(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:
PARK CLOSES TODAY – NICKELSVILLE DETERMINED TO STAY – POLICE ARRIVE TOMORROW, 9/30/09, AT 12 NOON
* 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.