Nickelsville: a mobile town

Posted on October 8th, 2008 by Djordje.

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What is Nickelsville, and what are the roots of its name? Nickelsville is the newest Tent City in Seattle. Currently there are four, “official” tent cities in the King County, two of which are within the city limits. And the name? On April 4th, 2008 the Mayor’s Office of Seattle issued an executive edit that homeless people cannot stay on city property such as overpasses, parks, and greenbelts where many of the homeless take shelter each night. Seattle’s Mayor is Greg Nickels, thus the name Nickelsville.

Nickelsville is the fifth camp, and is temporarily located in the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. A bit of history: On September 22nd at 5 AM the Nickelsville camp was built at 7115 West Marginal Way SW. Four days later, on 26th, 70 tents and 5 wooden buildings were removed, and 23 people were arrested. The homeless found a temporary shelter at their current location. The city issued the “Notice and Order to Remove”, and the residents need to leave the park by Friday, October 10th. I spoke to some of them today, and they will obey the city orders. The future location of the park is undisclosed. I found out that the city “advised” the Indian Cultural Center that extending hospitality to the camp could affect how the budget gets distributed. This is unofficial and I have no way of confirming this information. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true, though.

What’s different about Nickelsville? For one there are rules you must obey in order to be a resident. The thing that really surprised me was that most of these people have jobs. This fact is even more depressing considering that after a day at work you spend a night by yourself in a tend. All of them speak of saving money for a fresh start. And many do have some savings. That’s not the talk I’d had heard in my visits to Seattle’s shelters. These people haven’t lost their hope. By pushing them around we’re working against them, we’re killing that hope. And that’s the only thing they have left. Let’s keep it alive…..

If you would like to get more information about the camp, visit their website.

To be continued….

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