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.
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