Update: State posts 72-hour warning at “Nickelsville”

Today’s the deadline that the homeless encampment calling itself “Nickelsville” — on the eastern edge of West Seattle — had been given to vacate. They had said they didn’t plan to do so without a permanent site to which they could move. Now the state has just issued a news release suggesting they’ll be evicted if they don’t leave:

The Washington State Department of Transportation today posted
a 72-hour notice to residents of a south Seattle homeless encampment
that they need to vacate a nearly 4-acre state-owned property at 2nd
Avenue Northwest and West Marginal Way in Seattle.

The encampment moved onto the WSDOT-owned property June 6. For the past
six weeks, the state has worked closely with King County, the City of
Seattle and both the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Lutheran
Public Policy office of Washington State to develop a long-term solution
for the members of the encampment.

Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary, negotiated a
two-week extension with the Church Council of Greater Seattle for the
camp to leave the site by July 20, which organizers failed to abide by.

The City of Seattle notified WSDOT Monday, July
20, that the state, by allowing the encampment to continue at the site,
is in violation of city health and safety codes. As a result of the
violation, the encampment can no longer stay on WSDOT property.

“The state negotiated an ample timeframe for a more permanent solution
for the residents of the encampment, and we even extended the deadline
to give church council leaders more time,” said Paula Hammond. “While we
are sensitive to the issues relative to homelessness in our state, WSDOT
is not equipped to manage homeless encampments. We are governed by state
law on the use of our property, as well as city zoning requirements.”

While an agreement on a more permanent encampment is being negotiated, a
local church has offered its property as a temporary place to stay while
a long-term solution is developed.

During the last six weeks, staff at DSHS has coordinated outreach
efforts, and has visited the encampment on several occasions to assist
food banks, and offer help with employment placement and health care.

The site has been posted for a 72-hour notice to vacate . Social services are on site to help members move. Washington
State Patrol will become involved after Thursday evening if people
insist on remaining on the site.

ADDED 10 PM: Here’s the Nickelsville spokesperson’s version of the latest development:

Per the State of Washington, Nickelsville has 3 days (72 hours) until they must vacate their current location.

Governor Gregoire’s Senior Adviser, Ron Judd, visited the Nickelsville encampment at approximately 7 pm tonight. At that time he provided written and posted notice from State Secretary of Transportation, Paula Hammond, which permits Nickelsville 72 hours until they must vacate the site.

2 hours prior, at approximately 5pm, the City of Seattle visited the site and posted a notice directed to The State of Washington. That notice said the site must be cleared by 5pm on Tuesday 7/21, but appears to be nullified per the recent visit by Judd.

Public calls and emails continue into Gregoire’s office asking for an extension while Nickelsville and its supporters actively search for a permanent site. Nickelsville’s residents express gratitude for the 3 days notice, but are committed to staying at the current location unless an adequate permanent site becomes available. They call on friends, supporters and the public to stand-by-them at this time.

8 Replies to "Update: State posts 72-hour warning at "Nickelsville""

  • Adam July 20, 2009 (7:44 pm)

    Does anyone know which local church is referred to?

  • yikes! July 20, 2009 (8:44 pm)

    Put “Bus 174” on your Netflix cue, if you want to see where the neglect of the disenfranchised is headed.

  • old timer July 20, 2009 (9:30 pm)

    The statement that
    “The state negotiated an ample timeframe for a more permanent solution for the residents of the encampment,” is fatuous at best and at worst is a deft lie.
    How in the name of Heaven does the State know what an ‘ample timeframe” is, unless the State has seen a satisfactory solution effected somewhere?
    What was that satisfactory solution?
    Well, they can’t tell us can they?
    Everyone wants to push these Nicklesville dwellers off the face of the earth,
    but they won’t go.
    As this “Depression-2” continues to grow,
    there will be more and more people going to Nicklesville.
    The City and the State had better come up with something better than what they’ve done so far.
    The land is empty, unused.
    If there are code violations,
    make modifications to the site to fix them.
    If it’s too expensive, modify the codes for this special situation.
    Quit evading and do something useful.

  • Michael July 20, 2009 (10:42 pm)

    The problem with Nickelsville is that Nickelsville refers to Nickelsville so much it makes the public sick of Nickelsville.
    When it’s a real charity and not a political movement, I’ll care. Right now the so-called “homeless advocates” aren’t doing the homeless any favors.

  • Gerry Condon July 21, 2009 (9:34 am)

    Homelessness is a direct result of the perpetual war of the rich against the poor. As long as city, state and federal governments refuse to address the needs of homeless people, we in the community must take responsibility.

    The homeless in Seattle, including many veterans of U.S. wars on the poor of other nations, need both practical assistance and political advocacy. Nickelsville combines these necessary elements in an admirable way.

    Nationwide, about 25% of all homeless are veterans who were shipped off to war with cheers of “Support the Troops,” only to be neglected by our government and military when they returned from war with PTSD and other physical and spiritual wounds.

    The billions of tax dollars being spent on the immoral and illegal U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan could instead be used to provide affordable housing, health care and other services to our veterans and all homeless people.

    These are some of the reasons why Greater Seattle Veterans For Peace is proud to support the courageous community of Nickelsville.

    If you are a veteran – or a friend or family member of a veteran – who wishes to join in the efforts of Veterans For Peace, please call me, Gerry Condon, at 206-499-1220 or email me at projectsafehaven@hotmail.com.

  • wscub July 21, 2009 (1:32 pm)

    There are homeless shelters for the homeless, living in tents is not good for anyone.

  • jiggers July 21, 2009 (3:18 pm)

    wscub..you are clueless about homeless shelters. There aren’t enough to handle the amount of displaced indivuals in Seattle. Shelters aren’t also the healthiest/safest places to lay your head down at night either. I’d rather sleep in my car/tent before I have to go to a homeless shelter.

  • WSM July 21, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    When news organizations lead a story with a rhetorical term like “Nickelsville”, do they realize they are being used? Seems like these folks have been able to play the media to their benefit. If I were an editor of newspaper/TV/etc I would not use the term as it would be an endorsement of their cause. What happened to objectivity?

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