Today was the day by which the Port of Seattle had said it had hoped to use legal action to evict the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” from its latest location, at Terminal 107 Park in eastern West Seattle. Instead, encampment spokesperson Revel Smith just sent this news release:
ln a last-minute collaborative effort, Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, Port Commissioner Gael Tarleton, Port Commissioner Kurt Beckett, Michael Ramos, Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, Paul Benz of the Lutheran Public Policy Office, Cecile Hansen, Chairperson of the Duwamish tribe and 4 Nickelodeons met together yesterday at the Duwamish Longhouse to discuss viable options for Nickelsville.
Speaker Frank Chopp asked the Port to work together with them. Speaker Chopp has worked on legislation for the Port before, and said he would introduce legislation clarifying the Port’s concerns so they were legally satisfied. In return, Port Commissioner Tarleton agreed to take a proposal to the rest of the Port Commission allowing extension of Nickelsville’s stay.
If allowed, the proposed agreement would allow Nickelsville to remain at the T-107 Park for an initial two months with a third month safety net. This would give parties who were at the table time to work together to find a permanent site for Nickelsville. The Port of Seattle and Nickelsville would seek a Temporary Use Permit from the City of Seattle for the three month stay at T-107 Park. Signals from the City are that a permit would likely be granted, and city police would comply.
Nickelsville thanks Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp for his advocacy and willingness to introduce clarifying legislation. Nickelsville continues to seek a stable permanent site, as well as sustain responsible stewardship of park land or sites which may become available in the near future.
No formal statement yet from the port. 7:33 PM UPDATE: Port spokesperson Charla Skaggs sent a note saying there’s “incorrect information” in the Nickelsville news release we posted verbatim above:
Speaker Chopp requested, and strongly urged, the port commission to grant an extension. In return for that extension, the members of the encampment would guarantee that they would leave willingly at the end of the extension. The port did not request that Speaker Chopp amend the port’s authority in any way.
The port has continuously stated that it is illegal for port land to be used for housing.
Please note that the commissioners have been asked to consider this request; no decision has been made.
Also, Kurt Beckett is the port’s director of external affairs, not a commissioner.
According to the port’s website, the commission has two meetings next week: a special meeting on Monday, a regular meeting on Tuesday. Agendas for both are linked here.