Update: T-107 Park closed in advance of “Nickelsville” sweep

(Photo by Kevin McClintic, taken during the “Nickelsville” open house on Saturday)
ORIGINAL 1:24 PM REPORT: We have a call out to a Port of Seattle spokesperson to try to confirm the reported park closure as well as the estimated time of police arrival, but in the meantime, we’ve just received this news release from a spokesperson for the encampment:


* T-107 Port Park closes today at noon
* Nickelsville will stand through arrival of Port of Seattle and Valley Police tomorrow, Wednesday, at noon
* Candidates for Seattle City Council, David Bloom and Sally Bagshaw, will stand with Nickelsville tomorrow
* Nickelodeons who plan to stay and peacefully stand-up to removal by police will ultimately risk arrest

Chief of Police Colleen Wilson says “We’re going to take back our port.” However, Nickelsville plans to stay as they at the current portion of the park where they reside, as they have no other place to go. Residents, friends, citywide Nickelsville supporters and more will stand with Nickelsville when Port and Valley police (i.e. Renton) arrive to remove the encampment. City Council candidates David Bloom and Sally Bagshaw will be present to stand with Nickelsville.

The only City of Seattle Police used tomorrow will be animal control officers to collect unaccompanied pets.

T-107 Park, located at 4700 W Marginal Way SW (map), closes today at Noon. Cars will be impounded 24 hrs later. Nickelsville will stand as a community until it is forceably removed by police.

1:35 PM UPDATE: Just spoke with Charla Skaggs from the port, who tells us that the park is indeed closed – to everyone – they had to do this to give 24 hours’ notice that vehicles would be towed and that anyone in the park would be trespassing. She also says that the park is likely to stay closed a while AFTER the encampment is gone because “we will have to do some repair and maintenance.” She says that Port officials including the police chief met with encampment reps last night to tell them about the closure and reiterate the deadline as well as explaining what would happen to their property and their pets if the camp was swept, and to stress again that they hoped that “they will leave voluntarily.” Says Skaggs, “We don’t want this to become an arrest situation but they’ve been given a deadline – they will have been on our property for 69 days.” She says the port believes there are area churches who are willing to host the encampment but its organizers “have to reach out to them.” She would not confirm that noon is the expected arrival for police but did mention the noon closure today was something of a 24-hour warning.

42 Replies to "Update: T-107 Park closed in advance of "Nickelsville" sweep"

  • jiggers September 29, 2009 (1:27 pm)

    Why am I not surprised.

  • sacatosh September 29, 2009 (1:53 pm)

    What the hell is wrong with people.
    We have an enormous unemployment rate, record numbers of uninsured folks, people losing their homes right and left while we give millions to fat-cat bankers, and we’re going to evict a bunch of homeless people from one of the better locations they’ve chosen? And just in case they don’t feel kicked enough, let’s confiscate their pets, too.

    Our city gov’t absolutely makes me sick.

  • Scott Sands September 29, 2009 (2:00 pm)

    I just posted a story on the sleepover in front of the Mayor’s house. In it you can find the resposes of SHARE and the homeless to some of the criticisms mentioned in the comments here.
    Although I have reported their perspective of things, my aim is not to be biased.
    All comments, criticisms, and questions are welcome and encouraged. They help bring about a better understanding of the story.

  • MargL September 29, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    They should move to one of the King County parks on the list for closure. They can volunteer to ‘maintain’ the park at the same time!

  • Informed September 29, 2009 (2:14 pm)

    As a taxpayer, assuming you are one, why would you not support the Port’s actions to maintain the land owned by the Port?

    Why do you feel that the Nickelsville trespassing is appropriate at this location?

    As far as their pets go, I believe that having animal control collect unaccompanied (abandoned) pets is entirely appropriate. Would you suggest that they leave the pets abandoned there?

  • mark September 29, 2009 (2:25 pm)

    As a tax payer I have no issue with them using open, unused land. The port is running at about 33% of capacity, lots of room there for them.

  • DLP September 29, 2009 (2:27 pm)

    “We’re going to take back our port.” Wow. A handful of homeless people trying to survive together during a deep economic recession by camping out on unused park land constitutes a threatening take-over of the entire Port of Seattle. Let the hyperbole begin.

  • WSB September 29, 2009 (2:41 pm)

    FWIW, I can’t confirm whether that was a direct quote – it is in the Nickelsville news release – the Port has not issued a news release yet but spokesperson Charla Skaggs did confirm the port police chief was there last night meeting with camp organizers.

  • JD September 29, 2009 (2:56 pm)

    About time they were kicked out of the port. Now after they leave the added expense of cleaning up after them will need to be accounted for along w/ the man hours of legal filings. What a huge waste of taxpayer money. These people have church support so why don’t they stay on PRIVATE church property? Is it because the general people who attend the church don’t want homeless people living in the parking lot or because it’s a liability to have them around. If these people were to stay on city lands, the city is responsible for them and heaven forbid one of them hurts themselves they will be trying to sue the city. This should have been done the night they decided to move into the port.

    Not to mention it’s also a security issue since the port is now tied in w/ Homeland Security.

  • charlabob September 29, 2009 (3:00 pm)

    The reason they’re closing the park 24 hours in advance is to keep supporters from getting in! I’m happy to see Bagwell and Bloom will be there in support of the homeless, though it would be easier for me to decide whom to vote for if one of them didn’t. :-) Our mayoral candidates have certainly been conveniently quiet. And, no I’m not “THAT” Charla.

  • ENUF! September 29, 2009 (3:07 pm)

    I don’t quite understand the above statement: “Nickelsville plans to stay as they are at the current portion of the park where they reside, AS THEY HAVE NO OTHER PLACE TO GO”.

    Again, they are proving that they just want their “handouts” and NOT WILLING to help themselves!

    – These trespassers have been on the Port’s property for OVER 2 months. These trespassers have been given numerous warnings that they must vacate this property! There are numerous places each of these trespassers could individually go for shelter, but no, this is a political stance! They have all kinds of excuses for not conforming to the “rules” that everyone else in this city must abide by (such as PARK CLOSES AT DUSK). I especially love the “my dog” excuse.

    Guess what – that’s life people. Split that camp up! If any individual was offered a safe shelter to stay at for a month, I bet not one of these people would take it – their puppeteer has a political agenda! They’ve got this “model” camp set up all nice.

    And where do you think all the people that get drawn to this tent city go when they are turned away? (the ones that do not pass their “screening”). Yep – into the neighborhood. And guess what people – there ARE families in that neighborhood!!!

  • KT September 29, 2009 (3:10 pm)

    Arrest them.

  • ProudPugetRidger September 29, 2009 (3:34 pm)

    Please know the facts:

    1) Although DLO mentions “A handful of homeless…” SHARE has publicly announced their goal of holding 1000 people at this beautiful waterfront wildlife habitat restoration area.
    2) SHARE has knowingly hidden L-3 sex offenders in their encampment. Please consider the neighbors’ concerns when reviewing the situation. All of you can go to law enforcement’s website and research dangerous sex offender’s locations, which is a vital tool in protecting your children. In the case of this encampment, we (neighbors) have absolutely no idea how much danger there may be.
    3) There is room in several shelters at the moment. A large percentage of the encampment dwellers are choosing NOT to use the shelters that are available. The pets, so often mentioned in this blog, are the reason several of the homeless folks will not go to the shelters offered.
    4) The encampment has been invited into, and asked to leave, several facilities. In this case (T-107) they simply bullied their way onto this land from the get-go. In doing so, they have placed the Port and surrounding neighborhood in a no-win situation. The Port has liabilities, zoning and legal restrictions, and environmental issues that simply cannot allow this encampment to exist on that site…period. Tomorrow, the Port is being forced into this publicly perceived role of evil heartlessness, all while simply doing what they HAVE to do. Through this mess I have gotten to know several of the Port of Seattle folks well, they’re decent people who are working VERY hard to manage our Port of Seattle with integrity. Honestly, amongst the “victims” here is the Port itself. I bet nobody will remember that the Port, despite significant pressure from the residential and business community, flexed the rules to the maximum for several weeks in an effort to allow the encampment time to pursue other options…while Nickelsville did nothing but await this “showdown” tomorrow.
    5) On Saturday, the encampment hosted a costly “open house” for everyone who would attend. If they are so destitute, where did the $$ for that party come from.
    6) There is no public transportation to T-107, while the open-arms shelters are all served by Metro and other public transportation options. It is ironic that the concurrent protest underway is supposedly geared toward bus passes!
    This is politics folks, nothing more. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda. Generally, the people living in the encampment are able-bodied folks who need a hand up, not a handout.
    We, the actual neighbors so significantly impacted, are overwhelmingly thankful for the Port of Seattle’s courage and tactful management of this difficult situation.
    I wish you all health, happiness, and prosperity.

  • mark September 29, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    Feed and clothe them. They love the $5 chickens from Costco, my wife and I drop off 1/2 dozen every week.

  • TenTruckie September 29, 2009 (3:43 pm)

    Yeah! Get em’ out those evil vile sleepers with their pets and their tents and porta-potties and their joblessness and their hunger and their no health insurance. I’m gonna drive down their and take back my terminal park thingy. I just need one of you anti-camp people to tell me where it is cause I dont have a clue where it is. Probably you dont either but lets get those bums out so we can use our terminal again! Wait do we use that one? Yeah of course we do and they cant be allowed to build a dirty bomb and/or sabotage our port and compromise our port security, yeah thats it. Those bums are at the heart of the war on terror. Maybe they dont brush their teeth and they have bad breath and are bottling it up and plan to release it at terminal 107 and cripple our city from the inside muah ha ha ha…….

  • jiggers September 29, 2009 (3:55 pm)

    Remember that movie Michael Douglas was in, it was called “Falling down” Great movie about a man who had a great job and lost everything including his wife and kid in the end to have the cops shoot and kill him. The famous line in that movie he said was “I AM NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE”

    I’d like to also add why does a person who needs shelter for a week or so needs to have religion shoved down his throat in order to have a roof put over his head temporarily. I don’t think God would allow that.

  • sarelly September 29, 2009 (4:07 pm)

    Are any of the “campers” interacting with or bothering the area residents, or are folks just worried that they will? Do they have port-a-potties or is this becoming a public health issue? I can understand why home-owners would be nervous, but the City needs to come up with a more effective solution than chasing them from place to place. What other options are available to the “campers”? That park is in a fairly remote area – it doesn’t seem to get much pedestrian traffic, and doesn’t look as though it is used for much of anything. It seems to be separated from the shipping facilities by a river. While T-107 may not be the best place for the homeless to hang out, it would be nice if Seattle had some sort of campground. I have a hard time believing anyone chooses homelessness in search of “handouts.” I do, however, think there are a number of people who panhandle for drug money and are NOT actually homeless but they do it downtown. I know there are seeming “career” panhandlers because I see them all the time in the city core. Maybe we could investigate some of these gray areas and base our opinions on information rather than emotion.

  • Mark September 29, 2009 (4:36 pm)

    How bout every person who claims to be an advocate for these folks actually work to end the encampment. The encampment’s tacticians and strategists have an untenable position that will not be tolerated in any community long term.

    Here is your solution—Each advocate take 2-3-4 of the folks and let them set up camp in your house or backyard. Take the folks to your churches and have your congregations start providing rooms and shelter. Take folks to your family and relatives and have them stay there. Have one or two set up camp in your grandparents place.

  • Scott Sands September 29, 2009 (5:01 pm)

    To answer a few questions here, the port police did indeed visit Nicklesville on Sunday. They set down the “rules of engagement,” as one person at the camp put it. As it was told to me, they said pretty much said the same as what is posted above.
    I believe part of the reason for closing the park was so no cars belonging to visitors would be towed. They said they would impound any automobiles still in the lot on Wednesday.
    One man told me all the cars would be moved because no one could afford to have their vehicle impounded.

    I just posted an interview with Peter McGraw on the port’s position on Nickelsville for those of you who wish to read it.

  • mark September 29, 2009 (5:08 pm)

    Actually (I am a different Mark) I want my politicians to address the issue. The lack of affordable housing and mental health facilities both need to be addressed. I pay taxes to help the needy (not fight un-winable wars) so we know there is money available.

  • thejunctionhobo September 29, 2009 (5:13 pm)

    U first Mark. Your idea. Set them up in your backyard. Talk the talk baby!!

  • Mark September 29, 2009 (5:42 pm)

    I do regularly sponsor folks at my home. I have folks at my home 1-3 nights per week.

    I work with folks that were in refugee camps in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They did not speak English. The fled Vietnam, and were in atrocious conditions in the Philippines living hand to mouth as the learned English. Miraculously they ended up in the USA.

    They took any job they could find here. Spent countless hours working to scrimp and save to make a life here. They still struggle with language but hold down jobs, are contributing daily to the community. The pay rent, mortgages and taxes, are active in their church and regularly help those in need.

    If I witnessed the same tenacious will in the encampment folks and their “advocates” as I do in my friends from Vietnam, perhaps you could win some support from local communities in which you seek entitlements.

  • laurie September 29, 2009 (5:55 pm)

    Good riddance – now if we can rid out community of SHARE we will be in good shape.

  • zerodacus September 29, 2009 (6:14 pm)

    The posts seem to be running about 50/50, so if each of the folks in favor would just take five or six tents or campers each into their own home or apartment, problem solved. If these people that have jobs and are living there can’t go it on their own, why don’t they pool their resources and rent a home together, they seem to get along well enough according to their champions. Why is it that just about (well maybe all) all of the heart wrenching tales I’ve read in the local papers, are about non residents, who came here with no job, no prospects, and no place to live, in the hope they could find something, and now find themselves in this predicament? I would dearly love to see the statistics.

  • coffee September 29, 2009 (6:46 pm)

    Wow, lots of hurtful comments above. First, how can one find a good job when you are homeless and not by choice, but because you lost your job and your landlord kicks you out. Remember the story earlier this year with the lady and the cat, she had limited access to the internet. If you don’t know almost every employer these days requires you to submit your application on line and do some type of online job related form. How does one do that when they live in a camp or shelter? Also, in reference to the churches, I recall something earlier this year about local churches trying to host these camps but the neighborhoods would not support it and the city code did not support it. Homelessness is a huge issue, and its not going away, its getting worse.
    There was something in the news recently about the large amount of people in the country today that are 1 paycheck away from homelessness. Thats pretty bad. Not everyone that is homeless is a criminal, sex offender, or looser. Many work very hard jobs that only offer minimum wage and no benefits. What landlord will rent to someone with no past rental history, or better yet, the deposit, first months rent and last months rent that is needed to move into a place. We have taken in a homeless person and helped them back on their feet and it was a good experience. This was a friend that we had no idea was living in their car, you would have never known it if you had met this person too.

  • mark September 29, 2009 (6:50 pm)

    Again, why should I take them in when I support them? I pay taxes to support them, among others who need it.

  • TenTruckie September 29, 2009 (8:11 pm)

    What the hell do you people really care for? So a bunch of people are camped out in a park that no one really uses, in a industrial area of our city. That huge stack of pallets across the street is as much of an eye sore as a pile of pitched tents. When was the last time you even drove down that road. The Port Police are a bunch of hard-ons anyway so no surprise in them working to create a issue when it really doesn’t matter that people are sleeping in this park. Every night people sleep in parks all over the city. They don’t call it Nickelsville of course but the only other difference than that is they pick up and move every day. So the real issue is they stay then, right? If they weren’t such a concentration of bums that never left it wouldn’t be such an issue, right? Why cant they stay spread out like the other bums. Stupid horns bunching up and not leaving during the day. IDIOTS! Homeless people live in our city! They live under bridges in parks in tree belts close to your home and you dont seem to notice or care. They don’t call it Nickelsville so the media wont cover it until the goon squads move in to kick out the bums. I bet Greg doesn’t even care now that he isn’t going to be reelected. WHO CARES? Live and let live, All you people throwing rocks from your glass porches should look within and do some auditing of your own “Perfect little lives” I bet you never broke a law in your whole life have you? Ever broke the speed limit? Speed kills people. Staying in a park after dusk wont kill anyone.

  • WesCAddle September 29, 2009 (8:21 pm)

    Like any of you have ever used T-107.

  • West Seattle September 29, 2009 (10:10 pm)

    Lots of work around Yakima, practically every farm out there needs workers. Most proved housing too. How about bus tickets there?

  • TP September 29, 2009 (10:46 pm)

    “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth… Love is as love does. Love is an act of will — namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”
    — M. Scott Peck

  • The Dissenter September 29, 2009 (11:12 pm)

    Well said, TenTruckie and coffee. We the citizens can only do so much with our limited resources, it is the government’s job to care for its people- all of the people, not just the rich. To add to coffee’s list- landlords often require that you earn three times the rent payment. At minimum wage that would mean those people have to find housing at $400 per month. That’s even difficult to find in Yakima where commenters are suggesting everyone be shipped off to. Not to mention that even college grads can’t find employment- how would a
    homeless person be expected to be able to do so? Some of you need to have a little more empathy and realize that you all are just one diagnosis away from not being able to pay your bills.

  • The Dissenter September 29, 2009 (11:12 pm)

    Well said, TenTruckie and coffee. We the citizens can only do so much with our limited resources, it is the government’s job to care for its people- all of the people, not just the rich. To add to coffee’s list- landlords often require that you earn three times the rent payment. At minimum wage that would mean those people have to find housing at $400 per month. That’s even difficult to find in Yakima where commenters are suggesting everyone be shipped off to. Not to mention that even college grads can’t find employment- how would a
    homeless person be expected to be able to do so? Some of you need to have a little more empathy and realize that you all are just one diagnosis away from not being able to pay your bills.

  • Pam Hogeweide September 29, 2009 (11:15 pm)

    I live in Portland. My husband and I visited his brother who was a Nickelsville resident for a while. It saved his life. Totally. Saved. His. Life.

    Chronic alcoholism is a reality on the streets. It often got the person there, or it helps them cope once the despair of homelessness and being unemployable kicks in. It’s not an easy moral issue of laziness or bad choices. Most of the people I encounter who live outside are there because of an extraordinary journey of one circumstance upon another. No kid dreams of growing up to sleep outside and wonder where you’ll be sleeping from night to night.

    Shelters are not an option for many of our citizens who are without homes. Shelters by necessity are restrictive (no pets, no partners) and are often filled with such broken souls that the homeless citizen cannot bare the horror. They’d simply rather sleep in the cold and quiet then in a warm, nightmarish space. That’s harsh reality.

    We were impressed with the effort the residents of Nickelsville were making to govern and police themselves. Zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol; community meetings to air grievances and work out solutions; a sharing of space and life against the odds. Most homeowner associations wouldn’t last three months under similar conditions. Our homeless friends are survivalists.

    Have some compassion. That is someone’s son or brother in that tent, and that person has a story, and that person could have been you. At the end of the day, we all deserve dignity and respect. Last time I checked the US was a nation of persons who strived for the greater good. Kicking Nicklesville in the teeth is not for the greater good for America or for Seattle.

    Thank you to Scott for keeping this demise current to your readers. I know that anyone caring is immensely valuable to people like my brother-in-law who literally was saved by the community spirit of Nickelsville. It’s not a perfect situation, but hey, neither is my neighborhood.

    (and btw, my bro-in-law ended up violating a rule in a non-alcoholic/drug incident and was forced to leave Nickelsville. This is an example of how they are willing to govern and police themselves and to do their best to uphold a community code of conduct. My bro-in-law wishes them the best as he figures out his next step in life…)

  • ivan September 30, 2009 (5:29 am)

    TenTruckie and Pam Hogeweide speak for me. I feel sorry for those who take the opposite view.

  • Mags September 30, 2009 (6:00 am)

    What many of you might not know is that the Port literally stole this property for a ridiculous amount of $ via emininent domain and displaced many families. I can assure you that they didn’t care one bit about what happened to the people who lived there, many of them low income, owned their homes outright and had lived on the river for as much as 30-40 years. This is a little payback.

  • Parkuser September 30, 2009 (6:59 am)

    Re: the comments that no one uses this park anyway, that’s false. My family has been going to the park at least once or twice a week for the past several years, but we haven’t been able to use it for the best part of this summer because of Nickelsville, and that has really irritated me. No picnics, no dog walks, no relaxing and reading. For those of you who have not been to T-107, it is very well maintained and is a peaceful refuge along the Duwamish. Lots of fruit trees, open spaces and bird sightings. From a usage standpoint, this park is essentially unavailable to those of us who are paying taxes to support it and enjoy it, and I think the Port has been more than generous in extending its deadline. My belief is that all of us absolutely must provide help to those in need through monetary donations, volunteering or direct help like providing meals and shelter. But those in need must follow the laws of the land or else they will suffer the consequences. These laws must be applied equally, and it seems the Port has given plenty of notice and tried to be as accommodating as possible to a a large group of committed trespassers.

  • West Seattle September 30, 2009 (8:52 am)

    “Shelters by necessity are restrictive (no pets, no partners)”

    So is life. Lots of rules for everyone, deal with it.

    “…and are often filled with such broken souls that the homeless citizen cannot bare the horror.”

    So the homeless have homelessphobia? The irony.

    “Zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol”

    Well their Ballard share shelter just tolerated a level 3, repeated child rapist until they were caught with him living there, near schools and daycares.

    SHARE’s whole schtick is acceptance of homelessness as a lifestyle. They offer no rehab, no job services, no drug and alcohol therapy; all those ‘restrictive’ rules and services that REAL homeless shelters and non-profits offer.

  • Pam Hogeweide September 30, 2009 (10:32 am)

    I don’t know anything about SHARE. But having been involved with homelessness here in Portland and having hung out and rubbed elbows with people who live in street culture, I can tell you that each person has a unique story of why they are living outside. And living outside ought never be crime.

    And it is not irony that many homeless avoid shelters. Just ask them yourself why. Go ahead. Ask.

    If your companion, be it animal or woman/man, must be abandoned so you can sleep indoors, well, you see the dilemma. Many pet owners, those who live indoors as well, have an attachment to their pets like children. How many dog lovers who live indoors would willingly separate from their pet? It’s not a rational conflict, I know, and I am not a dog lover. I’ve advised homeless friends to get rid of their dog so they could get housing….and it is like telling someone to get rid of their son or daughter. Is this rational? Of course it’s not. But it’s a huge part of street culture. Dogs have long been esteemed as mans’s best friend, and this is very evident in homeless culture.

    It’s a complex issue. Human beings are complex. I totally understand the whole idea of camping where it’s reasonably inoffensive to the community at large. Homelessness is a rampant societal challenge in every city in America. Some people do not want to live indoors. Straight up. Living outside ought not to be a crime. Rules, yes, of course, but not criminalized. And that is what is happening in many cities, homelessness is becoming increasingly criminalized.

    Anyway, thanks again for blogging about this and keeping a respectful atmosphere with the comments. Not every blogger manages to do that, but you have. I appreciate that…all the best….

  • brokemamma September 30, 2009 (11:37 am)

    Parkuser- you prefer the park covered in cement dust? the oily sheen on the water must make for great pictures….. i know i am being a brat- i am just saying- walk your dogs and take your kids somewhere you can walk to. Plus- it’s not good to walk (breathing wise)in such an industrial area. Try one of the school parks closer to your house :)

  • jiggers September 30, 2009 (1:16 pm)

    Tetruckie..right on brother/or sister. By the way, those people you called out are called elitist’s. They think they are better than everyone else just because.

  • Parkuser September 30, 2009 (1:47 pm)

    brokemamma – The T-107 park I’ve enjoyed for years is not covered in cement dust. In fact, it’s quite natural and the groundskeepers do an amazing job with the trees and plantings there. Yes, the Duwamish smells brackish, but so does Alki on some days. I DO walk my dog at parks and schools near my house, but that is not my point. The point is – I should be able to access and use this public park the way I want to because it is intended for public use and I pay for it through my property taxes. Nickelsville is preventing this fair and legal use and needs to go.

  • G. Frederick October 1, 2009 (8:10 am)

    Martin Luther King, Jr.,
    “Never be afraid to do what’s right especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Sorry, comment time is over.