‘Nickelsville’ updates: HPAC petition; Food Lifeline status; proposed encampment ordinances

(UPDATED 5:20 PM FRIDAY with ordinances to be reviewed by council committee next week)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

We have two three followups today to the “Nickelsville” developments first reported here last Tuesday, one day after the second anniversary of the encampment’s return to West Seattle.

Those developments centered around a letter from Mayor McGinn to Council President Sally Clark a letter (read it here) suggesting two options for the site’s future: Sell it to Food Lifeline as that agency has sought, provided the council passes a bill allowing more encampment sites at “non-religious” locations – or vote to allow the site to become a “semi-permanent” encampment.

Today’s developments (editor’s note – third development, added 5:20 pm, is at the bottom of this story – the two ordinances to be reviewed next week, including the mayor’s alternative proposal for the Nickelsville site):

HPAC PETITION AND MEETINGS: The Highland Park Action Committee, which says its area has hosted the encampment for long enough – 2 years – and is demanding a move-out date, has started an online petition. The petition calls on the city to either move it before summer, or start a public-review process for HP and Riverview immediately. Find the petition here. Here’s the statement we received along with that link:

Please pass this link on to anyone you know who owns property in the city, or to anyone that supports a better solution for the homeless. The Mayor’s actions to date have repercussions for everyone. We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten on this, we have a lot of irons in the fire right now. We are working on legal papers to file and are focusing the next few weeks on a more political route while all this legislation is coming to a head in City Council.

We are meeting with Council President Sally Clark’s aide this afternoon, and plan to meet with the Mayor at his office next Friday. We hope to have as many signatures as possible by Wednesday, May 22nd. That day there is (a) meeting of Nick Licata’s Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee at Seattle City Council from 2-4 where he’ll be presenting encampment legislation. Anyone who can make it to that, it would be great to try to have some community to encourage a change to the current situation. That night we have our regularly scheduled HPAC meeting, where we will discuss next steps. Join us at 7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club on 12th and Holden.

FOOD LIFELINE: As mentioned in the mayor’s letter published here on Tuesday, Food Lifeline already has commitments from the encampment site’s other two owners to sell their parts of the parcel to FLL.

We confirmed this with FLL spokesperson Amy Lee Derenthal, who says the state has declared its land “surplus” and will sell no sooner than September 1st but no later than next January 15th, and that the private landowner who holds the rest of the site will “sell or deed his property” to FLL – once the organization has secured the city parcel.

Reacting specifically to the mayor’s announcement, Derenthal quotes FLL CEO Linda Nageotte as saying, “We appreciate the efforts of both the Mayor’s office and the City Council to move toward selling the land to Food Lifeline in addition to tackling the difficult issues surrounding both hunger and encampments. We look forward to a win-win solution that will provide safe shelter and healthy food to all who are in need of these resources.” They have one other ball in the air – a $3.1 million state funding request that FLL says was in the State Senate budget but not the State House. But they’re hopeful that will be worked out during the special session now under way, as they seek “state funding for preparation of the site, including geotechnical, SEPA review, grading, soil reclamation, and fill.”

Food Lifeline went public last October with its proposal to buy the site, seeking to build a new headquarters/processing center there.

ADDED 5:20 PM – DRAFT ORDINANCES TO BE PRESENTED NEXT WEEK: Three hours after we published this story, the agenda for next week’s aforementioned City Council Housing (etc.) Committee meeting was made public, and it includes drafts of the two ordinances mentioned in the mayor’s Tuesday letter:

*First – Councilmember Nick Licata’s proposal for allowing “transitional” encampments at certain types of non-religious locations – see the draft version here.

*Second – Mayor McGinn’s alternative proposal (though his letter says he would prefer to see Licata’s version passed, and to then sell the Nickelsville site to Food Lifeline), which would spend $300,000 $150,000 on an environmental assessment of the current encampment site as a possible preface to “constructing a temporary structure for providing transitional services, food preparation, and hygiene facilities to be run by an organization that would manage the City-sanctioned encampment, providing up to 100 homeless people with a place to stay and with connections to critical human services while they transition to more permanent housing …” See the draft version of that ordinance here.

Again, the meeting at which those proposed ordinances will be discussed is at 2 pm next Wednesday – May 22nd – at City Hall.

29 Replies to "'Nickelsville' updates: HPAC petition; Food Lifeline status; proposed encampment ordinances"

  • Andy May 17, 2013 (2:54 pm)


  • sad May 17, 2013 (3:26 pm)

    Will not be signing.

  • not sad May 17, 2013 (4:17 pm)


  • JoB May 17, 2013 (4:35 pm)

    I have a problem with the way the request for signatures for this petition was worded..
    although this petition does demand action now…
    it doesn’t demand any kind of action that will in fact assist the homeless people living in Nickelsville.
    I definitely support a better solution for homelessness..
    but after reading it, i will not be signing this petition.

    • WSB May 17, 2013 (5:28 pm)

      Note for anyone coming back just to check comments: I have added one more update to the story – late today, the agenda came out for next week’s Council committee meeting with the two ordinances mentioned in the mayor’s letter earlier this week, the Licata proposal to expand where encampments are allowed, and the mayor’s potential alternative to start the process of making Nickelsville more official. Both are linked in the new, third section of the story above – Tracy

  • Homeless in Seattle May 17, 2013 (5:43 pm)

    Let’s see. The homeless have many of the parks, the lawn adjacent to the King County Courthouse, and one heckuva lot of sidewalk space. Not to mention the Metro “dope-shooting gallery” buses, departing Snickersville every half hour.

    I say: Send these fine people to Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville, Medina, Clyde Hill, Somerset, and elsewhere, for a refreshing change.

  • Christie May 17, 2013 (5:46 pm)


  • justice requires critical thinking May 17, 2013 (6:03 pm)

    Moves the imperative discussion on to the steps of city hall policymakers where it belongs. So, I’ll sign it.

    HPAC is not a human and social service agency so why do some expect this residential neighborhood group with minimal resources, to come up with “the plan”.

    Confusing fact with opinion is not helpful to the folks in need right now – both in the greenbelts and Nville and Highland Park.

    Good governments deal with social and environmental justice. HPAC is not government.

    See the difference? And if you want more than what the authorized reach of HPAC can logically impact, nobody is stopping you from making it happen.

    But understand that attempts to derail HPAC’s efforts to unclog this mess are pointless.

    Go do something constructive with the homeless advocates.

  • Dana Greenlee May 17, 2013 (6:08 pm)

    Great reporting, WSB! There’s a lot to digest, so I’ll just highlight one point that had my mouth agape and my eyes rolling.

    From the 5:20pm addendum: “…spend $300,000 on an environmental assessment of the current encampment site…” prior to building anything. Wow – $300k to walk around, research and write a report before even one nail can be hammered into a 2×4? Someone assessment company sure thinks highly of their services.

    • WSB May 17, 2013 (6:11 pm)

      That surprised me too. Came out at very end of day, so I couldn’t follow up further with the mayor’s office, but we’ll be continuing to cover this next week, of course, including the hearing on Wednesday. – TR

  • JoB May 17, 2013 (9:32 pm)

    “justice requires critical thinking”
    i couldn’t agree more that justice does require critical thinking…
    but cloaking self interest in morality fails that requirement.
    as the not in my back yard mentality fails self interest.
    homelessness is an increasing problem in all parts of Seattle, not just here in West Seattle or in Arbor Heights.
    moving the people currently living in Nickelsville won’t move those who have nowhere to camp but in the greenbelt along… nor will repeated raids… all you have to do is walk the greenbelt a week following one of the mass clearings to realize the futility of the not in my backyard policy…
    what will help to move people from the streets back into the mainstream is providing 24 hour housing that is inclusive of families with secure lockers for personal belongings… medical care.. dental care.. addiction treatment.. mental health services … etc…
    please show me how this petition addresses those needs

  • dsa May 17, 2013 (9:33 pm)

    “…spend $300,000 on an environmental assessment of the current encampment site…”
    I should come out of retirement. I thought the city was short of cash.

  • West Seattle Hipster May 17, 2013 (9:45 pm)

    $300,000 wasted?


  • robert May 17, 2013 (10:25 pm)

    the 300.00 smackers will probably go to one of the good-ole-boys, or one of the bottom-feeders that hang around the court-house bathroom waiting for the next ambulance call with cost-overruns they can probably double.. that..NOBODY DOWN THERE CARES ONE WHIT ABOUT THE HOMELESS. only if it would make him look good next election.

  • Huh? May 18, 2013 (3:44 am)

    There are homeless camps in Arbor Heights now, JoB?

    Well, go help them too. Go write your own petition which provides the plan you expect.

    You preach and berate endlessly on WSB forums and here about other people’s moral failures.

    you have failed to decode the intent of this petition. People make hard choices on behalf of those they represent. That is the way it works.

    The lack of your signature on this HPAC petition means nothing.

  • jeff platt May 18, 2013 (9:07 am)

    stop talking about them like there a lost cute puppy
    u like and care so much put em in your backyard
    if you had crackheads all over your hood you wouldnt be so positive about the camp!
    mayor mcbikelane wouldnt have it in his hood either. one of thier lil crack parties in the bushes and mcginn would flip and get spd on it!
    signed and shared

  • Patriot May 18, 2013 (9:12 am)

    Signed, but be careful. I deselected receiving any more e mails from Change.org but got one anyway, then went to unsubscribe to find a listing of future e mails I was due to get. Nickelsville has overstayed its welcome. The ideal they started with 2 yrs ago has died and most of the people who started it have moved on and out.

  • cruzer May 18, 2013 (11:00 am)

    Evict Nickelsville! The site is unfit for human habitation. They have been here long enough! If the city wants to offer them a campsite then it’s time for another neighborhood to welcome them.

  • Larry May 18, 2013 (1:03 pm)

    $300,000? That is chump change when trying to develop or build anything in this city. You should check out what the developers paid for environmental studies to build all these new apartment communities.

  • JoB May 18, 2013 (1:51 pm)


    the are several homeless camps everywhere..
    some of them have PR and political representation
    but most of them don’t…

    take a walk on the wild side and you will encounter them.. even in the nicest neighborhoods…

    pushing Nickelsville along to another location won’t solve the need that created this homeless camp.. or any other

  • JoB May 18, 2013 (1:59 pm)

    by the way jeff..
    i am a little tired of the personal attacks.
    my posts encourage compassion, understanding, education and directed action.
    if you read that as moralizing, your perception is at fault, not my intention.
    i have never advocated treating homeless people like pets..
    i advocate treating them like people.

  • Steph May 18, 2013 (8:07 pm)

    Not signing that pos petition. I’m with JoB. If I would have gone to a HPAC meeting and voiced my objection, I would have been treated with the same disstan they show the homeless. I don’t want to be apart of a group of pos people that don’t have much compassion. And now you’ll say ” I have the same compassion”, blah, blah, blah crap.

  • JoAnne May 19, 2013 (8:59 am)

    People who talk the most about compassion are usually the ones who have never worked with the homeless.
    There is help available to those willing to work and be sober.
    For the others, drug use and homelessness are choices that no one is morally obligated to support or facilitate.

  • JoB May 19, 2013 (9:34 am)

    i have not only worked for the homeless
    i have been homeless

    having once been homeless is only one of the reasons i have compassion.

    when i was homeless, it was possible to get a job and work yourself back out of extreme poverty and into a home even if you had bad credit..

    now, the demand on affordable housing is much higher than the supply and bad credit alone is enough to keep people who would prefer to live inside on the streets…

    not to mention that a take home of $250 a week for a really good entry level position is not enough to allow you to save up for an apartment when your phone costs you $50 a month and the gas and upkeep for the car that allows you to work so far from both home and the public transportation system costs you another $200 a month if it is paid for and you make enough to eliminate the assistance of food stamps or free medical so food costs you another $200 a month if you eat frugally but more if you attempt a nutritional diet without the advantages of a kitchen and if you happen to become ill you will be paying the medical bills at the highest rate possible and if you don’t pay them you can’t get housing…and you have no choice but to do your laundry the most expensive way possible.. in a laundromat.. and …

    the truth is that it is much more expensive to acquire the basics.. food, housing, shelter and medical care when you find yourself at the bottom of the foodchain.

    entry level jobs only make it possible for the homeless to live a little better standard than their fellows who aren’t working…

    without support systems.. including family, friends and local services.. making it back off the streets isn’t such an easy thing to do…

    i am aware that labeling them all drunks and druggies who aren’t willing to work for themselves makes it a lot easier to ignore the fact that once homeless.. they face an almost impossible task getting themselves back off the street.

    and that doesn’t even begin to address a system that demands sobriety from those who live in houses but especially from those who don’t without addressing the conditions that cause people to find the oblivion of drugs and alcohol a better alternative than their reality.

    contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to be aware of the full reality of the situations people find themselves reacting to and to have compassion for them.

    there but for the grace of god go I…

  • miws May 19, 2013 (7:42 pm)

    No matter any of our differences of opinion on issues, whether it be politics, Nickelsville specifically, or the Homeless population in general one thing that I know for an absolute fact, is that JoB has been a tireless advocate for NV these past two years, much of this advocacy actual physical legwork, despite her own chronic and constantly painful health issues.


    Anyone claiming she is uneducated about Homelessness, or doubting how hard she has worked, either knows not of what they speak, or are outright attacking her for her comments on the Nickelsville related Articles published on WSB, or the NV related threads on the Forums.


    That kind of attitude, shows the true ethics of the person behind the negative comments.



  • Ms. Sparkles May 20, 2013 (11:36 am)


  • GunnerDDog May 20, 2013 (10:07 pm)

    I guess I am still unclear as to what the city’s plan to address the homeless is trying to accomplish. Can we see what kind of return he city gets for its investment? Has the city’s support helped people transition out of homelessness? Have they gotten jobs? If so, that’s wonderful. If not, then let’s address the shortcomings of this approach and try another. From my viewpoint, admittedly a distanced one, NVille has not been successful in bettering people’s lives. And I am willing to say that providing a rat infested, flood prone patch of land which has come to be such a sore point for the surrounding community and cannot successfully transition people into better situations is not the best use of government assets. If the city can’t show a plan to improve people’s lives through continuing NVille, then it needs to move on to the next thing. Food Lifeline would be fine. That being said, the community (not necessarily the gov’t) still has an obligation to help provide basic needs to those who need help and are willing to work to improve their situation. People who choose a life of alcoholism or drug induced stupors are not a good investments for scarce tax dollars. We use value judgements when choosing where to spend our tax dollars everyday and this should be no different. And those last comments were not pointed at NVille in particular as I have no firsthand knowledge of anyone there, but as a general public policy opinion.

  • Beth May 20, 2013 (10:14 pm)

    JoB, thank you for the education. Your ideas about how to get Seattle to become a truly diverse, integrated city would be appreciated. What do you think about inclusionary zoning?

  • JoAnne May 21, 2013 (8:27 am)

    Most people do not have anything handed to them and need to work hard and sacrifice for years to get ahead even a little.
    Still, the single most accurate predictor of income in the US is number of hours worked per week.
    Life is hard and expensive for everyone. Many people who work full time still do not have enough to pay all the bills, and they sure don’t have the luxury of advocating for their own rights.
    If you have the free time to spend advocating for Nickelsvilles, more power to you I guess.

Sorry, comment time is over.