West Seattle, Washington
On assignment for WSB, photojournalist Matt Durham covered the final Terminal 107 Park day for the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville.” He was there hours before the police arrived, and through the sweep. The dozen arrestees included advocates for the homeless like 82-year-old Dorli Rainey, who has provided food, clothing and medical supplies to residents of Nickelsville since its inception. Before the arrests, it was a waiting game for residents like Gayre Jamieson (next photo) and James Noren (second photo below)
Most estimates counted about 50 officers on hand to make sure the camp was cleared and to arrest anyone who didn’t go voluntarily. We showed you a Twitpic of their arrival earlier; this is Matt’s image of that moment:
Residents weren’t sure where they would wind up:
Those who left the park voluntarily walked north to Herring’s House Park:
The encampment’s second stay in West Seattle was almost four months – much longer than the first one last fall, which was barely a week. After eight months in various other parts of the metro area, the encampment returned to West Seattle in early June at a state lot adjacent to the city lot it had occupied in September of last year; after a month and a half there, it moved to T-107 Park in late July and held a defiant open house/”1st birthday” celebration there last Saturday. Tonight, encampment residents have moved on to a short-term spot in North Seattle.
Story and photos by Mary Sheely
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Well, 4210 SW Admiral Way looks like a wreck. Of course, that’s part of the plan.
A freshly painted sign on the building’s façade – just completed by a familiar face in West Seattle, artist Glenn Case – indicates that the Shipwreck Tavern (map) will soon be open. According to owner Chris Long, that day will be Saturday, October 10.
Long is happy to talk about his new venture, which he will run along with his wife, Jennifer Ferrero. Actually, he’s happy to shout about it – a state-of-the-art PA system isn’t complete, but a jukebox on the wall is blaring AC/DC at deafening levels, competing with the din of hammers and saws.
(For more photos from before and during the camp clearance, see this later WSB report)
(Twitpic from @otherthan)
As police move in inside, law enforcement vehicles line W Marginal Way, along with buses. Loud cheers can be heard. We’ve got one person inside, one person outside; you can see other reports via Twitter (this will bring up everything mentioning Nickelsville). Here’s our photo of the start of the vehicle lineup along W. Marginal Way outside the encampment/T-107 Park – besides port police, there are school-type buses, an animal-control vehicle, and a Fife police car that we’ve seen:
3 PM UPDATE: 12 people arrested. Maintenance crews are standing by to move in and start cleaning up. From the south side of the camp, nothing looks different – still a group of tents – just, nobody there. Most of the vehicles have moved off West Marginal Way but there were a few traffic slowdowns so if you have to head north on W. Marginal Way, note that things may be slow going past T-107. As the Port’s spokesperson told us yesterday, the park may be closed for some time for “repairs and maintenance.” The sign on the path at the south side announces the closure:
3:20 PM: Seattle Post-Globe‘s Kery Murakami reports some of the encampment residents are regrouping at a “nearby city park” to decide where to go next. Judging by the TV trucks we’re seeing, that appears to be Herring’s House Park a block north, across from the Duwamish Longhouse.
5:29 PM UPDATE: The port has issued another statement:
Most of the residents at the homeless encampment called Nickelsville chose to leave Port of Seattle property voluntarily today, departing the property peacefully. Twelve homeless advocates refused to leave in an act of civil disobedience to raise awareness of the issue, and were subsequently arrested for trespassing. The arrests were made without incident. The individuals were processed for identification, issued a written trespass warning, and released.
Encampment organizers announced shortly thereafter that St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Seattle would provide a temporary location for the encampment.
The Port of Seattle will store any belongings left behind. Encampment members were given information about how to reclaim their property.
The public park at Terminal 107 will remain closed temporarily while the port’s maintenance staff conducts necessary repairs.
Note the addition to the closure sign on the north end of the park entrance:
(Backhoe in action, photo courtesy Bruce, substituted for previous photo @ 1:24 pm)
Thanks to everyone who’s sent updates on progress at the 35th/Holden site (map) that will be the new home of Fire Station 37 – first, the old house on the site was fenced off; yesterday, we spotted the construction trailer; now, MargL just called to say a backhoe has shown up (and added at 1:24 pm, Bruce‘s photo as demolition begins). The ceremonial groundbreaking was back in May (WSB coverage here), but then there was a delay — the project had to be rebid (as reported in June). Here’s the new station’s design, by Miller Hayashi Architects:
Just talked with Fire Department spokesperson Christina Faine; she says Station 37 is expected to be finished “in mid-2010.” Once the existing one is vacated, it will be put up for sale – it’s an official city landmark, which means there are restrictions on what can be done to/with it. ADDED 5:50 PM: By mid-afternoon, the house was half-gone – the wall on the right side, from this view, came down seconds after we took this photo:
One week ago, mayoral candidate Mike McGinn came to High Point Library for a “town hall” meeting (WSB coverage here). He’s just announced another West Seattle meeting (along with 5 others around the city): 3 pm Sunday (Oct. 4), Hiawatha Community Center. Opponent Joe Mallahan has not had similar meetings, so far. Meantime, both mayoral candidates are expected at the Delridge/Southwest District Councils-presented West Seattle Candidates’ Forum on Oct. 15 (7 pm, Youngstown Arts Center).
VIADUCT CLOSURE: From a weekend traffic update sent this morning by WSDOT: The Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed both ways this Saturday morning (October 3), 6:30-11:30 am, for the Puget Sound Heart Walk. (P.S. Here’s the full WSDOT advisory on weekend traffic alerts.)
SHORT SCHOOL DAY: Here’s hoping you already know this if you have a child in Seattle Public Schools, but just a reminder, you’ll see more kids out and about earlier this afternoon than usual – it’s the first “early dismissal day” of the new school year.
Thanks to Bell61 in the WSB Forums for first word of this: Brian Smith at the state Liquor Control Board confirms that a replacement location has finally been found for West Seattle’s second liquor store, which closed in Morgan Junction one year ago – the Westwood Village storefront that is now home to Famous Footwear (north side of the center). Smith says the store is expected to open in February. ADDED 12:11 PM: Commenters wondered what the liquor store would do with all that space, since it’s a big storefront; we put the followup question to Smith, who says, “The liquor store will occupy about 50 percent of the space. It is my understanding that a wall will be erected and the landlord will lease the other half to another tenant.”
The first King County Council Budget Committee hearing on the new county budget proposal is under way right now, and they’re starting with criminal-justice leaders including Sheriff Sue Rahr and Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. You can watch live online here; we’re also tracking highlights at partner site White Center Now, since Sheriff Rahr contends that this budget could result in a 75 percent reduction in patrol power in the White Center area (and other nearby unincorporated areas).
FIRST REPORT AT 9:31 AM: From photojournalist Matt Durham, who is staking out the “Nickelsville” site at Terminal 107 Park this morning for WSB: Nothing’s happened yet; encampment residents are gathering at any moment for a meeting. Matt says they’re still expecting that police won’t show up before noon. Some appear to be packing. (We’ll add updates to this item until and unless the encampment starts to clear out – whether that’s voluntarily or unvoluntarily – at which time we’ll start a new report.) Side note: Fellow independent neighborhood-news site Queen Anne View covered the SHARE/WHEEL sleepout at Councilmember Tim Burgess‘s house last night, followup to the Monday night protest in Mayor Nickels‘ North Admiral neighborhood – see the QAV report here.
10:13 AM UPDATE: From Matt – Encampment residents have concluded their meeting and reported that they have four people who are willing to get arrested (that compares to 25 in the sweep at a different site a year ago). They now also believe police are likely to arrive closer to 1 pm.
12:05 PM UPDATE: Some residents have departed. No major police activity yet. (Meantime, re: the SHARE/WHEEL sleepout protest, they say they’ll be back at Burgess’s house tonight.) We’ll be starting an afternoon report shortly.
12:19 PM UPDATE: But first – a statement just in from the Port of Seattle:
Port of Seattle officials expressed regret that some members of the homeless encampment known as ‘Nickelsville’ have thus far refused to leave port property voluntarily. The group set up the encampment on port property without permission and has been at the public park illegally for 69 days. The group’s presence violates city land use and shoreline codes as well as prohibitions against camping and lighting fires within the City of Seattle. In addition, the Port of Seattle does not have the authority to provide land for housing or housing purposes.
Nickelsville organizers and residents have been given multiple warnings that if they did not leave by September 30th, they would be subject to arrest for trespassing. Many residents are choosing to leave, seeking help from resources offered throughout the county. Encampment organizers issued invitations Tuesday to other tent cities across the region to join with them in choosing to be arrested to send a political message about the larger issue of homelessness in our community. While the port respects the right to civil disobedience, encampment members have been asked repeatedly to leave voluntarily.
“The port has worked diligently with Nickelsville and community leaders to find safe and legal options for the residents,” said CEO Tay Yoshitani. “Our first concern remains the health and safety of the men and women of the camp, and I’m relieved tohear that many of the original residents are now using our community’s network of shelters and support services.”
Port commissioners and staff members have worked for more than two months with members of the Nickelsville leadership, its supporters, and members of the faith community to facilitate efforts to find safe and legal shelter for those individuals who want it. Instead, Nickelsville organizers have pursued a permanent site with plans for hundreds of people. Over the past year, both the state and the city have rejected their request for permanent sites, and the City of Seattle has communicated repeatedly that a permanent Nickelsville encampment will not be allowed.
Despite consistent communication from the port that their presence was illegal and would not be tolerated, as recently as Monday organizers reiterated their request to stay an additional 90 days and their desire to extend that agreement on an ongoing basis.
The port has repeatedly stated that the Terminal 107 public park is not an appropriate location for housing or an encampment. Independent of the numerous code violations, there are not acceptable human services and hygiene facilities and lacks access to public transportation.
1 PM UPDATE: Matt Durham reports more Port police arriving at Nickelsville. Further updates will be in a new story.
From Cherisse, teen librarian at Delridge Library – an invite to an event at noontime today:
We would like to invite middle and high school homeschooled students and West Seattle residents to join us in marking Banned Books Week. Professional actors from Book-It Repertory Theatre will present readings from banned or challenged books, and there will be a short discussion about the Freedom to Read after the presentation. The program is free, open to the public, and best suited to those 13 years old and up because of the mature themes of some of the books that will be presented.
What: Danger: Books! A celebration of intellectual freedom
When: Wed. Sept. 30, 2009 at 12:10-1:00 p.m.
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Summary: Stolen from home and sold into a harsh life as a sled dog in northern Canada, Buck must quickly learn to survive.
The Controversy: Jack London’s writing was censored and banned in several European dictatorships in the 1920’s, and his books were burned by Nazis.
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
Summary: Brendan and Gary, who have been mercilessly teased and harassed by jocks who rule their school, take their classmates hostage at a school dance.
The Controversy: There have been several concerns over the book’s realistic depiction of school violence.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah. S. Brannan
Summary: Chloe’s favorite uncle Bobby is getting married to his boyfriend Jamie and she fears that he won’t have time for her any more.
The Controversy: Challenged at the Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, Colo. (2008) where a resident wanted the book to be removed from the library and placed in a special area or labeled as inappropriate for children because it features same-sex marriage.
From the Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee meeting downtown: The group voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of spending money to finish the historic substation building at Dakota Place Park.
Parks manager Kevin Stoops explained that the department had $1.2 million in “excess interest earnings from Pro Parks” (the previous levy), and after putting $500,000 of that toward Delridge Skatepark, that left $720,000 – which his team proposed using for two Pro Parks projects that hadn’t been done yet – one of which is the Dakota Place Park building, which still needs a lot of interior work before it can be used as intended, as a “satellite facility” for Hiawatha Community Center programs. The committee unanimously approved Stoops’ recommendation to spend $400,000 from the “excess interest earnings,” which will be added to $120,000 from the Hiawatha Advisory Council to finish the work, including, he said, seismic improvements, flooring, wall work, paint, cabinetry, and more. “Until we can make that happen, the building is just a sculptural element,” Stoops said. As he recounted for the committee, the park adjacent to the building was recently completed, and some exterior work was done on the historic building – a city landmark because of its past as a City Light substation – but money wasn’t available to finish its interior. “This project was underfunded from the get-go,” another department manager, Michael Shiosaki, told the committee. Now, pending the next layers of final city approvals, that will be remedied; we’ll be checking on timetables for work to start.
Also at the Parks Levy Oversight Committee:
*Junction Plaza Park was discussed briefly, at the request of a committee member; Stoops said its funding is now “enough to make that project work” and also noted the SDOT plan to fix the nearby sidewalks and curb ramps. The “revised schematic design” will be shown at the final public meeting next week (6:30 pm Monday at the Senior Center) but the highlights Stoops listed included a “small stage area, at grade,” an ‘arc of plantings” at the rear of the site, and one or two light fixtures.
*Fairmount Playground upgrade: Stoops says the plans are 99 percent complete and they’ll be advertising for bids within two weeks.
*Opportunity Fund: Draft criteria for figuring out which projects will share this $15 million fund created by the levy were presented to the committee members at the meeting; questions and concerns were raised about some of the wording, so it will be brought back to them at October – with a public hearing to follow in early November. Initial applications will be due in February, so committee members are anxious to make sure that community groups and others are working now to be ready to apply for a share of the money, and asked that Parks staff post the application timeline on the Opportunity Fund webpage as soon as possible.
12:42 PM UPDATE: Pete Spalding sends word that the date/time/location has been set for the aforementioned public hearing on Opportunity Fund criteria:
At last night’s meeting we discussed the need to schedule a public hearing on the Opportunity Fund criteria. The hearing will provide a chance for the community to speak to the Committee on the proposed criteria before they are formally approved. The public hearing will be Monday, November 9, at 7:00 pm in the Park Board Room.
That’s at Parks HQ downtown (in Denny Park).