Camp Second Chance – the newly city-sanctioned, but not new, encampment on the west side of Myers Way S. on the southeastern edge of West Seattle – is now officially on the road to expansion.
Its first city referral happened this week, and as of Saturday, the camp had 17 residents, according to operator Polly Trout of Patacara Community Services. The city envisions up to 70 residents. We talked with her at CSC this weekend after a demonstration watched by campers and visitors, related to a key question: Will camp residents have anything more than tents to sleep in?
The demonstration was by Pallet, a sideline of Square Peg Development. They’re making prefab shelters that can sleep four – and can be assembled in minutes, starting with a pile of components as shown in our photo above.
Aluminum-framed components, built by 'incarcerated individuals,' company explains. Potential disaster relief use too. pic.twitter.com/kFD4pzCZTn
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 18, 2017
That’s a short segment of what turned out to be an almost 9-minute assembly time. The shelters are aluminum framed, made from a honeycombed, light “yet very strong” material, and can be assembled, disassembled, and reassembled repeatedly with no sign of wear and tear.
Each one costs almost $5,000. There’s no official city RFP or other process to fund these (or any other structures) for Camp Second Chance, so for the encampment to get some would be a matter of private fundraising, separate from the services the city is providing. (One person with city ties was there to observe, though – Councilmember Lisa Herbold.)
Still, the price tag is a challenge. Trout mentioned after the demo that the camp has a donor who will be picking up the tab for 15 Costco pre-fab structures that go for $1500. Pallet, meantime, says it’s working on a proposal to provide some shelters for Seattle’s forthcoming Navigation Center low-barrier shelter. They’re also working on a double-size version of the shelter that would have a bathroom and kitchen.
Pallet is currently having these built by state Department of Corrections inmates (at Stafford Creek). The company also says its parent company hires people who are rebuilding lives on the outside – those who are formerly incarcerated or in recovery, for example.
Meantime, we asked Camp Second Chance leadership more about what’s happening there, now that they’re sanctioned. A potable-water cistern is due soon. They’ve also applied to get an electric hookup. And they’re hoping for a portable toilet – to replace the Honey Bucket type – and shower. Trash service already has begun. The city, meantime, promises a third community meeting soon.