Tent in empty lot on 57th St.

We wrote recently about a couple tents that had set up camp along Shilshole Ave. near the old Yankee Diner, and a few My Ballard readers have sent us a photo of this new tent in an empty lot in the 2100 block of 57th St.

“Imagine my surprise when I looked out my apartment window to find I have a new neighbor!” writes My Ballard reader Jenna, who says a shopping cart is parked right outside. (Thanks everyone for the tips and photos.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

34 thoughts to “Tent in empty lot on 57th St.”

  1. I think this is “local news” and a trend that seems to be on the rise in Ballard: bring your full on camping tent, find some space/grass, set it up, and ” Home Sweet Home” (no property taxes of course)

  2. I thought about baking some cookies to greet them, but haven't gotten around to it. They've been there for about a week now, and I've heard them once (a man and a woman), besides that I haven't been bothered too much. I'm surprised the accounting offices next door haven't put up more of a fight.

  3. Well, I'm not really going to bake them cookies any time soon. I was being sarcastic, and did a bad job of it. But I'm not running to the phone to call the cops either. Like I said, it's been a week, and the reality is the tent and its occupants have not interfered in my life at all. It's hard to stay angry about a tent when I'm looking down at it from my cozy, well heated apartment.

  4. For the rest of us…what 'does qualify' as local news?
    I'm interested in your answer, Kurto.
    This is local, and this is news, to most.

  5. I'm curious why you put “does qualify” in quotes, but that aside…

    It's just a guy in a tent in a vacant lot. If he minds his own business, who cares?

  6. I confirmed it's existence, after a jogger that I know 'ran' across it last week. I saw no one then, or a shopping cart.
    So, I have no idea if it's a hungry family, or just squatters. I have a difficult time with calling the police unless I have reason to believe that something is wrong.
    I already call them quite frequently as of late, which doesn't bless me at all.
    It could be a neighbor taking advantage of the space to air out a tent, for all I know, but I doubt it. Usually, that would be known by somebody, and I have yet to hear about that.
    I caught your sarcasm, for the record…

  7. Feels like surveillance.

    It's a fine line in a world with ubiquitous digital photography between reporting and surveillance these days.

  8. Who cares? What do you find so offensive, Mymble, that you feel the need to contact SPD about homeless people camping near the railroad tracks (as stated in the earlier post about this topic)? Are they imposing on the view from your warehouse window? Some people are desperate for a place to sleep; why exacerbate their desperation? Probably they will move on soon, or when the seasonal work along the canal ends.

  9. The objection I have to squatting is that it is done so timidly…..tents in places that no one else seems to be using, quasi public land. I hate it when they use public parks. When will there be good old fashioned punk style squatting like in London in the '70's and '80's. A good squat is the takeover of private property……..

  10. Leo, “give an inch, take a mile”…how many tents would it take before you became “offensive”, be honest now. Do you own some grass they can use to set up camp, it would only be until the “seasonal work” comes to an end, that would be a nice compromise.

  11. I'm sure that the people paying inflated prices for the townhouses right next to that lot are just thrilled with their new neighbors.

    57th between 20th and 22nd is constantly occupied with half a dozen cars/vans/trucks with people living in them.

  12. This property is zoned MR-RC Midrise-Residential/Commercial which means multifamily residential and or commercial uses. It is not zoned for use as a campground. Check here for zoning information:


    I spoke with Nazanin at the Seattle department of planning and development on Tuesday April 7. They are already in the process of sending the owner of the property a notice of violation. If the owner fails to correct the violation within 30 days, the city may then issue a cease and desist order to the owner of the property and use the courts to enforce compliance.

  13. Where are they using the bathroom? Although I think I know the answer. If they've been there a while, that could be a hygiene situation.

  14. Have you ever heard of the 'broken window theory'? People see a broken pane and eventually, they are all broken.
    btw I like using ” ' * as emphasis, sorry if it bugs you. I'll try to be more 'restrained'….ooops.

  15. Maybe you didn't read the article:

    ” He is helping homeless people illegally move into foreclosed homes.”

    Theft is still theft, even when it's property that you don't own.

  16. I'm a new Ballard resident as well and this is my first time visiting the comments section of this site under an article. I find it terribly sad that no one has attempted to ask these people where they came from and how they ended up there. With the current economic situation, for all we know these people could have lost everything they had in a foreclosure, or a lost job… or both. I find it appalling that people will raise hell when a homeless shelter is slated to open in a neighborhood, and that in that same neighborhood, people will becoming equally upset and judgmental when a homeless person pitches a tent in an empty space. As a former social worker, I can say with confidence that there are a multitude of reasons that a person might end up on the street. Those reasons range from drug addiction to simple job loss during economic upheaval. I feel so fortunate to have a home and a job right now. There are very few people who would choose to live in a tent, please give these people the benefit of the doubt and when you see them let it remind us all how fortunate we are firstly, before judging them for their misfortune.

  17. Brooke, first of all welcome to Ballard. Secondly, the expectation of contact should lay upon the neighbors in the tent, not the community. If I were to find the need to resort to such an option, I'd be first to contact those impacted, but then again, if you live your life with a sense of your impact to your community, the chances of EVER being in that position are slim to none. Just my opinion, sorry if you find it sad.

  18. Is fair to ascertain that there is much shame involved in being homeless? If I were put in that position and was forced to live in a tent in an empty lot, I would probably be too ashamed to reach out to those around me for fear of judgment (and rightfully so as far as I can see by the posts on this article). I think in normal circumstances when a person moves into a neighborhood it's fair to expect them to introduce themselves, but this is not a normal situation.

  19. Yes, it is fair, I know, there is.
    Still, you have to share with those who matter.
    Those who matter differ from one to another, but those in your flight path better know you, or, the result is not pretty. Welcome, again.
    Thanks for writing.

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