West Seattle ‘Nickelsville’ camp: Mayor says they can stay

(Photo by Kevin McClintic, taken Monday evening)
Five days have now passed since the homeless encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville” returned to the eastern West Seattle site where it began almost three years ago, at West Marginal Way SW/Highland Park Way (as reported here Friday afternoon). Its first stay there in 2008 ended with city leaders sending in Seattle Police to evict the campers, but that’s not going to happen this time, according to Mayor McGinn‘s office. We had asked his spokesperson Aaron Pickus yesterday about whether the mayor would seek to remove the camp as his predecessor had done, and the answer came back a little while ago: No. Pickus’s reply in its entirety:

We will not seek their eviction. By way of context, this site was originally a candidate for a new City Jail. We recently made a long-term agreement with King County that ensures we don’t have a to build a jail, though.

Last year, we proposed a plan for a safe, city-sanctioned place for an encampment to the City Council. While the Council has decided to not act on that plan, they have committed to weigh in on an alternative location by July. And we remain open to their ideas.

The camp had been at a former fire station in Lake City prior to its somewhat-surprise move last Friday. We’re checking with Nickelsville’s media liaison for their reaction; the newest statement on their website gives no indication that they had heard this previously, as it includes the entreaty: “Please let us stay. Let us create a community Seattle can be proud of. Attached is our plan for our home. All we ask from City Government is this land, and access to nearby utilities. We respectfully ask you and your able Deputy to negotiate with us.”

10:15 PM UPDATE: Through Nickelsville’s media liaison, their official reaction to the mayor’s decision to “not seek their eviction”:

It’s a relief that we can stay. Mayor McGinn’s administration recognizes the value of an organization like Nickelsville. It’s also particularly gratifying that, after 16 moves we can stay put for awhile and people can feel some security. And now we can have the dream of Nickelsville come to reality: a safe, organized eco-village that will ultimately shelter up to a thousand people.

P.S. A WSB Forums member asked tonight about what sort of donations the camp would accept. Two other members who have been there offered detailed answers – you can see the Forums thread here.

72 Replies to "West Seattle 'Nickelsville' camp: Mayor says they can stay"

  • lostcoyote May 18, 2011 (5:51 pm)

    Welcome to the neighborhood my brothers.

  • DP May 18, 2011 (6:11 pm)

    As of 6:10 PM Wednesday the “newest statement” link inserted in the story above is not working.

  • Michael May 18, 2011 (6:56 pm)

    I hope that the Nickels(sic)ville residents understand that they aren’t being allowed to stay there because McGinn thinks its good for them or the community – they’re pawns in an ongoing game he’s playing with the City Council.
    Hey, maybe he can put a City free-bike facility in right next to it! That would be AWESOME!

  • Norma May 18, 2011 (9:40 pm)

    I never understood the name. Bushville would have made more sense.

  • Norman May 18, 2011 (9:44 pm)

    Most of us are a pay check away from needing a place to live god willing it wont happen soon but when and if it does I hope we have this option open to us. The homeless are to often swept under the rug out of sight out of mind. Yet most of us are real close to being there.

  • BB May 18, 2011 (10:01 pm)

    You kids go back to high school and elect a real leader some day

  • Scott May 18, 2011 (10:17 pm)

    Mayor Bicycle needs to leave office. It is for the greater good of our city.

  • Mike May 18, 2011 (10:37 pm)

    Depending on what area they are exactly on, it may not be Seattle City land but rather King County land. So, the tents might be shaken up by the King Co. Sheriff. It’s nice that they wish to use ‘vacant’ land for their own wishes, unfortunately as bad as it is to be homeless, I actually had a chat with some of the residents of that particular camp. They came up a few years ago from Alabama. The wife continued to tell me how they like the life here smoking weed and drinking, begging for money and not having to work a normal job for money. No joke, she actually said that. I have no reason to believe the individuals in that camp are in need. Life is full of hardship, but unless they were from a war torn country and forced out of their home or be murdered… they have it pretty easy in comparison to thousands and thousands of immigrants that have fled to the US and have built a life here supporting families and sending their kids to create companies we work for now.

    • WSB May 18, 2011 (10:44 pm)

      Mike, we went there on Friday, and we had been to that exact same spot multiple times in 2008-2009 while the first round of all this played out. They are on the SDOT parcel 7643400010. There is no adjacent King County land but there is an adjacent state-owned parcel that has an empty building on it. – TR

  • Oloyuo Chensen May 18, 2011 (11:25 pm)

    LOL nice tale Mike

    Just wondering whether you are a Munchausen patient, a pathological liar or just a troll.
    I’ve had the privilege to interact with the Nickelodeons on a regular basis and I can tell right off the bat that you are making up that story…just pray that you never end up homeless yourself.

    I am glad that the men, women and children of Nickelsville have a safe place to stay at and I want to command Mayor McGinn for his humanity. In these times of hardship, we need to stand up and take care of each others

  • Kevin May 19, 2011 (2:05 am)

    Mike, the rules are VERY strict. ZERO tolerance for drugs or alcohol. Come back to camp under the influence and you are OUT! No exceptions.

  • proudpugetridger May 19, 2011 (7:26 am)

    Wake up people, this entire community of trespassing squatters are homeless by choice. In their view, getting up early and working hard every single day is for suckers, not them. We’re enabling them to continue this laziness by handing them gifts without any expectation for them to show effort to improve.

    There is NO reason that each and every individual within the encampment can’t go out and work toward a better lifestyle. Now that they’re given free real estate, their unacceptably low work ethic is even LESS likely to improve.

    Of course, the Lame Duck mayor we elected is happy to give away taxpayer-owned property…as long as it is in my neighborhood and not his.

    Hey, Mr. Wealthy Lawyer Mayor: feel free to kick those of us who are working our tails off in order to afford homes in modest neighborhoods. Bringing our community property values down is not a problem, we can simply take 2nd jobs to help offset the impact of your spinelessness and inability to make a decision that results in improvements for Seattle!

    I wonder if a new “liaison to the homeless community” position will open up within the mayor’s office. Surely McSchwinn will consider a dedicated homeless individual that I’m certain he’ll endorse as worthy of matching the “bicycle liaison” salary he just approved

  • Jasperblu May 19, 2011 (7:47 am)

    Oh, how nice of the Mayor & City Council to let them stay on vacant land in OUR part of the city. As if we don’t already have enough to worry about, they hand us one more piece of evidence to prove that the “leaders” of Seattle don’t give a crap about West Seattle. Thanks a lot.
    Now if only we could get the city council & our equally awesome mayor to let the homeless set up additional camps (to house up to a THOUSAND people!) in THEIR neighborhoods, in fact, why not one in EVERY neighborhood? It’ll totally solve Seattle’s homeless problem and I might actually believe they’re the real bleeding hearts they want us to *think* they are.
    Oh wait. That’ll never happen. What the heck, we might as well let them build a new jail over here after all.

  • Darkseid May 19, 2011 (8:04 am)

    Wow. When did WS get so full of bitter conservatives?

    Move to Arizona.

  • ME May 19, 2011 (8:10 am)

    I hate when people run down those who live in tents, boxes etc. I’m telling you! I’m retired, have a small 401k left after all the “Federal, State recessions” scamming of our funds. I live in a very modest apt. (had to sell the house for medical reasons) … have about $200. a month left to purchase food, clothing, medications. I am just a hop, skip and a jump from being in a tent or box. So people either be a millionaire or hope and pray you don’t end up there too!

  • DW May 19, 2011 (8:11 am)

    If you’re looking to donate – I’d look for an organization that helps get people back on their feet – job training, transitional housing, etc – rather than donating to a “cause” trying to score political points.

    And there are hundreds of other issue our mayor should be working on. You can’t save every one of the poor and downtrodden, no matter how good your intentions.

  • lostcoyote May 19, 2011 (8:13 am)

    Hey proupug…go back into that cave you just crawled out of trogladyte!

  • HighlandParkBust May 19, 2011 (8:22 am)

    I scrimped, saved and sacrificed for a DECADE to buy a home of my own. I worked 50-60 hours per week, missed out on fun trips and outings with my friends and family, went without new ANYTHING and this is how it all ends up?

    Since when are the needs of the taxpayer LESS important than the needs of non-taxpayers? Has everyone gone completely insane?

    Am I bitter? You bet I am!

    There is a very easy solution here – those who are mentally ill and cannot care for themselves or have people who can care for them should go to state run mental hospitals. Those who are not mentally ill and are not contributing members of society will go to a state run group home where they can get “three hots and a cot” in exchange for an honest day’s work doing community service. Should they want to get a job they can do that too, and save up enough to get a place of their own.

    I’m not an old crotchety person, as you might think – I’m 30 and at the end of my rope.

  • Lee May 19, 2011 (9:29 am)

    Hello I am glad Mayor Mc Ginn said they could stay but I think the property is owned by the state of Washington and last time Chris G kicked them off and put a fence up with a bunch of no trespassing signs. So what happened to the fence and the no trespassing signs? And who paid for them to be both put up and taken down? Could Chris and Mc Ginn have a secret goal to advance activest and thier use of people to attend the activest goals? Inquireing minds want to know.

  • SarahScoot May 19, 2011 (9:36 am)

    “I scrimped, saved and sacrificed for a DECADE to buy a home of my own. I worked 50-60 hours per week, missed out on fun trips and outings with my friends and family, went without new ANYTHING and this is how it all ends up?”

    Yes, because living in a tent encampment with dozens of others is just as good as owning your own home! Why should you have to scrimp and save to buy a home when you could have just stopped working and had the government allow you to set up a tarp on their land? Boy oh boy do those Nickelsville residents have it good!

  • Halyn May 19, 2011 (9:36 am)

    Sorry if this lumps me in with the “bitter conservatives,” but yeah, this sucks. My husband and I drive 20 year old cars. I scan the special sheets from the grocery stores and buy store brands. I get most of my clothes from thrift shops, and I don’t get “new” clothes until the old ones are worn out. We scrimp and save and make sure that there is always 20% of every paycheck to put aside. That way, if one of us loses a job or gets sick, we have money to fall back on. We are responsible, hardworking people. We don’t have any debt, and we love the northwest even though we can’t afford to buy a house here. Yet I’m expected to smile and extend a hand in welcome to people who are jobless-and by extension, homeless- by choice. And if I have the temerity to say “wait a second, that’s not fair…why do I have to work so hard, and them not at all?” Well, then someone in the comments will tell me to move to Arizona, because apparently my can-do attitude and self-reliance are not welcome qualities in West Seattle.

    I’m actually kind of hurt by this. How dare you. Me, and the people like me, have played by the rules. Where’s our reward? When do those of us who are busting our asses to build a good life for ourselves and our children get a break? If it weren’t for people like us, there wouldn’t be taxpayer money to spend on things like this. Think about that before you tell me to take my tax dollars to Arizona.

  • Steve K May 19, 2011 (10:12 am)

    More proof that McGinn is a world-class moron.

  • buddsmom May 19, 2011 (10:14 am)

    HighlandParkbBust….Are you sure you’re not a reincarnation of one E. Scrooge? You sure sound like it. I’m so tired of NIMBYs I could scream!!! Just wait until you actually KNOW one of the unfortunate souls before you pass judgement. It could be your sister escaping an abusive husband, or the nice family down the street who lost thier house because dad got laid off and they couldn’t pay the bills, could be YOU if you become disabled. Wake up!

  • SarahScoot May 19, 2011 (10:25 am)

    You know what else “sucks,” Halyn? That many people in our country work hard and cut all but the necessities but still aren’t paid enough to cover anything but those. Some people really cannot afford to save anything. The people who end up living in homeless encampments or shelters are almost never doing so because it’s easy. It’s not, I can guarantee you.

    Do you know what else “sucks”? That there are very wealthy people in this country who pay effectively less in taxes than the average “middle-class” citizen, while we “middle-class” citizens have to scrimp and save.

    You know what else “sucks”? Lottery winners. Man, it’s so unfair that I have to work every day and then some random person wins $250 million. What about me?

    And finally: dogs, cats, and other pets “suck.” Again, people scrimp and save to get by, and these animals just mooch off that hard work.

  • Kelly May 19, 2011 (10:28 am)

    I think everybody knows we’re in a major recession. Some of my hard-working friends have had a really hard time finding work. One couple (both teachers) lost their jobs and, over time with not enough consistent income and a house that wouldn’t sell, they lost their home, too. They have a young son.

    Isn’t it conceivable that there are good people in this camp with a similar story? That maybe it’s not their dream to live there, but it’s the best they can do today?

    I’m not naive enough to think that everyone there is a victim, but I do have enough compassion for people who are struggling.

    @WSBlog: maybe some interviews with the people living there would help us understand better. This hearsay isn’t helpful.

    • WSB May 19, 2011 (10:37 am)

      Kelly, watch for a story that is in the works now. It will speak for itself – TR

  • maplesyrup May 19, 2011 (10:46 am)

    Unless you work near it or drive on 509 every day, this camp is pretty much out of sight and shouldn’t affect our property values much. Unless you’re just suspicious of homeless people, does it really affect you?

    And maybe some people prefer not to have the trappings of a house and a job but I don’t believe that most of the people in the camp are living in a tent by the freeway by choice. Have a little compassion.

    Finally, even if you have to scrimp and save to get where you are, what bearing does this camp have on your particular situation? What does the negativity and resentment really accomplish?

  • HighlandParkBust May 19, 2011 (10:48 am)

    @Sarah – I think you missed my point. I’m not saying that my living situation is BETTER than those living in tent cities. I’m saying that tent cities are a poor solution for everyone involved. Not at ANY point during my original post did I say that people who live in tent cities are bad, terrible people. Not once.

    I believe that permanent tent cities are a disservice to both the people that live there and the people that live around it. There is a resistance to move to the PB Factory site because the expectation is that residency will be temporary for people until they can get back on their feet. Living outside for the rest of one’s life is hardly a triumph of human rights.

    And, for what it’s worth, I think your anger is misdirected, to say the least.

    For everyone that thinks I’m a scrooge – that’s your right, of course. I believe that people are entitled to basic shelter, food, access to health care, the opportunity to work and the opportunity to be educated. I am a strong advocate for transitional housing and programs, and worked in that field for years.

  • Cascadianone May 19, 2011 (10:58 am)

    There is a fantasy being peddled here that all the homeless are just like us, only down on their luck. Well I have worked with the homeless before and I know better. It IS true that there are a few transitory “normal people” who become homeless for a time before starting up a legitimate lifestyle again, but the vast majority of these people are mentally-ill (many vets), drug addicts and societal dropouts. They do not want the life we lead, except for the part where they DO want land, running water, flushing toilets, electricity and- if they could reasonably get it- an internet connection FOR FREE. I don’t hate the player, just the silly game. But if the homeless are just normal folks why don’t all the bleeding hearts here open up their spare bedrooms and mother-in-law units for them??? I bet West Seattle alone could soak up the whole encampment and get them back on their feet, right? Problem is, now the fantasy starts to break down- you know that at the very best you’d end up with an overgrown adolescent mooching off of you forever. At the worst, well, I think we’ve had enough fevered imagination for now. We have created a society which is very tolerant of these type of people and now we are all going to pay for it- literally.

  • Halyn May 19, 2011 (10:58 am)

    Really, lottery winners?? Congratulations, you win the “Reductio Ad Absurdum” Award for today’s discussion.

    Yeah, life isn’t fair, yada yada. I get it. But sometimes I just need to vent about people like SarahScoot who think it’s perfectly ok to nullify my hard work and responsibility by simply handing out money and entitlements to people who aren’t even trying to do better.

    I’ve talked to Nickelsville residents who have told me to my face that working is a racket for the man, and their principles won’t allow them to take a job. Well, my principles don’t allow for any compassion for you, then. You’ve made your bed, lie in it.

  • SarahScoot May 19, 2011 (11:03 am)

    HPB, yes, I did misunderstand your overall sentiment. I am angry, mainly because the number of ignorant comments here really confuses me. If anyone wants to live in a homeless encampment, they can contrive the circumstances and live that life. I’m sure there are some people who choose that life, but so what? The overall drain on our tax dollars from the few people who choose to live homeless is minuscule compared to the amount our country expends on war or bailing out banks.

  • Darkseid May 19, 2011 (11:08 am)

    The classic conservative slant is to blame the less fortunate for their station in life. Most of these related comments contain some variation of “they are jobless and homeless by choice.” Are you serious? Do you know any of these people?

    Congratulations on being “responsible”, but
    try some compassion.

    Also, I suggested Arizona because it’s current mantra is “blame the victim.”

  • Kayleigh May 19, 2011 (11:30 am)

    If you think that scrimping, saving, not drinking a morning latte, “good choices” and “hard work” (whatever that means) will protect you 100% from the randomness of life, you have a lot of growing up to do.
    People with Master’s degrees are applying in droves for entry level jobs that don’t even need a Bachelor’s to be done well. What is to become of people whose skills and capacity are limited? Not everyone is capable of an MBA and corporate success, no matter how much “tough love” they are shown.
    How old are you, Halyn? How much $$ would you have without your husband’s income? Would you be able to support yourself on your own? have you ever even been on your own? Being single is a lot harder financially–throw in a couple kids and suddenly middle class life is precarious at best. Try not wedding so much of your self-esteem to looking down on people.

  • RG May 19, 2011 (11:45 am)

    WSB: In your forthcoming article could you please include information on the children living there. Thanks.

    • WSB May 19, 2011 (11:56 am)

      RG, I don’t know about children living there and the story I mentioned is not a wide-ranging look – that would have to be a possible later story – TR

  • Yoshi May 19, 2011 (12:35 pm)

    McGinn is out, and he knows it. This is a huge disservice to the hard working residents of Highland Park. This city will gladly sweep homeless people to middle class neighborhoods so they don’t have to deal with them.

    I’m thinking about renting a big bus so I can drop off Nicklesville citizens in downtown Magnolia and Queen Anne every day. You know, let them mill around there for a while and see how those neighborhoods react.

    If the Highland Park Improvement Club is worth anything, they’ll petition to move this camp out.

  • Yoshi May 19, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    I will, however, be calling the cops every time I see one of these people loitering in my neighborhood.

  • CMT May 19, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    Wow, so many people making so many assumptions. Yes, I am sure there are some that free-load. However, it is likely that there are many more that are unable to find a job, maybe have health issues that preclude working, or are in circumstances that the rest of us have not been faced with. I’m sure most people did not start out with the lofty goal of living in a tent in a homeless community. Sheesh, be glad for what you have and live and let live.

  • cj May 19, 2011 (1:04 pm)

    Every individual has their own story. Its not really a good idea to lump people together with assumptions. What we need is some control on the situation so we can know what goes on with them and who each of them really is. Its really easy to cast negative light on the disenfranchised when you your self have a home.

  • dsa May 19, 2011 (1:14 pm)

    How are the basics food, fresh water waste, and sanitation being covered?

  • JoB May 19, 2011 (1:33 pm)

    Well, one thing this string of comments proves is how necessary it is to get educated about the homeless in our neighborhoods and the resources that are.. or aren’t… available to them.. like those state run mental institutions we closed or those group homes that didn’t survive the latest round of budget cuts. The medication programs that were supposed to keep those who need to be medicated to survive out of group homes and state run institutions didn’t survive those cuts either.

    I have spent a few hours at Nickelsville this week and have met credentialed clean and sober professionals who hit a bump in life’s road that they couldn’t recover from. A surprising number of them hold down part or full times jobs while attending school. Most of them are contributing more than a full day’s work right now trying to get the camp properly set up and re-established.

    I also met a few young men who were far more interested in going off to do whatever struck their fancy than helping haul water, firewood and garbage… but they were the minority and i was part of discussions that let me know for a fact that the leadership in the camp is well aware of those who are too lazy to help themselves or others. They will be gone the first time they fail to show up for their scheduled work detail or saunter into the camp under the influence.

    When you are standing there waiting for camp residents to load your truck for a dump run you get to see just who is and isn’t willing to work for that “free handout” everyone assumes is the reality.

    except for one small grant they have already received and another they are applying for, this camp is funded by working residents and donors… not taxpayer funds.

    It’s too easy to have opinions based on street people who say they are part of the camp or on the images of homeless people we are fed with the nightly news.

    Right now the appearance of the camp is a little haphazard.. but they just moved a few days ago.

    Give them a little time if appearances matter that much to you and I am betting a visit will challenge what you think you know about homeless camps in general and this homeless camp in particular.

    My first visit on tuesday sure challenged everything i thought i knew about available resources .. and who needs them these days.

  • JoB May 19, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    the camp has rented portable toilets and a sanitation station.
    they are bagging garbage and volunteers are taking it to the local transfer station.
    volunteers also haul water and firewood for them.
    While i was there today one delivered some pallets to keep tents dry and for walkways.
    yesterday i was there when someone dropped off a couple of cases of bottled water.
    I haven’t been there at mealtime but heard someone walk though before lunch asking who was interested in hot dogs and have seen the bbqs where residents can prepare their own food.
    they have a communal kitchen but i don’t really know how that functions.

    I have hauled water, garbage and firewood for them this week. I pull up and let them know i am there and available. they load the back of the pickup and send someone along with me to do the heavy lifting. When i get back, volunteers unload the pickup and thank me for my help.

    they have made helping them out a very easy thing to do.

  • JanS May 19, 2011 (1:47 pm)

    I’m curious how many of you live within walking distance of Nicklesville. As far as I know, there are no houses on tht part of West Marginal Way. And I’m totally surprised at how many of you have been to Nicklesville and met people/talked with people there, since they’ve only been there for what? a week? How neighborly of you. But in my gut, I’m having a hard time believing you all, unless you travelled to a different part of Seattle to visit the camp before they came here. And somehow, I get the feeling that some of you wouldn’t walk across the street to meet and get to know these people, see what goes on there. Just a first impression…and first impressions are so right sometimes.

    So, what is it? Are you a kindly neighbor? or a story making NIMBY!? Just curious…

  • Cait May 19, 2011 (2:04 pm)

    It was my understanding, at least with Tent Cities, that you needed to be employed or actively seeking employment in order to live there. Sooo… so much for the “not contributing to society” argument, eh? And say that they for some reason chose to live that way – what business is it of yours? The taxpayer dollar argument is completely irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. We piss away tax dollars on frivolous crap all the time in this city – welcome to Seattle. But guess what? Tax dollars are spent to improve your city and help those that cannot help themselves. And if you are jealous of the likely ficticious portion of this population that CAN help themselves than nothing is stopping you from giving up your big screen TV, two cars and your cable bill to go do it yourself. Go on! Try it out! Want to talk about throwing away money, ask people who can’t afford to eat what a cable bill looks like to them. And I don’t care that you worked hard for the money to purchase those things, I really don’t. The decision to trade time with your family for dollars to buy anything more than food, water and shelter is no more implicitly morally sound than going to live in a homeless encampment because there are things in your life barring you from employment… You don’t get to buy a high horse with the money you get from your job. You have made a choice.

    In comparison to the luxuries that we all consume (and we all have them even if it’s a miniscule, tiny little thing like shoes that are in half-decent repair) the tax dollars you are paying to house those less fortunate is not only more socially responsible, but it’s also FAR LESS MONEY. And it keeps them off your precious, proverbial LAWNS. Think about it. And giving them a good place to be with good resources and strict rules is actually a great model.

    And all you NIMBYs complaining about calling the cops if you see them loitering, I will guarantee you right now that it is far more likely that you will see my well employed car-driving self taking an angry, vindictive dump on your lawn than to see one of these folks “imposing” on you by you having to look at them.

  • Cait May 19, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    BTW Yoshi, some of those neighborhoods have actually housed tent cities before with no elevated crime or drop in home values. Which you would know if you actually looked into what “tent cities” do, how they operate and their history in Seattle.

    And also “hardworking Highland Park neighborhood”? Highland Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of section 8 housing in Seattle which is the most abused government service in the nation.

    I made that up. You just made the whole “not checking the facts” thing look like such fun, thought I’d try it out myself.

  • SarahScoot May 19, 2011 (2:49 pm)

    Right on, Cait! I hope to meet you Saturday. :-)

  • Kayleigh May 19, 2011 (3:11 pm)

    I’ve never understood the line of thinking that says that having compassion, humility, and gratitude somehow diminishes our accomplishments, hard work, or responsibility.
    I do without a lot of things others consider to be necessities so that I can have my own financial safety net. But I was also blessed with parents who taught me this, a family who helped put me through school, good health (until a recent injury), a good brain, etc. Not everyone gets the advantages I had.
    It’s not either/or. You can be proud of your life choices and hard work AND not use those things to beat others down. Heck, you could even use what you know to reach out and help others…but that might make you a socialist. ;-)

  • Yoshi May 19, 2011 (3:29 pm)

    Cait – I highly doubt I’ll see you squatting on my lawn since you obviously don’t live anywhere near Highland Park.

  • Cait May 19, 2011 (3:40 pm)

    I do. Clearly you didn’t get the point of that last post I made.

  • Halyn May 19, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    You know what? I am compassionate. I donate both time and money to several different charities..INCLUDING a charity that helps the homeless. Which is how I happened to have the opportunity to speak to some Nickelsville residents. I was researching the field of charities for the homeless to determine which one I would support. I am generous to the less fortunate, but not blindly so. Sorry, I expect to see at least an interest in raising yourself up to a point of self-reliance.

    To address another point, the fact that the city frequently wastes tax dollars does not make it right, and does not lessen the citizen’s responsibility to question wasteful practice and to demand accountability. And I’d like to know why it’s such a bad thing that I would like my government to allow ME to keep more of MY money. If I walked up to you on the street, took a 20 out of your pocket and handed it to a random person walking by, I would expect you to be bothered by that.

    And, not that it’s anyone’s business, I am 35 years old. I have two children, one of whom will be starting college in a couple of years. And yes, my salary would pay our bills without my husband’s help. My lifestyle would have to undergo some tweaking, and it definitely wouldn’t be fun, but yeah. In fact, we chose our current home because the rent and operating costs could be handled by either one of us alone if necessary. This decision was made at my insistence, because I’ve been a single parent before, and am quite aware of how tough it is. I’m also quite familiar with the concept of living paycheck to paycheck.
    My self-esteem is not based on putting others down…I am pleased with the life I’ve built. I did a lot of it on my own, and I came from a background of limited means, opportunity and support. It would have been a lot easier to cry victim over my poor upbringing and wait for someone to rescue me, but I much prefer being my own person, and being in debt to no one, in any way.

    To be very frank, writing is not one of my skill sets. If we were talking, I think I would be getting this across better…let me try again…I don’t hate these people. I wish them no ill at all. In fact, I would love to find a way to help them. BUT…I don’t think throwing money at them is helping. I think it’s helping to perpetuate a cycle of poverty and homelessness. What is needed is a way to help these people help themselves. I know how corny and lame that line sounds, don’t bother telling me. I don’t have a solution. But I don’t have an interest in being part of the problem either, and I think handouts and entitlements are part of the problem. I’m really not trying to be cruel or without compassion. I’m just frustrated.

  • JoB May 19, 2011 (3:55 pm)

    All i can say is that i had a really hard time finding Nickelsville when i purposefully went looking for them so i don’t think the sight of their unsightly selves is going to impact anyone much near the camp..

    their nearest neighbors? A subway. A waste management transfer station. a freeway. No homes.

    it is a very long walk up a very steep hill to get to Highland Park neighborhoods and bus access is easier for downtown.

    i agree with Cait.. you are far more likely to see my wrinkled whitebread bottom dumping on your lawn than one of the residents of Nickelsville.

    unlike your neighbor’s dog..
    they pay to maintain their own toilets..
    and they pick up after their pets too

  • maplesyrup May 19, 2011 (5:01 pm)

    Halyn, I think the problem I have with your line of thought is the idea that people wanting to help Nicklesville residents nullifies your hard work and responsibility. The two aren’t really connected. Nor are donations of some basic necessities really entitlements. They’re handouts, ok. But those handouts don’t affect you- why should you care if other people choose to hand out?

  • TGL May 19, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    Tired of this yet? It time for leadership at City Hall, Seattle deserves it.



  • JanS May 19, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    I am tired of every time you don’t agree with something, one wants to recall the mayor. And if you do, who then will run things? Just askin’…somebodies gotta do it.

    But, then, I’m not tired of Nicklesville. I could very easily be there myself. People, you have no idea what might befall you suddenly in life. I’ve never been homeless, but I’ve been close..lost a business, lost my home, but luckily found a place to live, and rebuild. Judgmental is not a good look on anyone. Unless you’ve been there, an opinion is just that…an opinion. You’re entitled to that. But you’re not entitled to make up your own facts.

  • JoB May 19, 2011 (6:39 pm)

    throw the bums out is not leadership
    just saying :)

  • Recall McGinn May 19, 2011 (7:06 pm)

    I wonder if this means the return of aggressive panhandling in Westwood Village?

  • lostcoyote May 19, 2011 (7:42 pm)

    Why am I not surprised that my last post has been deleted.

  • Bettytheyeti May 19, 2011 (8:33 pm)

    A thousand of (anything) IS invasive. Slippery slope this. Perhaps the reason for the unwelcome reaction to the reappearance of Nickelsville.

  • JanS May 19, 2011 (9:25 pm)

    wow…speculation abounds. This camp is nowhere near Westwood Village….and there are not a thousand people there. And if there is panhandling at WWV, how do you know its someone from Nicklesville? You have knowledge that no one else does? A good portion of you fine folks who think you’re better(looking down your collective noses at) than these people will probably be leaving these earthly bounds this Saturday anyway, so..problem solved. You won’t be putting up with it much longer, will you?

  • maplesyrup May 19, 2011 (9:44 pm)

    I went over there this afternoon. I missed it on the first pass because it’s fairly well-hidden.

    The guys I talked to were pretty nice and thankful for the water I brought. I didn’t walk around because they were in the middle of a meeting but the camp’s really not that big. I don’t get what the fuss is about.

  • Cait May 19, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    Halyn the taking of $20 from my wallet to provide services to the community at large (that I cannot or would not provide myself if left to my own devices) is what taxes are there for. Sounds like your issue is with taxes and not necessarily homelessness and I don’t know what to tell you there. If you kept your whole paycheck you would have to be fixing your own potholes, putting out your own fires and fighting crime on your own amongst other unpleasant tasks better left to professionals. We pay money so that people are able to make it their job and passion to care for people who are less fortunate than we are and god bless them for it. Of the portion of my paycheck that is allotted to taxes, you can give $20 to those people and the people they care for any time you’d like. Hell, I’ll give you $40 just to make a point. Even if you are a heartless cad (not saying you are) that money at least keeps the majority of homeless people out of your line of vision.

    And the expectation that these people are going to live up to your societal standards just because you are helping them (financially or otherwise) might make business sense but it doesn’t take into account that in many cases these are not normal people with normal circumstances that we are talking about here. I find it a strange perspective from someone who volunteers with the homeless, honestly.

    So many people lose families, develop drug problems and die stress related deaths from working themselves to the bone that it’s no wonder that some people just aren’t capable of doing it enough to sustain a life be it mentally or physically. And frankly if you can’t afford an education, the more likely you are to work in manual labor which is incredibly stressful and hard on the body. You max out physically at 55 from working hard for a living… and then you have to rely on tax payer funded government services again to see you through until you’re dead. Its a cycle. And you can opt out of it if you want.

    Charity means that you give your time, your money and your love to those who need it and part of that is expecting to get nothing in return. If you are expecting to get the satisfaction of seeing every person you help magically turning their life around, its not a guaranteed and frankly you aren’t going to find it when offering true charity. If you are expecting the experience to make you feel the rare assertion that your tax dollars are going to good use, don’t expect to find that experience in charity work especially if it’s going to cause you to become so jaded.

    And as far as people wasting tax payer money with no hope if you ever seeing a payoff you are more likely to see your tax dollars pissed away by people actually employed by the government, not by those who are not employed at all. And relativity is key here, although you disagree. I could find you about 5 other causes that would you would better spend your time worrying about their effects on your taxes that don’t involve having unrealistic expectations of your fellow humans. I don’t know what causes a person to point the finger at the homeless because seemingly they are just jealous of the fact that the homeless don’t have to go to work in the morning and determine a household budget.

  • Cait May 19, 2011 (10:07 pm)

    I’d also like to mention that these are not your “typical” homeless people if there is such a thing. They are dedicated to each other and to the communities they inhabit in their travels. Otherwise they would not have rules about drugs and the like. I think of them more as a commune than a “homeless encampment”. Crime does not follow these camps… but evidently ignorance does! I wonder if we can find something that smells like a book for them to spray around their camp to keep the more ignorant of us out… Someone should ask about that…

  • Ricky Bobby May 20, 2011 (6:18 am)

    In my opinion the real problem here is that a short term solution to a long term problem is the only thing elected officials can come up with in this city. A tent city is better then sleeping on the street, but it seems like a poor choice for helping people either transition back into society or in finding the long term care that they really need.

    It is also quite easy to understand that homeowners/traditional society dwellers don’t really want a camp of homeless people living in their backyard. No matter how nice they are, having 1000 people living in a small area is going to generate more quality of life issues than a vacant lot.

  • Kayleigh May 20, 2011 (7:14 am)

    Halyn, you could take care of yourself financially….unless your husband started a new life with a female “friend” and cleaned out your bank accounts. Or unless you found yourself a young window, suddenly laid off from your job. Or you get a new boss who doesn’t like you and finds reasons to fire you. Or you blow your ACL and can’t work for 2 months and have $15K in hospital bills your insurance finds ways to not cover. Or you wake up with your joints locked up and a fever and are diagnosed with lupus—and suddenly you can’t work. You are not immune to any of those risks. None of us are.
    Which is to say nothing of the chronically homeless, people whose lives have fallen so far down that they likely will never rise to your level. They exist, too.
    Your frustration and self-congratulation and even your entire biography do nothing to solve the problem of homelessness. What does help the problem? Transitional housing. Drug treatment. Affordable housing. Mental health treatment and counseling. Subsidized child care. Work training programs. Living wage jobs. Health care. Child abuse intervention. Domestic violence intervention. All of things things take your precious tax dollars, though.
    But it feels better to just sit back and congratulate yourself on your great life and great choices, doesn’t it?

  • jiggers May 20, 2011 (7:58 am)

    Having a roof over your head in today’s society is a luxory after what happened to our economy. I read comments of people here who are clueless, but frankly I feel don’t care about anything except themselves. Lately that’s what our government is grooming us to be selfish and ignorant and it is showing in droves. The Roman Empire lasted 700 years plus, I can’t see our country lasting near that the way it is deteriorating. Hardly anyone wants to be part of the solution. Back when J.F.K. was president our country was on one page, but not today. The Nickelsville camp should be the least of your worries. If you’re not looking for it, you won’t see them. What’s the problem?

  • Joanne Brayden May 20, 2011 (8:22 am)

    What i find most interesting about this discussion is the issue of tax dollars…
    other than the fact that this encampment is on city land…
    and the premature assumption that tax dollars will have to be spent to return it to it’s previous bog-like weed infested purpose…
    This camp is spending it’s own funds to rent and maintain those portable toilets and sanitation system you will find in the parking lot if you visit.
    The dollars floating into and out of that camp are dollars earned at gainful employment by camp residents and donations…
    dollars that paid their fair share of taxes before they landed in the camp account.

  • JoB May 20, 2011 (8:32 am)

    If you want to know how you can help or want more information about Nickelsville, you can contact them through their webpage at www. nickelsvilleseattle.org or contact their representative at 206-450-9136 or scott@nickelsville.org.

  • Cait May 20, 2011 (10:44 am)

    Joanne – thanks for clearing that up. I THOUGHT that was the case!

  • Juanita May 20, 2011 (10:53 am)

    Hey..just because a few people prefer homelessness to responsibility (they arent motivated), there are SOME Nicklesville residents don’t deserve people’s uninformed/insensitive reaction to their situation. NOT everyone there is lazy!! I bet there are many of those residents who I’m SURE would Love for their current situation to change 4 the better..don’t lump everyone into that ‘lazy bum’ category–you never know what could happen to you!..or when!

  • JoB May 20, 2011 (7:28 pm)

    I am going to be the first to admit that there are lazy bums everywhere.
    there are more than a few on my street.
    But just like everywhere else… they are the minority.

  • datamuse May 21, 2011 (7:44 am)

    You know, I’ve lived in Highland Park for over a decade and have encountered folks of no fixed address (often, they were sleeping in Westcrest Park) fairly frequently. So I gotta ask, if you see one of “these people” in the neighborhood, how are you gonna know? Are you expecting them to wear signs?
    I have no problem with Nickelsville on the edge of my neighborhood. There are unofficial tent encampments all over town; drive under I-5 at James Street sometime for a fairly prominent example. At least Nickelsville is keeping track of who lives there and takes steps to ensure that they’re being responsible to themselves and their community.
    I know far too many people who are this close to being on the streets themselves. If your partner loses his job at the same time that your chronic medical issue that has made you unable to work suddenly requires expensive intervention, how exactly do you “make a good choice” in that situation?

Sorry, comment time is over.