‘Safe lot’: First one open in Ballard, 4 RVs move in

While on the other side of the bay earlier this afternoon, we detoured to Ballard for a look at the city’s first of two “safe lots” for people living in RVs or other vehicles, since the other one is set for our area.

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It opened this past Friday at 24th NW and Shilshole, north of the old Yankee Diner restaurant, east of a shipyard. Like the future “safe lot” in Highland Park (W. Marginal Way SW and Highland Park Way), it is ringed in canvas-covered fencing. A padlocked chain held the fencing closed on the south side, off a parking lot that’s not part of the “safe lot.”


Four RVs were visible; the lot is supposed to be able to hold at least 30. Two portable toilets were in view on the east side of the lot, along with two tents (regional-media coverage says one is a kitchen tent). No one was in view outside the RVs or anywhere else when we looked around the periphery, so there was no one to ask about how things are going.

Last projected opening date for the Highland Park lot, with room for about a dozen RVs, is still at least about two weeks away, per discussion at last Wednesday’s Delridge District Council meeting. We went by the HP site again at midday today; nothing changed except that the fallen-down fence has been picked up and bolstered with sandbags.

13 Replies to "'Safe lot': First one open in Ballard, 4 RVs move in"

  • Edrez February 22, 2016 (3:42 am)

    We DONT want this in West Seattle…Do you understand?

    • JC February 22, 2016 (8:50 am)

      Seattle Liberal City leaders don’t care what we want.  They are going to go against our wishes and do it anyway.

      • Joe Szilagyi February 22, 2016 (4:29 pm)

        Seattle Liberal City leaders

        Just FYI, every part of Seattle votes overwhelmingly for Democrats and most liberal candidates except for a handful of wealthy precints with water and city views — the same holds for West Seattle, too. The only non-liberal part of Seattle is the gated slub called Broadmoor, down Madison by the water. They’re literally the only precint that votes Republican in the entire city. Not even the backwaters of Laurelhurst and Magnolia don’t reliably vote liberal. Just so everyone is clear on what the city’s overall politics actually are. There hasn’t been an overt Republican in office in Seattle since… the 1970s? I can’t even recall.
        • Matt S. February 23, 2016 (9:39 am)

          Enough with your careful attention to facts and proper capitalization, Joe! Let’s keep it to sweeping, unfounded statements. Those are best for everyone. 

  • DB February 22, 2016 (9:30 am)

    If it stays clean and contained with so few RVs I think it’s an okay option to help people feel safe. Look around at all the RVs that already live here in West Seattle; I think this is a much better option. If you’re worried about it get involved! Volunteer to help keep it organized and clean! 

  • newnative February 22, 2016 (10:06 am)

    Edrez and JC, you certainly don’t speak for all of West Seattle.  I’m glad to see something like this.  

  • Roxy February 22, 2016 (11:37 am)

    Agreed, Newnative. I’m with you. A tin roof is better than ripstop but still dang cold living quarter. Been there done that. Was very grateful for my tin roof and a safe place to park. If you can’t  manage some empathy you might try using your imagination. Many folks are only a couple of paychecks away from a tin roof.

  • Pile-o-Rox February 22, 2016 (12:17 pm)

     Quite frankly, with the majority of the homeless I have encountered, its hard to feel much sympathy. Take the great crew of RV campers referenced in the below-linked story – no interest whatsoever in a safe lot – too many rules that might interfere with them being stoned all day and night playing Magic the Gathering and yelling at passers by.


     The only way these lots work is if the advent of the lots is coupled with a crackdown on all other unlawful RV camping. Then its either live by the rules (and have a safe lot), or get out of town – because we don’t need the dregs draining our economy and wrecking our city if they don’t even care enough to help themselves (on our dime, no less). 


  • skeeter February 22, 2016 (12:21 pm)


    Do you need to own an RV in order to live in this lot? 
    Could a person with nothing other than a tent live here?  I’m not trying
    to be a wise guy — I genuinely want to know.  Because having something
    like a porta potty and garbage can is nice for all “campers,” not
    just those in an RV.

    • WSB February 22, 2016 (12:32 pm)

      No. It is a “safe lot” for people living in vehicles. There are also authorized “encampments” for people with tents or “tiny houses,” two up and running and a third in the works, none in West Seattle.

  • New thinking needed February 22, 2016 (9:50 pm)

    From the Seattle Time article referenced above by pile-o-rox,

    At night, Fletcher and his two dogs sleep together in his Pontiac Aztek, bought for him at auction by the nonprofitFacing Homelessness.”

    Instead of working to remove barriers for a person to have a home as in a structure, with sanitation, electricity, and a place to store some items…. some of the homeless agencies seem to be enabling the homeless to continue to be homeless – by purchasing them a car! Incredible

    • wetone February 23, 2016 (10:39 am)

      Exactly what city is doing. I think everyone wants to help those  wanting to improve their lives. But what Mayor Murray is doing is far from that. Just the amount of money and resources he is spending on and related to Safe Lots, then paying to get RV’s towed or paying for parts to get running is just stupid. Most the RV’s have zero value and will never move again unless city pays for it. The few people that will be using lots Mayor Murray could of rented them rooms/apt someplace as in real housing with dry roof over there heads. If people don’t want to transition into real housing then it’s time to pull purse strings tight. If they break the law throw them in jail, most likely cheaper than what Mayor Murray is doing today.  What I don’t understand is how city and others are enabling these people to have a supposedly legally licensed vehicle when they don’t require them to have ID ?   is city paying insurance for the homeless RV’ers and vehicle’s they have or live in ? This city is making some big double standards these days. What has this city done to improve your daily life in the last few  years ?  You have people trying to keep there heads above water being responsible and abiding the laws, living in Seattle a long time and city rewards them with more regulations, higher taxes/ cost of living,  infrastructure failing apart, terrible traffic and city continues spending foolishly with zero accountability and worries. Just like Pronto Bike program, it’s no problem to spend a couple million $$ for downtown, why can’t people using these bikes buy their own ? maybe some of the bike parking required in new builds would get used.  But then Mayor Murray and SDOT Kubly couldn’t brag about their wonderful bike program to all and how successful it is in helping traffic……   

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