‘Nickelsville’ updates: HPAC wants move-out date; encampment says ‘returning to stability’; Food Lifeline waits

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Three years ago, Highland Park Action Committee marked the end of a two-year fight against a proposal to build, in their neighborhood, a city jail that ultimately turned out to be – as they had pointed out all along – unnecessary.

In the fight’s first year, 2008, the proposed jail site on city- and state-owned property at West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way was briefly occupied by a homeless encampment calling itself Nickelsville, until then-Mayor Greg Nickels ordered it evicted.

In May 2011, Nickelsville returned, and Nickels’ successor, Mayor Mike McGinn, said it could stay.

For months, the encampment was not an issue for the Highland Park community. But now, after Nickelsville declared itself to be in dangerous straits, as reported here Sunday, they’re on the brink of marshaling for another intensive fight.

That was the upshot of last night’s HPAC meeting – from which we reported live via Twitter – and of a letter that HPAC has sent to city leadership. And there is another letter involved – this morning, we received one from Nickelsville’s “Central Committee,” with its side of an incident we reported in last Sunday’s story, as well as their declaration that things are improving.

More on the major new developments, ahead:

First, from last night’s HPAC meeting.

“What a mess,” offered one community member, after hearing HPAC co-chair Carolyn Stauffer summarize recent reports and developments. The encampment is something with which HPAC has taken pains to deal calmly over the past year-plus, including inviting encampment representatives to their meetings (WSB coverage here) and participating in discussions with city officials.

To take the community’s temperature, HPAC even conducted a survey last year (WSB coverage here). The general sentiment was that it was time for the encampment to go but not until it had a new site.

But even before what transpired last weekend, with camp leadership temporarily having Nickelsville’s toilets removed because, they said, they could not evict troublemakers and needed to send a message, patience in Highland Park was running thin.

Stauffer said last night: “Highland Park is patient and kind – we’re all struggling ourselves … it’s been 2 years now and we have a compassionate community; I don’t know any other Seattle community that would act the way that our community has.” Since the stories over the weekend, she said, she’d been getting barraged with e-mails expressing concern.

Stauffer said she and co-chair Billy Stauffer had been at a meeting at Councilmember Nick Licata‘s office with other stakeholders just last week, including homeless-advocacy organizations SHARE/WHEEL and Nickelsville “staff person” Scott Morrow, as Licata considers legislation related to homeless encampments. She also mentioned that Food Lifeline has been working toward an end of March deadline for decisionmaking on its push for the site.

The mayor’s office has told her that they’re meeting with Nickelsville and the police this week. Stauffer outlined community options from calling for eviction to suing to going public with information they have not made public before.

Regarding the hangup in Food Lifeline’s proposal, the coordination between multiple site owners – the city and state – was the hangup, as Stauffer recapped, saying that FL needed the entire site. (We checked this morning with FLL, whose spokesperson Amy Lee Derenthal told WSB that they expect to hear from the Mayor and City Council tomorrow or Monday regarding affirmation that they will work to help the project proceed.)

“Seems to me whatever we do, we’re going to get called NIMBYs, but the city is operating illegally – there is no statute (that allows this), there is no process allowing a community to have input into this, I don’t think the camp is our problem any more – the city needs to evict them.” said one community member, who also said that any other community is at risk of having this happen to them – having an encampment show up and stay for two years. “It’s time for them (the city) to deal with this problem in some legal way … it’s gotta go then; we’re allowing the process to go on. It’s going to screw every other neighborhood in the city.”

Stauffer said that the mayor’s office has committed to taking care of any off-the-site encampments spotted, like those that have been cropping up chronically in the West Duwamish Greenbelt just west of Nickelsville – and gave a phone number people could use to report them: 206-684-2489.

Former HPAC chair Dan Mullins also brought up that when HPAC fought the jail once considered for that same site “it was a completely illegal use of the property,” but he was told at the time “we’re the city, we can do anything we want” with it. He said he has brought up concerns and received “generic” responses talking about Nickelsville in glowing terms. “The only way we stopped the jail is we all pulled together, we all showed up at the meetings … and after a while we walked into their offices and they said ‘Not you guys again’.”

It is a health and safety problem, among other things. And liability for the city, others pointed out.

“We need them to be afraid that we’re going to give them a black eye. We need to make more noise, get more organized .. when we had the jail looming, we had letter writing, we had people out in front of (businesses) with clipboards, we did online signature-gathering – it was painstaking, but they finally listened to us,” said Mullins. “And when the camp doesn’t let the meth-heads in, they go across the street (to the greenbelt), and you know what’s across the street? My back yard.”

More on this at the end of the story. But first, to our latest communication from Nickelsville – from the Central Committee letter addressed to your editor here, e-mailed to WSB this morning by Scott Morrow:

Last Sunday, March 24th, you wrote about “Trouble at Nickelsville.” (Wednesday) morning the Nickelsville Central Committee met. We reviewed the events of the last week and your coverage of them. It was the Central Committee’s conclusion that your reporting was fair, but incomplete. It was agreed that we would try to fill out the important things that were missed.

Several of us then volunteered to write you. Other people worked on other projects. At the end of the meeting an outline of this letter was written and read aloud. The Central Committee voted to approve it, with corrections. Now we will take it to Nickelsville and see who wants to sign it. By signing it, we are saying that it is a truthful account.

What was most incomplete about your report was any fact checking of the March 17th Police Report that allegedly details an assault. We don’t know who this officer is, but we do know he got many things very wrong.

On Sunday afternoon, March 17th, 2013 a “Show of Force” team was put together to extract four permanently barred campers from the Nickelsville community. These 4 barred campers had all been given written notice that they were barred, and why.

Each of these campers had signed our Encampment Rules upon moving in. They state “if we ask you to leave. You will also be required to give up your tent, which belongs to the encampment. If you refuse, the encampment show of force team will be called in to ensure that you leave …”

Note: What we are saying is true, but we will not object if the West Seattle Blog takes out the names of the barred campers and substitutes “x” or “y,” just like the police reports do.”

(Editor’s notes: That is what we are doing, as publishing the names of accused but not charged people is against general WSB policy. Also regarding the report-writing officer’s identity, that was in the police report, which is available for public download, free of charge, the same way we got it.)

The letter continues:

Back to Sunday: We in the “Show of Force” team first approached the barred camper named (Y) and warned that she needed to leave immediately or we would reclaim Nickelsville property; cinder blocks, tarps, pallets, plywood, blankets, and most importantly, our tent. Another barred camper, (Z), called in SPD while we were beginning to reclaim our items.

SPD arrived on the scene and our Show of Force Team was threatened to be arrested if we did not cease trying to get these individuals out of our camp. All attempts ceased immediately and no further actions were taken.

Here is what the mystery SPD Police Report got wrong:

1) We were not a mob, and the police officers never called us that to our faces. We were an organized team. We brought along tools to get our property with – mostly hammers. We don’t have any crowbars, and none of our tools were used in a threatening manner, or as weapons.
2) (Y) ‘aka the victim’ was no innocent. She knew why she was barred – it was for smuggling another barred camper into her tent.
3) (X) was no innocent. She knew she was barred for allowing another permanently barred camper into her tent. She cries at the drop of a hat, and for no other reason than conning someone into feeling sorry for her.
4) Our security heads never told the police that they were being evicted for calling the police.

The reason that the four barred campers needed to leave was because they were letting barred people into their tents repeatedly. The amount of visitors to their tent – for very short periods – was extremely high. We knew lots of their visitors, and we knew what they wanted – meth.

Now, it is true that (Z) and the people who kept coming to his tent didn’t say they were trafficking meth. Is this any surprise?

The following Wednesday at our weekly Central Community meeting, it was discussed what other ways that we could get these unwanted campers, who had still refused to leave, out of our camp. The first decision at last week’s meeting was to send a letter to the Police Chief expressing how upset and disappointed we were about the lack of support from SPD on these issues – a copy of which we will provide you with as well.

We also decided that we would attempt to reclaim our property again. The situation was dire – we know Nickelsville can’t survive if we’ve got meth dealers there. So on Friday March 22, 2013, we met at 9:00 am with several supporters and returned to the Nickelsville tents and property the barred campers had refused to give up.

Once again, they called the police. But this time, when the police came out, they acknowledged we had a right to reclaim our property. They just asked that our Show of Force Team give the barred camperas some time to pack and leave.

Unfortunately, a second group of Police Officers came out in the afternoon. They totally contradicted the police from the morning, and tried to tell us that our situation was like a “Landlord/Tenant” one.

Of course, it’s not. Our situation is no different than the relationship any other shelter or transitional housing provider in Seattle has with the homeless people who stay with them. The Police support these organizations’ staff and leadership when people have to leave.

The property owner at Nickelsville knows well we are here. We are grateful for the help the city has given us. Last year the City supported our garden. This year, along with the County Health Department, the City has helped us in the successful campaign to rid Nickelsville of rats.

Informed people know that it is better to have a well-run and safe encampment – like Nickelsville works hard to be – than to pretend that all homeless people are just beasts in a jungle, unworthy of protection.

After a hard weekend, the barred campers are gone and our camp is slowly returning to stability. In order for us to remain safe and stable, police cooperation is needed. The Mayor’s Office has now invited us to meet with the SW Precinct Leadership. We hope that together ways can be found to work together to keep Nickelsville a safe camp, and also to protect the neighborhood.

(19 handwritten signatures)
The Citizens of Nickelsville

The letter to police mentioned above is dated March 19th and alleges that “Nickelodeons and Nickelsville are being treated as Second Class Citizens by the Seattle Police Department” and says their “rights – as Citizens, as a community, and as an organization – to police protection from unlawful acts of criminals is being ignored by (SPD).” It names three people the camp claims are troublemakers, including the same alleged meth dealer mentioned in the note to WSB, and reiterates the claim that police are thwarting evictions.

As we reported after Tuesday night’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler denies that SPD is not responding to Nickelsville calls as it would answer calls for help from elsewhere, and reiterated that the current policy – which he said comes from higher-up the city-decisionmaking chain – is that people camping on public property have no right to boot other people off public property.

So where does this all stand? Somebody has to make the next move. Even as we finished writing this story, we checked in with HPAC co-chair Carolyn Stauffer, who said she has sent a letter of her own to city leadership today and granted us permission to include it here:

I want to give you a heads up that the Highland Park Action Committee met last night, and while we have been very patient with having Nickelsville at the bottom of Highland Park Drive, the consensus in the neighborhood is that we are ready to call for an eviction and ask for a move out date.

We have not asked for that yet, but have continued to inform you of our displeasure with having the camp in the same location for 2 years now. You have set a dangerous precedent for all neighborhoods in Seattle, one I am confident not all neighborhoods will be tolerant of.

Organizations such as Scott Morrow’s can now point to Nickelsville and your inaction (and help in some cases), as a justification for squatting illegally on public land for years at a time. We do not want to go through another summer with the encampment at its current location, and look forward to hearing a move out date from you as soon as possible. We understand that Food Lifeline’s interests in the property will end at the end of March, if you can’t figure out how to make that deal happen, you have missed a golden opportunity. Regardless of that opportunity, we would like that property free of an encampment. Should we not hear from you with a move out date, we will be forced to take action which will include media on a local and national level, a lot of emails and visits to your offices from our community, and a lawsuit.

Thank you for your prompt attention, and I am sorry to be so abrupt – we have tried to be kind, we have tried to be tolerant and understanding of both your situation, and that of the homeless, but we are finished. We feel taken advantage of and ignored, we feel disrespected as a community, and are one big group of angry voters. We are working on a more official call for eviction to come to you after Food Lifeline’s “end of March” date for having that deal figured out.

More followups to come.

45 Replies to "'Nickelsville' updates: HPAC wants move-out date; encampment says 'returning to stability'; Food Lifeline waits"

  • West Seattle HIPster March 28, 2013 (4:16 pm)

    It would be best for the occupiers to move on. The citizens of Highland Park have been more than tolerant of the occupation.

    Time for a different neighborhood to host the encampment.

    Just curious, have the denizens of the encampment given back to the neighborhood that has so graciously hosted them?

  • HPRez March 28, 2013 (4:34 pm)

    I would have to agree with WSHipster. I often think to myself as I go up the hill, littered with garbage, that it sure would be nice if Nicklesville could organize a work party to help the neighborhood a little bit. But, I guess not.

  • a March 28, 2013 (5:04 pm)

    I say ship them to Vashon! plenty of land there for them to live on and less people there for them to harass for money. Plus, alot of the folks on Vashon would have no problem taking care of the troublemaker ones that would be dealing meth and breaking into houses. No need for a court system as they would simply be eliminated. Plus after enough time on the Puget sounds version of Portlandia, I think that would be enough punishment for them to get their act together and get jobs so they can get out of there.

  • Mike March 28, 2013 (5:24 pm)

    Thank you Carolynn Stauffet for clearly writing what many people in Highland Park and throughout Delridge are thinking, feeling and experiencing. You & Highland Park deserve an award.

  • smokeycretin9 March 28, 2013 (5:59 pm)

    (goes to the fridge, pops open a beer, makes some popcorn, sits down and waits)

  • McGruff March 28, 2013 (6:10 pm)

    Agree with you, Mike and Carolynn S. I suspect folks support for NIckelsville is directly proportional to their distance from it.

  • Bums' Rush March 28, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    This part of the city has been more than tolerant. Move on, bums, move on. You are fortunate. You are near the railroad tracks…

  • brenda March 28, 2013 (6:35 pm)

    Try a job people of Nickelsville. Pay some taxes. There’s a great start.

  • JoB March 28, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    smokeycretin… pull up a pew.. i won’t let you down

    i suspect support for Nickelsville is directly related to the number of residents you have actually spoken to.

  • cruzer March 28, 2013 (6:43 pm)

    I support HPAC!

  • Jim P. March 28, 2013 (7:25 pm)

    “We brought along tools to get our property with – mostly hammers…and none of our tools were used in a threatening manner, or as weapons.”

    Right, a group of people showing up to “evict” someone and they are carrying hammers would never be construed as a possible threat.

    While this group appears to be trying to behave in a laudable fashion, they are finding out in miniature what most of us know already: A few criminals and ne’er do wells can ruin an entire neighborhood very quickly.

    The other lesson is that if you are there illegally, you are in a difficult spot when you try to tell someone else *they* can’t be there illegally and more so when you expect the organized portion of society to back you in evicting people you don’t like but not allowing that society to remove what *they* don’t like.

    You really cannot have it both ways. It’s a bit like the anarchists protesting police brutality and demanding they follow the law when the anarchists claim the right not to follow laws they don’t like.

  • JoB March 28, 2013 (7:43 pm)

    Don’t everyone fall over
    i agree with JimP

    only i am pretty certain that when you invite friends to join you carrying tools to evict someone .. threatening is the intent..

    a few criminals and ne’r do wells can definitely ruin an entire neighborhood very quickly

  • Q March 28, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    Get out, move on! Get a job. Pay taxes like the rest of us.

  • WsBoB March 28, 2013 (8:22 pm)

    I think this is all very sad. I do not see a win-win situation. I drive by everyday and am thankful I have a job and roof over my head. I am thankful I am somewhat sane, raised properly, and not addicted to drugs or alcohol. I would hope with it be 2013, our community would be a little more compassionate, a little more caring. I would think someone would be able to donate a trailer for hot showers and restrooms so they can find a job clean. I certainly dont have the answers. I wish I did. I feel sorry for the situation these folks are in. I always thought an encampment under I-5 would be helpful and dry. I pray and send out positive energy to these folks. I hope they find inner peace and can contribute to society.

  • Jiggers March 28, 2013 (8:40 pm)

    I just wonder how many calls to police have been made prior to opening the camp and its surrounding neighboorhoods to its current total now. I’m willing to bet its increased dramatically.

  • My two cents ... March 28, 2013 (8:57 pm)

    Good comment by Jim P.

    Does anyone see the potential dangers of the “show of force team will be called in to ensure that you leave” reference? No shock that this situation occurred given that type of language, approach. I’m getting tired of the “Central Committee” trying to use PR 101 ad tricks & copy to paint their story. This whole saga sounds like X said this, Y said that.

  • Heather March 28, 2013 (9:15 pm)

    Incredibly informative piece of reporting WSB.

    What to say….sigh…two years is a very long time within one community. This kind of encampment does take a toll on the community. It’s unfortunate that one of the questions in my mind while reading this is “Would a community of greater household income be expected to maintain a public service for an equal amount of time? Say Medina?” I think the answer is no.

  • Bums' Rush March 28, 2013 (9:17 pm)

    Prayer will do nothing. Positive vibes little. All the cards rest in the hands of the residents of the encampment that calls itself Nickelsville. And therein lies part of the problem. They have chosen to name their encampment after someone who is not involved. It is always somebody elses fault. Mirrors might be in order. Lots of them.

  • Amanda March 28, 2013 (9:33 pm)

    Here’s my feelings about Nickelsville. They are a Community, a block – if you will. One without running water, or plumbing, heat or electricity. However, they are humans in a situation trying to do the best they can. If you say to them – hey Nicklesville – how about my block and your block organize a clean up of the hill up Highland? I bet they would be willing to do that! But forcing them to clean up trash just because they are “homeless” is not okay. Where do you want them to move to? Having the residents of NV sign an agreement and then hold those who signed accountable sounds like a really great Community idea. How are the people on your block? I think, we should try to make NV permanent. Maybe get some of those container houses over there. There is a company in Ballard making them. If they continue to police themselves, and only call the cops when they need real assistance, what’s the difference between their block and yours?

  • JanS March 28, 2013 (10:05 pm)

    totally agree with JimP….and I do find very mean spirited the comments on here and on the forum that simply paint all homeless in homeless camps as bums, as ne’er-do-wells, as leeches on society, ride them all out of town, let someone else deal with it. My words, but the meaning is gotten from some of the posters, and some in HPAC. Yes, it’s a NIMBY, don’t think it isn’t…

    JimP..not much compassion in those people if you don’t play by their rules. – again, my opinion – no need to jump down my throat, folks who disagree.

    Do I think Mr. Morrow, the “Central Committee”, some of the campers are above reproach? Of course not. I think – again, just my opinion, that Mr. M, the CC, etc…should all be required to end their involvement, and go sell insurance. (no offense to our wonderful insurance salesmen on here).

    Do I think that NV should exist? Not really…I think this is the richest country in the world, yet we have a horrendous homeless problem…we should be able to do better.

  • cheapthinkerstheyare March 28, 2013 (10:56 pm)

    Probably not a great idea for certain folks (who probably don’t live in the area of the camp) to suggest a permanent way to be beleaguered by people who trash streets and greenbelts you probably have never set foot in.

    Food for thought, perhaps.

  • smokeycretin9 March 28, 2013 (11:47 pm)

    sorry, my point was I was sitting back waiting for the fur to fly in the comment section.

  • Ken March 29, 2013 (1:34 am)

    @ Amanda –

    How could you ever expect them to assist others in a work party, cleaning up other areas, when it appears they are unable/unwilling to do so with the trash and filth surrounding their own environs?

  • Come on March 29, 2013 (7:44 am)

    I realize that the letter from the NV folks was suppose to make people clearer about what happened. After reading it, I am more convinced than ever that NV needs to be closed. “a show of force team” ????? Are you kidding me?

    The person is absolutely right they have every right to take back their property like the tents but they have no right to evict the person. They DON’T own the land. They are trespassing. And some vigilante “show of force team” with axes and hammers doesn’t change that.

    The mayor in this city needs to wake up, do his job for once, and close this place down. It is out of control and the city should never have turned a blind eye to begin with. highland park has hosted this for TWO years. It’s time for other parts of Seattle to do their part or better yet have the city leaders come up with a real long term solution which NV most certainly is not.

  • One block away March 29, 2013 (7:46 am)

    I live just above Pioneer (going on my 8th year), drive past NV every day. The camp does not impact me at all other than every now and again bring a bit of sorrow for the residents and remind me that I have been blessed with the ability to support my family and be part a loving support network. It is true that sometimes the lot where they accept donations can get a bit messy, but most of the time it clears out. Yes, there are some cars parked along the road that before the camp was there did not exist. Yes, there are more folks walking around than previously. Yes, some of them may be partaking in things I would never think of. Yes, there are now regularly people holding signs asking for money/things at the intersection, who were not there before the camp… and I don’t feel obligated to give them anything. I don’t feel less safe with them at the bottom of the hill.

  • JoB March 29, 2013 (7:47 am)

    There is no question that there are problems at Nickelsville.
    There is also no question that there are problems at 15th and Holden too..
    Are all of the people who live in the area of 15th and Holden responsible for the problems caused by a few? ………. I think not.
    It is true that it has taken Nickeslville months to clean up from the clean up after the flood.
    And while they haven’t kept up with their promise to clean their neighborhood of trash left there by others,
    it isn’t true that Nickelsville is responsible for the trail of trash leading up into the greenbelts.
    that area is not the only greenbelt area in West Seattle that needs to be regularly cleared of trash…
    it’s just one for which there are currently no regularly scheduled public clean-up events..
    It gives me hope that in the midst of “the throw the bums out” comments.. there are some real questions about what we can do as a community to help Nickelsville live up to it’s promise…
    whether it lives up to that promise at it’s current location or someplace else…

  • Come on March 29, 2013 (8:03 am)


    Have you ever been to a real homeless shelter before in your life? Because I have. I volunteered at one for many years. And the number one rule was no drugs. The second drugs are involved everything and I mean everything changes.

    Often times there are folks who have mental health issues who are homeless. When someone who has mental health issues is on meth the results are not pretty. You can not and dot want to trust what they are seeing. They could be lookig at you and seeing a purple dinosaur. You just don’t know.

    Which is exactly why places like NV while well intentioned should not exist. They have no right to control who is on that property. They don’t own it. They are tresspassing. So they sign a piece of paper that says they will leave if asked. What does that do? If they refuse then the show of force team shows up and forcibly evicts them? That would be called assault.

    A homeless shelter has the right to bar, ban, and control it’s building because they are there legally. NV does not have that right. It’s not a matter of compassion.

    Now we can talk about the reasons why people are there all day long. The drug policy of enforcement over prevention and treatment, the state of the va specifically for vietnam vets, the ridiculous cost of health care, the lack of funding of mental health programs in the US just to name a few. But yes some people are there because of the choices that they made. If that offends you so be it but that is a fact.

  • Kay K March 29, 2013 (8:15 am)

    Thanks for sharing contents of your letter Carolyn. Here’s the one I sent to all the council members yesterday:

    I am writing with some urgency to ask you to please help facilitate the transfer of the city property at 7116 W Marginal Way SW to the Food Lifeline organization. The property is not currently needed by the city, instead it is occupied illegally by the “Nickelsville” homeless encampment.

    Here we have an opportunity as a community to make a very huge difference in large numbers of people’s lives by supporting this organization that supplies them with surplus food via their food bank distribution network. On their website, they note that “last year, Food Lifeline distributed more than 35 million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than 27 million meals to feed hungry people throughout Western Washington. Food Lifeline provide(d) food to over 745,000 people through our network of nearly 300 food banks, meal programs and shelters.”

    Compare these numbers to the number of people able to be helped by the homeless camp (80-150 seasonally-although their website claims 1000) and you can see the scale of the benefits offered by the distribution center. Additionally the city gains by ceasing the illegal use of the land (zoned for Industrial), and steps back from the dangerous legal precedent of condoning permanent encampments, without due process from neighbors or community members, to be set up willy-nilly anywhere in Seattle.

    The recent difficulties with sanitation, drug dealing, and panhandling at the homeless camp are significantly impacting the area and should be sending you strong signals that it is time to move to a different use of this space.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident March 29, 2013 (8:21 am)

    Posted in an earlier NV thread:
    This issue will only go away when we get the activists to ACTUALLY desire to do something to help the homeless instead of grandstanding.
    In Seattle there are a group of buildings that will house over 1000 people in SAFE, CLEAN, DRY, WARM rooms. These rooms vary in size and can room up to 8 comfortably. There are bathroon facilities for both sanitary needs and showers.
    Included in this group of buildings is a dining facility that is more than able prepare and provide a place for these people to eat hot meals three/four times a day.
    There is also buildings that will provide water; hot and cold and power.
    The city has had possession of these buildings for over 15 years and have let them fall in to disrepair. But that disrepair can easily be corected by using the funds currently going to these various “homeless camps.”
    But instead of looking for solutions all “Share Wheel” and their ilk are interested in doing is continuing their plight to stroke their self-inflated egos.
    Some more information on where these buildings are???
    They are on a MAJOR bus line.
    They are close to NUMEROUS job oppurtunities.
    They are close to medical facilities.
    They are within the city limits.
    There is also the old Navy Housing at what was once Ft Lawton on West Point, that I believe was also turned over to the city. I believe there are about 50-60 HOMES that could be used.
    But the issue here is if the city and the homeless advocates are willing to do what is neccessary to get these buildings repaired and the surrounding neighborhoods to accept it.
    One thing that MUST be stipulated is that the maintenance of these rooms/homes is up to the residents and if they can’t keep them clean and in a decent state of repair they are kicked out.

  • Judy March 29, 2013 (8:45 am)

    Clearly, a fair number who live in “settled” communities insist on painting all those who are homeless with the same brush. If we can’t distinguish between those who live cooperatively in Tent City and those who fail there, take to the hills, and trash those hills, then this debate cannot be resolved. Shame on us if our stereotypes cause people doing their best to loose even the most basic housing.

  • HP Parent March 29, 2013 (8:45 am)

    I am all for Food Lifeline coming into our area – promoting jobs for our community. Sorry – but i am ready for NV to go.

  • JanS March 29, 2013 (8:52 am)

    Come on…yes, I have. I have even broken bread at Nickelsville with the campers there. This isn’t a contest to see who has done this or that..it’s trying to solve a real problem that this city has.

  • jiggers March 29, 2013 (8:59 am)

    Why is this story buried already?

  • DG2 March 29, 2013 (9:18 am)

    Right on Come on! You post the most succient and rational posts on this subject (and you too Ex-Westwood Resident). NV is in my backyard so please, unless you live over there I’m not too interested in the grandstanding. TWO YEARS people – do you have a solution?!? I thought not. Carolyn at HPAC, THANK YOU for the letter. FLL needs to build there. But I suspect City Hall and the State will drag their feet and miss out on that golden opportunity….

  • cs in hp March 29, 2013 (9:38 am)

    Thank you Kay K for commenting here, but especially for taking that extra step and sending a productive letter to city leaders. It’s easy to think that a comment here might make a difference or create change- but the only real way to make that happen is to make your voice heard at City Hall and at the Mayor’s Office. I don’t feel that it is our job, as members of this community – this democracy, to try to argue with people’s opinions and experiences- but I do feel it is our job to make sure people know they have a voice in this community – in this democracy, and to direct that voice to the folks that really can make change, that have been elected to represent us in making change.

  • CR March 29, 2013 (10:34 am)

    It’s not a matter of compassion. It is a bunch of trespassers illegally camped out on city property which I pay taxes to. It is about vigilantes thinking they can enforce their own laws. If I am unhappy with something my neighbor is doing, I cannot legally get 5 of my friends and some baseball bats and try to change my neighbors mind. That is illegal. These people need to clean up, get jobs and become part of tax paying society. No one helps me pay my bills, my mortgage, my insurance. I do. It’s not about compassion, it’s about taking personal accountability. Boo hoo, you made mistakes in life and now you are out on the streets. That is life. Life is hard.

  • Alan March 29, 2013 (11:51 am)

    I agree with Caroline and Kay and greatly appreciate the time and thought that they have put into this. As we cannot paint the homeless with one brush, it is not fair to assume a lack of compassion from those of us ready for the camp to move. Our tolerance has far exceeded that of the previous locations. I fail to see compassion in tolerating a toxic swamp, without adequate facilities, as the living space.

    So far, the Riverview and Highland Park neighborhoods have been relatively quiet on this. At this point, it is because we expect the city to do the right thing and facilitate the transfer of the property to Food Lifeline.

    Ten years ago, the city wanted to develop a portion of the Duwamish greenbelt known as Soundway. The Riverview neighborhood rose up and won, with the help of Tom Rasmussen and Richard Conlin. In the end, we also had the support of Jean Godden and Nick Licata. I’m sure they all remember what an annoyance we could be.

    Five years ago, the city wanted to build a jail on the site where NV is now located. HPAC took that fight on and won. While a jail might now seem more attractive, HPAC members made sure that the City Council enjoyed the frequent pleasure of their company.

    My point is that, while our neighborhood may have been relatively quiet, it is stewing. We want to see the right thing done. Supporting Food Lifeline and allowing them to assist in finding a better location for NV is the right thing to do. It is a win-win opportunity for the city council. Fail to do this and the city council can look forward to us visiting them and facing the real possibility of having to evict NV without any additional benefit to themselves or the community.

    Do the right thing.

  • Dave March 29, 2013 (12:26 pm)

    Lovely — just the kind of people we want to attract to an area merely a stones throw from a school. And, this is exactly the type of shit that happens when lawlessness reigns.

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/03/man-gets-11-years-for-firebombing-at-nickelsville-homeless-camp/ Police also linked Anello to the April 1 firebombing of a vehicle in the parking lot of the “Nickelsville” homeless camp in South Seattle. The documents say Anello threw a Molotov cocktail at a car belonging to a person who had barred him from returning to the homeless camp. The gas-filled bottle ignited and the car caught fire, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

    • WSB March 29, 2013 (12:33 pm)

      FWIW, I got that news release from the US Attorney’s Office today too, but I don’t recall even hearing about that incident, much less covering it, and cannot find prior reference. – TR

  • stephanie March 29, 2013 (12:51 pm)

    @Come on, NV has a no drugs policy and they do the best to enforce it. No drugs in shelters? I know someone that lived at more than a couple and he hated staying there because there were drugs.

    People who are name calling and such: you make me sick. I live just up the hill and I have been to the camp a couple different times dropping things off and it is not a messy place. They try to stay organized but it’s hard when you live in a place that has mud and dirt. They also try to store all the donations of pallets, wood and so forth. You try to store all that!

    And to the people that yell out “get a job” Many of them ARE working! Shut up! Sometimes I am one paycheck away from living there.

    Show some respect for your fellow human! Yes there are some problem people there but they are doing their best to control it. They are pretty darned organized and if you want to see for yourself visit them but until then, SHUT UP!

  • JoB March 29, 2013 (6:42 pm)

    The news story Dave linked to goes to show.. you do something illegal, it doesnt’ matter if you live in Nickelsville or not, you get arrested, prosecuted and sentenced.

  • Lolaleah March 29, 2013 (6:44 pm)

    Stephanie. I love you. Seriously. I hope all of the name callers spend time giving back to their community. Otherwise you are a part of the problem.

  • MARTY March 30, 2013 (8:23 pm)


  • Patriot April 3, 2013 (9:28 pm)

    Stephanie: are you talking about NV? We have supported them for almost 2 years and we have seen firsthand an entirely different side than you have. We may have been a bit gullible at first but quickly learned the con jobs that take place when you walk in and what is said about the donors once they leave. We took it in stride and continued to help anyway until about 4 months ago when we backed off some due to the meth heads running the camp. Most people don’t help at all, the efforts falling to a few that still wanted the camp to succeed. We still see people turn around and head to the back when help is asked for, and many are just content to sit at the fire and wait for their meals to be delivered and the next shipment of drugs to come over the berm.
    I was told tonight that over 100 5 gallon jugs of water were used in 10-11 days and they are once again out. This particular donor is supplying water at his own considerable expense. Others have tried their hand at delivering water but many gave it up due to the unwillingness of most of the NV residents to help load and unload.
    Don’t forget that the community has gone in to help NV clean up the messes and organize.
    Sorry, but there are a LOT of lazy people in NV that just want handouts and not hands up.
    Marty: we hear ya, we’ve seen it all and we agree. We celebrate all those who have found a way out of NV.

  • JoB April 4, 2013 (9:45 am)

    closing nickelsville without providing a solution for homeless people who want to work or want to remain with family members including pets is not the answer.

    the “few” that have made it out of Nickelsville have done so mostly because of people who became interested enough in them to stand by them as they moved through the system and waited for the promised housing/job/medical care…

Sorry, comment time is over.