So you think you know who’s at Nickelsville? Read Mike’s story

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” returned to West Seattle a week ago, two longtime WSB Forums members e-mailed with news that another longtime member and WSB site participant, whose many comments have provided humor and history, Mike aka “miws,” was among its newest residents; they helped him get set up there after he was evicted from his Morgan Junction apartment. We have met Mike several times over the past few years; we knew he was struggling, but didn’t know he had become homeless. We were glad to hear they wanted to tell his story, provided he gave his permission, which he did.)

Story by Joanne Brayden
Photos by Kevin McClintic
Special to West Seattle Blog

On Monday, Mike, who posts on the West Seattle Blog Forums as miws, became a resident of Nickelsville, the tent-city encampment that recently made news as it moved out of a city-provided shelter at old Fire Station #39 and back to an empty field in the industrial area along the Duwamish River at the eastern base of West Seattle, without the city’s blessing.

By Wednesday, Mike had already worked one shift as Security and voted in camp meetings that will determine the future of his new home. He hasn’t just settled in, he has become part of the community, and can’t stop telling everyone how lucky he was that Nickelsville moved back to West Seattle so there was space for him when he needed them.

A look around at the hastily created camp and the tent Mike now calls home might make you question his enthusiasm, but you don’t have to spend long there to realize there is much more there than scattered tents and a communal campfire. Nickelsville isn’t at all what you expect from a bunch of homeless people camped out alongside the road.

Mike, a native West Seattleite, doesn’t match the stereotypical image of people who find themselves homeless. His attitude is upbeat and he has a wide circle of supportive friends, including two different online communities who have been helping him while he recovered from a life-threatening, job-ending illness.

This week those online friends, people whose only connection was virtual, helped him transition from his small apartment to homelessness, after eviction became unavoidable. It was a heartbreaking and illuminating first for everyone involved; one of those experiences that really makes you question everything you thought you knew.

Mike will tell you that this may be the best thing that has ever happened to him; he had the best night’s sleep he has had in months in his little tent. He says he is lucky to have entered Nickelsville at such an opportune time. He is grateful for a safe place to stay while he rebuilds his life and excited to be able to help create a larger community for others. This is a very busy little village, full of the kind of people with a wide variety of skills who help one another just because they can.

Nickelsville is a self-managed homeless community that provides security and support for its residents. They will proudly tell you that they welcome anyone who is clean and sober and willing to participate in creating a self-sustaining community; provided of course that you can provide government-issued identification and aren’t a registered sex offender.

Before Mike checked in he had to agree to abide by some fairly strict rules: respecting the privacy of others, no alcohol, no drugs, no violence, etc..; this camp has a zero-tolerance policy that emphasizes personal responsibility.

They say decisions are communal, everyone works within the camp, families live together, pets are welcome, and visitors are encouraged.

There was a time when evictions among working people were rare, but the recent economic downturn has ended job security and has made it much more difficult for people to re-enter the workforce after life-threatening illnesses, the number-one cause of homelessness.

Mike was lucky. He will tell you that himself. He had the support of people who cared what happened to him and a safe place to go when he lost his home and all of the stuff he thought mattered so much to him. He had friends who made sure he had basic survival gear and he didn’t walk into Nickelsville alone. He has people looking out for him both inside and outside the camp. He may be the only forum member in residence, but now he is not the only one who can be seen quietly helping the camp re-establish itself in West Seattle.

Next time you see Mike’s familiar sign-on, he will be writing from one of the public terminals at the Seattle Public Library (we photographed him at the Southwest branch). Mike plans to share his experiences with his forum friends because he knows firsthand how important it can be to have a safe place to land if the worst happens.

If you want to know how you can help or want more information about Nickelsville, you can contact them through their webpage at or contact their representative at 206-450-9136 or (The camp is at W. Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way SW; here’s a map.)

Mike’s new address doesn’t look like much yet, but it is full of possibilities he can’t wait to share with us. Wednesday, the Mayor’s office told WSB that the city won’t try to evict them from the West Seattle site while a permanent location is pursued. But Nickelsville organizers say they have great plans, and with a little luck and a little help, they believe they have found that location.

81 Replies to "So you think you know who's at Nickelsville? Read Mike's story"

  • Cait May 20, 2011 (10:43 am)

    GREAT story! And best wishes to Mike and a big thank you for being featured in this story. I hope this puts some much needed perspective on this issue.

  • JanS May 20, 2011 (10:49 am)

    Cait, I was thinking the same thing. I met Mike quite some time ago..he’s a nice guy. I’m glad he gave permission to share his story. Thanks, Mike!

    Perspective, yes. Maybe will put an end to the misinformation being passed off as fact by some of the commentors on the previous Nicklesville story. But, I probably have rose colored glasses, too…sigh.

  • Adam May 20, 2011 (10:57 am)

    Godspeed members of Nicklesville members. Many of us are days or weeks away from joining you. Some just don’t know it.

  • kristi May 20, 2011 (11:05 am)

    thank you mike for so openly sharing your story. i am proud of the fact that nickelsville exists. and am thankful that there exists a place in which those living without homes and much of the necessities i take for granted can experience support and above all community.

  • Rick May 20, 2011 (11:06 am)

    With Operation Nightwatch turning people out because all the shelters are full, it seems like the best thing is for the city to encourage self-help, community-based, democratic groups like Nickelsville. The broader community can participate in keeping this open as an option for the unhoused.

  • buddsmom May 20, 2011 (11:08 am)

    Thank you.

  • Kayleigh May 20, 2011 (11:10 am)

    Mike, you are awesome. Thank you, WSB.

  • R May 20, 2011 (11:23 am)

    Thank you WSB and Mike.

  • islewrite May 20, 2011 (11:23 am)

    Mike, thanks for sharing. Joanne and Kevin, thanks for caring. TR, thanks for publishing. That area can be pretty scary. I actually feel better knowing there are responsible folks down there. A sense of community is a wonderful thing.

  • coffee May 20, 2011 (11:27 am)

    Simply amazing. This would make an excellent documentary too, not a Lifetime movie….
    Loosing your home is a very difficult thing. Keeping a positive outlook is amazing.

  • andrea May 20, 2011 (11:27 am)

    When I hadn’t seen any comments from Mike recently, I did wonder if something had happened to him healthwise. I am glad to see that in that respect he is doing well, but am sad to know the situation he currently finds himself in. Thank you Mike for sharing your story, and to Joanne for reporting it. I wish you all the best at Nickelsville Mike!

  • Diane May 20, 2011 (11:27 am)

    well I have known for 2+yrs the terror of being days or weeks away from homelessness; this ‘recession’ has been tragic for many; but as we’re surrounded by people with fancy houses and fancy cars and fancy jobs, it’s even harder to tell the truth of hardship, and continue to go outside with a smile, with resilience, and keep trying
    Thank you so much to Mike for your bravery in sharing; I am awed by you; and thanks to Joanne and Kevin for this fantastic story and pics; I too have truly enjoyed Mike’s posts; witty, funny, classy always
    pretty sure I met Mike at a westseattleblog meetup at WS Bowl couple yrs ago; of course it was JanS who introduced me to everyone (and who I also met that night; another class act)
    Look forward to your updates Mike; please let us know when you’re up for visitors, and anything on your wish list?

  • JoB May 20, 2011 (11:29 am)

    Thank you Tracy for doing such a great job with this and printing so many pictures..
    a picture really is worth a thousand words…

    This story is the result of a truly collaborative effort.. both in the making and the telling….

    While Kevin took the pictures and I wrote the words… we collaborated throughout the process with Mike to make sure this was his story told in his way….

    Kevin and I just happened to find ourselves on the ground with Mike at Nickelsville along with some other forum members and members of the PatPack .. an online fan club for Pat Cushman…

    the rest.. well we did what anyone would do… what we could.

  • miws May 20, 2011 (11:29 am)

    Thanks guys!

    I’m running out of time here at the library. (The story was published just a few minutes after I got here!)


    I’m also hoping this gets people to realize it could happen to them as well.


    I have much more I want to add, and I’m sure will have much more to add to that as the comments come in the next couple of days.


    I’ll try to make it back up here tomorrow and/or Sunday, but will be part of a crew one or both days helping to clean up the surrounding neighborhood, and don’t know what all that’ll entail, and how much if a time commitment will be involved.


    I’ll keep in touch best I can, and Y’all come on down for a tour! Tell ’em, Mke S sent ya!



    (p.s. Yes, thanks to Kevin, Joanne, and WSB!)

  • SJ May 20, 2011 (11:54 am)

    Wonderful story. Thank you so much Mike & Friends for sharing.

  • nwcitizen May 20, 2011 (11:58 am)

    Wow! Thank you Mike and WSB. I have my fingers and toes crossed hoping that Nickelsville has finally found its home.

    Mike – I know it is early to be thinking about this as you all are still getting settled in but does Nickelsville have plans to post a Jobs Wanted list? The WSB would be a great place to do that.

  • proudpugetridger May 20, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Thanks for sharing your story Mike.
    Curiously…you didn’t mention what measures you’re taking to climb out of this situation??
    I had assumed the “number-one cause of homelessness” was drugs and alcohol…per the CDC.
    Thanks also for clarifying your position on registered sex offenders in the encampment. I feel much safer knowing the incident in the Ballard SHARE facility was apparently an untrue rumor.
    I sincerely wish you well and am looking forward to your updates as this situation evolves.

  • crystal May 20, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    Thank you so much for sharing this story!! I was so proud to hear that West Seattle was the place that was finally willing to welcome Nickelsville! Thank you for showing the truth about the residents and painting this wonderful community in the right perspective!

  • michele May 20, 2011 (12:28 pm)

    Good luck to Mike and thanks for helping this become a place that residents of West Seattle can learn more about the camps. I live in West Seattle and love it here but have felt shame for along time that residents of West Seattle were not more welcoming to the homeless camps. I do not have any recollection of one existing in West Seatle and am proud to say that there is one here. The camps police themselves and force everyone to be accountable while providing a reasonably safe place for adults and children. Mike, please guide us through this lifechange and help us understand not only what is happening to you but also about the camp and if there is anything that people need and maybe someone will read it and help provide it.

  • cmc May 20, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    Thanks for sharing your story, Mike. We’ve never met but as a frequent WS blog reader, I have always enjoyed reading your posts. When I think of a “miws” post, I have come to expect that it will always be kind and friendly. God bless.

  • EmmyJane May 20, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    Wow Mike, I had no idea. I would love to help in some way if I can. Please let us know what we can bring down to Nickelsville, and maybe when you’ll be there?

    hgeisenhoff at gmail dot come

  • Watertowerjoey May 20, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    Good luck, Mike.

    The first thing I think of when I read these stories is family. Thank god I have kids and relatives who would take me in if something happened.

    Sad that Mike doesn’t have the same fortune, but what a great guy who will eventually get back on his feet.

  • Westsider May 20, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    Interesting story and interesting timing… I was just going through my email and saw that my King County automatic sex offender notification triggered to alert me that a new sex offender has moved within two miles of my house into – you guessed right – Nickelsville. So they are not all great people. I feel for these people and would like to help, but think that West Seattle could do without a homeless encampment or a jail. We have to deal with the crime and other effects of all of the SHA tenants already, so would be better off without Nickelsville. These guys should move to the old base in Discovery park. Make Magnolia have to deal with some of Seattle’s indigent rather than always pushing it over to the West side.

  • Been There May 20, 2011 (1:28 pm)

    @cmc – Thanks for writing exactly what I was thinking about Mike aka miws. Mike’s posts always seemed to be of the most thoughtful and generous kind.

  • proudpugetridger May 20, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    Westsider, are you sure that the RSO was in Nickelsville? The Sheriff’s office website does not show that information. According to this press release, Nickelsville does not allow registered Sex Offenders within the encampment…although they regrettably admitted to doing so (after being caught) in the past.
    This is significant info.

  • lucky chick May 20, 2011 (2:22 pm)

    Westsider – You “feel for these people and would like to help”? BS. Unless it involves actually helping, huh? Like helping them have a place to stay. I’m thankful that most of my neighbors don’t feel like you do. And an extraneous dig at SHA tenants? You must be kidding.
    Welcome, Nickelsvillers! Mike, please help us all understand what we can do to pitch in (besides what’s on the webpage).

  • dsa May 20, 2011 (2:36 pm)

    Copy/pasted from the Nicklesville website :
    1) Nickelsville isn’t an indoor shelter for 99 people; it’s an eco-village for up to 1,000!
    2) Every night at old Firestation #39 we were turning people away – a larger site is needed to save human lives! 8 homeless people have already died outside or by violence this year.

  • JanS May 20, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    Westsider…did you even read Mike’s story? Did you notice that sex offenders are not allowed? Yet you still want to perpetuate that myth? Do you have information that no one else does? As I said before, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to make up your own facts.

    dsa…so..your point is?

  • really May 20, 2011 (2:44 pm)

    I’m an SHA resident, I work full time, dont do drugs or alcohol outside of socially time to time. I clean my place, maintain my yard, keep quiet and don’t have traffic in and out. Guess what…there is more like me in SHA then not.

    Thank you WSB for this story. I am in tears because Mike’s spirit comes across the story. We ALL could be a check or 2 away from his story.

    I am fully aware of that and I am grateful for SHA for a place to stay that I can afford and still be in a great neighborhood.

    God bless you Mike!

  • The Velvet Bulldog May 20, 2011 (2:48 pm)

    “effects of all of the SHA tenants…” Westsider: Mom Bulldog and I were SHA tenants for many years, our “effects” were being positive contributing members of society, volunteering, being neighborly and generally contributing to the welfare of others.

    You’re welcome.

  • chrisma May 20, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    @Westsider: Last I checked Magnolia’s western border was about as far West as you could go without wading into the Sound. You might note that all the street directionals in Magnolia are W.

    Perhaps you haven’t spent any early mornings near the Ballard Locks, but I’m quite certain there are homeless people living in Discovery Park already, just maybe not in as organized a fashion as the folks in Nickelsville.

    If living among SHA tenants down here on the (South) West side is bringing you down, perhaps you should consider moving to Magnolia.

  • Mary May 20, 2011 (3:38 pm)

    It’s important to note the role of illness in the homeless population. Even the stereotypical adage “get a job” is hardly helpful to those who CANNOT work as a result of their medical problems. The truth is, there are few resources for those who CANNOT work. Getting Social Security Disability often takes years. Meanwhile the only other program of note is the Disability Lifeline, formerly GAU. And that has been cut to less than $200/month.

    It is hard enough for those who are out of work to survive financially, especially once unemployment benefits are exhausted. But if you CANNOT work, it’s pretty hard to come up with a way to keep a roof over your head. Despite efforts to increase low-income housing, there are far more in need than there are units available.

    I’m glad to see so many supporting the Tent City in its new location. But we need to keep working to find better solutions.

  • JoB May 20, 2011 (7:09 pm)

    Mary..I couldn’t agree with you more. We need to keep working to find better solutions…but in the meantime, people need help… especially people with medical issues.
    Many disabled people fall through the cracks because they have no address or they can’t afford a doctor. Few people realize that you must be under a doctor’s care to qualify for disability.. and you have to stay under a doctor’s care. Without money or insurance that can be an insurmountable barrier.
    poor health has been one of Mike’s biggest issues when it came to getting a job. It is difficult enough to get a job in this economy, but 50+yr olds who are overweight and have serious medical conditions aren’t considered good risks by employers who have so many younger able bodies applicants to choose from.

  • Elikapeka May 20, 2011 (7:24 pm)

    Mike, thanks so much for having the courage to share your story. I have always enjoyed reading your posts, but this story is even better. It’s so important for us to put a personal face on homelessness and work for changes in our safety net that prevent it from happening. I have great admiration for the people at Nicklesville and their supporters, who have maintained a safe and caring community in the face of so much opposition and misunderstanding.

    And Westsider, shame on you.

  • JoB May 20, 2011 (7:25 pm)

    what makes you think there is a sex offender living in Nickelsville? Are yo sure you know where Nickelsville is?
    There are other shelters and other camps that have their own governing rules… but Nickelsville requires residents to have government issued identification and to pass sex offender screening.
    The truth is that if there is a registered sex offender living at Nickelsville and the camp is notified… the sex offender is gone.
    If you have information that indicates there is a registered sex offender in Nickelsville, please let them know immediately. Their contact info is at the bottom of the story..

    Your sarcasm does not become you….
    The number one cause of eviction is medical expenses…. and evictions translate directly into homelessness for anyone without other resources…
    the CDC only tracks the medical causes of homelessness…. and lists drugs and alcohol without tabulating self medication for pain or depression or other untreated medical disorders.
    I am going to assume you didn’t know that.

  • jiggers May 20, 2011 (7:37 pm)

    I think that the W.S.B. should be some sort of voice for these folks. People who want to donate basics but don’t know they have a website yet, can be linked up from here and it can be a starting point. Just a little extra work for the blog crew that can go a long ways.

  • Westsider May 20, 2011 (9:21 pm)

    Here is the map of the sex offender registry that came up through electronic notification today –

    Here is the map of where the WSB put Nickelsville in their link to it –,-122.340488&spn=0.013876,0.045447&z=15

    These look like the exact same location to me. If I am wrong then this is a good thing. I’m just noting that a sex offender has registered in the last couple of days exactly where Nickelsville seems to be.

    • WSB May 20, 2011 (9:42 pm)

      That’s certainly the intersection. I can’t find a date on the guy’s listing – maybe there’s some other site where dates show up. Just to see if I could replicate the hit, I put in the address of the Highland Park Improvement Club at 12th/Holden, at the top of Highland Park Way from there, and got a lot more hits closer to the residential area. (Including three locations, apartment buildings apparently, with “multiple offenders.”) Does the e-mail you received cite a date of registration? – TR

  • Cclarue May 20, 2011 (9:54 pm)

    The pin is on the sw corner the camp is se maybe he works at pioneer industries I heard they hire a lot of criminals coming out of jail/prison….it and the plumbing supply are on the sw corner…

  • Catherine May 20, 2011 (10:42 pm)

    I’m more of a reader than a post-er, but I’ve always enjoyed and noticed miws’ comments. He’s obviously very intelligent, well-spoken, and as others mentioned- a class act. It seems so unfair that someone so intelligent and good-natured would fall into hard times, but it’s awesome that he has Nickelsville. How can we help? What do you need, miws?

  • Cakeordeath May 20, 2011 (10:47 pm)

    I have always enjoyed your comments, Mike, and wish you the best. Please keep us updated about your needs and the state of Nickelsville. You have a great attitude and that must be helpful. You do what you have to do… I wish you the absolute best!

  • Mike May 20, 2011 (10:48 pm)

    I believe this is the guy Westsider is talking about: note the address, there’s a picture and name for him too. If he’s in the camp, he needs to be booted out.

  • JoB May 20, 2011 (11:30 pm)

    All i can tell you is that i have not seen that face when I was there.. and over the last several days i have seen a lot of faces…

    i printed the link and i will take that to the camp with me in the morning.

    the sex offender question is a good one.. I’ll see if i can find out just what their process is with new registrants…

    my guess is that they take their words an then check. I didn’t see any computers there. without electricity of any kind they are a little difficult to manage.

    I honestly don’t know much about sex offender registration and i am interested.
    Does anyone know if they self report addresses?

  • Mike May 20, 2011 (11:50 pm)

    (5)(a) If any person required to register pursuant to this section changes his or her residence address within the same county, the person must provide, by certified mail, with return receipt requested or in person, signed written notice of the change of address to the county sheriff within three business days of moving

  • Gina May 21, 2011 (7:39 am)

    miws-Mike, are there any items you need storage for?

  • Admiral Janeway May 21, 2011 (9:13 am)

    Mike, thank you for sharing this story with us. I hope you will keep us updated. Like others, I have enjoyed your posts on WSB. I wish you well.

  • Juanita May 21, 2011 (9:42 am)

    Thank you, WSB, for publishing Mike’s Story!! And Thank you Nickelsville, for being there for him!! I now know that he is ok, and that he has friends to help and support him. Mike is a truly special man, with a heart bigger than anything..I hope this is only the start of every GOOD Thing he deserves!! Hang in there, Mike!!
    Sign me, NICK (Nita In the City of Kent)

  • Juanita May 21, 2011 (9:57 am)

    And, to: ‘westsider’–whoever you are, I think someone needs to pull the rug out from under your comfortable little seem to have way too much time on your hands–if you “feel for those people and want to help” (which i personally do NOT believe), then put your money where your mough is, and roll up your sleeves and HELP them. Quit lumping everyone into the ‘bum/perv’ slot, and be a true NEIGHBOR to those who are living as they must because other people cant be bothered and the System Fails!! If you want the situation to change, then become part of the solution and be a HUMAN Being!!

  • JoB May 21, 2011 (10:23 am)

    Scott, Nickelsville’s contact person and Mike, the person responsible for Nickelsville’s record keeping have asked me to thank Westsider for alerting them to a resident who lied about his sex offender status when he checked into the camp and who had not yet appeared on the local sex offender list.

    I emailed Scott at 8 this morning and arrived at the camp a little after 9 to see him being escorted from the premises.

    In the week since they moved, they have had 30 new Residents walk through the door. Normally they would have cross checked every resident with on-line sex offender registration systems, but because their generator is down they haven’t had computer access at the camp.

    They were relying on the latest printed list.

    Because of Westsider’s posting the alert, they were able to identify and evict this sex offender before the next list came out.

    They want to say thank you.

  • proudpugetridger May 21, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Why does nearly everyone attack the messenger? Westsider seems to bring truths to the discussion, which brings personal attacks back at Westsider…I guess there’s no legitimate response to the facts.
    Fact 1: apparently a registered sex offender lives within the encampment, which is now OK since our mayor informally approved the encampment. Of course, Nickelsville has steadfastly denied that this is even possible, despite being caught a number of times with RSOs within the encampment.
    Fact 2: While Mike’s story is absolutely heartwrenching, not one person is disclosing how he (or any others) may be working toward change. The reason none of these folks want to be in any of the multiple places that cater to the homeless is that those institutions require some effort on the homeless person’s behalf!
    Fact 3: It is not actually quantifiable how many of you REALLY live dangerously close to this encampment. It seems very likely that nearly all you “live and let live” people are happy that this is impacting neighborhoods other than your own.
    Fact 4: If there truly are children living within the encampment, they are very likely significantly at risk of being victimized. At a minimum, those folks should encourage the families with children to seek better support, where the children stand a better chance of getting
    Fact 5: Several of the encampment residents are there because their pets are commonly not allowed in any of the established homeless facilities.
    Fact 6: Once this dangerous encampment is completely established it will be very difficult to get them to move on. All you “fair weather do-gooders” will be long gone when we (the actual neighbors) are dealing with the fallout of this situation.
    If you truly are in need, we are here indeed
    If you are lazy, enabling would be crazy!

  • proudpugetridger May 21, 2011 (10:59 am)

    Thank you very much for responding to the discovery that you actually DID have an RSO in your encampment by asking him to leave.

    I wonder if he didn’t take his tent and sleeping bag and wander into the woods behind my neighborhood’s homes!?!?!?

    This just keeps getting better!

  • JoB May 21, 2011 (11:01 am)


    it appears that the fact that the camp evicted a sex offender who had slipped through their security within an hour of being notified doesn’t count with you.

    i suppose the fact they they are still trying to dig out of the logistical nightmare of having their entire camp dumped in the middle of a mud bog doesn’t matter either.

    or the fact that they are doing their best to keep current records in spite of the fact that they have no electricity.

    did you know that this “dangerous” camp has been visited by every local public safety entity this week?

    Or that they have crews out cleaning up the neighborhood as we speak?

    No.. you would much rather ignore the messenger and blame everyone else for not doing enough to protect your neighborhood.

    Go find the camp proudpugetridger.
    It’s likely you have been passing it for a week now without ever even noticing it is there.

    They may be the best neighbors you have.

  • miws May 21, 2011 (11:11 am)

    Thanks again for the kind words and support everyone! (Hi Sis!)


    As far as the sex offender…he’s out of there. There will probably be more details to follow, but I don’t know all of the details at this time, or even if I did, how much I’d be authorized to share. There is a strict protocol in Nickelsville, rules, (and consequences if they are broken). All I know is that Security, and even the Bookkeeeper got word out throughout the camp, and worked diligently on dealing with this situation.


    There’s so much to say, and to reply to, but a fairly limited time each day for me to do so. So, if I don’t directly respond to your question/comcern/offer of help, please don’t be offended. Maybe at a later time I’ll have the time to go into more detail as to what led up to this. Right now, I figure the juxtapostion of my needing to vacate the apartment giving up many posessions of years and even my lifetime, and Nickelsville’s return to West Seattle must have happened for a reason. We need each other, and I have the power to help, with the assistance of our great community.


    I don’t know if I’ll be given any official status through Nickelsville, but at this point think of myself as being kind of a go-between between Nickelsville and WSB.


    One thing I’ve come to realize, that I pretty much knew already, is that for the most part, “Nickelodians” are the people you interact with every day.


    They are the people that provide services to you in various ways. I;m sure some have them have taught your kids. They’re the people you sit next to on the bus everyday, going to or from your respective jobs. This is just a feeling I’ve gotten from being around this group the last five days, and hearing the different conversations. At this time, I know very little of anyone persons actual work history. I just know that most, if not all, have held down jobs in the past, (and some still do), it’s just that for whatever reason; layoff, disability whatever, they have not all sat around ofr decades mooching off of society.


    One thing, a bit out of the continuity of this post, (it just happens to come to mind), is that my own circumstnces are not addiction related. I have never done drugs, (other than a couple of tokes off of a joint on a couple of occasions nearly thirty years ago), I rarely drink anymore, and have never tried a cigareette even once.


    Anyway, back to my point in the earlier paragraph; one thing I know for sure, is that some of these people have served your Country, and their Service related issues have been swept under the rug. So, before any other naysayers, especially the faux Patriots speak up about how Nickelodians are responsible for their own circumstances, ask yourself; “….is this anyway to treat a person that risked their life, and perhaps were physically and.or mentally damaged in combat?”.


    I have to check other stuff before my time runs out, but will try to make it back up tomorrow.
    Thanks again, everyone, and Gina, I have a couple friends who have helped with storing some stuff already, but they are pretty much maxed out on space, so I;ll keep your offer in mind should I need more storage, thanks.



  • miws May 21, 2011 (11:22 am)

    One more thing that I realized last night: I have yet to see any Nickelodian, who has just walked out of a porta-potty, NOT stop at the wash station and wash their hands.


    How many of you, with negative opinions, can say the same thing about all of your co-workers, in the company restroom?


    One final note, I realize there is tons more support amongst WSB’ers than there is snark. and again, that support is greatly appreciated.



  • JoB May 21, 2011 (12:05 pm)


    LOL.. they just can’t win with you … can they.

    You will damn Nickelsville because a sex offender who moved here from Florida hadn’t notified the country soon enough to end up on the list the camp security was using to cross check residents on intake..
    and then damn them again when they evict him because you think he might end up in the woods behind your house.

    Though why you think he wouldn’t take his stuff and grab the bus into town or trek off in the direction of downtown instead of hauling himself and his stuff up the hill into your neighborhood is beyond me.

    It turns out that what i saw a little after 9 was only the eviction of the sex offenders belongings..
    there was a black man with a hood in the midst of that group and i mistakenly thought it was him.

    He had checked out a bike and was out of the camp at 9.
    When he came back a little after 10 he was invited to take his stuff and go.

  • cclarue May 21, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    Thank you Mike for sharing. Thank you for the perspective. I like many am just a paycheck away…

  • Great May 21, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    West Seattle is the best place for the camp. I’ll donate to keep the camp right smack in WS! We should send all the homeless to WS. Its well suited, like a little island of tolerance.

  • Mike May 21, 2011 (2:30 pm)

    It sounds like Mike (miws) is a good person, knows how to do some management tasks, Internet savvy, well educated. More than likely using the public Internet access at the library to look for jobs, keep in contact with people, etc. If he (or anyone else at the camp) does not have access to a phone and would need voicemail to get messages from prospective employers, is a fantastic free service. You get your own phone number (even a 206 area code one), voicemail, super low rates for long distance outside US/Canada (free text and calls in US & Canada). Also, if they don’t have email, Gmail is free too and ties in directly with Google Voice. All you need is a computer and Internet connection (free at the Library).
    Craigslist is a fantastic source for employment opportunities of all types.
    If somebody is not making enough to rent a studio apartment and pay for food/utilities, keep looking and interviewing, don’t give up. Unemployment is not fun (I know, been there a few times and had near $0 in my bank account when unemployment ran out). There’s always an opportunity (even in this horrible economy), you just can’t give up.

  • Mike May 21, 2011 (2:37 pm)

    Another employment source for those who qualify (age, physical condition, mental condition) is the military and Coast Guard. Granted you won’t live in one spot, but you will have food, shelter, medical coverage, etc.

  • Cait May 21, 2011 (4:42 pm)

    Guess what, proudpugetridger, your tax dollars aren’t at stake here so it’s none of your dang business what these people are doing to get back on their feet. They are CLEARLY as vigilant as they possibly can be about RSOs. If they weren’t, they would not bother putting systems in place to weed them out. There is a difference between letting a mistake happen and harboring a sex offender. You are around many sex offenders every day, I hate to tell you. There are lots of them. And are you listening to yourself? Suddenly Nickelsville doesn’t do enough by not housing sex offenders, they also have to make sure there are none in your neighborhood at all? Please.

  • LeeT May 21, 2011 (4:43 pm)

    One suggestion: I have an “off the grid” place over on Vashon. I power everything (lights, stereo, heater fan, etc.) with rechargeable batteries that are charged via an inverter that I plug into the cigarette-lighter socket in my truck. Same with the laptop battery.

  • JoB May 21, 2011 (5:05 pm)


    Although there are a couple of vehicles at Nickelsville off and on that belong to residents or staff.. both look to on their last legs and i don’t know if they are used enough to keep batteries well charged enough to charge others.

    they do have a generator that is threatening to give up the ghost.. they were trying to coax it back to life today… that they use to charge batteries.. but they have very few batteries.

    there is a camping flat solar panel system at Costco that is being discussed by the appropriate committee that would at least keep the computer and cell phone charged.

    It’s all a process.

    If you have technical knowledge, I am sure they would appreciate you stopping by to let them pick your brain.

  • charlabob May 21, 2011 (5:37 pm)

    Dear proud — what exactly are you proud OF? I’m very curious. It’s obvious the sex offender screening procedure would have caught this guy very soon — I’M very proud too — of the overwhelmingly positive reaction to this story. I purposely avoided asking TR how much private vitriol they received. Because, frankly, I prefer what I see here.

  • LeeT May 21, 2011 (6:59 pm)

    JoB, can you ping me? TR knows my contact info.

  • proudpugetridger May 21, 2011 (8:46 pm)

    The personal shots are hard to understand, but I can sure deal with it. Several of you do, however, owe a sincere appology to Westsider.

  • Cait May 21, 2011 (10:05 pm)

    Personal shots? Got a problem with it report it. In the meantime you aren’t the apology police. Your intolerance of homeless people precludes me from offering you the respect necessary for an apology.

  • JoB May 22, 2011 (7:24 am)


    Westsider got a big thank you from Nickelsville for helping them find a sex offender in their midst faster than they would have otherwise.

    I am not sure what more you want.

    when will you be apologizing for insinuating that the camp was knowingly harboring sex offenders in spite of their rules… or for labeling them dangerous… or …
    or for calling me a fair weather do gooder?

    The personal way you attacked the camp and anyone who helped it had a lot to do with the responses you got.

    i find that in life I pretty much get what i am willing to give. There are exceptions… but for the most part that’s been a fairly accurate guideline.

    check out the camp for yourself and meet some of the people living in the industrial wasteland below you.

    You are likely to be surprised who you find there.

  • proudpugetridger May 22, 2011 (10:08 am)

    The apology I assumed Westsider may get would have come from folks like Lucky Chick: (“…BS…”), JanS: (accused Westsider of “making up her own facts”), and Juanita (accused Westsider of “lumping everyone into the ‘bum/perv’ slot”). Not to mention Cait’s lovely banter about taking a dump in our yard.
    In my view, all of the above comments were personal attacks…on the person whose only infraction was disclosing the information he/she received in the course of her proactive efforts to keep family safe. The Sheriff’s Office sent her specific information related to her location, which she shared with the community engaged in the Nickelsville discussion.
    Those of us who object to the squatters are doing so with respect. And yes, I have visited the encampment several times, including when it was at T-107.
    My opinion of this homeless encampment in my neighborhood continues to be largely based on their reoccurring “oops, I didn’t know he was a sex offender” responses, as well as their lack of any efforts on individuals’ behalfs to work their way out of the free ride they’re getting.
    There are multiple programs that help folks regain momentum toward meshing with society, each of which require effort by the individuals themselves. Teaching them to fish is much more productive than handing them a meal. Check out this link for one (of many) example:
    I wish you all well, and may God bless your lives with blessings and opportunities.

  • LeeT May 22, 2011 (11:45 am)

    Using a generator to recharge batteries is pretty inefficient, because they take several hours to recharge. And you want to fully drain and then recharge them each time, or you’ll lessen their effective life. So if you do have a car available, using an inverter would be a better alternative. I’ve charged a lot of batteries that way and I’ve yet to see it have an appreciable drain on my truck’s battery (and the alternator recharges it the next time I have to drive it). Hope this is helpful.

  • miws May 22, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    Thanks again, everyone!


    I just posted a “Food Needs” thread over in the Forum:


    Mike, thanks for the v-mail/job search info. Craigslist has pretty much been my go to place for job search. After that, Bartell’s job openings page regualrly. Applied for a delivery diver job through a CL post a couple of weeks ago, and for positions at a couple of Bartell locations just over a week ago. has has been my other major search page, bit no hits there yet.



  • LeeT May 22, 2011 (3:26 pm)

    It was a little hard (for me, anyway) to find at first. It’s on Marginal, immediately south of the intersection at Highland Park. Parking lot is to the left if you’re going south. Look for a bank of grey Porta Potties. The camp entrance is just to the right of those. They accept donations at a table about ten feet in and everyone was very friendly. Who’s next? ;^>

  • JoB May 22, 2011 (5:40 pm)

    i can only repeat that you are likely to receive what you give…
    if you look at people in trouble as people who are trying to catch a free ride instead of as people in trouble…
    you can pretty much expect people to comment upon what they see as your tunnel vision.
    If your remarks are personal those made in return are likely to become even more personal.
    is it possible you don’t recognize the personal negative comments you are making about others?
    As for Westsider’s concern for her safety because a registered sex offender registered at Nickelsville…
    Unless she lives at the bottom of that hill there are likely several living closer to her home that she should worry about first.
    that post was mostly one big AhHa! Gotcha!
    and still the people at Nickelsville appreciated the heads up because they want to provide a safe place for families with children.
    I have been at the camp at least once a day every day for the last week.. sometimes twice.
    yes.. i have seen some young men i would call bums… they left camp the minute there was work to be done..
    but i have also seen men and women both young and old who jump up from their meal to help carry water or firewood or provisions…
    or to help me up the steps over the berm that separates the camp from the parking lot.

  • Cclarue May 23, 2011 (7:51 am)

    Proud, I stopped by Saturday and this free ride you speak of is a pretty rough one. These folks have a tent for a home. Igo camping in a tent for recreation and it’s fun for a few days in nice weather. But imagine that your bathroom is a porta potty and your shower well they don’t get one. On Sunday morning I felt so blessed to turn on the hot water and get in the shower. It’s not like these folks are being put up at the Four Seasons. Their tents are on pallets to keep them off the wet ground. Would you rather they go it on their own and find a bridge to hide under?? Our dollar is getting weaker by the day so even those with nice nest eggs of money aren’t as secure as they may think. You really never know when you may need help yourself.

  • lucky chick May 23, 2011 (8:58 am)

    Uh, proudpugetridge, don’t you dare quote me out of context. I did not say “BS” in any reference to the RSO – I called BS on your claim to want to help “these people” but NotIMBY. And you can’t convince me otherwise. Saying you want to help has nothing to do with helping.

  • Cait May 23, 2011 (10:43 am)

    proudpugetridger, are you just planning on goading people until there ARE personal comments made about you? Because it certainly seems like you’re baiting them. Find something better to do.

  • proudpugetridger May 23, 2011 (11:06 am)

    Lucky Chick, I sincerely appologize for taking your comment out of context. I assure you it was not intentional…I simply didn’t go back and read the posts carefully prior to my comment.
    I will NEVER refer to any group of folks as “these people”, stereotypically catagorizing them in a non-respectful way. I’m not sure where you may have seen that, but it was NOT in a comment from me.
    Beleive it or not, I do want to help these people. My issue (opinion) is simply that providing handouts alone does nothing to encourage them to work toward changing thier situation.

  • Mike May 23, 2011 (5:53 pm)

    Maybe an article about how people at the camp are working towards getting out of the camp (finding jobs or jobs that pay better) would help?

  • JoB May 23, 2011 (6:14 pm)


    you make the assumption that most of the people in the camp aren’t working to get themselves out of their situation.
    that isn’t what i have encountered.
    Right now they are struggling to set the camp up but I haven’t talked with a single person there who was not also filling out job apps.
    We all agree that getting the homeless employed so they could save enough to get themselves into housing is a better option for everyone than a campsite.. no matter how improved.
    But in the meantime, the homeless problem doesn’t go away because we choose to focus on what should happen.. not what does.

  • JanS May 23, 2011 (6:21 pm)

    It occurs to me that Mike, or anyone else at the encampment, really doesn’t have to give any of us a blow by blow of what they are doing to better their situation. In Mike’s case, he has been there one week tomorrow. He’s never been homeless before. I would imagine he’s trying to get his bearings, not trying to come up with a list of what he’s doing so as to please any of us. We need to give this man, and the others there, a bit of patience and compassion, instead of simply demanding that they be accountable to us.

    If I have stepped on anyone’s toes during this extended conversation, I’m truly sorry. I did not mean to call out any one specific person, was more addressing everyone (the naysayers) in general.

  • Cclarue May 27, 2011 (10:03 am)

    How many residents are there at nicklesville??

  • miws May 27, 2011 (10:36 am)

    Cclarue, latest I’ve been hearing is 120-150.



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