"Nickelsville" residents may have to move on


SEATTLE - People have been camping out illegally for nearly two years on West Marginal Way in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood.

Now, there's a plan to build a food bank at the "Nickelsville" homeless camp, and the people who live there could be forced out.

The 10-acre parcel is owned by the City of Seattle and Washington State. It may soon be sold to the nonprofit Food Lifeline.

The city is not using the land, so Food Lifeline is asking to buy it as surplus land to build a new warehouse.

"If we don't have a compelling need for it than I think we should look at selling it to them," said Seattle City Council President Sally Clark.

Complaints from neighboring businesses are also informing the decision.

One business owner is suing the city for $1.5 million. His property values are dropping because of the encampment.

Complaints have even led to an increase in nearby police patrols.

Despite the added patrols, the city said the encampment is not a huge burden on taxpayers. It spent about $20,000 to help with infrastructure supplies.

Clark said the bigger issue is the widespread problem of homelessness, and the question of where the "Nickelodeons" will go if the city sells this land.

"I don't know if there have been any conversations as to what exactly Nickelsville residents will do," said Clark.

People at the camp are hoping that if the land is sold, the city will somehow provide another space for them to set up a new camp.