SEATTLE - A homeless camp in Ballard, much-maligned before it even opened, became a reality at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Volunteers and the homeless who moved in to the encampment along Market Street had much of the setup complete by nightfall. Up to 50 people can ultimately stay at the camp, which will be run by Nickelsville.
An organizer of the camp, Steve Friberg, promises its residents will be good neighbors.
“We have a strict set of rules,” he said. “We have quiet time and if you don’t abide by our camp rules you’ll have to leave.”
However, Ballard residents have repeatedly raised concerns about the camp during packed meetings. Neighbors with homes overlooking the camp said there has already been an uptick in noise complaints and trash since the site was cleared out to prepare for the move.
Some are also worried about their property values. Thursday, when the less controversial Interbay homeless camp was set up, Mayor Ed Murray admitted:
“It’s not something I would choose to impose on any neighborhood. But our options are very few and it’s not just Seattle. It’s up and down the West Coast. It’s New York. It’s Boston. This is a national crisis. We have to do more than we’ve done.”
About half of the first few residents of the Ballard camp will be former members of another Nickelsville encampment. The other half will be homeless people living in Ballard.