“Nickelsville” update: Organizers report another reprieve

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.

13 Replies to ""Nickelsville" update: Organizers report another reprieve"

  • JBL August 21, 2009 (12:23 pm)

    They’ll have to come up with a new name soon.

  • old timer August 21, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    So, that puts them ‘on the road’ again in the middle of winter.
    Better than nothing, I guess.
    Funny how through all this, we’ve heard nothing about the drugs, fights, drunkenness, etc. that was to accompany this encampment.

  • jiggers August 21, 2009 (12:56 pm)

    No need a new name, this will be part of McCheeses legacy.

  • Pete August 21, 2009 (2:12 pm)

    I hope everyone stops and remembers that this is just the tip of the homeless issue in our City. You can say what you want about the Mayor but he and the city of Seattle do a lot for the less fortunate in our community. As someone that sees a side of this constantly it saddens me when most comments are about the mayor and not the issue of homelessness in our community. Greg did not cause this and the issue will not simply go away once Greg leaves office.

  • Michael August 21, 2009 (3:46 pm)

    Legacy? I don’t think so. (“McCheese”? How literally grade school.)
    No matter who’s mayor, there will always be a group of homeless people. It is impossible to “fix” it – we could build free housing for 10,000, and thousands more would drift here because they heard there was free housing.
    What we really need is “advocates” who advocate something other than handouts, and work to get these people the jobs, education and/or mental health help they need.

  • Pete August 21, 2009 (4:16 pm)

    Michael, there are advocates in our community working towards this very end. These folks work tirelessly in our community. But also remember there are a number of the downtrodden in our community that are unable to work, do not have the education to find a job and are mentally unstable that even if we had ajob or deucation for them they possibley would not be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

  • jiggers August 21, 2009 (4:48 pm)

    Pete….. Nickels wanted homeless out of Seattle period. Ask his close friends. I’m sure they won’t say what he really said, but I’m sure it’s not nice. Services for homeless in Seattle are almost nil. Not enough shelters,clinics affordable housing or hardly any food availabe either. Who do you blame you start at the top. Nickeles also created the new “No lying down” law in downtown Seattle or you’ll be arrested. Check it out. How about normal folks who have severe Edema and need to lie down to rest their aching swelling feet or legs. It’s a ridiculous law.

  • Alcina August 21, 2009 (4:53 pm)

    Pete, one of the reasons that people are upset with Nickels is that he keeps saying there is room in the shelters for everyone. Unfortunately, that isn’t true and even his head of Human Services went to a Seattle City Council meeting and said the shelters are full. This resulted in Nickels seeming out of touch with the reality of the situation.

    He isn’t evil as some may want to portray him. Nickels is supportive of and involved in the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in King County. But the problem is that doesn’t help the immediate needs of people who need shelter right now, today.

    Homelessness isn’t just an issue here in Seattle, of course. It is a nationwide problem and it is complex. What seems to be lacking is a coordinated approach involving the federal, state, and local governments, businesses and nonprofits.

    The government has been pretty darn effective at solving homelessness at times in the past. Look what happened after WWII with the coordinated efforts. As Tim Harris, Ed. of Real Change, noted on his personal blog a while back, “The 1949 Housing Act was passed, promising decent housing to every American family. A suburban housing boom was made affordable to large numbers of people with low-interest FHA loans, and huge public works projects provided continued employment to many….. And, an agreement was forged between government, big business, and the civic sector (labor, churches, civic organizations) to look to the common good. This lead to steady economic growth and declining rates of inequality up to 1973.”

    Times are different now, so a different approach is required, but what seems to be mostly lacking at the present time is the political will to tackle the problem.

  • Alcina August 21, 2009 (5:23 pm)

    Maybe our elected officials can take note of what they are doing in Sacramento, where they are establishing a campground for 60 homeless people that will be self-managed, much like Nickelsville is. The Mayor of Sacramento assembled the task force to make this happen.
    If they can do this there, they can do it here.

  • Pete August 21, 2009 (6:31 pm)

    I still don’t see how setting up a tent city is addressing the issue….

  • Alcina August 21, 2009 (8:54 pm)

    Pete, tent cities are not meant to solve homelessness or be a permanent fix. Would you prefer to have people sleeping in under bridges, in greenbelts, or on sidewalks?

    Indoor shelters aren’t always preferable to tent cities. One of the major problems with indoor shelters here in Seattle is that they have no place for the people to store their belongings and they cannot keep their belonging with them. In tent cities, people get to keep their belongings. This might not seem like a big deal to housed people, but imagine if you had no place to store anything at all. It is darn tough to get and keep a job when you don’t have any place to store as much as a clean change of clothing.

    What we really need, of course, is additional indoor shelters and shelters with places for people’s belongings. There is an option for that in the way of the National Guard Armory at Interbay. State law allows armories to not only be used to house people during times of natural disasters, but also the Mayor of any city can ask that they be used for “transient lodging of anyone” See RCW 38.20.010
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=38.20.010 It is my understanding that the Seattle Mayor’s office is aware of this option but not interested in pursuing it. This would be a good option as there could also be assorted services on-site.

    This doesn’t solve things long-term, but it would be preferable to a tent city. The armory is just one of many options that could be pursued in Seattle, but is not. Like I said before, what’s lacking is the political will to take action.

  • joeythecoyote August 23, 2009 (2:22 pm)

    Fort Lawton over in Magnolia I thought was going to help take care of these issues and provide a place for homelessness.

  • Jazmin Bryce August 24, 2009 (2:12 pm)

    When you start wondering why elected officials aren’t doing anything, it’s because their primary concern is re-election, so they try to please everybody, which means, in the end they please nobody. Look at what’s happening with the whole health care reform effort. Politicking instead of really representing.

Sorry, comment time is over.