Archive for July 2009
Leela Yellesetty reports on the battle of a Seattle homeless community to keep from being evicted once again.
July 30, 2009
FACING EVICTION from the empty state land it was occupying, the Seattle homeless community of Nickelsville moved on July 23 to what residents hope will be their permanent home at Terminal 107 Park last Thursday.
But the very next day, the Port of Seattle issued a notice for the homeless to vacate the property.
This is unfortunately nothing new for Nickelodeans (as residents refer to themselves), who have moved seven times since setting up last September. The camp was originally set up on city land to draw attention to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ policy of sweeping the homeless–and providing no assistance at all.
As Revel Smith, communications director for the homeless newspaper Real Change, says:
When he was originally doing the sweeps, the phone number people were given for social services was a dead line. It’s a very, very cruel and difficult system.
People need a stable place to stay. A lot of people at Nickelsville are able to retain jobs, get back on their feet. Otherwise, they’re left with the downtown shelter system, which is inadequate to handle the 2,500 or so people that don’t fit on a regular basis. Nickelsville’s intent is to keep a stable, self-organized, self-sufficient community where people have their basic needs met and can find work, come home, sleep, have their possessions in one place and have a roof over their heads. They can’t get that anywhere else.
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DONNA BEAVERS and her husband have been at Nickelsville since the beginning. Donna became homeless a year ago due to domestic violence. Before coming to Nickelsville, she was sleeping on sidewalks and in doorways, due to lack of available shelters.
Taking a break with her dog while residents and supporters hustle to pack up tents and supplies, Donna says:
Nickelsville is a good encampment. We’re all like a family. The mayor doesn’t like us, though. We even tried to go meet the mayor one time, and he heard we were coming, so he shut the elevators down so we couldn’t go up to see him, and then he sent the security down to tell us to leave the property.
I think the mayor should be trying to help homeless people, instead of trying to sweep them out. Nickelsville is trying to solve a problem by giving people a place to live who can’t afford housing because it’s so expensive. To all your readers, please tell them to help support us. Write the governor, write the mayor, tell them to give us permanent land. We’re citizens, too.
Randy Pellam, who’s been at Nickelsville for the past six weeks, had the same message:
We’re basically trying to get the government to take responsibility and allow them to live without criminalizing homelessness.
Really, it’s killing people. Seattle’s proud of the fact, though they would never admit it, that the average age of death for a homeless person here is 47 years old. They lose 30 years or more of their life because the living is so hard. People think they’re lazy or bums or whatever. I’ve had hard jobs. Being homeless is ten times harder than most jobs. And it kills you.
In addition to the difficulty of sheer survival, the homeless are particularly vulnerable to violence. Pellam describes a time when he was sleeping on a park bench, and a group of young people came up and hit him on the head with beer bottle, looking for a fight. Luckily, one of the group said to leave him alone. As Pellam remembers:
They didn’t want to go against their friend, so they left, but otherwise, who knows what could have happened. A lot of the attacks are never reported. A lot of people have friends they knew who were murdered because they were homeless. We’ve had some horrific ones in this state, like a man in a wheelchair who was set on fire in an alley–just horrible.
Unfortunately, because the government portrays us as criminals, people who don’t know any better think it’s okay for them to victimize us, too.
Tearing into the idea that homeless people are criminals or drug addicts or have something else wrong with them, Randy cites numerous studies showing no such correlation.
“The biggest reason people become homeless in this country is economic,” he said. “It’s because of the lack of affordable housing. Years ago, there was more affordable and subsidized housing, but it’s been cut back. It’s getting wiped out by developers, especially in this area, where even people with fulltime jobs can’t afford the rent.”
He brings up another study that found it costs far more to keep people homeless than in housing–the estimate is it costs 10 times more to the taxpayer, due mainly to increased police and emergency services. Randy continues:
So they go on portraying the homeless as being deserving of this type of punishment and then charging the taxpayer for it, it’s ridiculous.
You know I talked about subsidized housing. The truth is they haven’t actually done away with it. Now they subsidize the rich instead of the poor. They just shift it. The whole emphasis is on shifting the cost onto the little guy and fattening the bank accounts of the few guys at the top.
That’s what the lawmakers, the politicians, the companies have been doing for decades, and they’re doing it to even a greater extent and getting better at it, and it’s putting the whole world in jeopardy, frankly.
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DESPITE THE tough conditions, Nickelsville in some ways feels like a welcome alternative to the ruthless inhumanity of capitalist society. The camp is run completely on volunteer labor, and all decisions and elected positions are voted on by residents. What meager resources Nickelodians have are often shared freely. In fact, the encampment is so well self-managed and peaceful that crime rates tend to fall in neighborhoods where it’s located.
In a letter in to the Port Commissioner, Nickelodeans emphasized that their camp stands in a long tradition:
Our Nickelsville community has resolved to take a stand on a historic piece of land. The Duwamish People have called it many things. One name was Yil-eq’-qud–where the horse clams are. People have lived where we are now for over 1,400 years. Within 30 years of the first settlers of European ancestry settling on this land, in the 1930s, squatters and shanty towns were here. That is how those people survived that depression.
Right now, Nickelsville is working frantically to build public and legal pressure against being forced to move yet again. The local Veterans for Peace Chapter 92 has been instrumental in Nickelsville’s legal campaign since the start. As VFP organizer Gerry Condon explained:
The number one reason we’re involved with Nickelsville is that 25 percent of the homeless nationwide are veterans. That percentage is roughly true for the people here at Nickelsville. People are sent off to fight very dubious imperialist wars, and with all this ra-ra, and politicians yelling support the troops, but then when they come back with PTSD and other serious problems, they’re basically thrown out, used and abused.
We also see billions of dollars being poured like there’s no tomorrow into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and these illegal occupations. That money could be used here for affordable housing; for health care, including mental health care for the veterans; education; jobs. But when we start talking about social issues, like single-payer health care and stuff like that, suddenly there’s no money.
Something is way skewed. What we’re looking at really is a perpetual war of the rich against the poor, and Nickelsville is one front of that.
Not only do they need and deserve our support, but especially those who are organizing themselves, like the people at Nickelsville, can ultimately become the cutting edge of the struggle. They can really start to expose the gross inequality and racism and militarism of the U.S. government. So just being with them, letting them know they have support makes a big, big difference.
I was impressed and glad to see the number of different progressive organizations out here, so they obviously get it. I’m proud to be part of an organization that sees that, too.
What you can do
Please call or e-mail the Port of Seattle Director Tay Yoshitani and Port of Seattle Commissioners, and tell them to let the Nickelodeons stay and negotiate with them: CEO Tay Yoshitani, 206-728-3000; Commissioner Bill Bryant, 206-728-3034; Commissioner John Creighton, 206-728-3034; Commissioner Patricia Davis, 206-728-3034; Commissioner Lloyd Hara, 206-728-3034; Commissioner Gael Tarleton, 206-728-3034; Mayor Greg Nickels, 206-684-4000.
Donations are welcome. Supplies are needed, including nails, plywood, 2-by-4s, food and water. Nickelsville also has a need for used bicycles in good working condition to ride to and from bus stops.
Please drop bicycles and other supplies at the camp at Terminal Park T-107, 4700 West Marginal Way SW. To get there: take the #21 bus from 1st and Pine and get off at the Harbor Island Terminal. Walk one mile south on West Marginal Way.
You can make a tax-deductible monetary donation to help pay for cell phones and other expenses at the Veterans for Peace Chapter 92 Web site.
Setting impossible standard’s for Seattle since 2001!
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor,it cannot save the few who are rich”- John F. Kennedy
Seattle police are investigating yet another apparently gang-related shooting in South Seattle.
According to police, a group of teens were leaving King Donuts in the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue South when a man began firing at them from across the street. Two teen boys were shot in the back and were transported to Harborview with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Gang unit is investigating.
Friday night, police were called to Alki Beach to investigate another gang shooting after a 19-year-old Crip gang member was shot outside of a restaurant.
3 injured in Friday night shooting, crash
By KOMO Staff
SEATTLE — Three people were taken to the hospital, one with life-threatening injuries, following a drive-by shooting a and crash in the city’s Central District on Friday night.
Police spokesman Jeff Kappel said a Lexus carrying two men pulled up to a man standing near the intersection of 23rd and Union around 9:25 p.m. An argument ensued, and one of the men in the car pulled out a gun and shot the man on the sidewalk.
The man was shot in the leg, Seattle fire officials said. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. His name is not known.
After the shooting, the men fled in their car, Kappel said. While trying to get away, they crashed into a parked car near the intersection of Rainier Avenoue South and Letitia Avenue South a few minutes later.
An elderly couple who were sitting inside the parked car were taken to Harborview though they did not appear to be seriously injured.
After their car crashed, the men, who are both in their 20s, tried to flee on foot. But a canine officer bit one man and officers stopped the other, and both were taken into custody.
It is unclear what prompted the shooting or whether the gunman and the victim knew each other.
The investigation is ongoing.
Another shooting took place in Ballard during Convenient store robbery.
ARE WE SAFE YET!?!
1. A fast car
2. A working horn
3. A 44 Magnum
By KIRO Radio Staff
Nickelsville is being asked to move again.
The makeshift shelter set up in West Seattle at 2nd Ave. SW and West Marginal Way SW was granted a two-week extension, but that ended Monday.
“Now they’re waiting to see if there’s another location to go to, but they need time to do that and they’re running out of time,” said Revel Smith, a Nickelsville spokesperson.
Nickelsville’s website claims the encampment has received two eviction notices, one from the City of Seattle and another from State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. The city’s notice says the state has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to deal with the violation. The WSDOT’s notice gives the camp 72 hours (from 7 p.m. July 20) to vacate the property.
Officials told campers they are violating city of Seattle health and safety codes.
The Transportation Department says if residents decline the social services offered to help them move, State Patrol troopers will become involved on Thursday evening.
The new spot, on DOT land, is very close to the location it was built on last September, a city lot. Its recent moves include locations in Discovery Park and a church lot in South Seattle.
“They’ve moved so many times and what they’re looking for is a permanent site,” said Smith.
Last nights VFBA meeting was to address a recent discovery: The Mayor plans to walk in the parade. I wonder what could happen regarding his “ballsy” attitude. I also wonder if Hitler was hated like this.
Nickelsville eviction protects the public interest
A federal ruling correctly clears the way for the homeless encampment known as Nickelsville to be evicted from public land. To permit the camp to stay on public land permanently would stake an open-ended claim against the public.
FEDERAL Judge Richard Martinez Thursday refused to protect the residents of “Nickelsville” from imminent eviction. Good for him. He is protecting the interest of the public.
The city of Seattle has strong reasons to reject a permanent homeless camp on public land. It is not mainly about one camp’s threats to public health and safety. It is more about the acceptance of the precedent under which there can be many more such camps.
Tent City is another kind of squatter camp, and we do not support it, believing there are better ways to deal with the homeless. But at least Tent City moves every 90 days. For the most part, Tent City has been on the property of a church, a synagogue or a religious-affiliated university — private land. Everyone understands that the hosting of a camp on private land is an act of charity.
The squatter camp that calls itself “Nickelsville” is the rejection of charity. It is an act of homesteading, of de facto privatization by people who will pay no rent. It is the staking of an open-ended claim against the public.
The issue here is not whether Seattle will have services for the homeless. Seattle has them. It has more generous ones than any other city on the West Coast. But the aim of Seattle’s services is temporary shelter until a client can get a job and go back into private housing or be placed in public housing.
The aim of the organizers of “Nickelsville” is to create a permanent encampment on public land. This would be an institution with a political agenda and the ability to receive public money.
The Nickels administration is resisting this — and not, we think, because the camp was named after Nickels, who supports social services. Seattle’s mayor has been resisting this because he can see where it leads.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
COUNTER OPINION-FACTS OF RECORD
1. Nickels promised us (homeless) housing referred to as the “TEN YEAR PLAN”. The announcement came 6 years ago; the agreement was signed by SKCCH in 2003. Three years has past and the the 10YP has become a debate.
2. Nickels has stated he hates homeless and has demonstrated his hateful acts through the daily harassment using tools like the Police to enforce a breakdown of civil liberties. The specifically target low-income and homeless for crimes. Anyone can see this daily in the downtown area.
3. Nickels has not developed shelters necessary to facilitate the homeless needs. Would you hire a person whom wears dirty clothes-sleeps on the street-or smells bad? Only one shelter has been established in the last eight years.
4. Sadly, Nickels believes that the only answer to build jails for those whom sleep outside.
5. What is needed is simply not met-in the public interest.
2:57 PM PDT on Friday, July 24, 2009
By DEBORAH FELDMAN / KING 5 News
SEATTLE – Residents of Nickelsville, a Seattle homeless encampment named for Mayor Greg Nickels, have moved their tents to a new location.
The tent city was kicked out of its old home near West Marginal Way after a court order. Now it appears it won’t be welcomed at its new home either.
Camp spokeswoman Revel Smith said they relocated Thursday night to Terminal 107 Park in southwest Seattle, one of several parks owned by the Port of Seattle. It’s east of the West Seattle Golf Course and south of the West Seattle Bridge, just two miles from their previous location.
However, signs posted at the park clearly state: no camping allowed. And port officials are already saying they don’t have the authority to let the encampment stay.
The homeless encampment known as “Nickelsville” has set up at several different locations since it was established, including sites in the University District.
About 70 homeless residents had been camped on an undeveloped south end lot owned by the state Transportation Department near West Marginal Way. But they were forced to pack up and leave after U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez issued his decision to uphold the Nickelsville eviction from the South Park location Thursday.
Port of Seattle spokesperson Peter McGraw says the Port has no legal authority to have an encampment there. McGraw says the park is normally closed overnight and that, if the Nickelsville residents are there after park hours, they are in vIolation of the posted law there.
It’s unclear how long the Nickelsville tenants will be allowed to stay.
A unscheduled meeting of the VFBA will meet in Everett, Washington tonight to discuss their role in the current HU campaign.
24 July 09
To Delta 11-Popcorn
White Dove to fly tonight.
126 SW 148 ST, C100
Burien, Washington, 98166.
By order of the HU board of Directors-The Executive Director and the Deputy Director are hereby removed from their positions and the game plan have been changed.
Membership Alerts have been sent to 255 key communications points in the United States. They will in turn, contact the 9 million members.
At midnight the command will be temporarily relocated to Crystal Mountain, Wa.
Brigadier General Bret D. Daugherty is now being watched by soldiers in the Washington National Guard for the last three weeks. The surveillance began as a result of the suicide of a Washington National Guard Soldier whom feared “recall” into active duty. Recent hits from 184.108.40.206 listed as Washington Army National Guard are noted by HU’s Burien Command Center. General Daugherty is the Governors right hand man and has an distinguished service record.
At midnight last night, pagers were handed out to the seventeen former military pilots and the keys to six HH-60H’s, two CH-47 and Pitts S-2 aerobats.
Also at midnight, HU International servers in Japan, Australia, Bulgaria, Germany and Italy were brought online. The seventy servers will be used in monitoring communications in Washington State.
Early this morning, an Alaskan Airlines Jet arrived Los Angeles International airport and 5 former deltas climbed off the plane and rented cars. Their task is to find a notorious Vietnamese druglord responsible for the recent death of a homeless man earlier this week in the “jungle” in south Seattle. They will arrive in Seattle tomorrow.
Zero-housing-Zero-shelter and Zero-Governor
This morning’s ruling is just a start of new trouble. Eight homeless now file a new suit against the state for lack of help. Another group has armed themselves-just this morning. With no other place to turn, homeless are now headed to jail or simply die fighting. A recent deaths in the jungle, a greenbelt in Seattle, now has both advocates and homeless concerned.
By TIM KLASS
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER SEATTLE –
A federal judge on Thursday refused to block the eviction of Nickelsville, a homeless encampment named for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez issued his decision on a court computer system. He adds that he’ll give his reasoning in a written order. About 70 residents have been ordered to leave an undeveloped lot owned by the state Transportation Department by 7 p.m. Thursday. Their lawyer, Robert S. Siegel, wrote that without an order blocking the eviction, their constitutional rights would be violated. Siegel and Assistant Attorney General Bryce E. Brown Jr. did not immediately return calls for comment. Nickelsville was established in September. It has moved to a number of sites since then.
“I promise, as your mayor, to keep killing homeless people!”
Recently, the Governor of Washington-Christine Gregoire referred to “Nickelsville” residents as “mentally ill”. The “Butt Cricket” always talks out her ass. It is believed that she stopped key legislation that would make tent cities legal in Washington State if hosted by not-for-profit agencies or churches, yet she-herself has no solution or answers for housing or shelters! “Chirp-Chirp”
Posted by Cybil
HU-Legal Action Committee
Sixty Million dollars was recently donated by HU members across the United States for the establishment of legal challenges involving the criminalization of homeless, forced establishment of housing and the restoration of civil liberties in Washington.
Those homeless injured by the City of Seattle, King County Sheriff, King County Land Use, Department of Corrections or any other governmental agency can now contact:
email@example.com for further details.
Injury must have happened within the last year.
Recently, the organizers of Nickelsville filed suit against the state of Washington because the state wouldn’t make appropriate accommodations for them. Numerous attempts over the last year have ended in near tragedy.
Today, the homeless are not any closer to getting housing in Seattle, than they were ten years ago. In 2007, I was arrested for simply trying to sleep on WADOT property by Paula Hammonds.
In 2003, a plan was announced that fed the homeless with false hope-the ten year plan. In 2006, the plan was signed by the coalition, but today, there is no housing. Six years later, the Ten-Year Plan-now referred to as the ten-year debate, will live on in infamy as the Ten-Year Lie. Who should we blame?
Nearly two years ago, the person who promised that plan, Greg Nickels, pushed the homeless out of the city-in fact planned to criminalize those who sleep outside. To perpetuate this, he would first build a new jail.
After careful consideration, I am taking steps see that this doesn’t not happen to me again, or anyone else for that matter.
In one week, I will lead the homeless with several legal injunctions targeting the criminalization and restoration of civil liberties. The purpose of this is to re-establish a much larger Ten Year plan with a much shorter time frame.
July 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Another update just in from a spokesperson for the encampment that calls itself “Nickelsville,” currently set up on state-owned land along the eastern edge of West Seattle (2nd SW/Highland Park Way), and under orders to clear out by Thursday night:
Yesterday Attorneys Robert Siegel and Peggy Herman filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in Federal District Court. Judge Richard Martinez said he will issue an order either today or tomorrow. He has decided not to hold a public hearing before issuing his decision.
If Judge Martinez grants the TRO request, Nickelsville will have up to 2 weeks before a second hearing. At a second hearing a permanent order might be granted. If Judge Martinez does not issue a Temporary Restraining Order, at 5:00 PM Thursday Nickelsville and arriving supporters will load-up vehicles and trucks, in which case Nickelsville has asked the State to allow up to 12 PM Friday for people who have chosen to leave to leave, and for people to be given the opportunity to move both their own and Nickelsville community property.
Nickelsville’s residents who commit to stay through the arrival of Police, should this happen, will not be verbally abusive or disrespectful to either those issuing the orders, or those carrying them out.
“It is our opinion that it is both wrong and illegal to remove this community from this permanent site without having another permanent site available. Contrary to some claims, no church or other property owner has offered Nickelsville a site to go to. It is true that a temporary site is not suitable for our community. Our goal is to survive and solve homelessness with this stable, functional alternative, and not suffer continual disruption.”
WEST SEATTLE BLOG
Seattle homeless camp asks court to block eviction Associated Press – July 22, 2009 12:25 PM ET
SEATTLE (AP) – A homeless encampment in Seattle has gone to court to try to block an eviction notice by the state.
The request for a temporary restraining order against the state Transportation Department was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court by Veterans for Peace Greater Seattle, Chapter 22. That group and a number of individual plaintiffs represent about 70 residents of Nickelsville, a tent city named for Mayor Greg Nickels.
A lawyer for the state agency did not immediately return a telephone call for comment.
The encampment was established in September and has moved to various sites since then. It’s now at an undeveloped lot managed by the state agency in the city’s south end (at Second Avenue Southwest and West Marginal Way).
On Monday residents were offered social services and given three days to leave. Authorities say the tent city violates municipal health and safety codes.