Ex-‘Nickelsville’ site: Campers’ cleanup ends, city cleanup begins

Sunday – which is when WSB reader Kevin McClintic took these photos – was the eighth and final day for campers to clean up the former “Nickelsville” site at 7116 W. Marginal Way SW. Mayoral spokesperson Aaron Pickus confirmed to WSB today that the city had granted them access through the weekend, but that’s now over.

What they left behind consists mostly of a big stack of wood – this and more:

We noticed the giant pile when passing the site this afternoon. The city Department of Finance and Administrative Services is in charge of the city work at the site now, according to Pickus, so we checked with FAS spokesperson Katherine Schubert-Knapp. She says that installation of the temporary chain-link fence was to be completed today, as well as other work: “This fence will remain on site for up to six months as needed. Cleanup also start(ed) today, focusing first in the west side park and ride area. We’re hoping to finish that section by tomorrow and crews will then focus on the property inside the fence. That work should start this week and is expected to be completed by Sept. 20.” If you are just catching up with this story, after almost 2 1/2 years of occupying the West Marginal Way site, the encampment did not challenge city leaders’ plan to close it as of September 1st, and have since moved to three other sites, in the Central District, Madison Valley, and unincorporated Skyway.

36 Replies to "Ex-'Nickelsville' site: Campers' cleanup ends, city cleanup begins"

  • A September 9, 2013 (9:51 pm)

    Thank goodness they are gone. Ridiculous.

  • WTF September 9, 2013 (9:58 pm)

    @A. And, where would YOU suggest homeless people, including men, women and children go? I’m sure it was such an inconvenience to YOU as they camped at an industrial piece of property off W Marginal!

  • Andrea September 9, 2013 (10:02 pm)

    So you love the tents up at every corner now, clothes drying on trees just off the road, people fishing in the water just southeast of the bridge…. As someone who drives up and down hpk twice sometimes three times daily it sure was better when there was some order. Thank goodness they are gone huh, are they though?

  • joel September 9, 2013 (10:59 pm)

    WSB…so did Union Gospel use the entire 500K?
    would be interesting to see an itemized expense list of where the money went. if any left is it being returned to the city.

    the HUGE pile of debris left on the side of the road…so that’s on the tax payers dime too? is that money coming from the 500K or is that additional money coming from the tax payers?

    • WSB September 9, 2013 (11:20 pm)

      Don’t know, haven’t gotten to that followup yet.

  • pupsarebest September 9, 2013 (10:59 pm)

    These kind of issues always make me realize how lucky I am to live in a “Christian” nation.

  • sportsmama September 9, 2013 (11:18 pm)

    The reason taxpayers voted for a LEVY was to help the homeless and veterans, IT IS being Mismanaged, and spent on things not getting results…Mayor and City and County Council need to have Homeless people involved in a plan to rehouse, and go on to learn a trait something to pay the rent… SHARE and Nicklesville are raising able body people to act like Peter Pan… and SHARE acts like Robin Hood, Take from the people who get up and work and hand it to people whom chose not to…

  • alki forever September 9, 2013 (11:39 pm)

    Ridiculous to have to spend more money to cleanup their mess ontop of the half-million they got. It will never end. Same ol song and dance. I wonder how much it cost the City to cleanup after them?

  • Ercoparkrez September 10, 2013 (6:52 am)

    So where do you propose they live? Now our city has put them in 3 camps..count 1,2,3! From 1 site to 3!! They were in a place where there was nothing around!!! Sorry you had the misfortune of driving by 2-3 times daily Andrea and judging them(probably in your new car)
    Have you eer thought to drive around?? Go a different way? That’s to hard though, idk when I don’t like something I try to avoid it….now, they have moved to 3 neighborhoods, that have houses 5 yards away, but that’s not an issue….just a reason to complain/ judge others

  • Lisa S September 10, 2013 (7:40 am)

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am about three paychecks away from being homeless. It could happen to anyone at anytime. Have a little bit of empathy, please.

  • Tony S September 10, 2013 (8:06 am)

    My neighbors’ yard is filled with debris and garbage, and they’re practically destitute. It would be awesome if the City would send out a bobcat and dumptruck to clean up their place.

    (yes, this is sarcasm).

  • Andrea September 10, 2013 (8:23 am)

    Ercoparkrez – I am a supporter of the homeless and countless times stuck up for them on this site when people whine and complain over an over about it. I was just saying that when they were there, they had a place, in order, with amentities that they no longer have. People often complained about the cars alongside the road or whatever, I don’t care that they are all over the place other than the increased trash that has built up along side the road since the NV closure – that is a fact as again, I DO drive that route every single day at least twice, if not three times. I would never drive another route to avoid anything other than maybe an accident, geez. And maybe I do have a new car, what the heck does that have to do with anything! I have worked hard long hours for what I have and would never feel guilty for that and how dare you throw that in my face. Maybe I did not word my comment in the best way, I was simply in awe of the first comment and the lack of compassion!

  • Dave September 10, 2013 (8:58 am)

    Let us not forget — this is not simply about homelessness. It is also about the politics of homelessness. And, for some, living at this former camp was by design, apparently:

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021161645_nickelsvilleevict2xml.html. Exceprt: Keever and his wife, Kim Kowalski, are long-term residents of the encampment, along with their dog, Midnight, and a litter of kittens they are raising. Keever said he could probably find work, but lives at Nickelsville by choice and intends to stay. The encampment has supporters who have promised to have a “die-in” at the site, forcing officials to physically haul them away “if it comes to bulldozers,” he said. “I believe in the policy statement that’s being made by these people,” Keever said. “I’m not here for homelessness. I’ve got plenty of career options. But I’m not leaving until the situation is resolved.”

  • CD resident September 10, 2013 (9:03 am)

    Two of the locations are in the Central District. 22nd/Union is hardly Madison Valley!

    • WSB September 10, 2013 (9:24 am)

      That’s how it was described by someone who knows that side of town better than me. Repeatedly. But I’ll take your word for it.

  • miws September 10, 2013 (9:25 am)

    Ercoparkrez, I have to back up Andrea here. If she is the “Andrea” I believe her to be, she has been a longtime supporter of NV, and has a relative that has gone above and beyond and then some in helping NV and it’s Residents, quite a bit of that help specific to many Residents.


    I read the intent in Andrea’s OP on this thread just as she indicated in her reply to you–as a counter to the negative comments that always end up on the NV related Articles.


    Already, I see two comments on this thread, from user names that have been attached to negative and insulting comments directed to NV and NV Residents on many past NV related Articles.


    Mike–NV Resident from May-December 2011

  • alki forever September 10, 2013 (9:51 am)

    Joel… I don’t think that UGM gets all the money at once. Its been allocated. And miws.. does everyone have to agree with you? People have their own opinions.

  • Mags September 10, 2013 (11:21 am)

    Gee, I wonder if there will be any wasted $$ on the new tunnel.

  • Michael M September 10, 2013 (11:48 am)

    Lisa S “I don’t know about anyone else, but I am about three paychecks away from being homeless. It could happen to anyone at anytime. Have a little bit of empathy, please.” I get that, I am too. However, at 39, I have been working since I was 13. If I lose this job, I’ll do ANY JOB to avoid becoming homeless, whether it’s 40 hours a week or 100 hours a week. I recently had an open hiring for housekeepers, starting at $10 per hour. The only people that showed up were illegal aliens.

  • kevin September 10, 2013 (12:12 pm)

    @alki forever (and others)
    miws, as you may know was a former NV resident, and was essentially the NV “poster child,” and likely the main reason that caused the WSB, and the WS community at large to take a serious interest regarding NV.
    miws was there from day one, and he has “been there – done that.” miws is one of the lucky ones who ended up with a happy ending, post NV.
    While I have not seen NV to the extent of miws, I accidentally became their official / unofficial NV photographer two years ago, along with “JoB” who wrote several very informative articles regarding life at NV, not to mention the outstanding WSB coverage.
    Every “homeless” solution is going to have issues, however NV is quite unique in that they will take almost anyone, except sex offenders.
    In the traditional “shelter” world, families get split up. Dad goes one place, mom and kids go somewhere else, and pets… ? Well, pets get left by the wayside – but NOT at NV.
    The NV model is NOT perfect, but is pretty damm good all things considered!
    I wish them the best of luck with their three new sites.
    You are quite correct that “People have their own opinions.” and I respect yours.
    My personal email can be located in my profile info should you prefer to reply privately. Thank you.

    • WSB September 10, 2013 (12:39 pm)

      Thanks, Kevin. Just to note, we had covered “Nickelsville” going back to its 2008 arrival here, followed by the eviction, the return, the moving to a couple other West Seattle sites, not necessarily in that order … Patrick and I tend to cover stories/situations in overview much of the time, though, so Mike’s story was really the first up-close-and-personal tale told here. – TR

  • miws September 10, 2013 (1:42 pm)

    alki forever, no, not everyone has to agree with me. Please show us where I have ever stated that they do.


    I don’t mind, and understand people having differing opinions and legitimate concerns about NV, presented in a respectful and constructive manner.


    What I am sick and tired of, is, as I mentioned in the last paragraph of my above comment, negative and insulting comments from the same user names on every Article related to NV. The ones that literally say, or strongly imply, that the NV Residents/Homeless “are a bunch of no good lazy bums. Leeches on society”, etc.


    Good god. There’s plenty of people/companies out there to get angry about regarding their effect on West Seattle, and its neighborhoods, such as the company that owned “The Hole” at its time of becoming one, the owner of the Alaska/California/42nd mega-project that has left several Junction buildings vacant for months, the project at the SE corner of 35th & Avalon that was initiated by Mike Mastro, that stood partially constructed for months.


    I know each of the above examples above, and similar ones, have had their fair share of angry sounding, negative comments, but I swear it hasn’t been to the extent of, and with the vitriol of, the comments directed toward the Homeless people at Nickelsville.



  • Mickymse September 10, 2013 (3:15 pm)

    Just because a couple of people out of ~150 are quoted in The Seattle Times as saying they like not working and camping does not mean that everyone out there on the streets just “loves it”!
    Maybe you should focus on stories like the woman who fled a domestic violence situation with her three children, and ended up in NV after living in her car.
    I imagine they are very grateful for the opportunity to have found a safe place with a supportive community, and then a little help as part of that $500K allocation to UGM is helping them get into transitional housing.

  • Brian September 10, 2013 (3:44 pm)

    @Michael M.

    Yes, but would you hire a person with a felony on their record to be a house cleaner?

  • marge finnie September 10, 2013 (4:26 pm)

    Does anyone know if the housing structures were all successfully moved? My eyesight is not the best, but the first picture appears as though some kind of structures are still visible in the background. How unfortunate if these remain.


  • west seattle hipster September 10, 2013 (4:48 pm)

    Drove by today, noticed that there are several wood structures still on site. Any idea when those will be removed?


    Any news on when Food Lifeline takes over (if they are indeed building a warehouse there)?


    Would like to see the foliage and bushes removed from the site. The fence that has been placed at the site does not look very secure.

  • RcL September 10, 2013 (10:03 pm)

    Looks like the perfect plot for a Nicklesville community garden/p-patch! Grow your own. Then all the veggies grown can go to help feed those in need.

  • fauntleroy fairy September 11, 2013 (12:08 am)

    For those of you that don’t like what the city council did to Nicklesville, you might want to consider who voted in favor (it was unanimous) of evicting them, turn the tables and evict those council members in the upcoming election.

  • JoB September 11, 2013 (11:05 am)

    fauntleroy fairy..

    we can start by showing up at council meetings and speaking out in favor of spending our homeless dollars effectively…

  • John Marken September 11, 2013 (11:35 am)

    I’ve seen NV refugees all over town. Really sad. Unfortunately, many have taken up camping in areas far less suitable both for them and locals such as highland park, the woods in the hills of pigeon point, Georgtown/SODO abandoned or open ground. Where they came from in NV there was support, organization, sanitation, security. What is going on now is total crap. This idea that they will get better services has not materialized nor will it.Good for you higher than thou seattle-ites. Particularly those of you who have posted ‘good riddance’ here. You’ve shown again your lack of heart or wisdom, your arrogance ignorance and bigotry.

  • Andrea September 11, 2013 (3:15 pm)

    AMEN John Marken!

  • JoB September 11, 2013 (5:37 pm)

    i fear that Highland Park is not going to be so happy long term with getting what they wished for .. kicking nickeslville along.

    at least Nickelsville provided a focus for services…

    now those who are in our community have no services.. no security.. and no place to go.

  • West Seattle Hipster September 11, 2013 (7:19 pm)

    The illegal encampment brought those issues to HP, and unfortunately they will be dealing with the fallout for years to come. While the campers may have attempted to clean up the site they occupied, they ignored the mess they deposited on the community.


    It will be interesting to see what the lasting impact will be on the 3 new neighborhoods they have moved on to.

  • GenHillOne September 11, 2013 (9:30 pm)

    The “refugees” do have a place to go, three in fact.

  • JoB September 13, 2013 (6:54 am)


    and where did the overflow from those 3 sites go?

  • ukantwin74 September 14, 2013 (12:50 pm)

    There is no overflow. The Jackson and Union sites hold about 25-30 people each. The Skyway site will hold up to 150.

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