Homeless forced from Nickelsville; cleanup next

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SEATTLE —

Eviction day for the homeless camp known as Nickelsville sent around a 100 people to three new locations.

By nightfall Sunday, people were arriving near 22nd and Union in the Central District, where campers told KIRO 7 around 20 tents were expected.

Nickelsville organizer Peggy Hotes said 90 people stayed in this spot for 10 days in 2010 while the camp was between long-term locations.

By early Monday morning, everyone had moved to 22nd and Union, 2020 S. Jackson St., or 12419 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The old site on Marginal Way is now an abandoned camp, left with tents, sheds and belongings that residents said they will be cleaning up in the coming days.

For now, there are a security guard and a couple of designated residents standing watch over the camp. They said they will need to borrow a forklift to effectively clear out all of the leftover items.

"They were perfectly fine neighbors -- so I really don't expect anything different this time," said neighbor Rick Ruskin, who was notified this week the camp would return to 22nd Street.

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd is hosting the camp. The spot is nearly surrounded by residences.

Nickelsville resident Michael Keever noticed the proximity to homes, and said the camp would work to enforce its rules.

"First thing I'll do, is tell the neighbors if they have any kind of a problem just talk to us here and we'll deal with it right away," Keever said.

Another resident, Atticus Lee, spent early Monday morning creating rock sculptures and writing "thank you" notes to the community.

“Whatever I take out of the community, I would like to give back more than I take out of my community. That would just be one of the promises. And like I said, just thank you,” Lee said.

Lee said he’s been moving around like this for much of his life, and he hopes this group will one day find a more permanent location, where they can even run a collective shop.

For now, even a couple of the new sites they moved to are temporary. Lee knows he’ll have to move again.

“We hurried out, we had to tear down our structures, and we had to pack it all up and put it all in trucks. We could only have four trash bags each. Hurry down, none of us had a ride; we all had to take a bus coming down,” he said.

The other location in the Central District, on Jackson Street near 20th, also has homes nearby.

Nickelsville organizers the Skyway camp will be temporary. Organizers plan to move those campers back into Seattle in three months but are not revealing the location before notifying neighbors.

Nickelsville spent more than two years on city land along West Marginal Way in an industrial section of West Seattle.

In June, the City Council voted to evict the campers effective Sept. 1.

The city signed a $500,000 contract with Union Gospel Mission to provide transitional housing services. Mission directors say they have been able to help 53 people so far and expect the money will serve a total of 60 people. The mission says most of those people have been set up in apartments in South King County.

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