“Nickelsville came about in response to the sweeps of encampments ordered by former Mayor Greg Nickels [2002 – 2010]. After six months of organizing Nickelsville set up on an unused piece of city owned land on West Marginal Way on September 22, 2008. That afternoon the encampment was posted with notifications that it would be swept. Five days later several dozen homeless people and their allies were arrested. Nickelsville immediately set up on an adjacent state owned parking lot. Governor Gregoire allowed Nickelsville to remain long enough to find a new location. ”
– Nickelsville History
It’s been ten years since the first “Nickelsville” homeless camp was created, and our local “Nickelodeons” are taking the opportunity to invite their host neighborhood and beyond to come and meet the people who live there.
This Saturday, September 22, 2018, 3 – 6 pm, they’re holding an anniversary party and are inviting you all to come down and celebrate with them. It’s being held at Northlake Village, the camp now situated near Ivar’s just below I-5 (3814 4th Ave NE). I’m told there will be a pet parade (with prizes, neighbor pets welcome!), speakers, music and food to share with all. I’m sure you can get a peek at some of the tiny houses that generous neighbors have built and donated, as well.
We’ve all been feeling the impact of the homelessness crisis on the city and our neighborhood, and it’s easy for all the different players to blur together, to see the needles left in parks or the bikes stolen and to build frustration with “the homeless”.
The Northlake Village Nickelsville “Tiny House” camp is not the same as the camps along and under I-5, for example. I would strongly encourage everyone to come down and meet the human beings living in very different circumstances from those of us with traditional homes, but who are our neighbors nonetheless.
Allow me to throw in a quick story, maybe as motivation to come down for the party, or at another time: I recently made a mistake and used duct tape on the outside of my van. It left horrible residue all over that I knew would be hours of work to clean off, hours that I could think of about a dozen things I’d rather be doing.
So this Sunday, I walked down to Nickelsville and ask around if anyone wanted to earn a few extra dollars. I found Joe (pictured), who when I arrived was busy working on his garden in the Nickelsville camp. He was heartfelt grateful for the opportunity to earn money honestly for him and his partner. The next day, he showed up at my house as promised, and worked quickly and diligently to clean the van.
When I paid him, he re-iterated that he was unemployed but would appreciate any other opportunities I had for gainful employment, temporary or permanent, and asked if I wouldn’t pass the word around. Consider it passed.