Nickelsville has found a new home – in my neighborhood! Mayor Nickels has forced the encampment (named in his honor) to move again on Friday, this time from Discovery Park to the parking lot of the University Christian Church on 15th & 50th in the University District.
Amazingly enough, even though the self-described Nickelodeons have now moved off city property, that may not be enough to please his Honor. According to the Seattle PI:
Authorities have been vague about what the city’s next steps are, although they have previously threatened fines on property owners who sponsor Nickelsville.
The city’s notice to Nickelsville in Discovery Park is a “final” one that applies to all future encampments within city limits. It says that no notice will be required for future campsite removals. In addition to encampment residents, the notice names a number of advocacy groups— the Interfaith Taskforce on Homelessness, SHARE/WHEEL, Veterans for Peace— that will be fined (up to $150 per day) if Nickelsville resurfaces on city property.
I talked to one of the campers who had previously had his belongings including a new tent and gear he saved $300 to buy destroyed by the city in one of the city’s sweeps of green spaces.
He said the city had even threatened to fine the Honey Bucket people!
Meanwhile, according to the PI article, the Mayor has so far refused to meet with anyone from Nickelsville. His office also claims that “Seattle bears a disproportionate burden caring for the area’s homeless and that officials are doing the best they can.”
Well, some of that may be. Seattle is central to the region, easier to get around without a car and doesn’t sprawl as much as the suburbs. Yet, when it comes to tent cities, the fact is that they have been hosting at least a couple at Eastside churches.
So why is it so difficult for Seattle to do it’s part? It’s easy enough to get permits to condo builders and a trolley to nowhere for the area where Paul Allen owns a lot of land, or a new stadium. Hey, wait a second, I got an idea! The Nickelodeons should ask for money for a stadium. They could help build it and staff it. . . No, wait! Think big! They can supervise it’s building and staffing and afford nice places for themselves in Medina! Then the Mayor would talk to them! Oh, wait, isn’t he supposed to serve Seattle’s citizens?
In all seriousness, though, it’s totally disturbing that, not only won’t Mayor Nickels meet with the homeless residents of Nickelsville or do anything to help them; he wants to keep hounding them wherever they try to settle down for a while. Evidently he thinks they should all be back in the elements, sleeping in doorways; or maybe just that they should disappear.
Portland has built a Dignity Village for their homeless. Short of providing actual housing, why not have one in Seattle?
PS: Sounds like they University neighborhood, including students, has been considerably more welcoming than the city, including bringing food.