The city intends to move Nickelsville, a nomadic homeless encampment, to a permanent site in Georgetown—at the burned-out Sunny Jim peanut butter plant—next March after the plant is demolished, according to sources speaking to The Stranger on the condition of anonymity. Oddly enough, this site was reportedly not one of the top three sites recommended to the city by the mayor-appointed Homeless review panel—it came in fourth, after three other preferred sites that weren't selected: The Interbay substation at 3222 17th Ave W; The north end of the temporary playfield area at Smith Cove in Magnolia; and a grassy berm in West Seattle near Camp Long at 35th Avenue South and Southwest Edmunds Street.
But Nickelville residents say that five-month time line for a permanent site is too long to wait—they need to leave their current temporary site in the University District next week—and they will simply move to a different permanent site this weekend (one of their own choosing) where they will stay until the officials provide them with a city-sanctioned permanent site (arguably a fair ultimatum given that the homeless panel's goal all along was to situate Nickelsville before the weather turned cold.) Nickelsville residents sent Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith an email on Saturday with their politely worded ultimatum (excerpted below):
We told you we would discuss our options with our community, Nickelsville, and inform you first of how we will resolve our crisis of having no permanent site on offer when we must move on November 14th, 2010.
Last night, Nickelsville voted unanimously to stay the course and move to a permanent site next weekend. We have been told of no reasonable alternative of how to stay together and safe.
It is within the power of the Office of Mayor to help us with our immediate crisis. Under your direction seven sites have just been identified where this could be done. Your Office has also received the recommendations of a remarkable group, appointed by the Mayor, on how to make this work. Mayor Rice's compassionate response to a similar homeless crisis 20 years ago shows the Mayor has the power to respond quickly in an emergency, as do Mayor Nickels' frequent unilateral actions in regards to homeless people in Seattle.
The Homeless Review Panel is scheduled to meet with city officials to discuss the Nickelodeons' ultimatum this afternoon (and most likely recommend a six-month site for the 100-person tent city to camp) before moving down to Georgetown next year.
No one at the mayor's office was available for comment.