“Nickelsville” homeless camp returns to eastern West Seattle

(photo added 10:08 am)
The homeless camp that started at Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way (map) – the site that is still under consideration for future jail construction – says it’s back in West Seattle. “Nickelsville” organizers sent a news release last night saying they would be moving from the Southeast Seattle church property where they spent the past three months; then this morning they sent an update saying they’re at 2nd SW and Highland Park Way SW, “… approximate to the original location where they set-up the first Nickelsville in September of 2008.” We’ll be heading out shortly to have a look. 8:55 AM UPDATE: Just stopped by, and got chased off the site shortly afterward by two “Nickelodeons.” It is almost immediately east of the site where they were rousted for alleged trespassing (charges that were dropped recently); we’ll add a few photos shortly. 10:28 AM UPDATE: The Nickelsville spokesperson who sent the original e-mail apologized for us getting rousted, and confirms this is state land, as we noted with the presence of this sign:

As you can see in the top photo, they are still setting up – in addition to tents, tarps, structures, we saw an electrical generator being brought in – as also shown in this video:

As for how the state will deal with this, the spokesperson’s comment was, “That parcel is state land and Nickelsville plans to stay. At this time I’m not privy to any agreements or negotiations.” We’ll be trying to figure out if there’s an appropriate state spokesperson to reach for comment over the weekend. 11:53 PM UPDATE: From the Nickelsville website:

Nickelodeons need your support! This is State land. Ask the State to negotiate not to arrest the Nickelodeons. Please contact Governor Christine Gregoire and State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond immediately and voice your support for the Nickelodeons. …

Be prepared to stand with us should the State choose to arrest rather than negotiate.

40 Replies to ""Nickelsville" homeless camp returns to eastern West Seattle"

  • IMBY Nulu June 6, 2009 (9:02 am)

    Welcome back!

  • Mac Mintaka June 6, 2009 (9:41 am)

    Why did they chase you away?

  • WSB June 6, 2009 (9:46 am)

    The person who was an on-site manager, who we checked with first, said, you bet, no problem, go take pix. Then two residents said no, we don’t want our picture taken, you have to leave, that guy doesn’t speak for us. Given the on-site manager was nowhere in sight at the time, we left. Via subsequent e-mail exchange, the person who sent the news release expressed puzzlement, confirming they welcome media attention, so we have suggested that perhaps any on-site manager stay with visiting media to avoid any such future problems. Adding an update with what pix we did get, shortly – TR

  • jiggers June 6, 2009 (12:41 pm)

    So taking pictures of homeless and the less unfortunate people does what now? That sounds like media is trying to demoralize them even more.

  • WSB June 6, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    Hey, I’m the wrong person to pick a fight with that one over. Holiday dinners and clothing giveaways and food banks and other places where those in need go in hopes of getting some help to keep themselves on their feet, we don’t photograph people there (unless organizers/managers offer interviews with someone who WANTS to tell their story) – I wouldn’t want a camera in my face if I was down on my luck and just trying to feed/clothe my family and developed a policy several TV stops ago based on an enlightening conversation with a wise old photojournalist.
    However, in this particular case, the camp IS a story. The organizers have made a point of that all along and sent multiple news releases. Whether the residents agree or not, the people with whom they’ve cast their lots ARE seeking media attention. They’ve been the subject of many stories in the past several months, though none from us since they left West Seattle. If this was just a group of people seeking to set up camp and live somewhere, it wouldn’t be announced by news release.
    Today, we went to show where they’re setting up and what they’re doing, since it’s in West Seattle, and at this point that’s as far as my interest goes. If they don’t have state permission to be there, I foresee a potential rerun of what happened in September 2008 just around the corner from this site … us and 100 other people with cameras photographing the arrival of law enforcers to evict them – TR

  • Jiggers June 6, 2009 (1:15 pm)

    There are a lot of new stragglers now in West Seattle I’ve noticed, especially in the Junction. I was having a slice of pizza in a WS restaurant and one homeless guy kept bothering patrons thru their open windows repeatedly last week when the weather was hot. The bartender had to step outside and tell the guy to get lost and not bother his customers, but he still keeps coming back.

  • alki_2008 June 6, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    Am I the only one that sees a huge increase in the risk of a potential brush fire over there?
    What was the reason for “Nickelsville” to leave their previous church location? Just curious. Was there some type of time limit of how long they could stay there, or did they just decide to move for a change of scenery, or was there some uproar at the other location (which seems unlikely if they were there for three months)?

  • Bark more, wag less June 6, 2009 (4:57 pm)

    the circus is back in town!

  • Bark more, wag less June 6, 2009 (4:58 pm)

    It’s public property, you can photograph whom ever and whatever you like. You don’t need anyone’s permission. This has been reaffirmed multiple times under 1st Amendment rights.

  • MargL June 6, 2009 (5:01 pm)

    I wonder if they’re going to put up the pink tents again. There’s a Susan Koman Race for the Cure tomorrow. :-)

  • Friend June 6, 2009 (5:50 pm)

    Wag less Bark more why are you commenting on a homeless camp which is not in your backyard (Ballard). Are you a member of a hate group? You should rejoice that they are far away from your precious family…
    FYI Wag less was having a fit over homeless people moving into a Ballard church but he is also having a fit about them moving to a property located in an industrial zone far away from his backyard.
    What’s your agenda? exterminate all people who are not housed?

  • WSB June 6, 2009 (7:10 pm)

    MargL – we drove by a little while ago and most of the tents are blue. We’ll be at R4TC tomorrow morning, though.

  • Sarah June 6, 2009 (8:48 pm)

    Some homeless camps contain women fleeing domestic violence and they understandably don’t want their photos in the paper or on-line for safety’s sake.

    The encampment left the church it had visited for 90 days because they were at the end of their 90-day period. There were no problems.

    There isn’t any particular legal right to photograph people under the First Amendment.

  • George June 6, 2009 (9:19 pm)

    Wag more-bark less doesn’t think he’ll ever lose his mental/physical health or job or income or savings so he will never find himself homeless so he can bash away in comfort.

    The number one reason for bankruptcy in this country is hospital bills. The fastest growing segment of the homeless population is women and children.

    Yes there are homeless people who bother people at restaurants either because they are jerks or mentally ill or addicts of some sort. But, believe it or not, they are a minority segment of the homeless population. BUT they are the most visible. These encampments provide a self-governed safe place for people with no place else to go. They have a proven track record of functioning well within many different communitites.They are citizens of this community just like Paul Allen and the wealthy property developers whose interests the Mayor and city council devote so much time and tax dollars to supporting.

  • Joe Schmoe June 6, 2009 (9:49 pm)

    Actually, the logic Sarah applies is backwards.

    SCOTUS has repeatedly affirmed that any person may not hold a “reasonable expectation of privacy” when conducting oneself in public.

    This is why surveillance cameras are allowed anywhere in public.

    This is why the media is allowed to take photos of people picking their nose while driving down the road, and then publish said photo.

    If you do not want your photo taken – whether picking your nose or not – unfortunately this means you need to stay in a private setting.

    Another angle on this is, any video / audio record that is made in a truly public setting may be “admissable” in legal proceedings.

  • WSB June 6, 2009 (10:12 pm)

    Having been the legal expert in the newsrooms in which I’ve worked – from little ol’ WSB, to Seattle TV, to websites with a national audience – Joe is correct. If you’re visible in public, you can be photographed.
    That said, responsible media people do some self-policing.
    But again, this was a situation where media attention was sought, and we checked in with a person in charge when we got there, though technically we didn’t have to – we could have just stood on the edge, gotten photos, and left (cheap as they are, our cameras have decent zoom).
    Irony here is that while us media types usually follow a whole bucket of ethical and legal rules, these days everybody’s got a camera and almost everyone’s got a website and something that we are told not to photograph for some reason will wind up in 100 other nonprofessional places.
    One recent oddball example, the Mary K. Letourneau/Vili Fualaau “Hot for Teacher” bar event. Casey McNerthney of seattlepi.com wrote a story but had no photos and explained that he was allowed access in exchange for agreeing not to take photos. Meantime, everybody in the bar had cell phone pix and some other media republished those. (Hopefully with permission – there is still copyright protection online – but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation)- TR

  • Bark more, wag less June 6, 2009 (10:22 pm)

    “They are citizens of this community just like Paul Allen ”

    That’s funny because Paul Allen looks a bit like a bum.

  • George June 6, 2009 (10:47 pm)

    Bark more, wag less-if this is all you have to offer, why do you bother?

    Have you visited the PI or Times comments sections? You’d fit in well there.

  • spock June 7, 2009 (5:08 am)

    I’m moving to Sweden. They take care of their own.Much better than this. I feel so sorry for these homeless people..we spend billions on war and this is whats left for us. God help us.

  • Finbar June 7, 2009 (8:51 am)

    Homelessness is not #1 on my to do list, I suspect that holds true for homeless folks too! WSB, good to see you at Nicklesville, an incentive for the state to negotiate, thanks. It sucks when the goons show up.

  • Wake Up June 7, 2009 (10:21 am)

    Please know that these tent city’s do nothing to help the homeless; and in fact probably help to keep them homeless. Do you think if you are mentally ill or drug addicted, you are being given anything more than a tent and a free meal? What about counseling? What about job training? Nope! These tent city’s actually continue the cycle of homelessness.

  • ZS June 7, 2009 (11:19 am)

    The sign clearly says “No Trespassing”. Whether you agree or not, they are openly breaking the law and should be evicted. Otherwise they set a bad example. What’s to prevent others from going there and setting up camp – could be other homeless folks not part of this group, or could be someone without a yard who wants to setup a place to hangout. Conflict would most likely ensue, then who is in the right?

    The State should evict and then work on an alternative solution for these unfortunate people. If the shelters are full then let’s organize a drive to raise money to lease a new facility. If since last Sept. this group sought a viable solution rather than this media circus, I believe all those living in the camp today would be better off.


  • Sarah June 7, 2009 (12:58 pm)

    To Joe Schmoe: I wasn’t arguing that there was a SCOTUS-affirmed right to privacy in public areas, or lack thereof; I said that, contrary to what a former poster had said, there is no First Amendment free speech right involved with photographing in public. The two are different

    What I would argue for human decency’s sake is that if someone says it’s fine if you photographied them, do so; if they don’t want you to, don’t. Or photograph from a distance to the point where people aren’t individually identifiable. These people living at Nickelsville may be willing to engage in this kind of protest because they basically have nowhere else to go; that doesn’t mean that because of their willingness to be “out there”, they have given up all need for basic respect.

  • rod June 7, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    Give me the name of a mayor who supported low-income housing and spending for the homeless including strong support for a housing levy in their city. Do I hear the names of the mayors of Bellevue, Mercer Island, Medina, Federal Way, Bainbridge? Nope. The one mayor in the Washington State that has shown leadership for providing resources to the homeless in their city has been Mayor Nickels. Yet, they go around calling their camps “Nickelsville” to embarrass the mayor. Let no good deed go unpunished, I suppose. Now if they started calling their camp “Gregoireville” or “Kemperville” maybe we’d have something to talk about.

  • BT June 7, 2009 (2:44 pm)

    “What I would argue for human decency’s sake is that if someone says it’s fine if you photographied them, do so; if they don’t want you to, don’t. Or photograph from a distance to the point where people aren’t individually identifiable.”

    Well, that’s all very nice, but yes, I have every right to go take photos there and use them how I wish. It’s public land. I don’t have to ask permission. Go ahead and sue me and find out.

  • giz June 7, 2009 (2:46 pm)

    The City of Seattle and Washington State are more than generous and liberal to the homeless as was noted in this article that appeared in last weeks Seattle Times:


    SHARE organizer and the man behind Nicklesville, Scott Morrow , is attempting to link this particular piece of land to them via the “No New Jail” campaign. In addition they timed this to the upcoming Mayor’s race in an attempt to humiliate Nickels into “negotiating” with them.

    These tactics have worn thin with the caring compassionate and generous people of Seattle and beyond.

  • Nick Parsons June 7, 2009 (2:50 pm)

    SHARE/WHEEL is not about solving homelessness. Their schtick is all about homeless acceptance. Acceptance of the lifestyle. These guys have been bums come rain or shine, boom times or not. Leo Rhodes, one of the Tent City 2 regulars, has been homeless for 20 years. That’s not homeless, that’s an enthusiastic outdoorsman. The city of Seattle has one of the best shelter systems and some of the best homeless programs in the country but it has rules; that’s what these bums can’t handle. Instead they think we should accept their lifestyle.

    Well, bring on the cops. Time to shut down the circus.

  • Dorsol June 7, 2009 (10:48 pm)

    Nick Parsons,

    As someone who works as a Case Manager at a homeless shelter let me start by saying that many of the people at Nickelsville have no other option. While Seattle does have a shelter system that is superior to the majority of large cities in the country, there are not enough space for everyone who is out on the street. With no were else to turn to many of these suffering individuals try to first sleep in alleys and doorways only to be pelted with trash, debris, and bottles thrown at them by late night passerbys. Their only answer then becomes grouping together to insure one’s safety.

    Secondly, I just helped a gentlemen get into a more permanent housing situation the other day that had been staying at SHARE’s Bunkhouse. Had he not been able to stay with SHARE, it would have made my job as a case manager all the more difficult because he had no where to go. Not only is SHARE a program that works to end homelessness, but it tends to do it with a lot less cost to the city than the regular shelters that have a staff overhead.

    Thirdly, Yes, some individuals choose to stay outdoors. There is an entire veteran encampment across the Sound. These are men and women who fought in Vietnam and after suffering in the ways that they did were unable to rejoin society. It is easy for you or I; who are housed, to point fingers and say that someone is “choosing” to stay outside, but in reality they have no choice because of a whole range of different issues from physical trauma, to mental health, and yes even addiction. They are human beings and have the same “Right to Life” granted to us by the Constitution and our present shelter system is to full to handle everyone. Thats why it is so essential that we as a City start making smart decisions to end homelessness rather than push it around and never solve the problem.

  • alki_2008 June 7, 2009 (10:51 pm)

    spock – send me a postcard from Sweden…where you’ll be paying a whole lot more taxes to have the country ‘take care of their own’.
    Why don’t the homeless folks’ families take care of them…rather than relying on the city or state? When I see the same homeless folks year after year, then I wonder why they don’t head South for warmer weather…and I’ve been told by many that the homeless get such better benefits here in WA than they’d get in other states. At some point, there has to be a line that says “this is what we’re offering, but no more”.

  • Nick Parsons June 8, 2009 (9:59 am)

    Yep, Spock will love paying 50% tax on a $60K a year salary in Sweden.

    BTW Spock, I’ve been to Sweden: they have bums there too, sleeping in the parks. It may explain why they keep voting in more and more centrist governments.

  • West Seattle June 8, 2009 (10:48 am)

    Ok, lets brush away the fake pretense surrounding this camp. Scott Morrow, Anitra Freeman, Peggy Hoates, and all the rest of the people in this ‘homeless” camp are not “homeless” they are political activists, most with jobs, many with homes, who belong to a group called “SHARE” that abuses the homeless in order to extract public money and property under the pretense that they want to “help the homeless”.

    Those of you who are good hearted and want to help with real solutions for homelessness get sucked into helping this group that is trying to build a permanant squaters camp because they take advantage of your good nature and hope you will believe their lies and not do any research.

    HUD and the Committee to End Homelessness have stated that Tent Cities are not a viable option in the fight to end homelessness. No legitimate homeless advocacy group supports these frauds.

    SHARE is in violation of the consent decree between them and the city over the creation of what is now TC3. Because the gravy train was drying up and they wanted public land for free they created TC4 that was intended to squeeze King County for free land. That failed and the cities that host TC4 have put restrictions on the camp to protect the campers and communities they “visit”. Again the gravy train has started to run dry on that camp so now SHARE has created “Nickelsville” with the same purpose, to extract free property for squaters to live on.

    These people are dishonest, untrustworthy, and have no interest in helping the homeless. They will lie to your face to take what they want from you and then turn on you when it suits their purpose.

    Yes there is a need for homeless services, but there is no need for these Tent Cities. Most “real homeless” shun these camps after a few days when they realize the scam going on and the abuse of the homeless by SHARE. Those that are there could be in legitimate shelters but because they have chosen the squaters life style they have no interest in anything that advocates for getting them back into being productive members of society.

    TC3 and TC4 are nowhere near full. The 47 people at Nickelsville are mostly people from those other camps, or people that have places to live, who are there to push this political agenda.

    Follow this closely and you will see the School Teacher with the Million dollar home in Bellevue and others who are not homeless pretending to be “campers” there. You will see the same people in these camps year after year hiding from taxes, child support, warrants, sex offender resgistration, and on and on.

  • siren June 8, 2009 (11:53 am)

    Looks like some early settlers moving in to stake out there territory in the northwest. Jeez man, what year is this? Is this the best we can do? Maybe Nickels should set up his tent and have a can of beans or something. This is exactly why we can’t get rid of this problem -cuz we keep the cycle going like “Wake Up” said. Build something permanent man, like super low income housing where they have a communal garden they have to work at and mandatory grounds keeping. And some govenment paid counseling and job training. Can our country do that for us? I hope so.

  • fred June 8, 2009 (12:52 pm)

    To “West Seattle”:
    TC3 is at capacity and has been for most of its existence. TC4 is not at capacity, but that has more to do with it’s location on the East Side.

    I agree that homelessness should not exist and Tent Cities should not exist, but given the current situation and political climate, these are humane and safe places for people to live until things get better.

    Have you actually stopped by any of these camps and spoken with the residents? I would guess not as knowledge of the individual campers seems quite limited. But, I would encourage you and anyone else to stop by and ask for a tour. The residents are very friendly and have some powerful stories to tell.

  • Thejunctionhobo June 8, 2009 (1:42 pm)

    You guys are all clueless. I’m homeless right now and stay away from groups of homeless people because I don’t want to be easily seen like them and it’s easier to just take care of myself. I also can’t be around people especially in close quarters or groups for very long because I have a weak immune system and get sick very easily with anything from pneumonia to infections,colds and also battle chronic fatigue everyday related to my disease. There is no other alternative but to keep away from unhealthy people in shelters and such. So I sleep outdoors and I have serious protection on me at all times. The first person to wake me up in the middle of the night and threaten me is going to wind up 6 feet under.

  • Mac Mintaka June 8, 2009 (3:14 pm)

    “West Seattle” if you’re going to make so many over the top statements you really need to support them with some kind of evidence.

  • West Seattle June 18, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    “over the top statements”

    Nickelsville homeless camper Peggy Hoates has a home in Bellevue. Google it. The home is worth nearly a million dollars.

    Apparently, even at $1 million, though, it’s not big enough to house any Nickelsville member.

  • Mac Mintaka June 18, 2009 (10:17 pm)

    “Peggy Hoates has a home in Bellevue. Google it. The home is worth nearly a million dollars.”

    I did Google it and can find nothing except statements like this. You’re making the claim why don’t you send us a link to support it?

  • West Seattle June 19, 2009 (5:01 pm)


    “Peggy Hotes looks like your stereotypical Bellevue mom: coiffed hair, shiny red pedicure, chunky jewelry hanging off her wrists.

    She has a modest suburban home in a high-demand neighborhood and a rewarding job as an elementary-school teacher.”

    The home was valued in the peek around $1million on Zillow.

    But now she’s ‘homeless’.


  • WSB June 19, 2009 (7:17 pm)

    That story’s from four years ago.
    Now that we have the correct spelling of her surname, I’ve just looked around and I only see her referenced as an activist/advocate, not as someone claiming to be homeless. FWIW.

  • Mac Mintaka June 20, 2009 (10:42 pm)

    Yeah, I did some googling and figured out how to spell her name.

    She is *not* homeless but has spent time living in the camp in order to “put her money where her mouth is,” not to claim she is homeless herself.

    It’s not difficult, “West Seattle,” to find more than one article explaining her point of view on this.

Sorry, comment time is over.