Security at ‘Nickelsville’ camp: 1st of 2 reports – ‘The Incident’

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

The incident that sparked this story began when a West Seattle resident reported in the comments section of this recent WSB report, “So You Think You Know Who’s at Nickelsville?”, that an automatic notification had informed her/him that a registered sex offender living in the vicinity of the camp that moved back to eastern WS three weeks ago today.

At first glance, that report and how Nickelsville rapidly responded to it seemed to be all there was to tell, but this story, like all tales of human interaction with bureaucracy, turns out to be much more complex than anticipated.

I confess, as the person breaking the story of WSB Forums member Mike’s move to Nickelsville, I was inclined to dismiss the initial comment about a sex offender living at Nickelsville as one of the many Not In My Back Yard reactions to the homeless camp, but as the evening progressed, the probable offender was identified.

The following morning at 7 am, I e-mailed Scott Morrow, Nickelsville’s staff person, to let him know that there was a possibility that a registered sex offender had checked into Nickelsville.

What followed was a swift flurry of activity that woke the management at Nickelsville in the early morning hours and precipitated an investigation into whether this individual currently resided in their community and, if so, how he had evaded the camp’s security process.

Scott first verified that the individual in question was a registered sex offender. Then he called Nickelsville’s security team. They verified that the offender was residing at the camp. The offender was not present when they identified him, having checked out a bicycle early that morning, so they packed his belongings for him and deposited them by the security tent awaiting his return.

Scott then contacted the Nickelsville bookkeeper to verify that the man was not on the list they use to crosscheck for sex offenders. (He wasn’t.) He next tracked down the offender’s intake form. He called Peggy at Jam with Justice, the 501c3 non-profit that hosts the Nickelsville project, who had volunteered to charge the camp laptop and process intake forms until the camp had reliable electrical service. A check of the offender’s intake form verified that he had checked in on May 18 and had initialed acceptance of the No Sexual Predators-No Tolerance Rule.

By 9:30 am, when I arrived at Nickelsville with a copy of a printout of a sex-offender registry that included a picture of the individual who had registered in King County, his belongings were packed and awaiting his return. By 10:20 am, he had returned, been notified he was banned, and had left the area. (The online registry now lists his address as 12th and Jackson.)

While that was a swift conclusion to this incident, it is not the whole story. The question of how Nickelsville could have admitted a registered sex offender in spite of their security precautions is more complex than simple human error.

Nickelsville relies on a series of checks and balances to keep sex offenders and other predators out of their community. The first line of defense occurs at intake registration. After showing a government-issued picture ID, every new resident fills out an intake form that includes the non-negotiable reasons for immediate eviction, including no alcohol or drugs, and no sexual predators. The intake officer reads the rules to them individually and they are required to initial each rule to verify that they understand and will comply.

This offender lied and signed his initials to that lie to gain admittance to Nickelsville.

Security then checks the camp’s printed copy of the King County Sheriff’s Office‘s current sex-offender registration list, which is kept to verify that new residents are not listed.

There are three lists. Nickelsville uses the 100+-page list of unmappables (offenders who have reported to King County but report no location), because that is the list that is far more likely to be accurate for transient sex offenders and is most easily updated. There are two more equally lengthy sex offender lists maintained by King County, a global list which is the one used to notify citizens of registered sex offenders living in their neighborhood, and the list of offenders not in compliance with the terms of their release.

This offender was a Florida sex offender whose first registration with King County appears to have occurred after he became a Nickelsville resident, so his name had not yet appeared on the global list at the time he checked into camp. However, if he had registered the Nickelsville area as his address prior to checking into the community, he would still not have appeared on the list used by the camp (the unmappable list), because he had provided King County with a mappable location.

This is where the second level of security at Nickelsville kicks in. As a general rule, the bookkeeper will cross-check the registration of new residents with local and national website listings the same day they enter the camp. That process was delayed in this case because there was no source of electricity at Nickelsville other than a generator in need of repair.

It is questionable whether the registration for this particular Florida sex offender would have been easily found before he listed with King County, even if the processing of intake forms had not been delayed. There are no photocopy facilities at Nickelsville, and the person checking the local and national registries is not generally the same person who checks the new resident into camp, so they may not be able to immediately visually identify an offender.

This offender was known to use aliases. My Google search revealed more than one registered Florida sex offender with similar physical attributes and the same recorded first and last names, and several more registered in other states. To verify this particular person’s possible sex-offender status before he was listed with King County would have required far more effort than simply looking him up on a national registry.

The next line of defense at Nickelsville is their internal databases. They have always attempted to keep a written record of all residents who pass through their doors. Bookkeeper Mike told me they track who was here, when they were here, when they left and whether they left on good terms. If not, they note the reason for eviction.

Those records are now computerized, so the database of recent residents is easier to access, but Nickelsville doesn’t rely on the written records alone. In addition to written records, they rely on the memories of residents who consider Nickelsville their home. They report anyone who tries to re-enter the camp after being banned.

The camp management makes a special effort to meet and get to know each new resident. Security Mike told me that he has talked with every person who has passed through Nickelsville since their last move, and knows most of their stories. He and the rest of the management team listen for the kinds of inconsistencies that might need investigation.

Lastly, Nickelsville relies on the local police departments and neighbors to notify them of any possible security issues which would include a sex offender registering at their location. King County had not notified Nickelsville of a registered sex offender claiming residence in their community. A neighbor did.

The process of accurately identifying individual sex offenders who lie about their status is far more complex than checking lists. This particular registered offender wasn’t on local lists when he checked into Nickelsville, wasn’t easily identifiable in national registries, wasn’t in camp records, wasn’t previously known to residents, didn’t talk about his sex offender history and hadn’t been reported to the camp by the local police.

Even when everyone does their job to the best of their abilities, as happened in this instance, offenders can take advantage of the fact that they are not yet listed on local registries and lie about their offender status. They can temporarily slip through even the best designed systems.

The best indicator of a community’s safety is what occurs when that happens. Julie, a member of the Arbitration council, part of the camp’s conflict-resolution process, admitted that this is not the first time a sex offender lied on intake to gain entrance to Nickelsville. She added that they don’t get away with their lies for very long. The deception is always discovered within a few days and they are immediately and permanently banned.

This particular incident happened to be magnified by the hyperlocal lens of WSB, but camp management says this particular sex offender would still have been discovered and banned from Nickelsville without citizen intervention, once his intake form was checked against local online offender databases. In a strange twist of irony, the delay in processing his particular records until after he listed with King County facilitated verifying his sex offender status.

For WSB readers, the unfolding story of this offender’s presence in our community was an incident worthy of attention. But that didn’t make this predator’s presence at Nickelsville any more dangerous to our community than any other registered sex offender.

Sgt Sean Whitcomb, the head of the SPD media unit, told WSB that any sex offender without a fixed street address has to check in with King County on a weekly basis. That would include any sex offender attempting to reside at Nickelsville. Because they must report more frequently than other registered sex offenders with a fixed address, they are more easily monitored.

Nickelsville makes a special effort to detect and eject sex predators because of the women and children who might make Nickelsville their home. There were no children living in Nickelsville while this offender resided in the camp, but had there been, Security Mike assured me that they would have been in little danger. The last family was billeted next door to the Security tent and the camp’s management kept a watchful eye on the children.

Nickelsville takes the safety and security of their encampment and the greater community very seriously. The discovery of this registered sex offender highlighted the importance of immediate access to computer records and online resources at Nickelsville. The newly charged laptop was on site by the end of the day and the generator has been repaired. The status of new residents is once again being verified in a timely manner.

If you see any safety issue involving Nickelsville residents, they ask that you bring it to their attention. They are very appreciative of the extra eyes and ears you provide.

You can call the Nickelsville staff at 206-450-9136 or e-mail at with your suspicions. The staff says they will be promptly investigated.

This weekend, part 2 of the report: Who’s in charge?

45 Replies to "Security at 'Nickelsville' camp: 1st of 2 reports - 'The Incident'"

  • Paul June 3, 2011 (5:57 am)

    Nice report!

    This really drives home how important it is to quickly select a permanent home for Nickelsville, where they could more easily have necessary infrastructure (such as power, so background checks are smoother).

  • Lorelee June 3, 2011 (6:16 am)

    Thank you! And just imagine how the checks would have been so much more difficult before online databases!

  • rmp June 3, 2011 (7:23 am)

    Thanks. Security seems pretty good compared to some security checks. Did you know WSP checks WA State for problems ONLY, they don’t check for out of state problems! (such as for apts., volunteer applications etc.) … seems to me there could (are)problems in this area! So it’s good to know Nicklesville is on top of it!

  • Emmyjane June 3, 2011 (7:23 am)

    Great story! I’m happy to be learning more about this camp, which seems to be a great addition to our community.

  • proudpugetridger June 3, 2011 (8:49 am)

    There certainly seems to be a gap between the information we (neighbors) are given, and the reality of daily operations at the encampment.
    Personally, I’m less concerned about an RSO within the encampment than one who’s living rogue in the greenbelt. As long at they’re truthfully reporting the dangers (registering the RSO’s) we are as safe as we can hope. My concern has always been that RSO’s are living within the encampment without registering.
    A similar concern I have is that there is likely residents with outstanding warrants staying there as well. Again, the issue is disclosure. If a person moves into a rental home there is almost always a check of that person’s history. Moving into the encampment offers no similar protection.
    Simply telling an RSO to “take you tent and leave” is scary, as (in this case) his likely destination is the greenbelt behind our residential community. I also find it interesting that the encampment’s residents have a legal right to expel anyone from property that’s not their own. Just think what would happen if we, as homeowners, asked someone to leave our neighborhood because we we’re “self-policing” the public land.
    Through all this there is still not any expectation that encampment residents work toward a more conventional lifestyle. Now that this encampment is informally “approved” by our city government, the number of people who choose to reside there will continue to grow. After all, why buy the cow when the milk is free (??).
    Regardless of my opinion and reservations about the encampment, I sure am thankful for WSB’s ongoing coverage.

  • ben June 3, 2011 (8:49 am)

    i am grateful to WSB and nickelsville for this accounting. ignorance tends to breed intolerance and hate; in the absence of this kind of transparency, it would be all too easy for people outside the nickelsville community to assume the worst about it, when it fact it sounds like they’ve got their act together. (this is coming from a WS homeowner with zero first-hand experience or affiliation with nickelsville.)

  • JoB June 3, 2011 (9:15 am)

    I was astounded myself to learn that the list of unmappable sex offenders in our county…
    those who register but give no location at all..
    is 100+ pages long…
    i was further astounded to learn that the list of those who aren’t in compliance with sex offender registration is also quite a lengthy document.
    the list the city provides of mappable sex offenders …
    those who register an address or location…
    is daunting enough.

    As for possible outstanding warrants….
    I was unaware that rental companies checked for outstanding warrants…
    I know that a man with outstanding warrants successfully rented an apartment at a friend’s building in the last few months because he was removed by the SPD within a short time of moving in… it was quite the event….

    Do you know if this a new service available to rental management companies?
    If it is available to the average individual or small rental property owner.. I am betting more than a few would like to know how they access that information.

    No-one thinks homeless encampments are the ideal solution to the growing population of homeless in our area… but the prospect of a well managed encampment that screens for sex offenders and drug and alcohol abuse is a definite step up from some of the informal encampments i have stumbled across while hiking the woods below pigeon point with my dogs.
    they literally make the hair on the back of my dog’s neck stand up.

  • David Brent June 3, 2011 (9:16 am)

    This seems like an excessively long article for what needed to get across. Meanwhile, in my mind there is a news story here that’s not being told. We taxpayers voted for a $145 million, multi-year homelessness bond fund in 2009. And on top of that the City spends more than $9 million per year on a homeless population of 8,000 people. And yet people are still camping outside! Why? Could you please interview experts who know something about this issue instead of any more bleeding heart stories and requests for camping supplies?

    • WSB June 3, 2011 (9:31 am)

      Thanks, David, for taking the time to comment. Regarding length – the Internet has (almost) infinite space so it’s not like this is crowding anything else out, whether it’s 100 words or 10,000. I also have to say that while we pay professional contributors for assigned coverage, Joanne and Kevin have volunteered, as longtime WSB Forums contributors/participants, to write/report this, which is much appreciated, and as editor, I thank them for an excellent, thorough job. If not for their work, I will be honest, we likely would not be covering this much at all – we reported the camp’s return, we reported the mayor’s decision not to evict them, and from there, we have to prioritize what we cover. As the main hard-news correspondent here, I have been focused on other issues (development, transportation) and would like to do a better job on those too, so this is a bonus to be able to share with those who are interested.
      Meantime, publishing requests for community help is also one of our core missions, so we will certainly be continuing to do that, in this case and in hundreds of others each year. As for “why” – I believe the Nickelsville people have already articulated why they are camping rather than checking into shelters – and why they left Fire Station 39, though the city did not appear to be on the brink of booting them. They are the real “experts” in this case, at least on their own decision and circumstance – TR

  • DC June 3, 2011 (9:23 am)

    After reading Proud’s comment I was wondering:
    Can a person live in the encampment without registering?
    If Nickelsville staff do a check on RSOs, do they do a check on outstanding warrants as well?

  • proudpugetridger June 3, 2011 (9:43 am)

    I’m not sure if your questions are rhetorical, but I’ll answer them as well as I can.
    The RSO’s of unmappable status are simply disclosed on the Sheriff’s website as “address unknown”, the name/picture/relevant-details are still easily available. IF the screening process happens as described by camp organizers, RSO’s would not make it past the entry gate.
    Landlords have multiple options for checking the backgrounds of potential tenants. Typically, the details sought are financial in nature, although there are services available that dig deeper into personal history. In fact, it is very common for applicants to be charged a non-refundable background check fee (+/- $45) at the time of application. This is not a “new” service. I encourage you to check with any credible rental service or private landlord for verification of the process. Criminal background checks require the approval of the applicant, prior to any information being released by local jurisdictions.
    The “screens for sex offenders and drug and alcohol abuse” element of the encampment appears to be simply that they react when a diligent neighbor exposes the fact that they’re harboring an offender. Research the history if you wish.
    Do you suppose the number of incidents that make your dog’s hair stand on end is going to increase, once there are volume 1,000 homeless residents who have no binds/ties to the community are concentrated in one location??

  • coffee June 3, 2011 (9:50 am)

    The way I understand the money that was voted in for homelessness, is that there is money to build or create housing, but there is not money to maintain said housing. I could be off base on this, but memory seems to reflect this. I would say one would need to contact the county and city for further information.
    Also, what about all of the people who rent their apartments, space, etc that do not use a management company and do not do background checks. There are many units that are rented but no agency is used. Those landlords could very well be renting to people with warrents or offenders and have no idea.

  • JoB June 3, 2011 (10:14 am)


    you do realize that a sex offender has to actually register for his/her picture to show up on the King County Sex Offender registry… don’t you?

    and that to print out both the list of registered offenders and the picture of each offender so that they can be crosschecked in a security tent in the middle of the night would make a list that needs constant renewal far larger than the current 100+ pages.

    as for background checks on renters, as you point out they are optional,
    they are not run on all renters as you imply…

    and btw … are likely a cost burden we can’t expect a homeless encampment who is not being funded by your taxpayer dollars to assume…
    that is if we want them to keep paying for those portable toilets and dumpster.

    your last bit of logic fails me.
    The assumption that the presence of a homeless encampment would increase rather than decrease the numbers of those currently camping out in the woods fails me seems counter intuitive to me.

  • JoB June 3, 2011 (10:26 am)

    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    The question of how taxpayer dollars allocated to house the homeless are being used is a great story…
    and one btw that I would love to tell.
    However.. i object to the characterization of stories on homelessness from the perspective of the homeless as bleeding heart puff pieces.
    When it comes to homelessness.. those on the streets have a far more practical perspective than the so called experts.
    in the meantime.. while we wait for our city/county/state government to finish funding the studies that eat up a large part of the homeless budget…
    there are people living in tents who don’t have basic necessities.. like food, water, shelter and the means to prepare meals.
    i am more than willing to engage in the kinds of political work that it will take to remedy this situation…
    but in the meantime you will have to forgive me for what i see as more immediate priorities…
    education and the resulting direct assistance

  • kgdlg June 3, 2011 (10:28 am)

    As an affordable housing developer who regularly uses the seatlle housing levy to build buildings, I can tell you that the simple answer to your question is that the need outstrips the resources when it comes to solving homelessness. The levy was for a seven year period and if we are lucky in terms of inflation will create a total of 2000 units of low income housing. With 5000 to 8000 homeless in any given year, you can do the math. Layer on top of this that the root causes of homelessness are complex – anything from disability, mental health issues, drug and alchohol addiction, and there are actually many barriers to getting folks in an apartment even when it is affordable. I am not making excuses here. Our homless problem enrages me. Yesterday I biked passed wsdot removing the belongings of homeless under a bridege in the ID. This does nothing to address the problems causing it. In my opinion nickelsville creates a very good and safe place for homeless to be and to access resources for help, should they want to live inside at some point. The housing levy helps to create these opportunities to get people housed. Honestly to solve the issue we need a far more comprehensively funded way to address service gaps for veterens, mentally ill and disabled. These services must be in place and solidly funded for folks to stabalize in an apartment.

  • WS Lifer June 3, 2011 (10:51 am)

    Great reporting! I also commend NV staff and volunteers for taking swift and approriate acton. Accountability is so rare these days.

  • proudpugetridger June 3, 2011 (11:10 am)

    @ coffee-

    Have you ever met a landlord or rental agency representative that does not do background checks?? That would be VERY risky indeed.

  • WTF June 3, 2011 (11:27 am)

    @proudpugetridger –

    There’s a lot of landlords that don’t do background checks. In fact I would say that most don’t do anything more than a credit check.

    Even the SHA will provide vouchers to families with very limited background checks.

  • Jiggers June 3, 2011 (11:29 am)

    Someone explain to me how come when you rent an apartment, some background checks etc… are $20 more than others? I see inconsistancy in this matter and feel I’m being scammed by the landlords.

  • sam-c June 3, 2011 (11:33 am)

    yes, ppg, unfortunately there is a landlord in your neighborhood that didn’t seem to be checking backgrounds. the result was that they rented their house to people (on more than one occasion) that appeared to be breaking the law, as suspected by several neighbors. several neighbors expressed their dissatisfaction to the landlords and demanded that they screen their renters better.

    I agree with kgdlg- the services for those who are at risk to becoming homeless need to be improved.

  • miws June 3, 2011 (11:43 am)

    Thank you Joanne, Kevin, and WSB for a well written and accurate report of how Nickelsville security is handled.



  • Jim June 3, 2011 (1:38 pm)

    A more pressing article would investigate why the city of Seattle is doing nothing to provide transition housing and job services for these people. Seattle is not the progressive city I once thought it was if people are living out of tents instead of receiving real help.

  • CB June 3, 2011 (2:31 pm)

    Why is is still called Nickelsville? Why not McGinnville? I see an obvious political agenda on the part of the WSB. So much for the objective media.

    • WSB June 3, 2011 (2:51 pm)

      Oh, CB, are you trying to be funny? You made this point three years ago. And probably somewhere in the interim. And while I’m not looking it up for a link, I think my reply is the same as it was then. That’s what it’s called. Period. It’s on their signs, it’s on their web address, their e-mail address, it’s the name of their encampment no matter where they’ve been over the past couple years. No agenda, no more than there is an agenda for me calling the Alaskan Way Viaduct the Alaskan Way Viaduct (since that’s what WSDOT calls it, top of mind since I’m still over here finishing that story) or whatever. It could be Obamaville or Palinville or Conlinville or … If they changed the name tomorrow, provided the name wasn’t an obscenity, we’d say “the encampment now calling itself Whateverville.” I’m sure history is littered with examples of places and things whose names stopped being relevant to their purposes or natures – Columbia Broadcasting System/CBS, etc. – but they kept the name. I suppose you could ask them why they don’t change the name. – TR

  • jissy June 3, 2011 (2:41 pm)

    Jiggers — as a private landlord, I can tell you the service we use to do background/credit checks offers a 3-tiered check, each tier of course costing more money. So I can do a basic credit check for one price or add employment background for another price or the top tier, a full background check. I’m not sure what others do, but that likely might account for the different pricing (not to mention that different companies charge different pricing).

  • datamuse June 3, 2011 (2:46 pm)

    CB: probably cause that’s what the residents call it?

  • kgdlg June 3, 2011 (3:26 pm)

    @wtf (loved typing that!)
    The background check for a voucher at sha is very very extensive. If you think a voucher is easy to get, you are quite misinformed. What is complicated is how affordable housing agencies handle tenant when they commit crimes after moving in. My organization has very strict policies on this. But landlord tenant laws in seattle are also very strict. So you can’t just evict someone because you think they are breaking the law on your property. As with everything else, it is a lot more complex than it seems.

    Speaking of section 8 vouchers, this is what we need more of to help left many homeless people esp families out of poverty. Yet there are only so many offered by the federal govt and the waiting lists in seattle and king county have been closed for a long time. Kcha just opened their wait list after a few years of it being closed and getting your name on it means you still might wait years for rent assitance. In a town where the average three bed apt or house is well over 1000 a month, folks in poverty have very few choices.

  • WTF June 3, 2011 (3:55 pm)


    You’re correct, the person receiving the voucher undergoes a background check. The family members and friends that then move in do not receive the same scrutiny.

  • Michelle June 3, 2011 (4:13 pm)

    This is a really good article!

    I never knew how extensive the background checks were for residents of Nickelville. I also didn’t know that they have security and management team within the camp.

    Goes to show how little we learn via the local news! They always cover the MOVEMENT of the camp, but never the internal operations. This was insightful and detailed.

    Thanks for writing this!

  • cakeordeath June 3, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    I’m irritated at those of you who are so quick to judge Nickelsville and its residents. This is a great story and I thank WSB and JoB and Mike for it… but it’s annoying that the real point of the story is to quell some judgmental people who commented on the previous story. It IS interesting to know the process though and I appreciate it.

    For those of you who are so quick to judge these people, I just wish you would take a second to realize people don’t choose this because they want to be “lazy” or don’t want to work. When you are homeless, it takes all your time and energy to eat, bathe, sleep, and do other basic things. Everything is 8 times as hard, logistically, and then to have to deal with the fallout of failing to meet social stereotypes also… A homeless lifestyle is not for fun and it’s not for lack of ambition. Please stop judging the homeless. It is not the residents of Nickelsville’s fault that the sex offender chose to enter the camp, lie, and was then asked to leave. As far as I am concerned, they did an exemplary job handling the situation. I am actually encouraged by Nickelsville because it IS a way to empower themselves. We are living in a time where our cost of living is increasingly harder and harder to meet. I consider myself very lucky to have what I have and yet I struggle. It makes me think of everybody else. How SHOULD somebody who can’t make ends meet (for whatever reason) act? Are certain reasons okay and not others? Who is any one of us to judge, really, anybody else’s shortcomings… Fine, have your opinion, but don’t have the self righteous audacity to broadcast it on an article in SUPPORT of a community member who is newly homeless.

    I saw an art installation once with a picture of a person (who appeared to be homeless) standing on a corner holding a cardboard sign that read: “standing on a corner holding a sign”. I always felt that was perfectly said.


  • JoB June 3, 2011 (5:47 pm)

    did you mean to make me laugh out loud?
    surely you are not suggesting i change the name of the Camp.. the name they chose for themselves… in the interests of not appearing politically biased.
    that had to be a joke.. and a good one too.
    oh my, reading further posts would lead one to believe you were serious :(
    thanks for the laugh anyway.
    it’s been a long day.

  • JoB June 3, 2011 (5:55 pm)

    Nickelsville and other homeless camps are the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.
    There is plenty of what looks like abandoned property sitting around slowly decomposing while people go without basic shelter.
    all i can say is that this “blind” person first discovered this elephant when a friend lost their long term struggle to keep his apartment…
    so that is where Kevin and I started our exploration.
    this is a very big elephant.
    who knows where that exploration will lead.

  • Jiggers June 3, 2011 (6:25 pm)

    I’m not surprised that there are a lot of ignorant people out there because they are too lazy to do any due-dilligence like in this matter at Nickelsville.

  • nwcitizen June 3, 2011 (6:56 pm)

    Thank you so much for this article. I knew that Nickelsville was likely to be far safer for someone who is homeless than sleeping in a green belt or in a doorway but the security system they have devised and use is remarkable. No, it’s not perfect but what system is?

    By and large our shelter system tends to break the bonds that people need to survive – husbands cannot stay with wives, teenage boys if they are too old cannot stay with a parent, pets are not allowed. It’s no wonder that some people choose to live at Nickelsville where families can stay together, pets are allowed, and there is security for belongings.

  • Sarah June 3, 2011 (8:32 pm)

    Nickelsville is a far safer place to live than my own (or anyone’s) neighborhood where someone can buy a home regardless of what behavior they display either to their own family or the neighborhood or the community. If you have enough money, you need not worry about background checks. And as far as renters, not all landlords do background/criminal record checks, only credit checks. Rental owners are concerned about their bank accounts and their physical property, not the behavior of their tenants. They know that they are not legally responsible for that behavior.

  • JoB June 3, 2011 (10:40 pm)

    Part 2 moves beyond this particular sex offender..
    i can’t tell you how happy that made me.

    • WSB June 3, 2011 (10:45 pm)

      Look for that tomorrow late afternoon/evening. Story’s already in but we have a lot of stuff to cover tomorrow dayside – and still a few things in the queue for tonight – no sense in burying it between all that. Thanks yet again to Joanne and Kevin – TR

  • Seeing things in a new way June 4, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    A huge thank you WSB and its contributors for all the fantastic work you do in bringing local news stories to us in a very timely manner. There is so much that I would not know about if it were not for you all. And thanks for those people who take the time to respond with your comments. Even though I may not agree with all you have to say, I always appreciate intelligent thought provoking information that causes me to look at the world in a new way and to do more research and, often, look deeper into my heart and reach out more to others. I for one am grateful to have the WSB as a source of information and look here daily. As a long time West Seattle resident (53 years) I am enjoying this forum and all that it has to offer. In the past we had to rely on weekly local newspapers for information (which was often outdated by the time it arrived on our doorstep) or the major news agencies who would never be able to talk about even a fraction of what was going on in our community. Now we have am amazing place to go that gives us up to the minute information that I have found invaluable in many situations.

  • miws June 4, 2011 (8:37 pm)

    nwcitizen hits the nail on the head. Nickelsville is not the “jungle” next to I-5 around Beacon Hill, nor is it under some bridge. It is a secure, (as can be under the circumstances) place for those of us temporarily without a home.


    Seeing things in a new way, thanks for your honest input. Even though it sounds as if you still have a few doubts, I’m glad you are open minded enough to think through what has been written, and possibly see Nickelsville and the homeless in a more positive light.



  • Bill June 4, 2011 (9:22 pm)

    I still don’t know where this encampment is located. I’d like to know. I cannot Google map its location without some sort of geographic clue. How about an address or at least a cross street identifier. Zip code?

  • miws June 5, 2011 (8:52 am)

    Bill, it’s on the southeast corner of West Marginal and Highland Park Way. Just look for the porta-potties in the parking lot, and the camp is just over the berm.



  • April June 6, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    I would be interested to hear more stories from residents of this encampment. I am definitely ignorant of the reasons these homeless people have chosen to live outdoors in camps without running water, etc. when they could go to shelters. I know there are great programs for men and women through Union Gospel Mission, for one example, to help get folks back on their feet and into jobs and into real homes. I thought it might be because there were families with children that would get separated (i know most shelters don’t allow men with children for example) or if they were unwilling to give up alcohol or drugs to be admitted to a shelter (or enter one of the many rehab programs available through the shelter.)

    However, it appears that there are currently no children at this encampment, and they do not allow alcohol or drugs.

    SO, obviously i am very ignorant about this, there are obviously other reasons that I would love to learn more about. I’d love to read a so-called “bleeding heart” report about that!

    I apologize if there was indeed another article explaining those reasons, I may have missed it.

  • miws June 7, 2011 (2:22 pm)

    April, I’ve talked a little bit with other residents that have been to the shelters.


    Many, if not most, are crowded, some to the point of not having any room left. Also, from what I understand, many, if not most, will not allow anyone to stay during the day, so they must pack up whatever belongings they might have, and head out on the streets.


    Also, from what I understand, people are pretty much packed like sardines, and although we can’t expect roomy, luxurious, accommodations, that could be quite uncomfortable for some, especially the claustrophobic.



  • April June 8, 2011 (1:49 pm)

    Thank you for your response Mike. I am learning a lot from you and these blog posts about your camp.
    Best of luck to you Mike.

  • miws June 9, 2011 (11:44 am)

    Thanks April. I appreciate your open mindedness, and willingness to learn about the camp. It’s so much easier to just brush off what we don’t understand, and assume things that may not be true.


    I know there will always be the “naysayers”, and they may never be convinced, but those such as yourself, that are maybe on the fence, but are taking the time to read/listen and learn, can then form an educated opinion, (hopefully positive), rather than continuing on knee jerk reactions, and assumptions.


    Don’t forget our open house, Saturday June 18th, 2:00-6:00 pm, with the potluck at 5:00!



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