This thread was prompted by WSB member JanS, who wondered how the City of Seattle intended to proceed if Food Lifeline bought and took possesion of the property Nickelsville currently stands on.
Although Jan asked first, I was sure many other folks in West Seattle were wondering the same thing, so I passed her question along to my contacts at the Mayor's office, and they have given me the following answer, which can be considered the City's latest "official" word:
The City of Seattle has not made a decision on whether to sell the Glass Yards on East Marginal Way (the current site of the encampment known as Nickelsville) to Food Lifeline. We are constantly exploring ways to increase shelter and housing options for people who are homeless including people living in encampments. In the event that conditions at the current Nickelsville site warrant a closure, or if the City sells the site to Food Lifeline, or decides to use it for some other purpose, the City would take the following steps:
• Provide at least one month notice (assuming there isn’t a natural disaster, severe weather, or some other major event that renders the property uninhabitable)
• Work with Nickelsville, advocates and the faith community to identify other property suitable for legal encampments
• Provide shelter or housing options sufficient for all residents at Nickelsville
• Continue to advocate for City Council action on encampment-related legislation
Mayor McGinn has made several proposals to City Council pertaining to encampments. In 2010, he proposed that the City-owned Sunny Jim site in SODO be used as a permanent indoor-outdoor encampment site with services for homeless people living there; the Council did not take action on the Mayor’s proposal. In 2011, he proposed legislation allowing encampments on religious facilities; this legislation was adopted by the City Council. In 2012, the Mayor proposed an ordinance to allow encampments on private (non-religious) and public property. This legislation would establish guidelines and conditions for these encampments. The City Council has not taken action on the Mayor’s proposal.
I'm using this thread solely as a means for distributing "official" information. For my part, I'm not going to editorialize on any of this, but I would encourage others to keep asking questions.
I have encouraged my contact at the Mayor's office to have someone from the City follow this thread and respond to questions/comments as appropriate.
Shout outs to the Mayor's staff who helped on this, and especially:
Mr. Jerry DeGrieck
Senior Policy Advisor to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
Human Services, Health, Education, Housing, and Financial Empowerment