Update: Homelessness activists camp outside mayor’s house

(cameraphone photo added 8:32 pm, a few protesters gathered in the park near Admiral Church sign)
ORIGINAL 8:12 PM REPORT: We’re out watching to see if the homelessness-advocacy group SHARE makes good on its threat to have protesters camp outside Mayor Nickels‘ North Admiral home tonight (earlier report here) to protest a denied request for bus-voucher money. So far, here’s what we’re seeing: Police have had a presence outside the mayor’s house for at least an hour, including a watch commander; about a dozen people believed to be part of the protest are gathering at California Place Park a few blocks away (thanks to @macjustice for the tip on that via Twitter). They have just had a meeting with one police officer and now they’re meeting to discuss what they plan to do from here. 8:41 PM UPDATE: Now they’re at the mayor’s house. They’ve been told they can’t be on sidewalks, in the street, or in gardened parking strips – so they’re setting up in what areas are left. Media-wise, at least 2 TV stations are there along with us, Seattle Post-Globe, and Real Change News. A spokesperson says they have at least 40 people there; we’re taking a count – that means they’re in parking strips in front of neighbors’ houses too – 7 houses, to be exact, stretching most of the way along the block. 9:40 PM UPDATE: A couple of our clips – too dark out there to get much usable video without a light, but what you’ll see first is Southwest Precinct Sgt. Joel Sweetland talking with the group before they walked from the park to the mayor’s house, discussing ground rules:

And here are some of the campers getting settled on a parking strip:

Barring word of anything happening overnight, we plan to go back in the morning to check on the campout’s status. 7:44 AM TUESDAY UPDATE: We haven’t gone yet but tipster Mac says via Twitter, ” Judging by the wheeled portapotty and loaded van that just drove by my bus stop, looks like the protesters are done.”

55 Replies to "Update: Homelessness activists camp outside mayor's house"

  • bebecat September 28, 2009 (8:34 pm)

    I walked over to the park to check it out. This group brought all their bedding, mattresses and a honey bucket on wheel. I suspect they are going to stay a while at the mayor’s house.

  • GC September 28, 2009 (9:11 pm)

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving sort.

    But homeless doesn’t mean “entitled to…” anything. Not even bus vouchers.

    But that Nickels be driven from Seattle by one interest group or another (he’s peeved SO MANY) seems only just and good.

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 September 28, 2009 (9:15 pm)

    Dude! Has it really come to this?

  • J Winter September 28, 2009 (9:16 pm)

    Okay, I admit I have a sly smile on my face right now wondering about what our mayor must be thinking.
    What is the city doing to get these people some permanent housing? I have driven past the the last two camps and have always found them to be neat and orderly. No people running amuck in the streets or anything like that.
    My heart goes out to them . It makes you realize that homelessness could happen to any one of us. Even those of us sitting in our warm homes surfing the WS Blog before crawling in to our comfortable beds.

  • laba September 28, 2009 (9:24 pm)

    I think that some people don’t realize that not ALL homeless people want to be housed. Don’t assume that about everyone. I work for a mental health program often with homeless and I can tell you that some of my clients do want help with housing, but plenty of them resist any help I try to provide with housing. Homelessness has become a way of life and while it’s not glamourous by any stretch, for some people it’s what suits them.

  • beatonthestreet September 28, 2009 (9:39 pm)

    Solidarity and best wishes from Ireland…
    This is just not a local problem, its a national problem even an international problem…
    Plenty of people from around the world are watching and supporting the actions of these brave and admirable people making a stand…
    Stay safe Seattle friends…

  • th September 28, 2009 (10:01 pm)

    This sounds really worthwhile. Let’s camp out at the lame duck mayors house.

  • West Seattle September 28, 2009 (10:15 pm)

    These vagrants are dumber than I thought…I guess they figured an incumbent mayor with less than 4 months left in office will give a ****?

    “Homelessness has become a way of life and while it’s not glamourous by any stretch, for some people it’s what suits them.”

    Well, then communities can tell them to move on.

  • Michael September 28, 2009 (10:30 pm)

    They’re not just at the mayor’s house: they’re at almost every house on the block.
    What did those innocent people do to deserve this?
    Or do the homeless “advocates” who marched out all these poor folks, who just wanted a bed for the night but will be sleeping outside because their “hosts” are throwing a tantrum, feel that’s acceptable “collateral damage”?

  • Mike September 28, 2009 (11:27 pm)

    They picked one hell of a night to pull this stunt. It’s going to rain like mad and be sub 50 degrees before windchill on wet skin. Good thing the Fire Dept is near by to help save them from hypothermia.

  • Eric September 28, 2009 (11:58 pm)

    What a complete waste. Find ways to raise funds for homeless and ways to help them in the ways they want / need. What the hell does this accomplish?

  • The Dissenter September 29, 2009 (12:20 am)

    What are they doing wrong? Are they harassing? Using a megaphone at midnight? Hosting a kegger? The reports only show what seems to be peaceful behavior. They might be inconveniencing the neighbors but as long as they’re not harassing or keeping everyone awake I don’t see the need for so much anger. They’re making a statement, not starting a riot. I wish them the best of luck.

  • Leroniusmonkfish September 29, 2009 (4:47 am)

    Isn’t Nickels playing golf in Palm Desert this week? I was supposed to take care of his cat Dimebag”…

  • Kayleigh September 29, 2009 (6:02 am)

    Michael, your post is (probably inadvertently) hilarious. Thank you for the comedy. I sure do feel sorry for the people in their warm, dry, safe houses.
    GC, when people come together to try to get a skate park built or bike lanes or something, you tell them they’re not “entitled”, right? Shuddup and sit down? They’re just citizens being involved with their communities and asking for what they want, and it’s praised up and down here and elsewhere. But the homeless should just go away?

  • West Seattle September 29, 2009 (7:41 am)

    Is this the same SHARE that housed a level 3 sex offender in their Ballard Church after they refused to do level 3 sex offender checks and claimed they knew how to police their site? The same SHARE that only removed this level 3 child rapist from the shelter after a neighbor did a sex offender search and found out what SHARE was hiding? A level 3 repeated child rapist housed by SHARE near day care centers, schools, park and a neighborhood filled with children, with no public notification.


  • junctionite September 29, 2009 (7:47 am)

    Each should be offered a bed in a shelter for the night, anyone who refuses should be arrested for vagrancy and provided another bed for the night (in jail). No one has the right to set up a residence is someone elses front yard. Think what you want about Greg, but his neighbors don’t deserve this.

  • WSM September 29, 2009 (7:57 am)

    Just think, they could have used that time to LOOK FOR A JOB.

  • Kayleigh September 29, 2009 (8:01 am)

    I just looked and there’s a Catholic church down the street from me and the Catholic leadership housed and protected sex offenders for YEARS. There are schools and day cares in the area too. Can I tell the Catholic church to “move along now” out of my neighborhood?
    Keep it up, “liberal” West Seattle. Show us how progressive and compassionate you really are.

  • Meghan September 29, 2009 (8:08 am)

    I do feel for these people, but I also think that camping out in front of the (outgoing) mayor’s house was a big mistake. It smacks of harassment (including his innocent neighbors, including children) and will make more people less sympathetic to their cause, not more. Seattleites do not like strong-arm tactics and grand-standing. I know I don’t.

  • walk a mile in their shoes September 29, 2009 (8:14 am)

    Is anyone appreciating the rich irony here? Strong feelings that one should not be pursued and harassed in the safe haven of their own home. Particularly by people who are unfortunate enough not to have a home.

  • Gina September 29, 2009 (8:33 am)

    Time to landscape the parking strips.

  • mark September 29, 2009 (9:07 am)

    I love the idea of throwing them in jail. Precious. Lets use jail space already filled with real criminals and fill them with homeless tresspassers. Wait, how about mental health facilities for them? Nah, thats just a waste of money, right???

  • not gc September 29, 2009 (9:09 am)

    @Kayleigh, yes,
    when taxpayers come together to try to get a skate park built or bike lanes or something, they ARE in fact, just citizens being involved with their communities and asking for what they want from their elected officials.
    That’s not equivalent to the current situation. In this case SHARE is demanding an increase in bus voucher funding. Note, they’re not requesting bus vouchers…they’re already receiving bus vouchers. Having requested and been denied more money they are now DEMANDING it with an en masse sit-in at the Mayor’s house. Yes, that falls into the “entitled to” category.

  • Meghan September 29, 2009 (9:37 am)

    So it’s OK for people to be “pursued and harassed” in their homes now, Walk a Mile? Or is it only OK for the homeless (and their advocates) to do it? The problem with this thinking is that it can snowball. Once it becomes socially acceptable for people to harass other people in their homes, more and more people will do it for all kinds of causes. One of my best friends is a single, working class woman (and big supporter of homeless causes among many others) who lives right next door to one of our city council members. I can only imagine how terrified she would be (in the supposed ‘safe haven’ of her home) if there were a bunch of homeless men talking and sleeping outside her window – which is apparently this group’s plan. Somehow I bet the irony would be lost on you if you happened to live next door to the mayor!!

  • West Seattle September 29, 2009 (9:46 am)

    “Particularly by people who are unfortunate enough not to have a home.”

    This is SHARE, they are advocates for acceptance of the homeless lifestyle and they want the city/state to provide land for them so they can live their outdoor dream.

  • cmc September 29, 2009 (9:55 am)

    Meghan, I couldn’t agree with you more. You summarized my thoughts exactly.

  • Kayleigh September 29, 2009 (10:47 am)

    So, Not GC, asking for more of anything means you’re “entitled”? I understand they have run out of money for vouchers and that some of these people rely on vouchers to get them to WORK (yes, some of the homeless work). So it seems we all have a vested interest in them getting to work so they can work and pay taxes like the rest of us.
    We already have skate parks and bike lanes in Seattle, so I guess asking for MORE skate parks and bike lanes means you’re “entitled,” a character flaw, apparently. If I ask for a raise at work, does that mean I’m “entitled” or am I just asking?
    I’m really trying to follow the logic here, and best I can come up with is that the homeless are acting “entitled” but people with homes are good citizens asking for what they want.
    I have no opinion on the method they are using currently to get stuff. Not sure if it’s the best way. I am just tired of people’s misperceptions about the homeless.

  • MAS September 29, 2009 (11:25 am)

    Apparently Kayleigh has no problem with the homeless camping out in her yard, which seems like a solution here. If you would please post your address Kayleigh, we can send some folks on over there. After all, you’ll be safe in your home – so no problems, right?

  • bridge to somewhere September 29, 2009 (11:45 am)

    I lost a LOT of respect for SHARE with this action. I am not convinced it’s ever OK to protest at a public figure’s house for their policies, regardless of the public figure. Go to their place of business, sure. I wonder how residents of Nickelsville would enjoy me heading down to their encampment and protesting?
    This severely damages the cause of homeless rights in the city, plain and simple. I thought the homeless want a place where they can feel safe and secure — if that’s the case, shouldn’t the mayor be entitled the same respect?

  • Kayleigh September 29, 2009 (11:59 am)

    MAS, you’re a real commedian. Such an original thought: “have ’em stay at your house!” Yes, that would solve the entire complex problem of homelessness if only ALL the homeless in the city stayed in my living room.

  • Mike September 29, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    Is there a specific reason they need to live IN Seattle? Why not live somewhere with lower cost of living for a while? Nobody forces anyone to live here. If you’re not finding a job here and can’t afford to live here, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere?

  • Mickymse September 29, 2009 (1:06 pm)

    I’m not sure that I agree with this tactic, either… but I’m frankly ashamed of my neighbors’ comments on this thread.
    Really? Someone might be “terrified” or worried about harrassing “the children”?
    We’re talking about homeless people here, not monsters; and NOT criminals.
    There’s absolutely nothing to be scared about having a homeless person in your neighborhood, or walking past your children. And, no, a temporary encampment won’t bring down your property values, either.
    Jeez, people… I hope you’re never down on your luck.

  • Neighbor September 29, 2009 (1:28 pm)

    Mike, the specific reason they live in Seattle is because this city does a lot more for them than they will find in outlying areas.

    I am concerned by the opinions of some comments that think it is ok to camp out in front of somebody’s home(Although apparently it is legal). The lawns that were slept on belong to people who work hard, pay taxes, and raise children. Between the media and all of their lights, the police presence, and all of the protesters this street was a zoo last night.

    I do not believe that because these people are homeless that they are inherently dangerous but I do believe that they should have no right to behave like they did last night. So what if they were quiet about it? They were on property that did not belong to them (or the mayor for that matter) and they left it a mess. There are cigarette butts, plastic trash bags, and trampled flowers left behind, who has to clean that up?

    I would be dismayed to say the least to see stunts like this be rewarded by giving them what they are asking for. I’m guessing the only reason they even had the balls to pull this off was exactly because the mayor is on his way out, they won’t have to negotiate with him anymore.

  • still not gc September 29, 2009 (1:35 pm)

    ‘So, asking for more of anything means you’re “entitled”?’
    I said nothing of the kind. Please re-read what I wrote. (Hint: pay close attention to the use of the word ‘demand’.) Obviously simply asking for something does not convey a sense of entitlement (although one might very well ask for something they feel entitled to.) However, to demand is–by definition–to claim a right to something.
    ‘We already have skate parks and bike lanes in Seattle, so I guess asking for MORE skate parks and bike lanes means you’re “entitled,”. If I ask for a raise at work, does that mean I’m “entitled”?’
    Are the skate park and bike path proponents DEMANDING more of them? Are you camped out on your boss’s lawn DEMANDING a raise?
    ‘I’m really trying to follow the logic here…’
    Try harder.

  • still not gc September 29, 2009 (1:51 pm)

    The protest is moving to Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess’s house tonight…. http://seattlepostglobe.org/2009/09/28/homeless-plan-to-sleep-outside-nickels-house-monday-night-as-protest

  • WSB September 29, 2009 (1:54 pm)

    Thanks, we are on SHARE’s news release list too and reported that in our newer story featuring one of the comments from this thread:
    Plus the new “Nickelsville” developments are in an even-newer story:

  • MAS September 29, 2009 (2:06 pm)

    Note that I didn’t mention your living room Kayleigh, just your lawn, since you seem to be fine with them sleeping on other people’s lawns. No, it wouldn’t solve the whole problem, just a part of it, but it IS in your power to offer to have one or two of them sleep on your lawn, as long as you don’t see that as an issue for other folks.

  • Kayleigh September 29, 2009 (2:22 pm)

    Do you understand, Not GC, that these folks do not have the resources, energy, access to avenues of power, etc. that people like you or I do? Do you get that they are trying to draw attention to a problem, which often involves doing things that are controversial? Do you get that they are trying to *survive*, not just asking for a freaking skate park?
    MAS, I live in a condo and I don’t have a front lawn, and I have worked in homeless advocacy. So I have worked to try to solve the problem (try 10 hour days for 2 years) beyond offering pointless suggestions on the Internet. How about you? Do you have a solution that goes beyond “get a job” or “sleep on Kayleigh’s nonexistent lawn”?

  • The Dissenter September 29, 2009 (2:23 pm)

    …and how would they get to Kayleigh’s lawn, MAS? The issue they’re trying to solve is not whose lawn they’re going to sleep on, it’s how they’re going to get there. They’re asking for bus pass money, not Kayleigh’s lawn space.

  • D Kramer September 29, 2009 (2:24 pm)

    For some the homeless lifestyle does become a life style – but most the people I met at the tent city when I was there were trying to find jobs – or save money or get ss disability to get out.

    I wish I could fully express to you all how grateful some of these people were to have a place to go to.

    I wish I had taken photos and written some of the stories of those who were at the tent city to show you how many of these people are just like you all – they just had hard times hit. Some are just ordinary folks just trying to make due to get along.

    Maybe some of you don’t agree with their methods – I didn’t agree with the protest. Sh-t I think Scott Morrow may hate me more than the mayor of seattle himself from the internal memo he wrote up and passed around last week -regarding my protesting the protest for the last 2 weeks in a manner I hoped would result in anyone who didn’t want to go having to –but Share does have a problem now that they have run out of bus tickets.

    I don’t think the message of the homeless people sleeping near the Mayor’s house was intended to make people feel scared or to liter on anyone’s property or even to make them feel like Britney Spears neighbors must feel on any given day – I think what they were trying to get across is that homelessness in Seatle is a very real problem – it has faces – it has needs – it needs some attention and help.

    Some of the people who went from Tent City 4 – to the Mayors home last night were some very nice people who I know personally — and I have to say I feel honored to have met some of them.

    I know to alot of you this might seem impossible to believe – but you aren’t just what you own or where you live. Some of the people who are at tent cities and in the inside shelters are some of the most kind and inspiration people you might meet this week – but would you even take the time to talk to them or to help them?

    As the protest continues – could some of you please try to show some compassion for the protesters. The most mild ones – the ones who really didn’t want to do this are just hoping the city or someone will step up so they don’t have to go out there and face the media frenzy. The hard chargers and the mild ones – they are all so beautiful. They are all just like you..

    I alone the last two weeks fought hard using my own real name on correspondences to get our politicians including the mayor himself to step up to do what it might take to make it so the protest would not be needed and at least so that anyone who didn’t want to go whether for reasons of politican philosphy – personal reasons or job/employment reasons would not have to go without losing their tents. My efforts went no where. But I have to say ~~~ The mayor’s office’s response was so non- inspiration it gave me insight to why some may feel it would literally take homeless people on his front step to see homeless people are real people.

    Though I personally did not agree with the way the protest was pushed – and camping out at the mayors private home – some of the people some are judging so harshly are just trying to fight for the tickets they feel they need to make it. They are fighting to be able to get to medical appts – to get to job interviews and to get to church. It took courage for me to stand against Share against this protest – but people it took courage as well for every single one of those people to be there last night. Please don’t look down on those who dared to stand for what they believe in – They are daring to believe they just might make a difference in their ability to make it and in other fellow homeless people if only you could see they are real- They are daring to believe in their own futures!

    Though the methods may not be so ideal – people can you at least look at the real need here??

    These are real people making a real sacrafice to make a point. Some more willingly than others – but never forget they are people – I know I shall never forget them.

  • MAS September 29, 2009 (2:45 pm)

    The Dissenter – Same way they got to the Mayor’s lawn I would suppose.

  • MAS September 29, 2009 (2:55 pm)

    Kayleigh –

    Did I even once suggest “get a job” as a solution?
    Yes, as a matter of fact I do have a solution. Everyone in the world with sufficient resources donate as much money as I do to help the homeless, and the problem goes away.

    Are you suggesting that if anyone here posting hasn’t put in 2 years working in homeless advocacy their opinion, contributions and comments aren’t valid?

    All I suggested here was that if you were going to imply that the folks home in their beds had no right to complain about the homeless on their lawns, you should be willing to live with that circumstance as well. Since there’s no possibility of that, your lack of empathy for them is understandable.

  • The Dissenter September 29, 2009 (3:02 pm)

    MAS, that’s one night- Share is concerned with the other 364. I think you’re missing the point here.

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

    I focus my empathy and compassion on people who have lost so much: privacy, safety, a warm home, a soft bed, medical care, respect, status, nutritious meals….not Nickell’s neighbors, who will soon recover from the nightmare that was last night….

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 September 29, 2009 (4:07 pm)

    This is just not good PR for the protesters or Nickels.

  • Jiggers September 29, 2009 (5:35 pm)

    I don’t know why I find this whole thing funny..Sorry.

  • laurie September 29, 2009 (5:53 pm)

    I hope they freeze to death – problem solved.

  • TP September 29, 2009 (6:50 pm)

    Wow, I hope I’m never down on my luck around some of the posters here.

  • bridge to somewhere September 29, 2009 (7:18 pm)

    it is possible to be an advocate for the homeless AND think protesting at the homes of public officials is not ok.

  • miws September 29, 2009 (9:19 pm)

    laurie, after the homeless all freeze to death, what is the next group of people you will wish to see eliminated?



  • TP September 29, 2009 (10:32 pm)

    Liking the 3rd option bridge to somewhere.

  • TK September 30, 2009 (10:25 am)

    Makes me so angry every time I hear of the homeless camp being moved. My great grand parents brought my family from Idaho over during the Great Depression and they lived in Hooverville in the SODO area and a little bit of the time they lived beneath the Aurora bridge! I have a 4 yr old and a 2yr old and we’re almost right there with these people, as we’re struggling to keep our home as well. It’s a shame that there can’t be a place designated for these people until they can get back on their feet again.

  • not gc September 30, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    “Do you understand, Not GC, that these folks do not have the resources, energy, access to avenues of power, etc. that people like you or I do?”
    “Do you get that they are trying to draw attention to a problem, which often involves doing things that are controversial?”
    “Do you get that they are trying to *survive*…”
    “…not just asking for a freaking skate park?”
    You’re the one who equated the protest with people asking for a skate park.
    So, the gist of your post seems to be that homeless means “entitled to” bus vouchers?

  • jiggers September 30, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    Is Scott Morrow covered in one of those trash blankets?

  • D Kramer October 8, 2009 (2:09 pm)

    Jiggers – very interesting question!

    Bridge to somewhere – Yes it is possible.

    Laurie – When you start the process of deciding one group is okay to eliminate – it leads in the end to the same thing Hitler wanted. And, there is no guarantee that you might one day end up in any group that might be designated as in need of elimination. So I might suggest you think carefully over who it might be good to have not here any more.

    To those who might actually like to help a homeless person help themself….
    Did you know that some of the people at the tent cities might really love to do those pain in the butt jobs you don’t want to at a very affordible rate? Those at Tent City 4 have been Id checked – run for outstanding warrants and for sex offender status – those at tent city 3 have not – but there are some very fine quality people at both who might love to cut your lawn – do your weeding- paint the your house – heck Tent city 4 has a guy who actually knows a little about plumbing.

    Tent city 4 # 206-618-3901
    Tent City 3 # 206-399-0412

    Help yourself while helping them! =)

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