is Seattle to keep people safe?  Thank you. 

    • WSB August 19, 2017 (1:49 pm)

      Yes, I will be linking it there when I can. And I expect more followups – this was the first take once I’d confirmed that the camp was going to have a change in management, which is definitely something the wider community should know. – TR

      • Liz Giba August 19, 2017 (6:04 pm)

        Thanks!

  • dsa August 19, 2017 (1:49 pm)

    Who walks away from a 200k/year contract?  What is up with that?

    • RickE August 19, 2017 (2:30 pm)

      Perhaps a group that values self preservation and hasn’t the resources to combat anarchy?

    • Unghh August 19, 2017 (8:44 pm)

      Well, they already got paid. And now that the camp won’t self govern any more, the job may require more than just cashing checks. Besides, those meetings are boring. They quit!

    • A Board Member CSC August 20, 2017 (9:33 am)

      Case #17-305285 filled 8-18-2017 @ 07:39.😁 We have contacted the FBI , and consulted the US Attorneys office in connection to allegations of misappropriation of donations funds intended for CSC micro homes project.

      • Jay August 23, 2017 (12:53 pm)

        I’m very glad to hear that. Forgive my snarky reply to your invitation to visit the camp in person. I’m frustrated at the lack of transparency from the city gov’t, especially surrounding its financial accountability with tax monies. I’m glad to see that you’re inviting outside investigations that are not part of the local city governance.

        Best of luck and I hope the FBI can help you.

  • Concerned August 19, 2017 (3:12 pm)

    People should look into the SHARE program and Scott Murrow. There are some shady dealings going on behind the scenes

    • WSB August 19, 2017 (3:27 pm)

      SHARE has nothing to do with this camp and in fact Camp Second Chance’s founders split off from a SHARE/WHEEL-operated camp (Tent City 3) to found CSC, as explained in our original story from July of last year (which is one of the stories linked above). – TR

      • JDill August 19, 2017 (7:01 pm)

        SHARE and Scott Murrow are associated with LIHI which might be taking over the camp; Murrow and his organization have a history which people should be well aware of, as they should his connection to LIHI.

  • flimflam August 19, 2017 (4:02 pm)

     lots of “did not elaborate” in use when discussing the official business at this camp.

     

    also, Mr Davis is   “now staying with camp supporters.” – does that mean at an unsanctioned camp, at their home, etc?

    • WSB August 19, 2017 (4:35 pm)

      At somebody’s house.

  • Richard childs August 19, 2017 (7:41 pm)

    Soon as money got involved, things changed not 4 the good.polly gas done this before camp liberty had monies disappear as well.looking forward 2 lihi, they won’t steal from us

  • Canton August 19, 2017 (9:17 pm)

    So Mr.Davis asks Trout about where the donated funds are for the small houses. Trout declares martial law, pulls from camp, and quickly resigns…?!?! So what’s really going on?

    • A Board Member CSC August 20, 2017 (9:10 am)

      The facts .. let’s get them out in the open. Polly Trout , (Founder and Executive Director Patacara Community Services) is under suspicion of misappropriation of CSC tiny homes funding. To cover this up and to keep the residents from finding out about the missing funds , Polly Trout , stormed CSC on Monday July 31 , at 8:30am , awoke Camp Manager Eric Davis , and told him(Eric Davis) that he was terminated from employment at Patacara Community Services . Eric Davis , opened his camera to record the confrontation. Polly Trout , then called SPD , making false accusations and statements , that Eric was threatening her and assaulted her (Polly Trout). Amid witnesses and video to corroborate. SPD arrived , and no charges were filed. Polly Trout , attended our weekly meeting , and when asked about the firing of Eric Davis , Polly Trout stated that it was for personal reasons. Polly Trout and the board of Patacara Community Services , have made unfounded accusations to the city Department HSD , about the governing body , leadership and Board of Directors of CSC , making it difficult to keep the peace in CSC. For the record , HSD would not sit down with Board members who went to sit and have a meeting with HSD. Multiple times we tried , and we were turned down each time. Polly Trout and Patacara Community Services had Eric Davis trespassed without being charged with a crime. This trespass came from the Deputy Police Chief of Seattle according to an officer at the West precinct , when Board members tried to file a complaint against Polly Trout unsuccessfully. Patacara board members have repeatedly harrassed campers and leadership , even threatening to trespass remaining Board Members of CSC . CSC hired Polly Trout , and unanimously fired Polly Trout. On Friday , Board Members of CSC were successful in filing charges in connection to the allegations of misappropriation of funds intended for CSC for our micro homes project , that we’re donated by our local community members , churches and families of residents. We (original founders of CSC) trusted Polly Trout , even amidst accusations about missing funds from Camp Liberty. We should have placed our trust in a different sponsership. Today , our leadership is intact , functioning properly , and eagerly awaiting to sit down , and speak to LIHI about sponsership of CSC.. 

  • justme August 19, 2017 (10:17 pm)

    Typical politics. 

  • Gregory Marks August 20, 2017 (1:23 am)

    My name is Gregory Marks I am the founder of rightnowtoday.org. Our group provided 13 Micro Houses at a cost of 20, 800 that we personally raised for CSC and have been working with them for quite some time now. I have read all of the comment; however there is way more to the story that is not being told.  Our representatives have had interviews with Q13, KOMO, iHeart radio and KKOL radio in support of CSC. I hope these issues get resolved soon CSC has a lot of supporters that want them to succeed. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone has in order to keep CSC alive to help change the face of homelessness.

    • WSB August 20, 2017 (1:56 am)

      Hi there – we’ve been covering Camp Second Chance for more than a year now and will certainly be continuing to cover its next chapter as it unfolds. You were mentioned as a tiny-house funding partner during the May city-convened meeting, I see via our archived story on that; if you have some information about the current situation, you are welcome to e-mail us – editor@westseattleblog.com – thanks! – Tracy

  • Jim P. August 20, 2017 (1:29 pm)

    The poor and the homeless are lunch-ticket  items for those who make a living off of providing “care”.

    I’ve no idea who is right or wrong or even if there is a right or wrong here but this seems pretty standard when governments hand out large sums of money to professional “helpers”.

    Hundreds of thousands of dollars just get up and walk off and everyone points at someone else and there always seems to be irregularities in accounting and money gone in ways no one can fathom when the smoke clears.

    • flimflam August 20, 2017 (3:13 pm)

      seriously – i know many folks mean well but the homeless should not be a cottage industry. when it becomes that, why would those running programs ever want homelessness to end?

  • Misty August 20, 2017 (5:38 pm)

    The city doesn’t typically pay shelter providers and encampments up front.  The city and the managing organization  create a budget that determines what the city will and will not pay for.  The managing organization  has to front the money to pay for the costs in the budget and get reimbursed. 

    • Whatreutalkingabout August 22, 2017 (12:56 am)

      Misty- where do you come up with this stuff? That’s nonsense. How would the managing company front the costs? Where would they get the money to pay for these things before being reimbursed by the city. From the way it has just mysteriously imploded, I would venture-This is hardly a stable, long term organization..!

  • Pat LeMoine August 23, 2017 (2:48 pm)

    Homeless Industrial Complex

    Beware of those who profit off of others misfortune.

    As one of those who lives on Myers Way and has watched this disaster unfold and now is worse then it ever has been all I can say is “I told you so.”

  • pjmanley August 24, 2017 (2:50 pm)

    Long investigative piece about SHARE, LIHI, and several of the other players involved, written by recent SCC candidate David Preston.  http://roominate.com/blog/2016/anatomy-of-a-swindle/

  • Penny Lane Pannek August 25, 2017 (2:53 am)

    AHHHH….SCOTT MURROW…..I SURE DO REMEMBER THAT NAME!!…GEEZE….YEP LOOK INTO THAT GUY FOR SURE!

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