News

Facing Eviction

Nickelsville Campers Have Less Than Two Weeks to Leave, but Their Numbers Are Only Growing

Facing Eviction

Kelly O

JOHN JOLLY AND SADIE Willing to “stand our ground here.”

  • comments (38)
  • Print

The city has been clear: In less than two weeks, Nickelsville's 175 residents are supposed to leave their homeless encampment in a West Seattle field or be evicted. That was the decision made back in June, when the Seattle City Council directed Mayor Mike McGinn to kick all squatters off the city-owned property, where they've been camping illegally since May 2011. Posted on a utility pole out front, a sign warns campers: "NOTICE OF ENCAMPMENT CLOSURE: This site will be closed to shelter and storage effective 9/1/2013."

But instead of residents fleeing, pilgrims are arriving every week. It's getting bigger. So what's going to happen?

On a recent sun-seared afternoon, John Jolly, 39, played tour guide to Nickelsville, where he's lived for the past three months. "It's been a blessing having somewhere to go where you're not alone," he said while walking through rows of tents and structures, surrounded by thickets of blackberry bushes. About 80 to 100 campers called Nickelsville home in June, but Jolly estimates there are now around 175. The Union Gospel Mission (UGM), contracted by the city to work with Nickelsville residents, puts that number at 125.

But anti-encampment council members are not happy with the swelling population. As Council Member Tom Rasmussen wrote in an e-mail to colleagues in late July, "I am alarmed that more people are being allowed to move onto the site... It will mean that by the deadline the Mayor has agreed to there may still be people living in Nickelsville."

But the growth shouldn't surprise Rasmussen. When the council decreed an eviction, it also allocated $500,000 to UGM to help the camp's residents move into other housing or shelters. Some people may be showing up to take advantage of UGM's services (funded by the city), and Nickelsville's population has historically swelled in summer. As a general rule, Nickelsville doesn't turn new people away—they're not about to start now. Unlike emergency shelters, Nickelsville accepts couples, families, and people with pets.

Terry Pallas, the men's ministries director at UGM, said his organization was "never asked, nor is it our place" to block new campers.

UGM's most recent report says that they've moved 24 people from Nickelsville into various housing options since they started work there in June. Pallas said he is "encouraged by the progress that we've been able to make. But it's just a drop in the bucket."

The reality of a growing population reveals Council Member Rasmussen's naiveté. Of course more people would move to Nickelsville, either to use the services he and his colleagues authorized for them or for the community that Nickelsville offers. Furthermore, it's unrealistic to think a one-time infusion of cash will end homelessness, or even house everyone in Nickelsville by September.

So what will happen? It's Mayor McGinn's job to direct a teardown of the camp—city workers and police evicting a field of people from their only homes, ripping down tents, possibly arresting people who refuse to leave. Not a pretty photo op during election season.

Asked if the mayor would enforce the deadline, McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus refused to answer directly, but said, "Right now, our primary focus is working with folks to find a new site for Nickelsville."

The city allows churches to host encampments, but the city council recently rejected a bill to permit organized encampments in certain nonresidential areas of the city. This means any nonprofits that want to host encampments must partner with religious organizations. With the help of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) and the Church Council of Greater Seattle, Nickelsville is working to find three new sites to accommodate their numbers by the deadline. And they've found at least one, a lot owned by LIHI on South Jackson Street near 20th Avenue South. The second and third sites remain elusive, setting up a possible showdown over Labor Day weekend.

If Nickelsville can find places to relocate legally before the deadline, they'll certainly do it, said Jolly. "But if not, we'll just have to stand our ground here or start this all over again somewhere else." recommended

 

Comments (38) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
2 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
3 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
4
The city and its citizens have no obligation to support Homelessness By Choice as a lifestyle. In addition, those that are paying any attention know that SHARE / WHEEL, the group that runs “Nicklesville” is a cult.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
5
Give them one warning, then arrest them and haul their asses off to jail.

The lot is earmarked to become a distribution center for Food Lifeline, a social service organization with a helluva lot more value than Nicklesville.
Posted by David in Shoreline on August 21, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 6
Small towns have no freebies, hence no homeless. States without large homeless outreach have less homeless. Feed them and they will come.

On the corner of 47th and Roosevelt for two days they have had the road blocked - A crew of state workers. They tore up a flawless sidewalk with wheelchair wells in the necessary directions and replaced it with the same...except containing yellow rectangles with knobs in the middle. How many dollars spent for nothing?

I'd rather give some bums a sandwich than feed the union trough for jack shit.
Posted by Lew Siffer on August 21, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
7
Stiffy said:
I'd rather give some bums a sandwich than feed the union trough for jack shit.
Ah, a "union" hater... But you previously said:
Feed them and they will come.
So, you are against paying folks with actual jobs doing actual things a livable wage (and good health insurance with a decent retirement plan) because they are the dreaded union members, but you're just peachy keen shifting that money over to feed bums that do not contribute to society, and have no plans to ever get a job?

You must be a Tea Bagging Libertarian blinded by the purple Kool-Aid to common sense and reality. Actually, my guess is that you are under 25, and therefore still pretty much ignorant.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 8:16 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 8
How does John Jolly afford to feed a dog?
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on August 22, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 9
"Not a pretty photo op during election season."

Au contraire - you overestimate the sympathy for the homeless. There are plenty of voters for whom that would be the deciding factor in voting for McGinn. Have you read the Seattle Times comments? McGinn should drive the lead bulldozer. He'd be mayor for life.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 22, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
mkyorai 10
@7 No, he's just a troll.
Posted by mkyorai on August 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM · Report this
11
I hear there are lots and LOTS of agricultural jobs in central Washington. If they are good enough for the “Sanctuary Citizens” that so many Seattleites seem to support, they are good enough for these bums. Except these bums don’t want to work.

Society is not obligated to pay for these people’s chosen lifestyle: Homelessness by Choice.

If they truly wanted to “get off the streets”, there many ways to do so, and many REAL homeless folks have done so.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM · Report this
12
One of the things to remember about Nicklesville is that it is run by SHARE / WHEEL. To remain in “good standing” and continue to live in Nicklesville, its populous has to attend many meetings, pan-handle sufficient goodies for the annual SHARE / WHEEL “charity auction”, spend all day selling “Real Change”, attend more meetings, and so forth. As the Seattle Times (sorry) revealed in their SHARE / WHEEL expose, failure to do any of these things results in expulsion from the camp for 30 days.

Things like actually getting a job get in the way of these Nicklesville Homeless by Choice folks meeting the requirements of their cult leader Scott Morrow. Here’s an article from the Seattle Weekly, though if you search The Google, you’ll also find a series of articles in the Seattle Times.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/home/947180…
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 9:31 AM · Report this
meanie 13
I occasionally drive by nickelsville while running errands and from the outside you can see panhandling on all four corners, a population of rail running late teens with dogs, the trash heaps and refuse from those who were deemed undesirable in nicklesville in the surrounding greenbelt.

Every article I read about the place features someone who has moved there recently from out of state to cash in on the free-attle rumors of services, like this plan to relocate these people.

The time when nicklesville moved from a protest to a lifestyle was long long ago. They are now eating their own tail by blocking food lifeline.

Wheres Mars Hill offering to take all these people in?
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on August 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 14
@6 "On the corner of 47th and Roosevelt for two days they have had the road blocked - A crew of state workers. They tore up a flawless sidewalk with wheelchair wells in the necessary directions and replaced it with the same...except containing yellow rectangles with knobs in the middle. How many dollars spent for nothing?"

Actually, by state or Federal law (I forget which code specifically) any new projects of a certain scope must be fully ADA compliant. That's what you just saw happen and it cannot be avoided. Almost all intersection crossings in Seattle are not ADA compliant. The knobs are for blind people I believe.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://www.zombo.com on August 22, 2013 at 10:14 AM · Report this
15
If we close our eyes and pretend we don't have a problem, we won't have a problem anymore.

"Homeless by choice" is a myth made up by people who enjoy bullying the lower classes. This city wouldn't suddenly become a shining Amazon wonderland if only those people would stop coming here to take all our money.

I have yet to meet a family of people who have relocated from far away to Seattle because our services are better than the services they get where they're from.

Nicklesville isn't filled with some group of people both so energetic as to remain in a cult and so lazy they'd rather live in filth than work. They don't research health and social services on the internet then relocate. These aren't college grads choosing career paths.

Let's face it. If the people in Nicklesville make you so mad you're willing to bulldoze what's left of everything they own, you might consider talking with someone professional and leave internet commenting to people who aren't assholes.
Posted by six shooter on August 22, 2013 at 10:20 AM · Report this
16
It was a unanimous council vote. That includes O'Brien. But the Stranger can overlook this.
Posted by hmmmmm on August 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM · Report this
17
I say get more cash and create "Dime City"... Notice how effectively they have "spanged" a half mil in "spare change" from the City of Seattle? Good show, but I like the "nickel AND dime concept as a way of progressing the efforts....

Seems to make sense to let them stay close to the free food distribution center.. cut down on the travel and hauling....
Posted by pupuguru http://www.godsweed.org on August 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 18
It'll be interesting to see the breakdown of votes for McGinn if he does go through with bulldozing Nickelsville. If nothing else, I'm guessing a surge of votes for him in West Seattle.
Posted by keshmeshi on August 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM · Report this
19
I prefer our homeless citizens living somewhere with enforced rules and access to sanitation, because the alternative seems to be:

1. pitbull fights on Broadway
2. people taking dumps in highly visible spots
3. piles of refuse

At least in a recognized community these problems are managed. Poverty and homelessness must be hell...and I have often wondered how many instances of bad luck it would take for me to end up on the streets (probably not many). However, I'm much less sympathetic to sidewalk pooping and related. In this city it is not hard to find a public restroom from King Street Station to the LIbrary and on to Seattle Center, at the very least. And, there are tons of unattended dumpsters to throw your trash away. Even better when the community you live in has these "amenities" and isn't bulldozed.
Posted by shotsix on August 22, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
meanie 20
@15 here's that family you were looking for:

Lisa Patterson, who moved into Nickelsville with her 14-year-old daughter in February after relocating from Indiana

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2…
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on August 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
21
Six Shooter said:
Homeless by choice is a myth made up by people who enjoy bullying the lower classes.
The Seattle Times story quotes several Nicklesville residents by name who say they are happy in Nicklesville and have no plans to look for work.

This is called "Homeless by Choice".
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
22
@15 (Six Shooter):

Either these people who reside at Nicklesville (and other SHARE/WHEEL"camps") who choose not to join society because they are satisfied where they are (or are unwilling to do what it takes to move on) *ARE* "Homeless by Choice", or Nicklesville *IS NOT* a Homeless Camp.

And if it's not a Homeless Camp, there is no question that it needs to go.

@19 (ShotSix):
1. pitbull fights on Broadway
2. people taking dumps in highly visible spots
3. piles of refuse

At least in a recognized community these problems are managed.
Nicklesville is not on Broadway, but it does indeed have everything you point out:

  • Dog fights

  • Piles of garbage

  • Piss and shit taking place not in Port-O-Lets


Stop by sometime and smell for yourself.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 1:43 PM · Report this
23
@19 (ShotSix):
I'm much less sympathetic to sidewalk pooping...
Try it sometime! Under the right conditions, it can be VERY refreshing, breaks those chains that "society" arbitrarily puts on you! Of course, I recommend loading up on MALT LIQUOR and COCAINE.

Well, if you're staying in Nicklesville, swap the cocaine for meth or smack...

Then just stroll on downtown, pick any convenient ally (or go for the gold, do it right on the street sidewalk), drop your pants and take a stress-relieving dump. For extra points, harass some tourist or local office worker for spare change, and if they refuse, invite them to watch.

Pull your pants up and walk away with your head held high (though you are not required to zip your fly). You're Homeless by Choice, damn it, you can do whatever the fuck you want, "society" be damned!
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
24
How many of these homeless people were born and raised in Seattle? I suspect not very many. Seattle has an international reputation for being a soft touch for people who can't hold a normal job. Why? Because people on welfare never vote Republican?

Posted by billwald on August 22, 2013 at 3:11 PM · Report this
25 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
26
Why? Because people on welfare never vote Republican?
I've never voted Republican (life-long bleeding Liberal), and I believe in society looking out for less fortunate.

But there are limits.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
inquiastador 27
Well, I know one thing that won't be happening. Those ex-residents who choose to stay within the SHARE constellation will not be looking for or maintaining sufficient employment to get out of their situation. SHARE does not support those sort of shenanigans. Gets in the way.
Posted by inquiastador on August 22, 2013 at 7:50 PM · Report this
28
I'm *NOT* a religious person, but at least the Union Gospel Mission *ACTUALLY* wants to get these folks off the street.

SHARE (Nicklesville) is all about a Cult of Personality that goes by the name of Scott Morrow. Mr. Morrow’s obsession with a Socialist Worker Utopia pretty much renders SHARE a cult.

It’s interesting to note that during the days that Mr Morrow does not “slum it” at a SHARE facility, hes staying at his girlfriend’s two story ranch style house in Kirkland (she is a Kirkland schoole employee). In fact, if you know the address, Google Maps shows a SHARE van parked out front. On “official” business, no doubt.

One wonders how long the city of Seattle will continue to pay for this cult’s political program.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM · Report this
29
It's a bit shocking how cruel some people are when it comes to issues of homelessness. Most people who are homeless are not there by choice. Many of them do not have full mental or physical capabilities, which makes it difficult to find work. And in today's employment climate, it's hard enough if you are fully capable. So the Times went in and found some people who are there by choice: that's their bias. If they wanted to, they could have just as easily found veterans, people who lost their homes due to the economic mess, and people who are drowning in medical bills. As far as Nickelsville goes, I don't think anyone really wants it to be the long term solution, but until we as a society (read: city) decide to take care of even the "least" among us, it is the the best solution. Everybody complains when the homeless are in "their" neighborhood, but few seem willing to allow them to create their own. What's a poor, tired person without a home to do in the face of such heartlessness?
Posted by loveitorleaveit on August 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
30
@LL:
Most people who are homeless are not there by choice... As far as Nickelsville goes, I don't think anyone really wants it to be the long term solution, but until we as a society (read: city) decide to take care of even the "least" among us...
So, you have not read the stories in the Seattle Times and Seattle Weeklyv exposes (with names) of the many people of Nicklesville who are quite happy there and have no intention of moving on? You are not aware that SHARE puts in place many obstacles to people who live in their camps to finding and holding legitimate jobs? You have missed the clues that SHARE and Nicklesville are not actually about solving “homelessness”, but rather about a Socialist Utopia where Homelessness By Choice as a lifestyle is legitimate and the rest of society must pay for it?

The Stranger doesn't report these things, The Stranger's editorial bosses have a Point of View that prevents them from reporting the facts sometimes.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 23, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
31
Because a large chunk of hiring and employment is done by firms who achieve the capacity to profitably employ people by way of state subsidy and tax-dodging (long-term permission of Microsoft monopoly, Amazon online sales tax exemption, Boeing contracting by US military) and lots of work is either meaningless or contributive to levels of production and consumption that the planet can't afford, I'm really not tripping on paying some people with hard luck to chill. If they did make it into the labor market they'd probably just replace some other broke people and make it even looser, which given the long-term fall in min and median wages vs productivity is hardly necessary.

The talk about whether there's an "obligation" to help these people is silly. My clothes were made by children. Obviously there are no obligations, obviously there is no God. Plant investment is low, hiring is slow. Money will not be more efficiently spent than on helping people eat and sleep safely.

If a lady and a 14 year old girl move here because living in a homeless camp, with its Babylon amenities, is worth the hassle of moving all the way from Indiana, then I am glad that they are no longer in the situation that they were in in Indiana.

I agree that spending on stuff like replacement of perfectly good sidewalks and forcing willy nilly employment for its own sake is ridiculous. If we want streets to be safe for blind people we need streets without cars, not sidewalks with bumps.
Posted by daws on August 23, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
32
@Daws:
My clothes were made by children.
Mine were not, but than, I don't shop at WalMart, and I don't wear Nikes.

But do prattle on. As you swill your Fair Trade Rain Forrest latte.
I'm really not tripping on paying some people with hard luck to chill.
Is it "hard luck" to make a conscious decision that you don't mind the Nicklesville lifestyle and decide that you have no intentions of looking for work at all? Because the TRUTH is that most of these people are not looking to get "out" of "homelessness"
I agree that spending on stuff like replacement of perfectly good sidewalks and forcing willy nilly employment for its own sake is ridiculous. If we want streets to be safe for blind people we need streets without cars, not sidewalks with bumps.
I'm sorry, you're an idiot.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM · Report this
33 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
34
@32 (the Spam directly above):
my co-worker's half-sister makes $72 every hour on the internet.
Really? My brother's wife's sister's friend’s half-brother makes $400 an hour in San Francisco. I’m not sure what he does exactly, but it seems to often involve leather chaps.
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM · Report this
35
It's interesting that The Stranger has removed this story from the Front Page. I guess the comments didn't live up to the Stranger's expectation of "outrage".
Posted by Arthur Zifferelli on August 26, 2013 at 6:29 PM · Report this
36
Give them all one way bus tickets to California this fall.
Posted by Bradn http://www.pornscat.net/ on August 26, 2013 at 7:42 PM · Report this
37
just as Andrew responded I'm alarmed that anyone can make $4705 in 1 month on the computer. did you see this web link... C­­­a­­f­­e­­4­­4.ℂ­­­o­­m
Posted by Karen R. Prince on August 27, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
38
Their jobs were evicted before them!(or given to somebody for whom the employers/parasites can exploit even more).I'd like to see if anybody who works in gubmint (or receives any taxpayer money via block grants to "do social work") has any vested interest in forcing homeless citizens into a life of "Crime" simply to survive (such as the Prison-Industrial-Korpsepirate Komplex).O.O --- http://theyrule.net , http://www.inequality.org
Posted by 5th Columnist on August 30, 2013 at 4:03 PM · Report this

Add a comment