‘Nickelsville’ updates: 7 councilmembers ask mayor to close it by 9/1; mayor says if that’s their choice, he’ll evict anyone who’s left

(Added 12:14 pm: Video of this morning’s council “briefing” meeting)
FIRST REPORT, 10:29 AM: Seven City Councilmembers are sending Mayor McGinn a letter asking him to close the “Nickelsville” encampment by September 1st. News of this first emerged this morning during discussion at the first of the two regular Monday meetings of the full council. We have just obtained a copy of the letter, which is signed by all councilmembers except Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien. It asks the city’s Human Services department to come up with a plan to “provide immediate targeted outreach and engagement services” to those living at the encampment, “along with immediate provision of shelter, housing, and other services,” to prepare for closing the encampment. This comes two days before Nickelsville is scheduled to be discussed at the Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee, which Licata chairs. We’ve asked for reaction from the mayor; his office hasn’t seen the letter yet. (We’ll add the letter here shortly.)

10:40 AM UPDATE: Here’s the letter:

7 councilmembers want 'Nickelsville' closed by 9/1/13

If you can’t see the embedded, scrollable copy above, click here for a PDF.

2:21 PM UPDATE: We asked for a comment from the Highland Park Action Committee, which asked the city to close the encampment – which moved back to West Seattle two years ago – before summer:

We appreciate the council finally recognizing that the illegal encampment known as Nickelsville is not a good model for how our City should be treating our homeless. While we wish we had seen this letter and strong leadership over two years ago, we applaud that someone in our City government is finally seeing that this encampment has an unsustainable vision. We encourage the Mayor to respond quickly, preferable with a sooner move-out date in an effort to honor the community’s request. We would also like to see the Human Services department pay regular visits to our greenbelt throughout the summer to offer the same outreach, services, and provisions to the people living there.

3:22 PM UPDATE: And now a statement from the mayor, saying that unless a council majority changes its mind, he will expect the camp to be cleared by 9/1 and will evict anyone still there:

appreciate the work of Councilmembers Licata and O’Brien for working on expanding legal options for encampments, which built upon the work of an advisory task force I assembled in my first year in office. For some time we have delayed enforcement of the law against encampments on industrial lands while the City Council examined these proposals to provide more opportunities for legal encampments in the City of Seattle. In light of the City Council’s clear statement of intent that they will not expand encampments further, and that they expect Nickelsville to clear the property by September 1, motivated in part by the desire to sell this property to Food Lifeline, I have no further basis to not enforce the law.

We will provide additional services, including extended winter shelter hours through the summer. Absent a change in direction by the City Council, by September 1 we expect the property to be vacated and we will follow the City Council’s direction to evict those who remain.

80 Replies to "'Nickelsville' updates: 7 councilmembers ask mayor to close it by 9/1; mayor says if that's their choice, he'll evict anyone who's left"

  • Dave June 10, 2013 (11:02 am)

    A good first step.

  • dsa June 10, 2013 (11:22 am)

    Finally, good news from city hall, thank you seven.

  • jiggers June 10, 2013 (11:45 am)

    SHARE has numerous shelters across the City already. Fill them up and put them in there. There’s your alternative.

  • Paul June 10, 2013 (12:21 pm)

    Woot! TheSeattleSeven rocks! Thank for standing up!

  • lox June 10, 2013 (1:08 pm)

    Thank You Seven!

  • patriot June 10, 2013 (1:16 pm)

    Finally…thank you 7. Most of the people at NV will NOT go into shelters. Go ask them. Expect to see their “advisor” pull up their tent stakes and move them again on his own in the near future, after he gets all the “they’re making the homeless homeless” press.

  • stephanie June 10, 2013 (1:20 pm)

    Those shelters are not fun to be in according to my father-n-law who had been homeless for a couple years. He said all that went on there was drugs and the environment was not helthy. Try staying in one.Why do you think the people in NV are there? Plus the shelters don’t allow couples to be together and pets as well. I sure hope those people will get the proper help and not just be kicked out with really no place to go.

  • sardine June 10, 2013 (1:20 pm)

    Isn’t it about time to be calling it “McGinnville”?

  • JoB June 10, 2013 (2:17 pm)

    finding people who currently live at nickelsville housing sounds good
    until the reality that accepting those short term vouchers will turn into long term denial at SHARE shelters sets in.
    SHARE still contracts for over half of the city’s shelter beds…
    where will the people who accept short term vouchers stay when those vouchers run out?
    we need to demand better solutions.
    the 10 year plan is NOT working.

  • Paul June 10, 2013 (2:22 pm)

    @sardine- I propose McGinnTown.
    @JoB – You are right, but the tent city is not working either.

  • Fr. JD Godwin June 10, 2013 (2:41 pm)

    Reading these blog responses brings me to wonder if any of the writers have actually visited Nickelsville, not just to drive by, but to visit? I am relatively new to this community and may not have all the facts, but I did go along with others from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church this past Friday evening to share a pretty good hot meal with the residents. I found the whole community to be well organized, caring of one another and very responsive to conversation with our St. John members. I did not talk with anyone who would choose to live there were there a viable choice. I had heard that the “neighbors” want Nickelsville out of there. Looking around the area the only neighbors I saw were streets, highways and warehouses. Hmmm? It is far, I’d think, from even being near prime real estate. St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church has a long-standing involvement in Nickelsville as do other members of the faith community. I encourage others to witness to the importance of this well-ordered, well-maintained community for the homeless who are our neighbors. Priest-in-Charge, Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Church

  • Ex-Westwood Resident June 10, 2013 (3:02 pm)

    You can only help those that want help.
    There is a certain percentage of the homleless that CHOOSE to live that way. Believing that it is up to “society” to take care of them. Those types deserve only our scorn as they are a drain on the programs that in place and shelters that are in place to HELP those that are truely trying to get out of the homelessness they find themsleves in through no fault of their own.

  • JoB June 10, 2013 (3:18 pm)

    i’m sorry. maybe i am tired and cranky today.. but that old saw that you can only help those that need help and if they are homeless they don’t need help bites the big one.
    Aside from the fact that it’s an incorrect statement..
    it lacks all compassion for people who don’t have the advantages you think will be there for you if you get into trouble.
    Shelters serve a purpose.. but there are several categories of people that they simply don’t work for..
    those who are trying to hold down a job. Yup.. folks with a job can’t meet the schedule requirements of most of our shelters.
    couples. I don’t know of a single indoor shelter that allows couples to even sleep in the same shelter in different areas, let alone allows them to sleep near enough to one another to provide safety and/or care
    those with serious health conditions. Yes, there are shelters that have spaces for people who need respite care.. but they are full and the list to get into them is long.
    families.. you know, mom,dad, kids. If you want to stay together as a family, you stay in a tent city or on the street.
    and that’s the short list.
    and that doesn’t even begin to address where homeless people are supposed to safely stash things like personal papers and identity cards and medications and money and …
    It’s a cruel world on the street and anything you carry on your back is subject to theft…
    not to mention lack of an address. I am told you can’t even get a free phone without an address.
    It’s time that those who have been yelling the loudest to throw the bums out get an education and ask themselves the question….
    Where are they going to go if there are no shelters for them?
    Because repeating “they don’t want help” isn’t going to get them off your streets.

  • JoB June 10, 2013 (3:19 pm)

    FR Godmwin

    there is a state law on encampments on church property that supercedes city law…

  • Joe Szilagyi June 10, 2013 (3:29 pm)

    @JoB — just in regard to that law (whose RCW I’m not sure of) it’s not settled, really, but I’m not a lawyer. I remembered reading this in the past:


    SHARE/WHEEL has won quite a few suits in this area, where local towns were forced to grant permits for them. So how this ends up? Who knows. The current camp could be there two years from now or they could be up in Madison Park or Laurelhurst next month.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident June 10, 2013 (3:43 pm)

    I agree HELP those that WANT and NEED the help.
    They ARE out there and they DO believe that they have a right to be taken care of.
    THEY can G.T.H!!!!

  • 33Pete June 10, 2013 (3:45 pm)

    JoB – here’s an idea – change how shelters work instead of allowing a largely unregulated and unilateral grabs of public property for private use.

  • trickycoolj June 10, 2013 (3:50 pm)

    I really have to wonder about the “I can’t go to the shelter because I have a pet” statement. If you are so down and out you are finding it difficult to provide food/shelter/healthcare for yourself then how are you feeding a dog or cat? How are you paying for the vet bills? Grooming? Flea medicine? Does the humane society work hand in hand with any of the shelter programs to assure these folks that they themselves and their animals will have better lives if they go into a brick and mortar shelter and surrender their animal to a foster home or animal shelter for adoption?

  • Neighbor June 10, 2013 (4:19 pm)

    @Father Godwin-Thank you for your perspective! I too am amazed at the complete mischaracterization this community has been living with after actually visiting the camp many times. I have been amazed at how this community functions in such circumstances. The level of society the camp creates with very little has been a huge lesson for me.

    Although I’m not a believer I do believe that Jesus would live amongst those at Nicklesville doing whatever he could to help in whatever way he could with no judgement.That is what his life was about as this pagan understands it. So here’s to you walkin’ the walk.
    Let’s all try to help find solutions for our community.

  • justice requires critical thinking June 10, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    mayor doesn’t mention all of the folks up in the greenbelts. there needs to be as much outreach as possible up in the greenbelts….

    Father Godwin – head on up into the greenbelt above Dakota Street. There are additional extremely needy folks up there who are going to need your team more than the current Nicklesville residents who now have a prayer.

  • Iggy June 10, 2013 (4:22 pm)

    With all respect to Fr. Godwin, who is new to Seattle, there is far more near Nicklesville than “streets, highways, and warehouses.” I find your comment insulting to the residents of Highland Park. Also, be advised that the health issues at Nicklesville are severe: no running water, rats, mud, no heat in the winter. If you visited on a sunny summer day and were wined and dined by a few happy residents, you sure haven’t seen Nicklesville. So, sadly, your facts are wrong.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 10, 2013 (4:24 pm)

    This is a very positive development in the ongoing illegal encampment saga. I am cautiously optimistic that this situation will be resolved by September 1st.

    THANK YOU Seattle 7.

    And thank you as well to WSB for keeping the concerned citizens of West Seattle informed about developments at this illegal encampment.

  • Alan June 10, 2013 (4:30 pm)

    @Father Godwin – “It is far, I’d think, from even being near prime real estate.” Really? I cannot believe you said that, but you did hit the nail on the head as to why it has been there as long as it has. I’m assuming that you did see the trees. A short walk gets you through them to my neighborhood. Humble though it may be.

  • justice requires critical thinking June 10, 2013 (4:31 pm)

    thanks Iggy.

    Father, you might want to go visit South Park. Another nearby fragile community beseiged by criminality and desperation. But who cares, right? Poor Hispanic community with low property taxes.

    I have to say your classism oppresses and is in direct conflict with Christianity as I understand it. These are communities fighting many isms.

    Dig for a better paradigm. It ain’t so easy….

  • One Block Away June 10, 2013 (4:50 pm)

    Thanks father! I live right above the camp in the dead end neighborhood of othello and don’t feel my property value has declined because if the camp nor do I feel any less safe than I did 7 years ago when I moved in.

  • Kay K June 10, 2013 (4:54 pm)

    Thank you city council 7 for finally taking some action. This issue needs to be addressed on a city-wide basis.

    Tracy, what have you heard about the sale to Food Lifeline going through? Is it now a sure thing?

  • jiggers June 10, 2013 (5:11 pm)

    I forgot to add, how’s that ten year plan to end homelessness working out?

  • Just curious June 10, 2013 (5:17 pm)

    I am a newbie to WS. I hear a lot of long term residences say that crime here has never been so bad, nor has the pan handling. Is this related? Has it increased more since nicklesville? If so, it’s a no brainier. Just curious …..

    • WSB June 10, 2013 (5:40 pm)

      Crime is *not* at any kind of all-time high. We discuss that here all the time. No stats for panhandling, though, so I can’t speak to that. But most of the arrest records I see suggest the crime suspects are people with homes – can’t think of the last one I saw that didn’t have a home address …

  • flimflam June 10, 2013 (5:53 pm)

    …and as always, the rub – what part of seattle will have the honor of having the next incarnation jammed down their throat?

  • JoB June 10, 2013 (6:10 pm)

    Kay K
    unfortunately, the action the “Seattle 7” took will solve nothing.
    If we are relying on the 10 year plan, my understanding is that the amount of affordable housing has decreased.. not increased.

    even with vouchers the homeless find it difficult to find places to live.
    and the city did not continue the successful experiment in 24 hour shelters..

    someday we will find a solution won’t house those who are on our streets today.

  • ws born & bred June 10, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    Illegal encampments are one thing but targeting Nicklesville is just sad. It is structured, organized and runs better than many shelters. Just sad.

  • Fast Freight Outta Town June 10, 2013 (6:14 pm)

    Great news. Just walk east, freeloader pals, to the rail yard. And catch the next freight straight outta town. North, South, or East.

    Try to avoid the railroad police. But I am sure you are pros at that…

    I hear there is work to the East, though, so you might want to avoid that direction…

    All aboard…


  • JanS June 10, 2013 (6:28 pm)

    If Nickelsville was on West Marginal Way down under the WS Bridge, since I live in the Admiral District, should I call them my neighbors and in my neighborhood? Would property values go down in the North Admiral area? I highly doubt it.

    Yes, we have had campers in the greenbelt along Admiral Way on occasion, during the warmer months (more camouflage) and yes, we have “campers” underneath the Admiral overpass bridge, down in the Fairmount ravine. And not one of them affects me, or my neighborhood from what I can see.

    Now, if I had my way, homelessness would not exist. But it does, it’s a reality. flimflam, and others, where exactly would you like them to go. They are not animals, they are not trash..they are homeless human beings. I’m sure you would all step forward and give your input to the city gov’t. to help them figure all this out…right? Or…will you all just hide anonymously on here and do nothing about solving the problem?

  • tk June 10, 2013 (6:50 pm)

    Nooooo! I will protest if there’s a demonstration.

  • Westseattledood June 10, 2013 (6:51 pm)

    With all respect Tracy, regarding infering too much about crime only from arrest records viewable online might be limited in meaning to those of us literally on the streets here in Highland Park.

    For example, I have pictures on my phone of seven or eight cars purchasing/selling meth at my neighbor’s house last year. I took pics to pursue a nuisance house complaint – after SPD told me that most of them (and many more) were homeless, living out of their cars at Nicklesville. I had no idea that many addicts were down there till then. No arrests were made from my calls…they kept showing up, disturbing the peace because they were crazy high on meth…for a YEAR these drug deals went on with a parade of methheads living IN THE GREEN BELT and Nicklesville because Nville booted them. Well, tried to boot them out.

    These were criminal acts were happening every. day. They did not get arrested.

    My persistence in calling 911 eventually led to a complaint to the property owner.

    Crime has been happening here which did not get result in arrests; criminality on this one single street which is exactly one mile up the hill from the encampments increased from almost nothing to a daily event.

    These are facts. These are facts which are true and which are not related to arrest records. Crime increased on my street since the camps moved here.

  • Freeloading Freeloaders June 10, 2013 (7:06 pm)

    Yes, Jan S.

    There have always been bums and freeloading riff-raff. I saw enough of them in fifties Yakima, peeing down their pant legs on skid road.

    I was lucky. My WW 2 veteran dad escorted this seven year old down the drunken gauntlet of the 50s.. I didn’t fear the pathetic drunken garbage, because after what my dad was through, he didn’t either.

    Now we have Nickelsville scuz squatting on PUBLIC LAND, as if they own it.

    Bye-bye, Nickelsville. Sorry you dumped on our community.

    And, good riddance.

  • Paul June 10, 2013 (7:10 pm)

    Once again. To all those who tout the merit of the tent city and want to talk about it having no serious impact on out neighborhoods, please invite the tent city to be setup in your back yard. No literally invite them to setup in your back yard. Put your money where you mouth is!

    For those curios about the use of church properties for tent cities, i _think_ RULIPA is the google search term you are looking for.

  • JanS Questions June 10, 2013 (7:26 pm)

    Yes, Jan S. I have voted for every darn levy and tax increase to give assistance to bums and riff-raff. Every school levy. I repeat EVERY school levy. And I have zero kids.

    So, criticize away, Jan S, and for that matter, JoB.

    I am sorry that may not be enough for you, but it is plenty for me. I own my own home. And pay every year. Plenty. Willingly. And a hefty sum.

  • JoB June 10, 2013 (7:59 pm)

    Everybody is jumping up and down
    but the ten year plan hasn’t cured homelessness
    don’t believe me? look in the nearest greenbelt
    or better yet.. go across town and look in any greenbelt
    where the campers can’t be blamed on Nickelsville
    instead of a focused controllable population…
    they will be dumped back on our streets…
    what or who are you going to blame then?
    it’s too bad too.. because a better solution was possible if residents had just gotten behind it.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 10, 2013 (8:12 pm)

    The 10 year plan has not cured homelessness and will NOT cure homelessness.

    If you were to survey those living the homeless lifestyle in Seattle, it would be interesting to learn how many are long term Seattleites or those who came to this area because of our repuatation for subsidizing those choosing to live that lifestyle.

    Despite all of the property tax levies and wasted tax dollars, the so called “10 Year Plan To End Homelessness” is an exercise in futility.

  • Christie June 10, 2013 (8:36 pm)

    Food life line is going to create jobs and help the homeless and less fortunate a lot better than NV. Our time is up – but if someone in the Admiral district would like to put them up we will let them know.

  • Del Martini June 10, 2013 (9:02 pm)

    You could have a five year plan or a fifty year plan to end homelessness and the results would be the same as the much vaunted when initiated ten year plan. It is a sad reality, but it is reality.

    Meanwhile, I welcome all those who believe in their hearts that everyone can be saved to make available their couch, home office, basement or spare room to one of the people at McGinnville. Be aware that I have watched neighbor’s attempts at that approach go down really bad roads way to many times to even consider it. We are talking having to take legal action for removal and being subjected to violence so use your best judgement.

  • One Block Away June 10, 2013 (9:07 pm)

    Happy to see more support for NV in these threads now, and Paul considering my back yard is the green belt above NV I feel pretty confident in the validity of my ‘touting’

  • West seattle long time June 10, 2013 (9:46 pm)

    I really feel that the blog commenters are not a true reflection of west seattle as a whole… If i were allowed to say what I really think of the selfish myopic views… Just plain sad people living for themselves and acquiring things to fill their garages, they just can’t grasp the fact that they could all be there… I don’t believe in Kama but today reading this ?… I really feel that the better side of west seattle is being hijacked by a conservative me only blog vocal mold that grows rapidly and feeds on people that don’t reflect themselves… Just sitting at the computer waiting to cheer for the displacement of homeless people. The BVM are the minority and the bulk of good west seattle people are completely unconcerned with commenting in this fashion.

    • WSB June 10, 2013 (10:01 pm)

      WSLT, having run this site for six years, I can assure you that thousands of good people have participated in discussion, among the 415,000-plus comments and forum posts that have been written by readers and published on WSB over those years. People helping each other, people sharing information, people reaching out to help those less fortunate, people cheering for members of their community doing great things, people consoling each other … That said, of couse no discussion involving 44 comments (so far) is representative of a community of 85,000. No one says it’s supposed to be. But if you want your viewpoint to be heard, you do need to speak up somewhere – if not in online comments or at a public meeting, by letting your representatives know. If you disagree with what seven city councilmembers and the mayor said today about Nickelsville, please e-mail or call them. Or come to the council committee meeting this Wednesday. I’m glad you care enough to speak up. Those who don’t speak up in some way have no chance of being heard. – TR

  • Andrea June 10, 2013 (9:55 pm)

    Totally agree West Seattle Lon… !

  • cj June 10, 2013 (9:59 pm)

    This might be a good time to consolidate a list of issues and dangers with the shelters. Its on the city’s mind at the moment so maybe they will listen better. Shelter problems if they are typical to other big city shelters in the US are management issues. Shelters need to be held accountable and actually managed, not just tossed a little cash and then forgotten.

  • Mike June 10, 2013 (10:10 pm)

    This is city wide data, for the person that asked about crime rates. Some down, some up. http://www.seattle.gov/police/crime/13_Stats/2013_Major_Crimes.pdf

    • WSB June 10, 2013 (10:11 pm)

      Thanks, Mike. The SPD website has precinct-by-precinct breakouts too, for those interested in getting more West Seattle-specific (WS and South Park comprise the Southwest Precinct) …

  • Guy Olson June 10, 2013 (11:32 pm)

    Why evict them? Horrible news! Discrimination!

  • West seattle long time June 11, 2013 (12:22 am)

    One thing matters… And that is our new and old truth $$$ if it were different than speaking out would help… Until real and meaningfully CFR happens on all levels than it may be just a giant wast of time? Politically we may be in the toughest time, I don’t think you have any voice other than what you purchase and how many others buy the same. Nicholsville and consumerism are not syncopated… But these people will still have to occupy space somewhere, fragmented and hopeless is apparently the people’s choice. tR I choose not to believe this, I read the blog and I can see patterns and they do repeat themselves in these type of posts consistently so either I live in a intolerant nieborhood or the posts in this blog are from a type… People who…

  • JoB June 11, 2013 (6:11 am)

    What WSB said

    ” If you disagree with what seven city councilmembers and the mayor said today about Nickelsville, please e-mail or call them. Or come to the council committee meeting this Wednesday.”

    We need to let our city council know that relying on a 10 year plan that is not producing results won’t help those who currently live on our streets.

    this letter didn’t just ask the mayor to move Nickelsville.. it signaled an end to the possibilities for any tent encampments not currently covered by the state law governing tent encampments hosted by religious organizations.

    and it said nothing about developing better shelters that meet the needs of the working poor who can’t find affordable housing in our city.

    this is unacceptable.

    • WSB June 11, 2013 (6:18 am)

      That was a reply to one specific person but I should have noted that even when you agree with what your leaders say or do, or, if you have another alternative to propose or a broader issue to comment on, they certainly would want to hear that too, either in person or via e-mail/phone/postal mail/etc., on this or ANY issue. For city leaders, contact info is abundantly available at http://seattle.gov – TR

  • West seattleite June 11, 2013 (6:30 am)

    The city allowing a group of people to illegally squat on an area of land that it owns is a dangerous precedent. And it does not represent a viable long term solution to the homeless problem in this area.

    To the people that say there are members of the community who are happy to see them go almost gleeful and that NV is an upstanding place. Let’s not forget what moved this conversation after two years of no leadership from the mayor. The people at NV wrote a letter saying they were in danger of being overrun by meth addicts. They said it. They admitted it. Not the residents of highland park.

    That the problem of NV. They have no legal or moral authority to day someone can’t be there. They are illegally there. Homelessness in Seattle is not one community’s responsibility. It is the entire city’s. After two years this community has done it’s part.

  • JoB June 11, 2013 (6:51 am)

    i confess.. i knew that and still i shamelessly co-opted your words because they fit my need :)

  • 33Pete June 11, 2013 (8:26 am)

    We need a two pronged plan: (1) get rid of the illegal encampments; and (2) make changes to our existing, lawful and regulated shelter system.

    Really, its that simple. We have a decent shelter system in place – now we just need to tweak it.

    Also, no 10 year plan will ever work when you put your city out there as a magnet for the homeless. The numbers keep going up – not necessarily because you are failing, but because you have a good program in place that attracts other from outside the city. Not exactly the cottage industry I think we are hoping for in Seattle.

  • Dave June 11, 2013 (8:43 am)

    From today’s Seattle Times: “Keever said he could probably find work, but lives at Nickelsville BY CHOICE and intends to stay.” (Emphasis added). http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021161645_nickelsvilleevict2xml.html
    By any measure, this is about career homeless – those not interested in permanent housing. Here, such audacity is sadly applauded. The so-called “useful idiots” continue to shower the professional homeless with charity, apologies and tax payer monies!

  • Joanne Brayden June 11, 2013 (8:43 am)

    West Seattleite..
    “The people at NV wrote a letter saying they were in danger of being overrun by meth addicts. They said it. They admitted it.”
    Let’s be clear. The person who said that was Scott Morrow… in a politcal gambit that clearly backfired on him
    he labeled one of the campers who said this is public property and you have to right to evict me a meth dealer.
    Then he upped the ante, wrote a letter to the police saying why don’t you help us with our problem
    and pulled the porta-potties to force the rest of the camp..
    who were clearly divided on this one..
    to force them to impose that barr.
    As a tactic.. it failed on all counts…
    instead of public support he found himself censured
    and added fire to citizen fervor to move the problem along…
    and the man and two women he labeled and barred?
    they are living under a bridge and in your greenbelts instead of being safely hidden behind the berm.
    that’s the reality…
    While it is true that some of those living in our greenbelts arrived there because they were driven out of Nickelsville.. for good cause or not… there have been people living in every green belt in this city for some time… and their numbers are growing.
    all closing Nickelsville accomplishes is shoving more of them out of the safety of their encampment and into our city’s backyard.
    i am guessing that is not what you had in mind…
    but there you go
    when you confuse form with function reality often intrudes

  • goodbye Nicklesville June 11, 2013 (9:36 am)

    I laugh at the comments of people who supposedly live “one block away” and have not had any impact from N’ville. We have had several incidents and have called the police multiple times as well as seeing police presence down there all.the.time. One resident drove his truck into a walking path by our home in order to illegally dump stuff from another WS residents yard. He was high on meth and his truck in turn got high centered and stuck. One of my children could have easily been in that walking path and killed (as they go through multiple times per day). We have pictures and proof as well. The police told us that the guy lived at N’ville, was high on meth (as apparently many of the residents are) and he was also not going to arrest him but instead use him in a “sting” operation to get a meth dealer instead. That is just one of the incidents that has happened in our Highland Park neighborhood as a result of this illegal camp.

  • D. I. D. June 11, 2013 (12:21 pm)

    THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS. That is right$30,000,000. According to the letter by the Seven Council Members who finally said enough is enough, $30,000,000 is being spent by the City annually on various services for homeless individuals and families. I have no idea how much additional monies are flowing into Seattle from the County, State and Feds to try and solve the problem. How much is enough? How much can you and I afford in terms of property and sales taxes going up? Is there any other city in the Pacific NW spending on a per capita basis this much? I don’t know with certainty, but I doubt it. We are creating a magnet in Seattle and attracting people here who know a good thing when they hear it. And trust me, word gets around fast on the streets, regardless of what podunk town or city you are in. I just heard some new arrivals being told by a street urchin in downtown how to go about working the system up at Harborview if they got into to much of a drinking binge.

    • WSB June 11, 2013 (12:44 pm)

      D.I.D. – I wonder if the $30 million includes housing levy dollars, since the DESC Delridge building to house 60 individuals was priced at $14 million last time we had a number in a story.

  • D. I. D. June 11, 2013 (12:22 pm)

    JoB – You may want to consider that you are afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome. One size fits all, carte’ blanche categorization of anyone living on the streets, in the woods, is a fools game.

  • Karen J June 11, 2013 (12:26 pm)

    This is a sad and complex problem. For those of us who have been here a number of years and have talked to the NV residents more than once and read and listened to interview we know that NV has changed. There really are two NV’s, one that involves people living together trying not to cause issues for others and a 2nd more recent group that have attached themselves who are drug and alcohol users who are in conflict with their own NV neighbors. For health reasons alone (rats, waste and unsanitary conditions) it should be closed. Those who WISH to be clean and sober can have shelter elsewhere in the city. I’m sorry the interim priest at SJTB feels we are unkind. No we are not. We are a kind and caring community who wish that the homeless can have safe and sanitary housing and mental health care if needed. If people wish to start a fund at SJTB and help the rest of the city to co tribute we can provide some better homes, health care etc. Maybe the big rummage sale proceeds could be donated and a kick start for others to do the same. The neighborhood is an important neighborhood in our city. Their is residential housing close by and commercial business next door and beyond has had issues as well. It’s time to use an alternative. Thank you council for taking a stand.

  • Joanne Brayden June 11, 2013 (5:49 pm)

    “You may want to consider that you are afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome.”
    why? because i am saying what no-one wants to hear… that closing Nickelsville is not going to end the kind of incidents that Morgan Park residents are attributing to the camp residents?
    yeah:) that’s right. I’m the one who is delusional.
    ” One size fits all, carte’ blanche categorization of anyone living on the streets, in the woods, is a fools game.”
    at least that we agree on.
    As for that 30 mil… wouldn’t we be wise to demand better services for our tax dollars?
    i think we would. But that’s a conversation no-one wants to have :(

  • One Block Away June 11, 2013 (5:49 pm)

    Well I do live one block away and drive by NV every single day at a minimum of twice if not more and can count on my two hands the number of times in two years that I’ve seen police cars there. Sorry you experienced what you did goodbye, as much as your statement is fact, so is mine.

  • GenHillOne June 11, 2013 (6:21 pm)

    One Block Away – I just met two of your neighbors (from your very street) this weekend and their experience is polar opposite of yours…to the point of feeling unsafe on occasion. Maybe your block should get together and talk!

  • One Block Away June 11, 2013 (6:41 pm)

    Perception is everything!

  • D. I. D. June 11, 2013 (9:20 pm)

    WSB – I wish I knew the total dollar amount being channeled via the City of Seattle to all the various non-profits and local government agencies that have been attempting to tackle the homeless issue.

    How much is enough? How much can my pocket book handle? How much can yours? Is Seattle the default landing spot for people from the entire Pacific North West who have issues? Are other communities in the PNW carrying their share of the burden or is their answer found in the pocket books of the tax payers of the Emerald City and King County?

  • D. I. D. June 11, 2013 (9:32 pm)

    JoB – Once Nickelsville is disbanded it will be one less contributor to problems that DO spillover into Highland Park, Delridge, West Marginal Way and its industrial businesses and the Duwamish Greenbelt. And it is Highland Park, not Morgan Park btw.

    I have no idea what you mean by getting better services for the millions of taxpayer dollars being thrown at the problem.

  • David Austin June 12, 2013 (12:16 am)

    Well, well, well. You know we all have to be a little crazy to live up here so what difference does it make, and why the huge concern over nicklesville’s in the first place, if anyone really cared about these people they’d look after them, instead of them looking out for each other. Maybe they’re afraid of offending their GOD of the Great Out Doors from where our species evolved from, in place of some PI in the sky TV dreamland most American’s seem to live in these days..
    Get over yourselves. Your not that important. 100 million years from now when our species is long extinct, and some other creature will be dominating the planet, they too will be unearthing our fossilized remains and putting them on display in museums, and titling us with names like Dumas Americanus

  • JoB June 12, 2013 (5:18 am)


    “I have no idea what you mean by getting better services for the millions of taxpayer dollars being thrown at the problem.”

    We could start by funding 24 hour shelters that would allow people who live in them to work.
    We could add secure lockers for personal possessions so that the people who live in shelters don’t have to risk losing everything they own including the identification that lets them into shelters every time they walk out the door.
    we could insist our dollars fund a shelter that allows entire families.. Men, women and children.. to stay together.
    we could provide basic health care services at shelters .. or at least a well stocked kit of over the counter medications like anti-fungal creams.
    The truth is that the way out current delivery system is set up, the homeless spend so much time every day trying to manage basics like banking and showers and communication and meals and medical care and … that it is nearly impossible for them to also look for and secure a job… and if they find one.. almost impossible to keep it without secure housing.
    if we want them to make homelessness a transitory stage, we are going to have to face the reality that the homeless can’t repeatedly stand in line all day every day to get basic services and still have time left to meet the deadlines imposed by our structured working world.
    If our goal is to get the homeless off our streets, we get lousing value for our dollar.

  • JoB June 12, 2013 (5:36 am)

    the simple truth is that the majority of the “problems” spilling over from Nickelsville spill over downtown.
    check out the bus shelters on any given day and you will find that the majority of the residents are packing the bus shelter headed downtown, not those going up into West Seattle and White Center.
    the homeless population that has spilled into White Center has spilled there from the greenbelts… not Nickeslville.
    a perusal of the cars in the parking lot and along the road outside Nickelsville every evening should make it abundantly clear that very few of them are functioning…
    and the majority of those that do belong to people who hold down jobs.
    Far from ending the source of people spilling into your neighborhood looking for a place to do their drugs…
    closing Nickelsville ends the source for shelter, food, mentoring and services for every person living there.
    for many, it ends their opportunity to pull themselves off the street.
    this fantasy of housing them all someplace away from West Seattle is at best a temporary reprieve.
    The Highland Park Action Committee has been so focused on the perceived burden that Nickelsville represented that they did not see the very real opportunity offered there.
    Nickelsville had become the focus of volunteer activities and friendships that help people move on with their lives.
    Volunteers haven’t just provided meals, they have helped people regain the lost and stolen documentation that is necessary to access any structured programs. They have taken people to the hospital and follow up medical appointments. they have helped many to not only survive but thrive.
    I know this because i have invested my time and a good deal of my own money at Nickelsville. I have walked alongside people as they move on and into housing and jobs and normal lives… and i have been doing it long enough to see some of them actually secure a viable future for themselves.
    I am just one woman. There have been many of us, individuals and groups who have supported on another’s efforts… who have cheered our successes and wept at our failures…
    and you think ending that delivery point is going to help keep homelessness from spilling over into your community?
    probably not.

  • Delridge Neighbor June 12, 2013 (8:00 am)

    Get off your soapbox JoB, nobody’s buying it. The city doesn’t owe homeless people perfect accommodations you describe, with 24 hour access or conjugal sleeping rooms. What else, swimming pool and cable TV? My apartment doesn’t allow pets either! Our shelter system meets basic needs but these people just don’t want to follow the rules, get up in the morning and get out to work or to look for work. At Nickelsville they can sit around all day drinking and drugging, wait for meals to be delivered, and build mountains of trash all around their illegal encampment. And complain to media about SHARE and all the stuff they have to do at camp! Anyone who really cares so much about homeless people, why don’t you go volunteer at a legal city shelter or agency? Because people at legal shelters have access to social services, showers and flush toilets. They deserve your help too! More than these Nickelsville illegal squatters on public land.

  • JoB June 12, 2013 (12:03 pm)

    Delridge Neighbor
    ” Our shelter system meets basic needs but these people just don’t want to follow the rules, get up in the morning and get out to work or to look for work.”
    it does?
    can you explain to me how that works?
    because the reality is that with very few exceptions
    the shelter and the showers are seldom in the same location
    which aren’t in the same location as the laundry and the computers
    which probably aren’t in the same location as banking and mail service for the homeless
    and regardless of where they are and how much time is consumed navigating the things you take for granted…
    any job applicant has to show up to an interview carrying everything they own
    and with no address for their application
    and likely little more than a message phone
    because the free phones require an address
    that’s the reality.
    i don’t know anyone advocating for swimming pools and cable tv.. or even conjugal access
    but 24 hour access so those who live in shelters can work swing shifts or more than one job would actually make it possible for people who live in our city’s shelters to work their way out of them.
    and keeping people within their support systems.. partners and families.. that’s just common sense. people do better when they aren’t constantly worried about the health and safety of those they love…
    “Anyone who really cares so much about homeless people, why don’t you go volunteer at a legal city shelter or agency? Because people at legal shelters have access to social services, showers and flush toilets.”
    FYI.. I do donate to legal shelters…
    but i am betting you don’t donate time to legal shelters because if you did you would have a much better understanding of the realities …

  • justice requires critical thinking June 12, 2013 (12:22 pm)

    The following is very important regarding a statement JoB/Joanne made asserting NV residents “on any given day” use buses to go downtown, not WC or West Seattle.

    That is most certainly not the case, though I realize because you do not live in Highland Park you have no idea what you are talking about when you say things about these streets. And, please, have the most basic respect for this community by at least referring to its proper name).  

    On the Friday before last, in a 2.25 hr. period while working in the yard, we counted 16 individual solo men with small new back packs (which NV issues, no?) walking on 9th Ave toward White Center (one block from HP Elementary, btw).  

    They were counted for a couple of reasons: one – in years past pre-Nicklesville – it would take a week or more, even on this arterial street, to ever have that much traffic that was not dog park users or school kids; 

    and the second reason the men with backpacks were counted was because just a couple of hours earlier that same day, driving down Holden (just off Highland Park Way), we noted the very same thing…solo men with backpacks walking up HP Way and down Holden. Probably a dozen men.

    All of this foot traffic of homeless men with small backpacks walking through Highland Park.

    Now, I have no idea where they were headed, but they were not on a bus to downtown.

  • stephanie June 12, 2013 (1:30 pm)

    I am really ashamed to live in WS. I used to think this was a great community with lots of caring people but now I see that is not true. What is true is that there are so many uncompassionate, shellfish people around that is make me sick to my stomach. I live just up the hill, and no, there aren’t any houses nearby. If you count your house on the hill ‘nearby’ that you and that bothers you, you are smoking something. Every day I see many people early in the morning and rush hour coming home that are taking those buses to a job or in some cases of kids living there, going to school. And if you really think these people are ‘free-loaders’ than I feel sorry for you because you are a miserable person to think all those people choose to live that way. Well actually they do choose come to think of it. Would you want to stay at a shelter without: your partner/wife/husband/kid because they don’t allow families to live together or because the environment at the shelters are not good. My father-n-law was once a drunk on the streets and had to stay at some of those places and even him during that time said it was hell. By the grace of some family that gave him a chance to clean up, he has now been sober for 12 years and living a good life. Some of those people don’t have family or a family that cares. Some gay youth live there and are kicked out of their homes because they are gay. There are a lot of different ways you can become homeless and it would have nothing to do with if you want that or not. You could be in their shoes one day, remember that.

  • Justice requires... June 12, 2013 (2:42 pm)

    Let me clarify:

    It is not true all/most of NV campers go downtown.

    There might be headed to the DSHS office or Westwood. Who knows? But they are not all using downtown buses. They walk. A LOT. Just pointing out what JoB is “strategically” omitting. And it isn’t to be mean. It is to begin to proactively address the unintended consequences of the past two plus years with actual good information rather than speculation abd theory.

    There will be plenty of homeless remaining in the greenbelts, some with their drugs, some with babies, pets and partners. Count on it.
    But i don’t think they can be taken care of longterm by the rich and generous but predominantly retired/elderly volunteers of this community. For obvious reasons.

    And, btw, It is very good indeed that your in-law got the help he needed. Very good.

  • stephanie June 12, 2013 (2:59 pm)

    I think the rich should help the less fortunate. We need to help each other and that is why we have these issues today. We can’t wait for the government to help. If I ever come into a lot of money, I will quite my job, volunteer and spend money on helping to find a fix. We have to help each other.

  • jiggers June 13, 2013 (5:00 pm)

    Why should the rich support the homeless? A lot those rich people worked hard for their own personal wealth. Nothing wrong with that. Anyways, another sobb story came out today in the Times.

Sorry, comment time is over.