‘Nickelsville’ closure countdown: Moving & cleanup schedule; Food Lifeline update

Again tonight, members of the Westside Interfaith Network kept a roadside vigil just outside the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville,” which by all indications is now gearing up for a moving day Sunday, city officials’ declared deadline for closing the site, rather than for a standoff.

As reported here last night, the encampment says it has secured three sites, and plans to announce the second and third locations tomorrow; the first one announced is at 20th and Jackson in the Central District.

The newest update on the encampment’s official Facebook page “Nickelsville Works includes the flyer below with a schedule for moving, and for cleaning up the current site, once it’s vacated:

Closing and clearing the site would be a step toward enabling its sale to Food Lifeline, which wants to build a new headquarters for its work fighting hunger in the region. But it’s not the only site FL is examining, according to development director Amy Lee Derenthal: “We have a couple other sites we’re looking at and doing our due diligence to make sure we make the best decision as to where we’ll build our Hunger Solution Center. The West Marginal Way site has been our preferred site and once we finish our due diligence process, we’ll let the community at large know of our plans. … Food Lifeline has been working with Low Income Housing representatives, the Church Council and the residents of Nickelsville for the last 15 months to help them find a more suitable location. The current site does not have very good transit options and it floods in the winter months. We help provide food to the Nickelsville community through one of our agencies, Operation Sack Lunch, and will continue to do so when they do eventually move.” It’s been almost 11 months since FL’s interest in the West Seattle site surfaced.

37 Replies to "'Nickelsville' closure countdown: Moving & cleanup schedule; Food Lifeline update"

  • Robert August 29, 2013 (10:45 pm)

    One site will be right across the street from Washington Middle School.

  • aw August 30, 2013 (7:14 am)

    Why do they need volunteers to help clean up? Don’t they have like 125 volunteers already?

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (8:08 am)

    ” it’s not the only site FL is examining, according to development director Amy Lee Derenthal: “We have a couple other sites we’re looking at and doing our due diligence to make sure we make the best decision as to where we’ll build our Hunger Solution Center. The West Marginal Way site has been our preferred site and once we finish our due diligence process, we’ll let the community at large know of our plans.”

    so that facility everyone thought they were getting to replace Nickeslville?
    Maybe not.
    In fact.. more than possibly not.
    It turns out someplace that floods isn’t really such a good spot for building after all…

    but it sure was a good excuse

  • Cait August 30, 2013 (8:48 am)

    Is the cat image a reference to the forum conversation?

  • Uhaul August 30, 2013 (8:51 am)

    The $500K of our tax money isn’t enough to rent a Uhaul and hire some moving help?

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (9:07 am)

    cait.. what cat image? i am wearing my glasses and looked really carefully and still can’t see one… which categorically does not mean i don’t think it’s there just that i can’t find it.

  • flimflam August 30, 2013 (9:09 am)

    so why all the secrecy behind location #3? you know that either way NV doesn’t care what the neighborhood will think, so why bother hiding this info? it’d be nice if the “lucky” community had some forewarning, or even *gasp* some input.

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (9:09 am)

    ah geez.. i did’t look on the poster :( BIG DUH!

    i am fairly certain the image on the poster is not referring to the forum conversation :)

    i am pretty sure the poster was produced by someone at Nickelsville and refers to them being pet friendly

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (9:11 am)

    cait.. second BIG DUH!
    that was a joke wasn’t it
    and i missed it :(
    too often i don’t even see the joke until after everyone else has stopped laughing :(

    • WSB August 30, 2013 (9:41 am)

      Hey guys – before you go too far on that tangent re: the cat – I *believe* the cat is actually a somewhat-longstanding icon for the encampment itself. When they moved back to this site in 2011, it was widely described as the Black Cat Caravan. I don’t know the origins, but I remember that clearly, and I have seen the icon/symbol on other communications – TR

  • joel August 30, 2013 (9:12 am)

    the current ‘volunteers’ are there for a hand out of the 500k

    before they leave some time should be spent in the greenbelt cleaning that mess up…..or should that be our tax money thru the parks department? if the parks department does go in make sure you have a police escort based on the past incidents.

  • miws August 30, 2013 (10:18 am)

    From my understanding, the “Black Cat Caravan” reference was in regards to the fact that NV relocated to that site on “Friday the 13th” of May 2011.



  • Jim P. August 30, 2013 (12:43 pm)

    I am curious to see what the site looks like after the squatters move on and what percentage of them will be involved in the clean-up vs. the volunteers.

    I expect the latter will be doing most of the work and the place will look like a hazardous waste dump if not for their efforts.

  • Johnny August 30, 2013 (1:08 pm)

    The more we give, the more they take.


    The more we fix, the more they break.


    If they won’t earn, they shouldn’t receive.


    If we won’t learn, they will never leave.

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (3:02 pm)

    the more you give?
    rolling on the floor laughing out loud om my gosh i have to run ….

  • Johnny August 30, 2013 (4:25 pm)

    So you ponied up the $500k all on your own now, Joanne? By all means, please continue to denigrate the opinions of others, you do it so well.

  • EL August 30, 2013 (4:52 pm)

    Do you know if they still need people to bring them snacks and water on Sunday?

  • AN August 30, 2013 (5:07 pm)

    Any word on the third and final location?

    • WSB August 30, 2013 (5:13 pm)

      I’ve been checking all afternoon and not seeing/hearing anything.

  • flimflam August 30, 2013 (5:56 pm)

    yep, they just want to keep that 3rd location a surprise for the lucky folks set to inherit this mess. everyone loves a good surprise!

  • Citizen Sane August 30, 2013 (6:01 pm)

    Johnny has a point, JoB. We – that is the residents of Seattle who pay taxes, already do something. As a matter of fact, we do about $35 million worth of something; that’s what the City of Seattle spends roughly each year on homeless programs, according to Wikipedia. And this isn’t counting County money, and State and Federal money that goes to programs like care when these vagrants show up at Harborview. I did the maths, and based on an estimate of 7,000 homeless in Seattle (according to estimates) that makes $5000 per! Are we getting people on their feet, or supporting a cottage industry here?
    So the point is, how much is enough? We are already so generous that, according to previous postings here, folks are coming from as far away as ARKANSAS to get a piece of the action; they even call us ‘Free-attle’.
    In my opinion, we do plenty as it is. I’d rather see the money going to fixing streets and hiring cops than supporting those who want to live a ‘free spirit’ lifestyle on my dime. Just sayin’
    PS: I also buy “Real Change” whenever I see a vendor.

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (6:18 pm)

    the city gave UGM $500,000 to assess the homeless population at Nickelsville and to relocate those they could.
    The money went to UGM.. not to Nickelsville…
    and as i understand it… unfortunately UGM was not able to re-house many residents of Nickelsville who applied for assistance because their credit histories and/or criminal histories didn’t qualify them for standard housing..
    So Johnny.. it’s really unlikely that any of that $500,000 was used to benefit the kind of people you describe…
    but heck… don’t let actual facts get in the way of your opinions…
    believing something is not enough to make it true.

  • JoB August 30, 2013 (6:20 pm)

    what worries me is that although nickelsville is asking for assistance in moving out of their old sites, they have not asked for assistance with meals and/or setting up camp in their new sites.

  • Citizen Sane August 30, 2013 (7:27 pm)

    JoB: did UGM provide a breakdown of what % couldn’t be helped because of ‘credit history’ v. the % that had criminal history issues?
    This is significant. The reality is that a lot of homeless avoid shelters for the simple reason that the shelters impose a form of terrorism known as ‘rules’, and don’t allow folks to behave as they please. They won’t abide by the no booze/no drugs rules.
    My point is this: while a certain percentage of homeless are genuine victims of circumstance, and others are genuinely mentally ill, and hence need the assistance of a compassionate community, there’s a lot more who simply are content to essentially live by their own rules, rather than society’s, and yet have the chutzpah to expect us to foot the bill. It’s this latter group that basically ‘pisses in the soup’ for everyone, and dampens our enthusiasm to help. Once again, we already spend about $5000 per homeless person per year. When is enough?
    I will help the helpless and the hopeless; I refuse to be obligated by folks like you to help every homeless person, regardless of how they became that way. I have no interest in providing a hammock for the leeches. When we are allowed to differentiate between the two, let me know. Otherwise, I’m content to leave our level of support where it is, and let them sort things out for themselves.

  • West Seattle Hipster August 30, 2013 (7:28 pm)

    “although nickelsville is asking for assistance in moving out of their old sites, they have not asked for assistance with meals and/or setting up camp in their new sites.”

    Shouldn’t they start attempting to be self sustainable and stop taking advantage of the generosity of others?

  • Concerned but exhausted August 30, 2013 (8:39 pm)

    Why would this group of people need help cleaning up Nicklesville? Isn’t it like moving out of any dwelling that you don’t own? You have to clean it up when you move!!! That’s real life!! Integrity & responsibility! This is why people get so frustrated. Why do they need help?? Actually a serious question – really want to know.

  • anette August 31, 2013 (1:20 am)

    “Why do they need help?? Actually a serious question – really want to know.”

    They need help b/c its really difficult to move an entire home on metro. Albeit they are living mostly in tents there are some sheds too. Also, supplies, pallets, tarps, water jugs etc etc Its not uncommon to ask for help come moving time.

  • JoB August 31, 2013 (8:13 am)

    Citizen Sane..

    yes, the city does spend a lot on homelessness..but what it spends the most on is overnight beds.. which houses the homeless overnight but does not put them on the road towards a regular life.
    in fact, our current system pretty much prevents them from doing so.
    those rules in the shelter system include early check in and early lock down rules that pretty much prevent a homeless person from accessing the free showers downtown in time to make it to a job appointment in the morning.
    it pretty much prevents those who sleep in shelters from being at locations that hire day laborers early enough to get work.
    we citizens should demand that our money is spent in such a way that it offers the homeless the opportunity to get back off the streete.
    24 hour shelters with showers and secure places to store belonging would be a good start. yet, there was one pilot program in Seattle that was working and still was suspended last winter.
    you assume people are not in shelters because they don’t like the rules…
    I am guessing you have never even visited a shelter let alone tried to spend the night in one.
    when i was homeless, i avoided shelters… and it wasn’t because of the rules.
    I didn’t drink, i didn’t do drugs, i had legal identification, i didn’t hook and i still have no criminal history… so i had no real problem with those rules… but i did have a problem being locked in where i couldn’t work evening shifts or get to work in a state that would allow me to keep my job early enough not to get fired.
    yes, i had bad credit… that’s part of what happens in the process of becoming homeless.. when you can’t pay your bills you get bad credit…
    but i wasn’t a criminal. nor was i ever a leech on society.
    but i will tell you this, if i hadn’t met someone who offered me a helping hand and mentored me through getting myself out of the situation i was in.. i am really not sure how long it would have been before i turned to drugs or booze to self medicate my misery.
    the notion that people who are homeless can get themselves out of it without help is absurd. if they could have done that they wouldn’t have become homeless in the first place.
    criminalizing poverty is a really stupid and ineffective policy at a time when the poverty rates in our nation are climbing at an alarming rate and we are cutting services to those who need them most.

  • JoB August 31, 2013 (8:17 am)

    West Seattle Hipster..

    imagine you got to pack everything you own and
    break down the camp you were living in in the morning.. and then got on a bus to an undisclosed location.. were dumped in the middle of the field with yours and everyone else’s belongings in a pile.. and had to set up camp before you could sleep.
    sounds like fun if you are 12 and at camp..
    not so much if you are sick or malnourished or have children or pets whose needs have to be met.

  • No Surprise August 31, 2013 (8:47 am)

    @ Citizen Sane – I have reached the same conclusions as you. Thank you for writing what I was thinking.

    It was a long road of encounters and experiences with a lot of the ‘pissing in the soup’ types (PITS) that you mention that have made me very weary and leery of any individual or any non-profit who wants to lump each and every person that is without a solid roof over their head as somehow deserving of yet more societal help. The PITS individuals are nothing but sponges and taking from those who truly ARE IN NEED of help. I do not wish to donate time or energy or see tax dollars go to what is nothing more than enabling the PITS people.

  • West Seattle Hipster August 31, 2013 (5:17 pm)

    Joanne Brayden, I do not have to imagine that scenario, I have experienced it. That is my motivation for working two jobs, so I can do whatever is in my power to prevent that from ever happening again.


    Please try not to be so judgmental on those who do not support illegal encampments. Guilt trips do not work on me in regards to those who choose to live the homeless lifestyle. I have been through some hellish experiences myself but I do not let those experiences define me.


    I am happy for the Highland Park neighborhood but my sympathies lie with the 3 neighborhoods that will soon see some interesting changes.

  • T September 1, 2013 (1:39 am)

    Wow, what happened to compassion instead of ‘those leeches’ and NIMBYism! There will always be people who feed off the system. It’s time to care about the ones who don’t.

  • JoB September 1, 2013 (6:48 am)

    Seattle Hispester

    i am not judgmental of those who do not support illegal encampments…

    but i will admit that lately i find myself judgmental of people who lump everyone who lands there as “those” people .. unworthy of attention, let alone redemption.

    i believe not believe that everyone who finds themselves homeless “chooses” to live the lifestyle… any more than i believe that the majority of the residents of the camps come to Seattle to live off the overgenerous taxpayers.

    I have met them .. i know better.

    if you read the report from UGM carefully, you saw the same thing i did.. they housed those with credit histories and incomes that would allow them to sustain housing…

    Tell me, what happens to those who want and need housing but don’t meet that criteria even if they work one or two jobs?

    I don’t know when you were homeless, but i know the transition i made back into society wouldn’t be possible today. The economic landscape has changed. The kind of housing i occupied when i came off the streets fell victim to urban renewal.. someone pays big bucks to live in the converted apartments that were once affordable

    I think it was last sunday’s paper that announced that rental costs were rising here in Seattle…

    you need good credit history, a job and a roommate to afford housing here now.

    what is compelling to me is the everything in my power part of your statement. Life handles people things that are simply not in their power to prevent… what happens then?

    if i became homeless tomorrow i wouldn’t be able to recover. In spite of all appearances to the contrary, i am profoundly disabled. I don’t work because i can’t, not because i don’t want to.

    The waiting list for subsidized housing is over 3 years, if you can get on the list.

    Do you think i would last on the streets long enough to get my space in housing? my honest assessment is that i wouldn’t.

    For people like me those illegal camps are literally the difference between life and death.
    and yes, people like me live in them.

    I am not so sure that the Highland Park community is going to be so happy after Nickelsville moves on.

    Yes, there is an effort underway to clean out the greenbelts.. but once Nickeslville moves on their political clout will move with it… leaving behind the problems no-one wants to face.

    Hubby told me that the park where he regularly walks our dogs now has a substantial homeless population… and he doesn’t walk them in the greenbelts.

    Homelessness wasn’t caused by Nickelsville and it isn’t likely to go away when Nickelsville moves this weekend.

    • WSB September 1, 2013 (9:17 am)

      First – two comments not published for rules violations seem to have interpreted Mike’s comments as suggesting the population of Nickelsville had NOT increased since the city-funded assistance began. I don’t think anyone is disputing that – looked to me as if he was asking for substantiation that people had come here from elsewhere in the country. Anyway, before most of the old-media orgs started plugging back into the impending closure, we reported eight days ago on Union Gospel Mission’s efforts, and their acknowledgment that the population had increased by at least 50 percent since they had started work about two months earlier (as well as the updated number of 47 people relocated – that was right after at least one print publication had quoted a much-smaller number that UGM told us was actually the end-of-July number):
      Also, the money was NOT just for assessment – it was to fund housing and other expenses, as well. UGM’s Terry Pallas told us that, as of our conversation about a week and a half ago, they had signed “corporate”-type leases for 20 apartments in private complexes – with UGM on the line to guarantee the rent. He did not have specific #s at the time regarding how much UGM had spent. But let’s just say the apartments rent for $900/month. That’s $10,800 per apartment. Multiply that by 20 – that’s $216,000 right there. He also spoke of placement for some in addiction-treatment programs. And UGM, he said, had put some of its own resources in, besides the $500K – including donated furnishings for some of those apartments, and legal assistance.
      Meantime, a few other musings before I shut up:
      While Nickelsville itself will cease being a “local” story for us shortly, homelessness won’t, and P and I were discussing that last night – will the people in the nearest greenbelts, the ones dubbed the “suburbs” of Nickelsville, follow? They of course are far from the only not-in-Nickelsville people sleeping outdoors; there are people beneath the Admiral bridge and other spots miles away. Not unique to Seattle by any means … when we lived in San Diego, in a tiny old apartment in a funky little beach community, a couple regularly slept on flattened cardboard boxes by our building’s dumpster alongside the alley parking area. Got to the point where we said hello; I worked night shift and saw them when I arrived home around 12:30 am. But I digress. And yes, other neighborhoods here are affected; we have heard from residents who have made unpleasant and unsafe discoveries in their trash cans – let’s say, refuse from those who have no access to restrooms.
      Also – after a year of construction, the DESC building, meant to offer permanent housing to people who are or have been homeless – and are living with challenges such as mental illness and/or addiction – is nearing completion in the 5400 block of Delridge, with 60 units.
      To JoB’s point, I don’t know the people in Nickelsville and I don’t know if anyone is in those kinds of straits. But it IS a plausible scenario. Personal story: My mother could have been homeless if not for our help in her final years of life (before she died way too soon of pancreatic cancer at age 62). No one would hire her – in Las Vegas, where she had been living until she sold her home for money to live on, or here. We’re talking about a woman who had been valedictorian of her college class – at age 42! – and then gone on to get a law degree at age 45, in addition to having earlier experience in various fields from retail management to, ironically, employment counseling. She moved up here in late 1995 in hopes a change of city might mean a change of luck (and to be close to her daughter and son-in-law after we announced we had a baby [now 17] on the way). For two more agonizing years, her job search continued. We picked up her rent for a modest Morgan Junction apartment, about a mile from our home, when her savings ran out. In early 1998, she finally got a job as an administrative assistant for a West Seattle nonprofit. She LOVED that job and was so excited. Then that fall, she was diagnosed. She was fired for not showing up for work. We then picked up not only her rent but also the COBRA cost so her health insurance would continue – that was a pretty big chunk of change. Anyway, moral of my story is, you should have seen her job search. Yes, she applied for even minimum-wage bottom-of-the-ladder jobs; she was a strong and proud woman and hated the fact we had to help. I still don’t understand why she was passed up for so many jobs. But if that could happen to her – and we’re talking 15-plus years ago – I know it really could happen to anyone. I wouldn’t make an assumption that everyone who is homeless/jobless has a story like that, but I would also as a result never assume that everyone in an encampment is a lazy freeloader. – TR

  • miws September 1, 2013 (9:58 am)

    Thank you, TR, for sharing your personal story, and the struggles your Mom had to deal with. Yet more proof that Homelessness can happen to almost anyone.


    I have gotten so tired of the blanket accusations that “all” Homeless are lazy freeloaders. It almost makes me lose faith in my fellow human beings. Then I read the supportive comments, plus remember my friends and others in the community that were not only supportive of me during my period of Homelessness, but were, and continue to be supportive of NV, and the Homeless in general.


    I can understand otherwise good-hearted people having concerns, and would suggest they get to know some of the Homeless folks, but the continued disparaging remarks, from the same User Names, (and quite often repeating remarks they have made over and over) are both maddening and discouraging.



  • Brian September 3, 2013 (10:58 am)

    It’s really easy to characterize all homeless people as lazy freeloaders when you make zero concerted effort to connect with them on a human level and only view them as a financial drain on society.

    It’s also really easy to marginalize and judge the less fortunate when you have zero awareness that the very same situation could befall you in a heartbeat.

Sorry, comment time is over.