City plans to reopen former encampment site in Highland Park for RV ‘safe parking’


1:35 PM: Just announced by Mayor Ed Murray: One of the “safe parking” lots that will be opened for RVs is the former site of the encampment that still, in other locations, calls itself “Nickelsville” – in Highland Park, at the West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way intersection.

We went down to check the site, where the parking lot – which appears to have been recently cleaned up – still holds signage from the last encampment closure, September 2013. In addition to our photo above, here’s an aerial photo from the city’s announcement:


We’d been working to confirm this since hearing that citywide reporters had mentioned this morning that a “Delridge” site would be announced, but without any information on the location. (The city refers to all of eastern West Seattle as the “Delridge” district.)

Unofficial RV parking zones have turned up in West Seattle recently – including the one mentioned here in mid-December, along SW Andover adjacent to the Nucor plant. But they haven’t generated the furor that had been reported in some north-end neighborhoods.


From the city’s news release, which says the lot is expected to be open within a month:

In response to the continued crisis of homelessness on the streets of Seattle, Mayor Ed Murray issued an emergency order to expedite the siting of two safe lots in Ballard and Delridge for homeless individuals and families living in recreational vehicles and cars.

“These are not long term solutions to end homelessness, but temporary locations that can be managed to provide a safer environment for those living on our streets and have less impact on our neighborhoods,” said Murray. “The City’s active case management services will reach out to those experiencing homelessness and living in their vehicles, with the goal to help move them to permanent housing as quickly as possible. These safe lots will also help reduce the public health issues currently impacting several of our neighborhoods.”

The new safe lots are part of the City’s overall actions under Mayor Murray’s Proclamation of Civil Emergency on homelessness that has spurred the opening and expansion of new shelters and authorized tent encampments, and increased investments in services and outreach. Opening the new safe lots will occur along with additional trash pickups in neighborhoods, as well as renewed enforcement of the City’s existing parking rules and addressing public safety issues that have arisen in recent months.

“When Mayor Murray declared the state of emergency, the direction given to us was to take significant steps to immediately help those in need living on our streets and address underlying causes of homelessness. Since then, Seattle has expanded outreach services, opened up space for nearly 300 individuals in new shelters or authorized tent encampments and we have invested more in prevention services. Today’s announcement of new safe lots is another part of this larger effort under the state of emergency to provide immediate, short term assistance,” said Catherine Lester, Director of Seattle’s Human Services Department. “In addition to the authority under the Mayor’s emergency orders, we will be able to stand up these safe lots quickly thanks to the fast work of our partners including local service providers, other City departments and WSDOT.”

To expedite the siting and permitting of the safe lots, Mayor Murray is exercising powers invoked under his Proclamation of Civil Emergency on homelessness issued on Nov. 2, 2015. The mayor will send the emergency order to the City Council today, where it can be approved, rejected or amended.

Expected to begin operations in 30 days, the two safe lots can hold up to an estimated 50 vehicles. Each site will have sanitation and garbage service, as well as case management assistance for those experiencing homelessness in order to build pathways to permanent housing. All residents must abide by a code of conduct policy that will prohibit drugs and violence, and require residents to be good neighbors.

The Ballard site, the Yankee Diner parking lot at Shilshole Ave. NW and 24th Ave. NW, is owned by Seattle Public Utilities. The Seattle Department of Transportation has been in negotiations with the Washington State Department of Transportation to acquire the Glass Yard lot at West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way SW for the Delridge site. The City and WSDOT are discussing the terms of the sale of the property and will likely require future legislation to finalize the purchase and sale agreement. But to accommodate the Mayor’s emergency order, WSDOT has agreed to allow the City to use the site as a safe lot in the intervening period during these negotiations. …

Read the entire news release here. We’ll continue to update, and we’re told this is expected to be on the agenda for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at 7 pm tomorrow (Wednesday) night at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

5:27 PM: The Highland Park Action Committee has confirmed that Councilmember Lisa Herbold – who led a council briefing about the city’s policy on encampment sweeps shortly before this announcement – will be at HPAC’s next meeting, 7 pm Wednesday, January 27th, at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th SW/SW Holden).

10:44 PM: Councilmember Herbold has written about the RV-lot decision, briefly, at the end of a report on her concerns about the recent sweeps and this morning’s briefing about them – read it in its entirety here.

145 Replies to "City plans to reopen former encampment site in Highland Park for RV 'safe parking'"

  • old timer January 19, 2016 (1:51 pm)

    Wasn’t there a flooding problem at that site?  Are they going to put in a gravel or crushed rock base,  or am I thinking of somewhere else?

    • WSB January 19, 2016 (2:06 pm)

      OT – we’ve since added photos – this is the paved parking lot section of the site (conveniently circled in the city aerial pic, same spot our ground photo is from, and we’ll probably add another).

    • Kimberly January 21, 2016 (4:46 am)

      A half million dollars  was spending in 2013  for relocation campers & now what ?  Please explain.

      Some of the half-million dollars the City Council approved for getting people out of the camp and into housing has so far placed 47 people, according to Union Gospel Mission, the organization tabbed by the city to work on relocating “campers” – but, as a UGM manager acknowledged in an interview with WSB on Friday, that hasn’t reduced the population. It’s estimated at least 125 people are there now, up from fewer than 100 when the relocation effort began. The Nickelsville Central Committee has said publicly that it hopes to move to three sites, only one of which – in the Central District – has been formally announced. But it was evident tonight that housekeeping/cleanup is under way:Organizer Mary Anne deVry says her understanding is that people are continuing to arrive at Nickelsville, rather than clearing out as the deadline nears; we had heard the same thing in our conversation with a manager fromUnion Gospel Mission, brought in by the city to spend at least some of the allocated $500,000 to find housing and other services for campers.

      But again, this week’s nightly vigils by WIN (6-9 pm each evening through Saturday) – a primarily faith-based coalition of churches/organizations in the West Seattle/White Center vicinity – are meant to shine a light on the plight of homeless people, not necessarily to oppose the closure of the encampment, although deVry and other volunteers continue to wonder where the estimated 150 or so there will go.They shouldn’t have been allowed to put down roots there in the first place, contends Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer, whose community council is headquartered just up the Highland Park Way hill.Some of the half-million dollars the City Council approved for getting people out of the camp and into housing has so far placed 47 people, according to Union Gospel Mission, the organization tabbed by the city to work on relocating “campers” – but, as a UGM manager acknowledged in an interview with WSB on Friday, that hasn’t reduced the population. It’s estimated at least 125 people are there now, up from fewer than 100 when the relocation effort began. The Nickelsville Central Committee has said publicly that it hopes to move to three sites, only one of which – in the Central District – has been formally announced. But it was evident tonight that housekeeping/cleanup is under way:

      Organizer Mary Anne deVry says her understanding is that people are continuing to arrive at Nickelsville, rather than clearing out as the deadline nears; we had heard the same thing in our conversation with a manager fromUnion Gospel Mission, brought in by the city to spend at least some of the allocated $500,000 to find housing and other services for campers. But again, this week’s nightly vigils by WIN (6-9 pm each evening through Saturday) – a primarily faith-based coalition of churches/organizations in the West Seattle/White Center vicinity – are meant to shine a light on the plight of homeless people, not necessarily to oppose the closure of the encampment, although deVry and other volunteers continue to wonder where the estimated 150 or so there will go.They shouldn’t have been allowed to put down roots there in the first place, contends Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer, whose community council is headquartered just up the Highland Park Way hill.

      • Kimberly January 21, 2016 (2:35 pm)

        My family was a victim of burglary 3 years ago.  Had report to police but the case has never resolved.   As a Seattle citizen, a taxpayer is curious about what mayor & council are doing?  My question is why the government does not have a long term solution to end homelessness.   The half million dollar was pending in 2013 to relocate campers and 2 more years later the mayor & council members have made decision to move back RVs to this place.   How much $ Seattle will be spent after this.  Could you explain & make a better plan for Seattle citizens.Below was 2013 info “The City Council finds that the encampment located at 7116 W Marginal Way SW has created a public health and safety risk due to ongoing and potential public health and safety issues, as indicated by (1) numerous 9-1-1 calls and police investigations of criminal activities, and (2) a Phase I Environmental Assessment that addresses potential environmental contamination of the property. As such, the City Council finds that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety and believes that the City should act immediately to move the campers off of the site and into appropriate shelter, housing and services.”

  • Pigeon Point Ben January 19, 2016 (2:15 pm)

    Formalizing a safe place for this vulnerable population is a great step forward. Providing services and security to this tiny portion of the city’s population is the least the rest of us can do. I hope initiatives like this will ultimately put a significant dent in the number of people who, for one reason or more likely myriad, live without a home. It’s also my hope that West Seattle can show the rest of the city how to graciously and warmly welcome those with so little into our area. I imagine there will be opportunity to volunteer and donate goods and services if one is so inclined.

  • Jon January 19, 2016 (2:28 pm)

    I’m actually fine with this as long as they are placing camps in  Magnolia, Greenlake,  Madrona, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Phinney and Queen Anne.   Highland Park was becoming  a nice place for families.   Why should we shoulder the lions share of this burden?  

    • Joe Szilagyi January 19, 2016 (2:46 pm)

      I hate to be contrarian but this requires a public owned piece of idle land (e.g. not public park) which can hold enough RVs.  Ballard — a very affluent neighborhood — is absorbing a matching site right in the middle of their downtown on Market Street. Off the top of my head Magnolia, Greenlake,  Madrona, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Phinney and Queen Anne do not have a similar public-owned property option. Maybe the Federal-owned land up in Fort Lawton in the far NW corner of Magnolia, but I don’t know if that’s an option due to it being Federal. 

      • Jon January 19, 2016 (3:20 pm)

        Ok, so you are clearly admitting that underdevelopment of the neighborhood is a contributing factor here.  Highland Park is a nice place.  There is absolutely nothing inhibiting the development of Highland Park other than it is already underdeveloped.  Well, that and the “Shut up and take it” attitude of some of our fellow Seattleites.      Since you are so magnanimous, and certainly not  hypocritical,  why don’t you post your address and I’ll be happy to hand it out to some of the people leaving needles on the playground.   They will be thrilled to hear your driveway and / or street is a  safe place to nod off. 

        • Joe Szilagyi January 19, 2016 (3:41 pm)

          Literally all I’ve said here is that it’s not a “dumping on a poor neighborhood” matter since one of the nicest/most popular/trendiest neighborhoods is getting a matching RV camp in the MIDDLE of their neighborhood. It would be like setting up a camp a block from the Junction. Then I laid out the lack of possible sites like this in the city. Instead of going off on me, for trying to offer some information and trying to dispel one patently false accusation — that this is a class war thing, disproven by the Ballard site — please call (206) 684-4000 to speak to the Mayor’s office. They hide the number from easy finding on their main site, but it’s there if you look hard enough. 

          • Jon January 19, 2016 (4:59 pm)

            You just said that its not going in Magnolia  because of their deep pockets and litigious nature.   You’re dispelling nothing.  You’re just advocating the ludicrous notion that creating a shanty town in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country is a smart  move for anyone.  It’s not good for them, it’s not good for our neighborhood, but I suppose it’s good for you. This is not an academic debate & we are not heartless people.   We just know  with crystal clarity what the effect  this will have on our neighborhood because we have already done our part.  We have hosted these people for 3 years already and don’t want to go back to picking up needles and human feces and worrying about the safety of our families.   I’m ready to see some of this bleeding heart empathy start to apply to the working, tax-paying families that are trying to contribute to their communities. 

        • Benjamin Lukoff January 19, 2016 (4:11 pm)

          Highland Park is a nice place. This site is not a nice place and is down a steep hill.

          • Jon January 19, 2016 (4:57 pm)

            This isn’t an academic debate.   And we are not just awful people.  We have already run this experiment for 3 years and know precisely the effect of having a shanty town down there.   That places Highland Park playground and Highland Park Elementary school dead center between the Shanty town and White Center.    It has taken a while for the place to improve after Nicklesville was relocated.   But it has.  If this goes back in, It will go back to being the way it was before.   I’m am completely unashamed for maintaining that that is highly undesirable for us that live here.   We’ve already done our part.  It’s time for some of the big talkers out there to step up. 

    • JanS January 19, 2016 (6:17 pm)

      Jon…you forgot Wallingford, Wedgewood…

    • AMD January 19, 2016 (9:02 pm)

      It says in the first sentence that one of the lots is in Ballard.  The heart of Ballard, pretty much, whereas the “Delridge” (Highland Park) site is further away from the population center.  There are times when it feels to me like more affluent areas get preferential treatment.  This is definitely not one of them.

  • Joe Szilagyi January 19, 2016 (2:29 pm)

    I’ve already seen one person claim this is an example of “dumping on a poor neighborhood”. It should be noted that the Ballard site at the intersection of Market & Shilshole is basically in the heart of Ballard. The only site it could be is basically the triangular wedge of land between 24th & Shilshole in this Google Maps image. Before anyone tries to make this a class war thing against Highland Park… the complaints by more affluent people in Ballard were basically ignored by City Hall.

    • last straw January 19, 2016 (2:52 pm)

      I think it unlikely you’ve lived near the Nicklesville Camp – as last envisioned and experienced by Highland Park residents.The car campers were the worst offenders in terms of problematic tweekers walking and cruising the alleys for sh*t to steal.    The car campers were usually the meth dealers.I know some of you who are going to try to stifle opposing opinions as to the deleterious effects the car campers had previously will not like this, but that encampment overflowed into my yard, my alley, my neighbors’ yard….they dealt drugs and drove around with stolen property in their cars on the way to the pawn shop or Craigslist meetings.  JoeS, until you have lived there, don’t presume to say what is or is not acceptable for any discussion anywhere by anybody.Get over yourself.  *I* am the government too.  AND IT HAS FAILED THESE PEOPLE SYSTEMICALLLY AND *THAT* is truth.   No neighborhood should endure this.You and people like you are morons.

      • WSB January 19, 2016 (3:00 pm)

        Passionate comments are welcome. Passionate comments with name-calling are not. The last comment has gone through despite ending with name-calling but other ones won’t. Thank you. – Tracy

        • Free speech January 19, 2016 (7:16 pm)

          Tracy you should not sanction what is said here or not, as a journalist you should in no way make a decision on folks comments.would you stand for anyone editing your commentsback off, the freedom of speech is for all, Shame on you for taking on judging, I feel the comments are fine, I’m grown up enough to judge the comments don’t need you to do it for mehope you have the integrity to post

          • WSB January 19, 2016 (7:21 pm)

            Sorry, FS, as site owners we are ultimately accountable. This is a private business and businesses have rules – “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” for example. Ours include “no name-calling.” Some sites have just given up and pulled the comment functionality entirely because they don’t have the cojones to have and enforce rules. We do and will continue to do so. Discussion here is not a free-for-all and never has been, never will be, though you can find sites that are, if that’s what you are looking for. Thank you! – Tracy

          • miws January 19, 2016 (8:00 pm)

            Free Speech, there’s plenty of sites out there with free for all, name calling comments, for you to choose from. Mike

          • Brian January 20, 2016 (7:32 am)

            For someone who took the name “free speech” you don’t actually seem to understand how it works.

      • Joe Szilagyi January 19, 2016 (3:06 pm)

        If all those problems exist from crime then we need to get SPD to live there if needed. And as for living, where are these desperate people supposed to live a week from now?

        • Jeff January 19, 2016 (4:23 pm)

          You know, sometimes the best way to deal with raccoons on the porch is not to encourage them by leaving the dog food out there.   Why do we have to pretend that you and I don’t both know that the rv dwellers are mostly tweakers that steal to support the habit?   Literally everyone knows that to be true, but heaven forbid we say it!

          • JanS January 19, 2016 (6:16 pm)

            Jeff…how the hell do you know that to be true? Do you hang out with them? Buy from them? Of course, that’s rubbish. How many homeless persons do you actually know by name? To break bread with? So…if they are who you say they are, what do you propose should be done with them? Do we rehab them? Do we ride ’em out of town on a rail? Do we shoot them on sight, because they are likened to a rabid raccoon? Are you serious?Hey, MIWS…are you reading this? How’s your meth business these days? Spending 6 months in Nicklesville must have been quite an education for you…yes…I’m being snarky…it’s the only way I can stop myself from making my post personal, and name calling…

        • last straw January 19, 2016 (4:50 pm)

          Golly gee JoeS, what a stellar original approach.That’s why I have over phone call logs to SPD in EXCESS of 200 calls over a 14 month period when Nickelsville was official.You are naive.

  • Judy January 19, 2016 (2:30 pm)

    You are correct about the flooding problem at this site, where runoff from extra-heavy rain settles in this low area.  Ongoing coverage should include questioning city staff about what is planned.

  • last straw January 19, 2016 (2:45 pm)

    Just put a call into my realtor.

    • Mickymse January 20, 2016 (2:57 pm)

      Good to hear! You’re certainly not the sort of person I want to be neighbors with. It sounds like you’d fit in much better in Magnolia.

  • Kay K January 19, 2016 (2:58 pm)

    Ironically this lot will not be able to help very many campers – it’s very small.  In fact, there are already campers using the street and lots north of
    599/ HP Way over towards SeaBreeze facility. (Leaving piles of trash and garbage in their wake).
    I just want to say though that this makes me SO MAD. There are huge
    lots up at Sandpoint -(owned by the city)  for example that could be used, with loads of
    infrastructure in place to have showers and everything. Why not the parking lots down on Alki if you want to host in West Seattle. Why not the completely un-used Port facility (forgot the number -where the drilling rigs were)? Please stop dumping on Highland Park!We hosted this
    camp for 3 years already. This is now a social justice equity situation IMHO.

    • Joe Szilagyi January 19, 2016 (3:53 pm)

      Do you have details on which lots are city owned by Sand Point that aren’t in use city parks? 

  • Benjamin Lukoff January 19, 2016 (2:59 pm)

    My understanding is the Ballard site is actually a little farther south — just southeast of the 24th Ave. N.W. street end, where the Yankee Grill used to be. The city condemned the land last year for eventual use by Seattle Public Utilities. Still, though, close to the heart of Ballard indeed. Whereas the corner of W. Marginal Way S.W. and Highland Park Way S.W. is industrial land. The closest residential and retail area is South Park, which gets dumped on constantly, but the South Park industrial area is between the two.As for Magnolia, Greenlake, Madrona, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Phinney, and Queen Anne, Joe is right — there is not a similar city- or county-owned property option as far as I know. There’s what’s left of Fort Lawton, but as noted, it’s federal land. Even if the neighbors wouldn’t (unfortunately) shoot it down as soon as they found out about it, trying to get permission from the federal government could take forever.If the city wanted to LEASE land in/near Magnolia, there’s a large brownfield at 27th Ave. W. and W. Commodore Way, but I suspect there’d be issues there as well, since it used to be an oil company. The land is probably contaminated.I wonder how many RVs could fit on the land where the current Interbay Tent City is?And then of course there’s Terminal 91… a HUGE swath of Port land… but that’s another jurisdiction. Don’t know how easy that’d be either.

    • Joe Szilagyi January 19, 2016 (3:08 pm)

      Don’t forget as well that the VERY rich Magnolia neighbors of the deep NW pocket neighborhood are very litigious. They’ve sued the city in the past with extreme aggression in the past over this sort of thing, if my memory is right from when we used to live up there. 

      • Benjamin Lukoff January 19, 2016 (4:14 pm)

        Your memory serves you right. There were plans for low-income housing, much like is currently off Sand Point Way N.E. next to Magnuson Park, that the neighbors shot down. Ostensibly it was because it was too far from services, but really it was because they didn’t want them anywhere near them. So now the non-park portions of old Fort Lawton sit largely vacant (I think the VA has some office space there now).

      • Kevin January 19, 2016 (8:14 pm)

        JoeS – what is your deal with poor neighborhoods, rich neighborhoods, affluent neighborhoods? Give it a rest already. It’s getting old. You have absolutely no idea how well off (or not) people are.  Even if you did know (which again, you do not) how is it even relevant? 

    • datamuse January 19, 2016 (3:09 pm)

      I’m not sure how clean the proposed HP site is either, come to that, since the flooding a couple of people have mentioned was in part overflow from the (very polluted) river. And yeah, the parking lot being proposed is very small, though the paving might mitigate some of the issues that previously existed with the tent site.Beyond that, I confess mixed feelings. I live just up the hill from this site and recall the city more or less ignoring the situation until the Highland Park neighborhood group forced its hand. I’m still reading through this latest proposal but at the moment it’s not clear to me that it’ll do any better this time.

  • T Rex January 19, 2016 (3:20 pm)

    I work in this area and I will confirm what Joe Straw has said. I have seen people park on the street that I work on, tons of garbage and what I assume are stolen items, pan handlers and one person who tried to break into our back area in broad daylight. We caught him and told him to leave the property and he threatened to stab us. Very obvious he was high on something.  One couple who was camped out eventually trashed and scraped their OWN RV!! I for one am not happy about this decision. At least the people who were in Nickelsville had rules to follow as well as they tried.  Doubt that will be the case now. And I am pretty sure our Mayor will not be visiting any time soon.  

    • datamuse January 19, 2016 (4:18 pm)

      Reading further in the news release, the mayor’s office is claiming that there will be rules of conduct as well as various services, so it’s looking better supported than Nickelsville was, for what that’s worth. (I do have some personal interest as I live just up the hill from the site.)

      • last straw January 19, 2016 (4:59 pm)

        There better be services.  I had to call the police from the stairway at the entrance to Nicklesville to report a rape of a fragile young woman there.  Unbelievable.  Nobody from the camp had called on her behalf.  It literally made me sick to my stomach.Why was I there?  Donating.  Which I have done regularly.  Our governance of this issue in this city is IMMORAL.  No other word for it.  I don’t care if you are an athiest, there are no rational guiding principles in the history of how this nightmare of neglect has been patchworked by each adminstration.  JoeS, if you are the representative for WE the People, then offer the SYSTEM the ANSWERS, not the patchwork bandaids everybody throughs at this issue.  We, You, US have failed them.  And whether you like it or not, you align yourself mid-tier in the power structure.  At the end of the day, you are juust words.

  • colleen January 19, 2016 (3:26 pm)

    I am grateful for neighbors like Joe Szilagyi.  Less grateful for this text box which seems to have defaulted permanently to Bold.

    • WSB January 19, 2016 (3:40 pm)

      Colleen – if possible, can you send me a screen grab – – or at least tell me what device/OS you are on? Did you have to choose nonbold to get it to come out OK? Your comment didn’t come through in bold. But the comment system is one of the things we’re working on right now. Thank you – TR

    • KM January 19, 2016 (8:11 pm)

      Colleen, a kind word for a fellow West Seattleite deserves bold, imho. Most of this comment thread is quite disheartening and a reminder why many people keep to themselves in Seattle. We’ve forgotten how to disagree with reason and manners.

  • cs in hp January 19, 2016 (3:38 pm)

    We’ve asked some questions of the Mayor’s office, and invited them to our next HPAC meeting, along with Councilwoman Lisa Herbold. We will update with West Seattle Blog if they will be attending. It is on Wednesday, January 27th at 7pm, at the Highland Park Improvement Club on 12th and Holden.

    • enough January 19, 2016 (3:52 pm)

      LOL. Nickelsville all over again. The mayor sent an assistant to a Queen Anne neighborhood meeting about the RV problem. I didn’t go over too well.  Hopefully he and or Ms Herbold will show (not that it will make a difference).

  • JoB January 19, 2016 (3:48 pm)

    i have only one question.who will manage this?

    • cs in hp January 19, 2016 (4:19 pm)

      that is a major question of mine too JoB- especially since the City is skirting the current legislation with the emergency declaration- what else is being sacrificed from the legislation that was put in place to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the campers and the neighbors? The last encampment was eventually shut down because of such poor management  – the whole city council even agreed it was a public health and safety emergency (after hearing from us for over two years about it’s poor management). 

      • last straw January 19, 2016 (4:51 pm)

        Highland Park and SOuth Park are screwed.Do NOT expect representation from Lisa Herbold on this which will protect anybody.She won’t do it.

        • Mickymse January 20, 2016 (3:05 pm)

          Do you have any reason or evidence — at all — to offer for why Lisa would not help with this issue. Especially since she’s one of your neighbors in Highland Park, and presumably has an equal share in support or opposition to this proposal with you from that perspective?

    • JanS January 19, 2016 (5:12 pm)

      excellent question. The city has aligned itself with the very people who managed Nicklesville  …and we all know how that ended up.

  • Arbor Heights Mom January 19, 2016 (4:00 pm)

    I am disappointed in this mayor and his administration in addressing homelessness. He has caved to developers by not insisting on low income rental units in luxury high rises, and then bandaids a terrible problem by giving people a parking lot to live in.  Taking the I-5 southbound exit from I-90 on a weekend and you have to brake to not hit the residents walking over the freeway on foot to their tent homes. The homeless situation in Seattle is a violation of basic human rights and needs to be addressed systematically with better housing and temporary housing and shelter options.

  • skeeter January 19, 2016 (4:00 pm)


    Isn’t this the same piece of land that was a homeless camp that
    the city shut down because it had become completely overrun with
    crime/violence/trash/unsafe living conditions/etc?  What has happened since then that makes the
    city think there would be a different outcome this time?  (Full disclosure – I have no solution.)

    I have been jogging/walking regularly under the West Seattle
    bridge for 16 years.  There never used to
    be any RVs and camp grounds.  Something
    happened in about 2012.  RV and tent encampments
    started popping up all of a sudden. 
    First one RV.  Then two the next
    day.  Then four or so by the end of the
    week.  As the trash and human waste gets
    to a dangerous level the city comes in and cleans up and campers are kicked out.  A week later an RV shows up.  Then two the next day.  Then a couple of tents.  Well, you get the picture.   

    What happened between 2011 (no RVs and campers under the
    West Seattle bridge) to 2015 (consistently large numbers of RVs and campers
    under the West Seattle bridge?)  Did the
    price of illegal drugs drop creating a whole new population of addicts?  Did housing become unaffordable?  Did other cities begin exporting
    homeless?  Did shelters shut down?  Something is going on folks.  I just don’t know what.

    • JanS January 19, 2016 (5:11 pm)

      what happened between 2011 and 2012? More people became homeless. Aren’t you glad it wasn’t/isn’t you.  And when you speak of “the neighborhood”, what houses do you mean? The ones on West Marginal? The ones there at the corner of Highland Parkway? On 2nd? Oh, yeah…there are none…you mean the ones up the hill in Highland Park itself…where there is currently no crime because Nickelsville is gone…since everyone knows they were all criminals (well, maybe not our own MIWS who lived there for a while. He was just homeless, and needed  a place to sleep).  I’m in Admiral, right near Calif. and Admiral Way. There are RV campers at the bottom of the hill, have been for a while. The crime in my neighborhood is here whether they are or not.  I am saddened that Mayor Murray is doing nothing immediate with the monies he was granted when he declared a homeless emergency. All talk, no action. Nah…the city will study the hell out of it for 2-3 more years. In the meantime, people, human beings, are dying on our streets, under our bridges, because of poor health, violence amongst themselves, or other reasons. It’s damned cold and wet out there…it’s heartbreaking to have this be a reality, knowing that some of my fellow community members simply want them to disappear, go  to another city…as long as they don’t have to see it, they don’t give a rat’s ass about these people. So..guess that leaves us with…what are WE going to do about the homeless in our city? Or is it just easier to bitch?

    • Rr January 19, 2016 (7:25 pm)

      You’re right, the problem has grown. Unlike Jan’s I don’t see the malice in your wondering aloud if that could be the case. Like a frog in cold water brought slowly to higher and higher temps its been easy these last few years to miss the increasing numbers. But just like you I have been becoming more aware and then, once it dawns on you it becomes more obvious everywhere across the city. So the other day I did some research into it and according to a well balanced article I read we have the fourth highest homeless population among major u.s cities, behind only N.Y.C , L.A. and las Vegas! Worth  looking in to : There was also an NPR story:  And just because some one wants to know why something is happening doesn’t mean they lack compassion. To the contrary, there’s only so much any one can do to fix a problem without knowing what’s causing it.

    • Kevin January 19, 2016 (9:46 pm)

      I agree that something isn’t quite right.  Seattle politicians love to try solving problems with solutions that have proven successful in other places like bike lanes, RapidRide, legal marijuana, etc.)  Why hasn’t Seattle done anything to solve the homeless problem?  The recurring theme is that we aren’t addressing the root causes for homelessness. Seattle spends like $60M a year on the homeless. I’m willing to bet that lots of that money goes to non-profits. Non-profit doesn’t mean you don’t make money. Non-profit also doesn’t mean you can’t lobby politicians or make campaign contributions as a member of a different organization. These non-profits would close down if the homeless problem was solved. I wish I knew how to connect the dots and get meaningful data on this. 

  • Born on Alki 59 January 19, 2016 (4:24 pm)

    Please Mayor Murray, provide some dumpsters and honey buckets around these “encampments”.  Anyone thinking these “RV” encampments will be like a Thousand Trails campground should drive under Spokane Street, Airport Way, anywhere near the stadiums or look under nearly every overpass in downtown Seattle. The mess left behind is absolutely disgusting and is a health hazard. I’ll be the first in line to help anyone down and out on their luck, but for heavens sake have a little pride and clean up after yourselves. If the City is going to provide “campgrounds”, they should have basic sanitary facilities and the occupants should be required to do a few hours of clean up/maintenance a week to be able to have a place to stay, free of rats, feces, urine and needles.  Just my $.02

    • KT January 19, 2016 (4:51 pm)


  • Paul January 19, 2016 (4:24 pm)

    @WSB realtedly I am considering filing a FOIA request to obtain communication directly related to the site selection process. I have identified the correct offices to serve with the exception of the council. Do you know which office serves processes FOIA requests for the council?

    • Paul January 19, 2016 (4:45 pm)

      Found it in the fine print. 

  • cj January 19, 2016 (4:28 pm)

    Oh brother!   I remember the last time this was done.   The lack of management, the food going in to them and the flooding.   What became of the old camp a few years ago, the neighborhood practically ran them out with complaints.  How they will manage the camp will likely fall in the hands of the tenants cause its cheap.   Blah!  We have been here before!

    • JanS January 19, 2016 (5:15 pm)

      CJ…did I read your comment right? You object to giving homeless people food? Is that right? Tell me I’m wrong…

  • Jean January 19, 2016 (4:37 pm)

    How many RV’s do they propose this lot is going to accommodate?

    • WSB January 19, 2016 (4:44 pm)

      Lot of questions. Hope to be able to get some answers in the next 24 hours, and again, note that the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council – whose jurisdiction includes this spot – is working on guests for tomorrow night’s already-scheduled monthly meeting, 7 pm Wed. at Youngstown. Also keep in mind that this is a “sanctioned” location, as opposed to the years of encampments at that location that were unsanctioned (though tolerated most of the time by the city – you’ll recall the original 2008 eviction, and then the closure in 2013, but for long stretches inbetween, this was unofficially official – I need to get some more backstory linkage on the end of this for those who’ve forgotten or weren’t around) – Tracy

    • datamuse January 19, 2016 (9:59 pm)

      The release seems to suggest 50, which strikes me as wildly optimistic. I don’t think you could fit 50 compact cars in that lot.

      • WSB January 19, 2016 (10:03 pm)

        50 was cited as the number for this location and the Ballard site together. When Patrick and I went down to have a look shortly before getting the city confirmation, I tried guessing and thought maybe 20 might fit, assuming the honey buckets, trash dumpsters, etc. are in the non-paved areas … TR

  • Alan January 19, 2016 (4:58 pm)

    Those that say there are no close neighborhoods do not understand this location. It is an easy walk through the trails to the Pee Wee fields, the Riverview Playfields, South Seattle College and the Riverview neighborhood.  We have only recently been able to walk through the woods without hitting encampments. When Nickelsville was there, those not allowed into the site camped nearby and they had the largest greenbelt in the city to hole up in.We had this for five years. I don’t know why it is our turn again and, while the mayor says this is not permanent, he doesn’t provide a timeline.

  • Pragmatic Realist January 19, 2016 (5:01 pm)

    What the city is doing, is enabling. 50 million dollars of enabling people. Ask any recovered/recovering addict. Every time a family member/friend/institution steps in with soft landing, a way to avoid systemically dealing with a person’s root issue, the root grows deeper, and the issue exponentially more difficult to resolve.The behavior will continue. Tracy can have this blog for another 50 years and the story will be the same. Misguided sympathy, masquerading as empathy to the tune of billions. If we made it compulsory to incarcerate every homeless person long enough to help them articulate and asses the root cause, a practical program of action and a system of support we will never ever ever solve this. We have everything we need already: Military bases and other State and Federal facilities, 1000s upon 1000’s of people ready to guide, help, advise. All we lack is the will. 

    • colleen January 20, 2016 (12:04 pm)

       “If we made it compulsory to incarcerate every homeless person long enough to help them articulate and asses the root cause,” Don’t people have to be doing something illegal to be incarcerated? Would the police “help them articulate” their “root cause”?

  • JanS January 19, 2016 (5:21 pm)

    Pragmatic realist. One of our own here, a friend to many of us, became homeless because of health issues and not being able to work. The camp at Nickelsville had just moved there, and in the beginning it was a godsend to him. He didn’t have to sleep under a bridge or in the woods. He became more ill while there…wood fires, constant water on the ground, sleeping in the cold. Why in G0d’s name should he  have to go to jail? He wasn’t/isn’t a criminal…he’s a great guy, and thanks the people on here who helped him still. We know the root cause of his homelessness. Do you really think there’s room for all the homeless in our local jails? And do you honestly think that the people running these jails give a  damn about these homeless people while they are incarcerated? How long is long enough? 6 months? 2 years? their lifetime?

  • JanS January 19, 2016 (5:25 pm)

    also, if the people , means, money, facilities exist now, please explain (besides just a lack of will) why  it takes so long to actually get answers back, to be told there’s no room at the inn…and there are still homeless people on our streets. Everyone seems to have the exact answer, when they’re not actually having to deal with it…

  • Just over the hill January 19, 2016 (5:26 pm)

    What did Murray’s office say about the dead space and big gravel lot on Myers Way behind the Arrowhead Gardens and the SPD/SFD training complex? That’s about double the size of the Greg Nickelsville site.

  • McGillicudy McCompassion January 19, 2016 (5:34 pm)

    All of you people that say not in my backyard, where in Seattle should it go, huh? Where are there public lots for these poor destitute people to stay temporarily and reposition themselves, huh? I hope SPD comes down ruthlessly on any crime and if they don’t bust heads when appropriate then Mayor Ed Murray is a failure as a leader and man. Crack down on the crackheads and twerkers and throw them in jail till they toe the line but then let these people live and revitalize themselves with a compassion and grace that we share amongst each other in our combined, spiritual ties to and upon each other. Those of you who say we shouldn’t help them are shameful. We are better than red state people. Turn off dangerous viral creatures like Dori Monson and awaken your humanity, West Seattle!

  • McGillicudy McCompassion January 19, 2016 (5:37 pm)

    Are we REALLY talking about jailing the poor and homeless??

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


    And the workhouses? Are they still in operation?

    Bah Humbug, West Seattle. You’ve turned your hearts to stone and putresence. Help your fellow man.

  • Kay K January 19, 2016 (5:40 pm)

    I thought that property was going on the market to help provide funds for the homeless initiative?

  • Teri Ensley January 19, 2016 (5:47 pm)

    If this is going to happen then it seems some kind of contract and waiver should be signed by the RV residents, AND the City, not a non-profit, needs to provide oversight, police protection and other basic services, including having social services onsite during the day. The previous non-profit and individual did a horrible job.  Like many, I could go
    on for hours about the abuses that I witnessed at Nickelsville.  I will be contacting the mayor’s office to share my thoughts regarding the contract and the previous oversight providers.

  • Valvashon January 19, 2016 (5:52 pm)

    2 problems solved right now: Stop digging the tunnel and put a nice concrete cap at the underground end. Run water, electricity and sewer hookups down the tunnel and make it an RV park for all of those urban campers that the city keeps moving around- the ones under the Spokane Street Viaduct and parked in every available space in Ballard. It won’t be a “Warriors” style free-for all- there will have to be a few simple rules (keep your space clean, you can stay a maximum of 12 months) and a security presence. Everybody wins- the almost homeless in their decrepit and unsightly Winnebagos get to stay somewhere dry and with RV hookups for a year while they (hopefully) straighten things out for themselves (I’m pretty sure not everybody who is urban RV camping wants to be in one for the rest of their lives) and we get some return for our investment on this boondoggle project. I’m serious on this one.(I copied and pasted this from the thread on the tunnel boring being stopped.  See how my solution solves both problems?)

    • Drshort January 19, 2016 (6:49 pm)

      I myself have wondered if the 99 battery st tunnel could be retrofitted to some sort of shelter once (if) Bertha finishes digging 

  • M January 19, 2016 (5:56 pm)

    Why doesn’t the east side share in the responsibility? Why is this just a Seattle problem? 

    • Drshort January 19, 2016 (6:57 pm)

      It’s Seattle’s problem because we willingly take it on.   WSB tweeted out the other night a gov official stating 87% of Seattle homeless are from Seattle.  I don’t believe that for one second.  One, it’s way higher than other similar studies in other cities.  Two, the “one night out” counts suggest the vast majority of Puget Sound homeless are in Seattle.  Three,  even Real Change categorized homeless migration to Seattle in much less strong terms.  Homeless migrate to Seattle because there’s a homeless community to be a part of here and they will be tolerated and helped to some extent.  

  • William January 19, 2016 (6:07 pm)

    I just hope the city will now move the RV campers away from places like Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, where they have been “camping” on Beach Drive the past few months.  

  • Teri Ensley January 19, 2016 (6:22 pm)

    JanS…thank you for your articulate outrage! I’m with you.BTW…MIWS is an amazing person and the official greeter at Furry Faces Foundation events!

  • miws January 19, 2016 (6:24 pm)

    Thank you, Jan.Pragmatic Realist, so the homeless should be jailed? You talking full on goes on their permanent record jailed? If that had been the case 3+ years ago, I likely would still be homeless, instead of rehomed.No, wait, I’d likely be dead.Mike 

  • devnull January 19, 2016 (6:26 pm)

    In 2004 Seattle had a 10 year, $40 million plan to end the homeless problem.  Since that initiative was implemented, and is now in the rear view mirror, the homeless problem in Seattle continues to expand exponentially.   Just tossing this out there, but perhaps throwing money at the problem and enabling the homeless issue to compound is not working and something else needs to be tried?Personally, I have lost most of my compassion for the Seattle homeless population since they have moved into an abandoned house down the street about 9 months ago and have pretty much terrorized our neighborhood since that time.   In December, when one of our neighbors had a physical confrontation with them, they burned the house down.    So, from my experience the  homeless people do not make the best of neighbors.

  • JanS January 19, 2016 (6:29 pm)

    oh, my, yes, we can’t have any semblance of homelessness on Beach Drive…quelle horreur..

  • Aimee C January 19, 2016 (6:43 pm)

    I find it ironic that the same people who are complaining of classism in the city’s policies – “why not Magnolia? Why do we have to host these people again?”  are being classist in their blanket condemnation of homeless people as the human equivalent of toxic waste. Way to pass those attitudes on down the line. Does it feel good to feel like you’re better than someone, even if you feel inferior to those in wealthier neighborhoods?I’ve lived in Highland Park throughout the time of Nickelsville and did not personally encounter any issues.  Drug dealing *can be* a problem – those individuals who are dealing drugs or otherwise violating the code of conduct should be dealt with and as long as the people living in the new car camp have some methods of enforcement – and support from SPD – there will be no problems, other than perhaps the bruised egos of some sad NIMBYs living over a mile away from the encampment.

    • devnull January 19, 2016 (8:02 pm)

      Aimee, Here is what happened to  couple of my 80 year old neighbors that were attacked by a homeless, mentally ill person: Here is what happened to her house after the homeless squatters and druggies moved into her house couple of months ago:Arson burns down houseIf you consider me a NIMBY because I do not like my 80 year old neighbors being put into the hospital and their house burnt down due to homeless/mentally ill people,  I will wear that bade proudly.

      • Aimee C January 19, 2016 (11:28 pm)

         That kind of stuff is awful and scary, no doubt – especially when it happens to someone you know! I can understand the desire to *not* have that happen to yourself or anyone you care about ever again. However, I don’t see the direct connection to this issue – there are no homeless encampments that I know of near that address – that attack happened 3 blocks off Rainier, not here!  Mental health related violence exists, unfortunately, and it’s not necessarily directly related to them being homeless or living in a particular area. There were no homeless encampments that I’m aware of anywhere near Cafe Racer. The Green River Killer wasn’t homeless. Second incident – arson – happened due to squatters, yes.  Is it fair to paint an entire group of people – the homeless – with one brush just because this particular group of people did a horrible thing? I’ve had my car prowled twice and my house robbed once since living here. Yeah, it sucks. This neighborhood has been borderline sketchy the entire time I’ve lived here – both before and after Nickelsville.  Should we put up a wall to keep the weirdos from 15th and Roxbury out of Highland Park? Long story short, we cannot really insulate ourselves from danger in this life. Sh** happens in a city, and in a society where people with drug, alcohol, and mental health issues don’t get help.  Excluding an entire group of people because you think some of them might be dangerous is not fair. 

        • devnull January 20, 2016 (8:27 am)

          Thank you for the thoughtful response. My larger issue is that Seattle had a 10 year plan to eliminate the homeless issue, 13 years ago.  Since that time, the homeless issue has continued to get much worse in the Seattle area.   I would just like to propose that what Seattle is doing related to the homeless issue is not working.   And, is actually making the homeless problem worse.   

          • Aimee C January 20, 2016 (10:55 am)

            Yeah, it’s totally a band aid on a severed artery.  Our entire financial structure is set up to help the very rich – the .01% and up in particular – get a lot richer and to make the middle and lower classes compete harder to get a dwindling piece of the pie. Growing homeless is the end result of that. I had friends recently lose their lease and couldn’t afford anything in their price range in Seattle. They were homeless and living in a friend’s backyard for a couple of months until they found a place further out.  “Plan to solve homelessness” – hahaha! That’s like a war on drugs. Good luck with that. How about a plan to fix our social and financial system? Perhaps a greater problem than we can fix here on the West Seattle Blog. :)  This sh** affects all of us, one way or another. Let’s help one another – and I include homeless people in that – and yeah, a spot in your car in a parking lot is a fair sight better than living in the green belt or on the street. It’s honestly the least we can do, to allow our fellow humans to live in peace.

  • pjmanley January 19, 2016 (6:43 pm)

    Where does it end?  

  • Millionaires Tax January 19, 2016 (7:01 pm)

    Lets tax all these people on Beach Drive that want the homeless out. Got a $1,000,000 or more house? Pay your share to protect the less well off and destitute with your 1% wealth. Double tax on you!

  • JoB January 19, 2016 (7:34 pm)

    instead of blaming the homeless people for not having toilets and not having garbage disposal.. perhaps it could end with safe places to park that include toilets and garbage disposal….need i remind you that not all of those who need safe places to park are sleeping in RVs. Walk through your neighborhood and you are likely to find at least on family living in their cars….at least i can in mine.

  • KM January 19, 2016 (8:24 pm)

    Can someone point me in the direction where I can read more about how Nicklesville was managed and their relationship with the city? I saw this pointed out above and I don’t know the details/specific issues.

  • Wsres January 19, 2016 (8:38 pm)

    I agree that we need to have empathy,  and care for those that may not be as fortunate, but I also do not think this is the right solution. I really think it will bring more homeless in RV’s to Seattle. Give an inch and some people take a foot.  I worry about crime rate going up, the value of all that I have worked for going down (sorry people, I am watching out for myself and my family). i look at the squaller of the tents under the overpasses and the run-down RV’s popping up everywhere in Seattle and I just picture it all spreading., as it has already been doing. And our mayor is allowing it to spread. I would like to know the statistics of how many people of Nickelsville emcampments are rehomed and not living on state/city assistance after 5years. What is the actual success rate? I know Mike’s story and I buy real change papers and read the stories, but what does the actual data show? It seems like we are just getting more and more Nickelsvilles… 

  • Captain Dave January 19, 2016 (8:43 pm)

    With so much vacant land, why doesn’t the Port of Seattle provide low cost urban camping permits on desedgated areas along the Duwamish?  This way, a larger number of people can have affordable houseing with the dignaty of getting a legal place to reside away from freeway traffic.  There are plenty of suitable properties that offer much more space and amenities than the small parking lot at the old Nickelsville site.  Many of these waterfront properties will have no practical use for years to come as Seattle continues to run off non-tech companies.Murrayville could be so much more!

  • heather January 19, 2016 (9:17 pm)

    Thank you for the links Rr. I just wanted to remind people that part of our homeless population are families with young children.

  • homegrown January 19, 2016 (9:46 pm)

    There are a lot of longtime WS folks being priced out of their homes. Homelessness is a stark reality to some. Especially folks on SS and other assistance. We are displacing the people that made this area great. If people need a place to transition, why not offer ideas and solutions instead of condemning. A blind eye has no knowledge.

  • M January 19, 2016 (9:49 pm)

    @millionaire tax. The person on beach drive with the million dollar home already pays more than his or her fair share. Their property taxes are 2x that of someone with a $500k home, 4x that of someone with a $250k home. Without their property taxes the helping pay to social services the rest us would have to pay a lot more. 

    • Wes C. Addle January 20, 2016 (8:54 am)

      “The person on beach drive with the million dollar home already pays more than his or her fair share. Their property taxes are 2x that of someone with a $500k home”How is that more than his or her fair share?  Seems like the same amount to me.  You have a home that is worth twice as much, therefore your taxes should be twice as much.  How is that more?

  • dsa January 19, 2016 (9:50 pm)

    Okay to the NV parking lot as an interim *if* the city keeps the other campers in and on the overflow areas swept up.  Otherwise they will just keep coming in from out of our area.  I support taking care of our own, but not theirs, meaning other cities and states. 

  • MsD January 19, 2016 (10:13 pm)

    Let’s be honest, the tech companies and developers who run Seattle would prefer it if only the young and very upwardly mobile lived here.  I am starting to believe the City feels the same way.  The “homeless state of emergency” looked to me like nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to keep some sort of progressive street cred for our rapidly gentrifying city without actually doing anything that would be unpleasant for our corporate/real estate overlords.  Seattle is turning into San Francisco in terms of housing costs and the number of homeless.   Get used to it, it’s only going to get worse, Because what looks like a disaster when a bunch of RV campers moves onto your street looks like full employment and a robust economy from a distance.  Sadly, not everyone can be under 35 and be a software developer and a lot of people cannot afford to move once their somewhat affordable housing is demolished to make way for $1800/mo. studio apartments with rooftop gardens.  But, I’m sure if each of us just builds a rental cottage in our back yard, this problem will be solved in no time!

  • WsEd January 19, 2016 (10:16 pm)

    For about twenty years this city has been developing land as fast as possible putting on the glitz and trying to push the homeless into the margins.  They wanted a shiny downtown and anyone who has lived here since the 70s remembers lots of homeless in the metro area back in the day.  So the homeless are now in the neighborhoods as well.  The neighborhoods don’t like it so the city agrees to start programs for the homeless which attract more homeless.  It is an endless cycle and we are going to end up like LA with an official skid row.  Google it, there is a place demarcated as skid row on the map and the freaks come out at night.  Right now neighborhoods are fighting to see which one will end up as Seattle’s skid row.  Do you know why Bellevue doesn’t have good resources for the homeless.  Because they don’t want them there.  And let’s not forget to go all the way back to Reagan booting all of the institutionalized people on to the street.  And no they all aren’t horrible people,  but some that are, really are.  Hopefully Lisa Herbold can help make sure we don’t become Seattle’s skid row.  And don’t rail against me as uncompassionate for stating the obvious.

    • Ex-Westwood Resident January 20, 2016 (5:00 pm)

       And let’s not forget to go all the way back to Reagan booting all of the institutionalized people on to the street.Someone needs a lesson in the history behind this.It was not Reagan that “booted out” the institutionalized, it was the US Supreme Court and the ACLU.In the mid-eighties a notorious Kansas sex-offender sued the state for keeping him incarcerated beyond his sentence, due to his chance to re-offend. The ACLU joined the case on his behalf and threw in ANYONE committed against their will, including those in Mental Institutions. The case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the the Kansas Sex-Offender and the ACLU. By the late-eighties the majority of those involuntarily committed because of their mental health were released and keeping empty Federal run Mental Hospitals fully staffed and operational made no sense, so the remaining patients and staff were consolidated in regional centers and the others closed.THAT is why there was an explosion of mentally ill people among the homeless. That decision was also directly responsible for Adam Lanza not being in a mental institution; the process to involuntarily commit someone is a LONG and difficult road to travel, which his mother was in the process of doing when he found out and shot up Sandy Hook.

  • Crazytown January 19, 2016 (10:20 pm)

    100 spots for RVs per site? That is just a drop in the bucket. You’ll still see RVs where they currently camp.

  • pjmanley January 19, 2016 (10:27 pm)

    And why are we using words like “temporary” and “short-term assistance?”  I’d appreciate my elected officials speaking honestly, instead of using such terms which amount to little more than kicking the can down the road.  Without a plan, strategy and solution, you cannot solve a problem by simply fertilizing it, as we are.  Again, where does it end?

  • MellyMel January 19, 2016 (10:28 pm)

    As I sit in traffic on the bridge every morning, I ponder why not have the city rent out the empty  terminal 5 (?) that is nothing but a giant concrete pad for all the RVs to park on. You could even make it a gated community . . .

  • 935 January 19, 2016 (10:29 pm)

     So…It seems we are at an impasse. There are several that say “Out with them”. There are several that say “we need to hold them close and help them out”.  I must say, I am torn.To those people who want to say GET OUT – To what end? Where do they go? Away?To those people that want to help, why not let them stay in your neighborhood, nay, backyard – they are after all in tents…., well and RV’s I guess they could stay in your driveway (or in front of your house if you don’t have a driveway.)All I know is that it embarrasses me to see the trash piles left underneath over passes, and in green spaces. It is disgusting – not saying the people are – but even animals know not to live amongst their excrement.I would ask, if it is so, MIWS (whoever they are) to weigh in on the subject. If they truly lived in Nickelsville and got out and on their feet… HOW did they accomplished this? It may be repeatable. This person seems to be the only one on these boards to have actual palpable real world experience with this subject.The remainder of us can say we did this or that. We gave, we fed, we washed, we donated….. Or we didn’t do anything. In reality, if you haven’t been there, how can you know the tribulations?To that end, there seems to be a serious and truthful dialog needed. Someone above posted correctly the city wanted to end homelessness in 10 years in 2004, to a tune of a great deal of money. Now, we are throwing MORE money at the issue. Is money what is needed? Because *we* have spent a great deal for a problem that is bursting at the seams and growing daily.So I ask you directly, MIWS, what did you do that elevated you? Why did the people that shared your unfortunate circumstance  NOT follow your lead? And if not, why not? As someone who has “been there” what is your impression of the influx of RV’s/campers/proliferation of tent cities? Why do you think the phenomenon is growing? I am not asking for anything but your opinion, and hopefully some clarification on this difficult issue.

    • miws January 20, 2016 (5:44 pm)

      935, yes, I exist, as to “whoever I am”?, I’ve been hanging around WSB for a long time, and West Seattle a lot longer. And yes, I truly did live at Nicklesville.

      I’ll start by sharing these WSB stories, to give some initial background:

      The above stories pretty much nutshell how I ended up in homelessness, and  at Nickelsville. 

      Beyond the second story, where I was staying in a rented room; I got into transitional housing a few weeks later, through the Compass Housing Alliance. While there, I had at my disposal, a Case Manager, Mental Health Counselor, and had I needed, a Recovery (Addiction) Counselor. Not having any addiction issues, I did not need to see her beyond an introductory meeting. There was always other Staff available, should I have needed help.

      Also, while there, I was able to get onto any subsidized housing waitlists, for which I was qualified, the potential for vocational training, a referral to much needed dental care to get my remaining teeth pulled, and be fitted with dentures. Also got guidance and motivation to apply for disability benefits. I had been (and still am) under Harborview’s care for my chronic lung and heart issues, ever since the first of the two back to back pneumonia episodes around the 2011 holiday season.

      Throughout all of this, from the moment that I walked over the berm into NV in May of 2011, I had friends to help me in many ways, including two friends that drove me down, walked me in there, sat through my Intake, and set up my tent for me. I also had many more friends back me up, and help out NV in general (even after I left). Not everyone is so lucky to have the support I had. Not everyone is so lucky to have had everything pretty much fall into place as they did for me throughout my 19 months of being unhomed.

      Another area where I was incredibly lucky was in applying for Social Security benefits. I had been urged by Staff at the hospital (not Harborview) during my 2008 hospitalization to apply for SSDI, but even back then, I had heard first hand and credible second and third-hand stories of how hard it was to be awarded benefits, generally, it seemed, applicants were denied at least the first time, if not the second and third, and then it was time to get a lawyer. I was awarded within 90 days of applying.

      In December of 2012, I was able to move into an affordable (non-subsidized) apartment, that is in pretty much the perfect  location for me to visit favorite businesses, continue care at Harborview, and otherwise get around with relative ease, between bus service, and what walking I am able to do despite my COPD, Asthma, A-Fib, and Congestive Heart Failure.

      Again I was very lucky; no addiction issues, no mental health issues beyond mild/situational depression, and the support of friends and many others in the West Seattle community. Had I not had the support of those folks, the mild depression could very possibly have evolved to a much worse degree, and I could have had that deep sense of hopelessness that many homeless folks, that already have much worse mental health issues, or that may be driven to addiction due to such a sense of hoplessness.

      I would also like to take this oppurtunity to remind everyone, as I often do when commenting on homelessness, that although I am not a Veteran, many of our homeless are, so I would like folks to consider that before making knee-jerk allusions to homeless folks being worthless human beings.


  • Let's just take care of each other. January 20, 2016 (1:14 am)

    Why not have the people who live there volunteer to help with trash
    and sewer removal? If everyone pitches in, there will be little work to
    do. Also, some of these people likely have jobs and pay taxes
    just like the people who are complaining do. (Something to think about.) Don’t
    have a job? Where are the jobs? Yes, the economy has gotten better, and
    there are more jobs than there were a few years ago. Why is it, that
    with so much work to be done, there are still so few ‘jobs’? What it
    comes down to is money. – We have the resources and manpower for
    everyone to be taken care of. Preventing someone from doing so simply
    because of money, it’s a crime against humanity, to me. We need to take
    care of each other! Everyone should have clean air, water, and a safe
    place to sleep.

  • WS gal January 20, 2016 (1:55 am)

    Why not give them the highland park improvement center? If herbold and others want to help what a great resource with real doors and shelter

    • Thanks, Ed January 20, 2016 (6:12 am)

      This is all Mayor Ed Murray, not Lisa Herbold’s doing. If you are happy with the plan thank Ed Murray. If you are unhappy with the plan, blame Ed Murray. 

    • Alan January 20, 2016 (8:44 am)

      I cannot tell if you are kidding or not. Is this some sort of “if they don’t want it in their backyard, put it in their front” proposal? HPIC (Highland Park Improvement Club) is not owned by the city, but by its members. It is one of the great things about the neighborhood.

      • Thanks, Ed Murray January 20, 2016 (10:48 am)

        Please stop trying to tie this to Lisa Herbold. This is all Ed Murray’s doing.

        • Last Straw January 20, 2016 (5:31 pm)

          She wrote policy for Nick Licata for years  and represented him to Highland Park before on Nville.People know where her loyalties and concerns lay and she isn’t going to compromise her beliefs for this anymore than JoeS will compromise his self-appointed authority.  I did not vote for him, btw.  Did anybody? No.  But Lisa was voted in, by a hair, and her differences regarding homeless policies are established history in city archives.  Go do your homework.I am done with this.

          • Last Straw January 20, 2016 (5:34 pm)

            I am almost done with this, I guess.  THere is no way to edit my previous comments, from what I can discern on this editor, so I want to add this thought to be clear.I think it is a crime to allow people to survive in greenbelts or swamp lands.  I object to that and if you are so myopic as to think I have an ego which prefers Magnolia to Highland Park, you are naive and shallowNOW I am done with this. 

  • joel January 20, 2016 (7:13 am)

    the last camp closed about 2 years ago – how much has the city been paying to rent that huge fence blocking the old camp?it’s too bad the old camp was there…food lifeline was ready to buy the land and build and provide jobs to these same homeless people… 2 years later the land sits empty with a nasty fence around it and now more homeless to come.  they’ll be back camping in the woods and begging at every intersection. the guy with the cat who is there every day is about to have a turf war on his little intersection corner.

  • Jason H. January 20, 2016 (7:54 am)

    Those who speak of “humanity” and “their fellow man” clearly live a sheltered life. My fellow man does not steal from me, accost me, or ruin our common areas with disregard for others. Please come down from your gated communities to see what the REAL result from all of this is. Stop viewing the majority of these individuals as an after school PSA. Until you are willing to put them inside the fences of your own backyard, please do not forcibly put them in mine.I have waited for the bus near the old “camp” site. It was awful. I even once tried to donate food to the camp, but the “guard” for lack of a better word said they weren’t interested in the canned goods and instead gave me a list of their “wants” which included pet clothing and generators… So much for the “beggars cant be choosers” statement.To those who state “there are no homes there”… you are right, but there are neighborhoods starting less than 1/4 mile from there.  Don’t foolishly think these individuals are staying confined to stated area.  They do not even stay within a crosswalk (anyone who remembers driving down there during the time of the old campsite will remember people aimlessly walking across the 5 lane road.)If you want to feel like making a difference, go welcome these people into YOUR home, but dont anonymously invite them to stay in someone elses behind your keyboard.

    • Rick January 20, 2016 (9:36 am)

      I too tried to donate dog food but was told it wasn’t the “right” quality.  I’ve eaten dog food to survive.  I’ve considered myself humbled, but became ashamed.

    • 3 Years Was Enough January 20, 2016 (1:33 pm)

       Well said Jason H!  We live just up the hill from this site and remember well when the last encampment was there and the negative impact on Highland Park and Westwood areas.  People wandering around our neighborhood, cars regularly getting broken into and one morning we woke up to find a homemade machete directly underneath our bedroom window.   The police response to the machete, pretty much shrugged and said they can’t do much about it.  Anyone who says it won’t negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods I’m here to tell you THEY WILL and I bet most Ballard residents would say the same thing. 

  • CanDo January 20, 2016 (8:14 am)

    One of the responses to the Times article had an interesting suggestion.  Those who reap tax benefits from federal, state or local governments should contribute by donating a section of their tax benefited land to take in some homeless.  Boeing who has been given tremendous tax benefits for example, along with free reigning developers, large corporations and churches could make room for a few vehicles and/or small houses on their land, as well.  I don’t have a problem with providing safe haven for folks living on the streets in vehicles or otherwise.  What I do have a problem with is the lack of sharing where they live.  Provide space in all Seattle and King County neighborhoods.  Why doesn’t  Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Laurelhurst, U District, Sand Point (lots of room there), Georgetown or Beacon Hill to name a few within the City Limits.  In King County there’s lots of places that could donate space – Bellevue, Renton, Kent, Mercer Island, Issaquah… the list is huge.  This should not be just a West Seattle or Ballard problem to deal with.  The whole region needs to come together to provide space temporarily and then permanent solutions.   Every neighborhood in this county needs a fair share in solving this problem!

  • Gina January 20, 2016 (8:23 am)

    Agree with Terminal 5 or any other Port of Seattle land on Harbor Island being used for RV parking. Already has many RV storage lots. Too breezy for tents though. Go to Jack Block Park and look around at all the possible places. Remember the giant mall idea that was abandoned because of soil issues? All beyond the giant berm, hiding it from view.Sewer/human waste disposal, water, garbage and electricity must be provided by the city at all temporary sites. Otherwise there is no point in having special city sanctioned homeless parking.

  • Alan January 20, 2016 (8:53 am)

    This property is not owned by the city of Seattle, but by WSDOT. The city owns the land to the east but does not own the proposed parking location. Are they buying or renting this from the state? Why?

    • joel January 20, 2016 (8:58 am)

      it was said in another comment or maybe another article the state is letting the city use the land and the city wants to purchase the land from the state.

    • chemist January 20, 2016 (9:06 am)

      They’re buying it.  Last paragraph of the blue quote box in the article explains that.

      • Alan January 20, 2016 (9:20 am)

        Thanks. My reading skills bite me again.

  • Ed Murray must be primaried January 20, 2016 (8:56 am)

    The city will never rise again to it’s former glories in the 1970s before Microsoft started our regional decline. Get rid of Murray. 

    • Thanks, Ed Murray January 20, 2016 (10:51 am)

      Murray may be a floundering mayor but the 1970s? Yeah, lets go back to the era when people staggered around with needles hanging out of their arms, we nearly sold Pike Place Market to private businesses, and violent crime was wildly out of control. God bless the tech industry for saving this region.

  • Marty January 20, 2016 (9:35 am)

    “If we build it they will come”    I wonder how many of the current motor home residents will move to the new lots? Alki ave/Harbor ave have residents that probably prefer their beach-front location. Many of them have lived there for years.

  • Alan January 20, 2016 (10:02 am)

    I am curious as to why the city is moving to acquire this piece of property and apparently keep their own. They were willing to let it go to Food Lifeline, so I’m assuming that something has changed and that they have plans for it. With the ongoing effort to unload unused parcels of city property, it doesn’t make sense that they would acquire new land without something in mind.

  • Thanks, Ed Murray January 20, 2016 (10:53 am)

    This program is Mayor Ed Murray’s baby.  It was not organized by the City Council. All compliments and complaints should go to him alone at (206) 684-4000. 

    • Alan January 20, 2016 (11:55 am)

      Compliments and complaints; yes. The City Council will have to vote on it, so it would be best to let your opinion known to them.

  • rob January 20, 2016 (12:45 pm)

       I would  like to  see a  survey  done on  how   many  of  these  campers   have  come from out  of state. the fact is seattle  is known for all the free bees.  pot is now legal here and  that has become another  attraction.  with the  mayor saying how great the economy  is doing all time   low unemployment why cant these people get  work then team up and rent a place.  Being  in the contracting and building industry we cant find anyone to hire.  If you can swing a hammer you can start work tomorrow. the pay is around 15 to 20 bucks an hour 50 hours a week just to start. but hey its easyer to just camp out and wait for the hand outs.

    • WSB January 20, 2016 (12:47 pm)

      At last week’s 34th District Democrats meeting, the number was cited that more than 80 percent of those who are without housing in King County are from King County. – TR

      • Andrew West January 20, 2016 (1:54 pm)

        What qualified as “from King County”? An address? Self declaration?

  • AC January 20, 2016 (1:58 pm)

    I live, and have for 10 years, just above the site.  I never encountered ANY issues with the camp when it was there, and I drive by it twice a day, if not more on the weekends.  The world will not end if this happens.  Promise.

    • DB January 20, 2016 (4:32 pm)

      Really? I’ve lived in West Seattle for 18 years and never been burglarized but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen – you were lucky – as are we; but please don’t discount the true experiences of others. You’re right – the world won’t end but people have a right to defend their positions. 

  • hammerhead January 20, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    Here is an interesting article on the RV trailer issue

  • JasonH January 20, 2016 (5:56 pm)

    All this helps show, is that Mayor Murray is just the latest in a long line of out of touch Seattle politicians. What happened to the site the last time its tenants left? Oh thats right, it cost the tax payers hundreds of thousands for cleanup efforts.  Anyone who thinks the majority of these tenants are “down and out, hard working people, just trying to get a step up” are delusional. Lets take a look at most of these RV specimens that line Alki or take up residence in every nook and cranny under the West Seattle Bridge and West Marginal Way. Most are dilapidated and lined with trash. These are not people looking to better themselves, these are people looking for a free handout and nothing more.

    I am not sure what iron gates some other posters were living behind, but while living near the former Boeing hill camp, there was a huge decrease in crime after that group left. Why are we inviting more people in when Murray cannot even properly care for those who live there now? Stop spending OUR money to create new problems. Millions for bike lanes? Get a clue. If anything give this group a bucket of paint and let them EARN their right to stay. Paint road lines, touch up graffiti, allow them to work for what they have to establish some degree of pride. Hand outs, are not a hand up.If Murray loves this group so much, HE should invite them to stay in HIS backyard, and that goes for anyone else in favor of this plan. Stop charging all of us hard working folks just to pay for these glorified vagrants to have luxury accommodations.  If you are giving THEM security, then where is ours?  There is no money for police officers or schools, yet we can spend millions on non-contributors?  Stop raising my property taxes so that others can live for free and contribute nothing. If this group was willing to offer services in exchange for their free room and board, that is another story.

    I am NOT stating that this community does not need assistance, but I AM stating that Murray’s method is poorly thought out.Teach a man to fish, and he is never hungry again, give a man a fish and a dilapidated RV to keep it, and that hand will always be outstretched palm up, except for when its grasping the money in your pocket.There is a reason people are getting behind radical ideas that people like Trump present, its because they are fed up with seeing put of touch politicians like Murray throw away other’s money to offer the 95% no benefit.  STOP CATERING TO THE <5%. We live in a democracy, the MAJORITY should get to decide what THEIR money gets spent on. Not one sole political figure forcibly spending others money so he can feel like a philanthropist at the end of the day.If you want higher crime, more traffic, lower efficiency, and increased taxes, than by all means, keep your present mayor in office….

  • Roy January 20, 2016 (6:02 pm)

    Panhandling has been fairly popular at this intersection in the past; especially when the homeless camp was set up here before. I’m all for providing safe places for folks in these situations, but I’m curious as to how pedestrian and motor vehicle safety will be impacted once this encampment is established. This is a very busy intersection and increasing the foot traffic near it causes me to believe that the overall safety of general traffic in the area wasn’t taken into account.

  • Bradley January 20, 2016 (6:18 pm)

    Plenty of homes around there for the new RV residents to break into while the homeowners are at work during the day. This City Clowncil and Mayor are on the level of corruption of Chicago.

  • JoB January 20, 2016 (6:19 pm)

    i posted earlier that i wanted to know who would be managing the programs.. there was a reason for that…..     i was at Nickelsville pretty much every day for at least a couple of years and i will agree that the camp was badly managed. I tried to do something about that but failed. … However, that didn’t mean i gave up on the residents. Some of you will be pleased to know that many of them now not only live in housing but are gainfully employed…….  the applications for these RV camps are being sent to the Compass Center where miws finally got the assistance he needed and they are very  well managed…. so there is a good bet that you will see a different kind of camp than that you saw at Nickelsville ….. …. It’s too easy to say that they are all bums from out of town who came here to get a free ride.. until of course you try living that free ride for a day or two.. winter or summer…. then you find out why so many of the past residents of Nickelsville are now unemployable and dying of preventable chronic health conditions. It’s a harder life than you can imagine.

  • Eric January 20, 2016 (9:04 pm)

    King 5 news Q13 Fox News, and other media outlets have reported that Magnolia residents have been upset because of the increase in crime with the RV‘s parking in the neighborhood.

    When the encampment was down the hill before, Highland residents often commented on the spike in petty crime happening in their neighborhood. I personally noticed living in Westwood starting to find beer cans/bottles in my yard around that time, with people walking through the neighborhood yelling and screaming at each other. Neighbors in my neighborhood started commenting on experiencing petty crime. Also, living in Westwood, close to Westwood Village long before Nickelsville, it was about that same time that panhandling in WWV, started to become the “norm”, as encampment residents could be seen regularly making the trek up Boeing hill to the surrounding neighborhoods. 

  • Eric January 20, 2016 (9:07 pm)

    Apparently the link is messed up, but one only needs to Google RV‘s in Magnolia Settle, to find multiple articles on this 

  • hammerhead January 20, 2016 (10:20 pm)

    Well Said  JasonH

  • Zerodacus January 21, 2016 (6:57 am)

    I’d like to see a response to Rob and Andrew Wests posts, one thing I also assume, and have never seen the stats for. MIWS, you seem to be the only poster with first hand experience, so, during your six months at NV, in your experience, what were the percentages?, how many from out of state who moved here with no job or housing, how many like yourself (i.e truly needy because of work and health issues) how many users, how many just preferred the lifestyle? Also, I think its time to give Nicklesville a rest, I’m no fan, but Greg Nickles has been out of office for some time and didn’t create Freeattle, or the homeless situation. I vote for ‘MurrayTown’ or ‘Sawanteattle’.

    • miws January 21, 2016 (8:04 am)

      Zerodacus, during my time there I was mostly concentrating on participating best I could in the day to day running of the camp, both the minimal amount required of everyone, plus beyond, and in advocating for temporary solutions to being unhomed,  such as tent encampments. It’s not in my nature to pry into others’ lives, so I only had a casual idea at the time of who was from out of state, and who was local. All I know, between NV and my time in transitional housing, there are plenty of longtime/lifetime Seattleites experiencing homelessness.

      As to the drug use; I’m sure there was some going on, but my main concern was for myself, and staying in that relatively stable and secure environment until I could move on somewhere whether it be transitional, or permanent rehoming. I didn’t want to make waves and end up being booted out for even one night.  I do know that there were several others there with physical and/or mental health issues. Remember, some mental health issues can make people pretty much unemployable, and even make it difficult to function on a daily basis. Depression, especially severe, can make a person pretty much totally non-functional. 

      Another thing; many folks were waiting to be approved for benefits, being denied, and waiting some more. Some were on the years-long wait lists for subsidized housing. Some were getting benefits or had jobs,  but were saving up for first/last/deposit, and a nice little cushion of extra money in case of an issue to where they couldn’t pay rent, such as an employed person being sick and getting a smaller paycheck, or getting laid off. It is not as easy to get back on one’s feet as many seem to assume; not everyone can “Just get a job”, “Just get a second/third/better-paying job”,  “Just go rent an apartment/room”,  “Just move to lower rent Kent or Auburn” (rents are going up everywhere, and then there’re the added costs if the person has to commute to Seattle or somewhere for their job, whether by car or bus).

      The points I made in the above paragraph have been made ad nauseum in comments on WSB and elsewhere, and to me, are just plain common sense. 


  • Chris January 21, 2016 (8:10 am)

     So I guess this is what happens AFTER you spend almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS to address homelessness in the region.  The Seattle/King County plan (called the “Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness”) has spent more money than ANY other metro region in the nation, and this includes funding and building more transitional and affordable housing than some of the largest cities in the nation (more than LA, NY, SF).   Yet with all that money poured into this problem, it seems the region (and specifically Seattle) is worse off.  In fact, the city declared that this problem is “an emergency.”  Never in my life, have I seen more shanties, RV’s and tents throughout the city.  They have proliferated out of control. Those of you who cry foul against those of us who criticize plans like the RV lot, and then claim we lack compassion, have not put all of this in perspective. Your governmental leaders have spend copious amounts of money on reactive programs that do nothing to help this vulnerable population.   Again, ONE BILLION has been spent on homelessness and we are seemingly no better off.   

Sorry, comment time is over.