Mayor Murray puts 2 out of 3 new homeless encampments in Ballard/Interbay

Home Forums Open forum Mayor Murray puts 2 out of 3 new homeless encampments in Ballard/Interbay

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    I’ll make this clear – I do not object in any way to the City using our collective resources to try to assist those who are far less fortunate than virtually every person on these threads. That is not the problem.

    I do, however, object to:

    – Allowing known concentrations of potentially problematic groups to survive, and flourish, without providing either a) adequate direct support services (the carrot) or b) reliable enforcement.

    – The fact that this has been going on for at least as long as the MyBallard forum has been active (since 2009?)

    – The fact these types of issues don’t seem to come up in other parts of the city with better-organized (i.e. more well-funded) electorates. Ballard is, historically, towards the bottom of the close-in neighborhoods (not including locations south of SODO) with respect to income levels and relative positions within companies. I don’t see it as a coincidence that the Ballard region was selected – can’t have the tent cities messing up the vibe of Capitol Hill, after all. Despite the mind-blowing salaries that many people in this area make, they are, in my experience, people who came to this area and can afford to live in the better areas did so by very hard work, and by being very lucky, just as I was.

    – The cognitive dissonance required to make the case that a) these settlements are highly-organized by resident leaders to ensure local safety, and b) they are temporary / transitional in nature. Call me cynical, but in any group, if someone rises to a leadership role, that indicates some level of organization / thinking / planning that would be useful in a more structured (for-profit business or non-profit social organization) which would allow them to transition out.

    – The continued insistence that if we just offered many of these individuals services to help them transition, the problems would be ameliorated. Fine. Great. Show/tell me some success stories, like how x% of people entered transitional situations (remember, they are highly organized, so a census, even with names excised so as to provide privacy, shouldn’t be a big deal) over the course of a year found themselves back on a more socially-acceptable path.

    There’s more, but my blood pressure has now reached levels that are only usually seen in deep-water oil-drilling operations. (I can’t take credit for that line – bonus points to anyone who recognizes it from one of my favorite books).



    GreatIdea, you claim that “residents of Nickelsville are required to be clean and sober…”. Apparently, you are not aware that Nickelsville’s last location collapsed because of rampant criminality, drug-dealing and other lawlessness. Do you really want that for Ballard?



    Lets round up all the homeless and just ship ’em out… ya know, like those assholes in Florida.



    GI, Seattle has one of the country’s biggest homeless populations precisely BECAUSE we continue to throw money, energy and resources at temporary solutions like tent cities and shelters, instead of doing anything that will actually reduce homelessness.

    Until the city starts demanding that service providers demonstrate they are actually working to move people out of homelessness (which SHARE is not doing), until it starts tying funding to outcomes, until it starts diverting funding for homeless services into programs that actually move people off the streets, we can expect the numbers of homeless people to increase.

    Seattle has done nothing but manage homelessness and warehouse homeless people for the past decade. Look where that’s got us.

    And as long as Seattle continues to roll out the welcome mat and make the city a comfortable place to be homeless, we can expect more homeless people to flock to Seattle.


    The Bunny

    I also noticed Nextdoor removed that post. Lame wussies. Debate should be expected and unless there’s some kind of f#$ked up name calling, etc., why remove the post?? And good post by Compass Rose and Chris. And I would add to this Chris:

    “..without providing either a) adequate direct support services (the carrot) or b) reliable enforcement..”

    “a” should include a licensed mental health counselor and licensed medical on site 24×7.

    As ridicules as that sounds, that’s what it takes. Self managed like SHARE and Nickelsville have proven to not work as intended and have not showed help in transitioning and helping the situation. Also, without proper counseling and medical services, E911 becomes inundated with what could be abated by having these services on site. The cost is just shifted to E911 which totally sucks. This is the kind of thing that drives/drove those stats up on the block of Nyer Urness house. This is something I learned recently.

    GI, I live at 20th & 58th. I’m close enough to Market. I’ve lived in Ballard 20+ years. So whatever, I feel like I have a good idea what’s going on and anyone who lives in Ballard has a voice all the same if they have an opinion one way or another. And I do enjoy and appreciate reading your thoughts though they having me sometimes yelling at my ceiling or computer screen.

    Between Nyer Urness, SHARE at St. Lukes, Cheryl Chow Court senior living, the Urban Rest stop opening this fall at Cheryl Chow Court, Caring Bridge Center at St. Lukes, the car camping and storage of carts around the Commons, along the camping/living along the tracks by the old Yankee Diner (saw some needles along there during one of my evening walks, good times), along Leary, etc., etc. that is known and looked past, etc.. I feel like Ballard is doing plenty to allow this and as far as I’m concerned, poor poor choice for the location next to the Sloop. Period.



    I wonder if the Sloop and other surrounding businesses might sue. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.



    I’m cross-posting this in case an overly zealous neighbor decides to get cranky.

    I called the city council incumbent’s office this morning. The response to my question about why all this was happening in the Ballard area was not satisfactory. I won’t get into details, because it reeked of process, and not some reflection of how at least some individuals, including myself (and I’m on the good side of 15th) look at the sudden influx of potentially problematic individuals.

    And, to be completely fair and unbiased, the likely challenger for this seat in November put forth a statement on Facebook that is equally vanilla and devoid of any acknowledgement of the concerns of residents that will likely be impacted by this decision.

    Also, the fact that I feel the need to edit the language that I really want to use in order to avoid the dreaded “your message has been flagged” email is problematic at best. I’d love to have a great conversation / debate about this, because both sides have valid points to consider.

    Also, before the question comes up, the good side of 15th is east of the demarcation line.



    My husband and I have been talking about this alot in the last day. I guess for me, it boils down to – why 3 encampments in Ballard? I don’t object to the concept itself. I just don’t think Ballard should necessarily have to shoulder the burden disproportionately. I received info from someone at the City, in reply to an email, that any operating entity has to apply for a “permit” from DPD and that Per ordinance, the operator must meet with the community prior to applying for the permit. They are also required to form an on-going Community Advisory Committee, which will allow the community to raise operational issues and work with DPD, HSD, and the encampment operator to address concerns during the presence of an encampment in a neighborhood

    I wish I felt like this concept would truly help people become “unhomeless”. I feel like the city could do so much differently. This is an interesting concept.


    great idea

    where do you get three encampments in Ballard?

    there are three sites selected city-wide:

    • 2826 N.W. Market St. in Ballard (approximately 52 residents)

    • 3234 17th Ave. W. in Interbay (approximately 70 residents)
    (people like to pretend this is Ballard for some reason– maybe because they like the Interbay mini-golf so much).

    • South Industrial Way at Sixth Avenue South in the Industrial District (approximately 78 residents)

    then there are four additional sites for future considerations:
    • 8030 15th Ave. N.W.

    • 3830 Fourth Ave. N.E.

    • 7115 Second Ave. S.W.

    • 7110 Rainier Ave. S.

    it looks like only one of three is considered now, an one of four for the future (for Ballard).

    maybe if Mondoman didn’t try to confuse people with the title of this thread…

    I’m not even sure how to respond when someone says “I’m on the good side of 15th” then follows that up with “And, to be completely fair and unbiased..”
    (one could argue that West of 15th is nicer; there’s certainly better views and the houses are generally more expensive, but I digress).

    I’m also not sure why you feel the need to edit your language. do you need to curse in order to get your point across?



    GI, I thought the thread title was clear and accurate — I trust the readers here to know where Ballard is and where Interbay is. :)

    While I’m here, I’ll ask you again: given that the last Nickelsville collapsed in a mess of rampant drug-dealing and criminality, why do you think the Nickelsville organization is qualified or able to run one or more of the new camps?



    But you will notice that NE Seattle only had one proposed spot and it was not in the top three. Our part of the city (and Interbay is certainly close enough to the Ballard business district to qualify as our part, despite their uninspired mini-golf course) has three, two of which were chosen. South Seattle is also listed more than NE.

    I was not a fan of Greg Nickles, but you would think at some point he would want his name back. But I digress…


    great idea

    Mondo– there’s more to that story (I’m assuming you’re talking about the West Seattle location).

    there was a power struggle amongst leadership that involved temporary removal of port-o-potties as punishment.

    isn’t the latest iteration (on Dearborn) doing fine? anyone want to go there with me and spruce up the pink paint?

    Plantlover– I still contend mention of Interbay does not matter. that area is far removed from Ballard (although many would still see it on their commute home), not to mention it is separated by the canal.



    @GreatIdeas – my apologies. I had read the interbay one as a slightly different address, though PlantLover makes an excellent point – close enough. And yes, I was including the one on 15th – (which, full disclosure, happens to be very very close to my house, so perhaps I’m a little more concerned, despite it only being “proposed”.)

    Again, though I don’t think this type of project really solves anything in terms of adequate housing supply, I just think it would be spiffy if perhaps the “for sure” list included some other parts of the city, for balance. We can agree to disagree on where that should be. I would love to see Seattle really DO something – like require affordable housing be including in any new development project, or at the very least, institute some kind of impact fee system that funds low income housing (not to mention, roads, schools, transit etc etc).



    That’s just it, Crownhiller – tent encampments do not help people out of homelessness. Folks think they do, but that’s not SHARE/Wheel’s mission. They are a homeless empowerment organization that is all about establishing self-governing communities.

    As citizens and taxpayers whose monies are being thrown away annually at solutions that have done nothing to reduce homelessness, we should be holding city leaders accountable and asking some important questions about tent cities, such as: What are their operators doing to actually move people out of homelessness? Are they using evidence-based practices that are proven to reduce homelessness? How long on average do people live in tent cities? Where do they come from? Are they from the Seattle area, or have they drifted here from elsewhere? How many have mental health/substance abuse issues, and what services are being provided to address those? How many tent city residents are moved into permanent housing?

    People need to wake up and realize what tent cities actually are – proto-anarchist communities run by people who have no accountability for outcomes and are not focused on moving people out of homelessness. And they allegedly bully homeless people into activism, threatening to kick them out of shelters or take away their bus tickets if they don’t participate. Read this story in the Seattle Times from a couple of years ago about their bullying tactics. It’s very telling:

    This is who’s running tent cities. SHARE/Wheel gets close to half a million dollars from the city every year and its leader, Scott Morrow, refuses to talk on the record. Where’s the accountability?

    I’m outraged as a taxpayer that we continue giving money to this organization.



    @greatidea –

    “The good side of 15th” was an attempt at a joke that fell flat. Sometimes they don’t all work out. One could argue that the east side of 15th is nicer, in that it is not being infested with forests of poorly-built cookie-cutter townhouses, and is one of the few places left in this city that is this close to town (there are obviously others, but I don’t live there) where single-family homes represent a majority of the housing stock. In addition, the crime rate west of 15th is noticeably higher than it is on the east side of 15th.

    “Edit my language” is my response to the fact that every so often on NextDoor (I simply copied/pasted my comment both here and there and got a little careless) I get flagged for not hewing to the orthodoxy, so, in the interests of trying to get my basic point across, I find myself having to edit things in order to come closer to the average, as opposed to being more representative of my full thoughts on an issue.

    The comment “to be completely fair and unbiased” refers to the fact that I sought out the opinions of both of the likely primary winners in the city council elections, and reported same, while trying to make the point that trying to make a decision between either of them using this issue as a criteria isn’t really possible, because there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two.

    The focus on process and valuing every single opinion equally (despite the difficult fact that some opinions should be valued more highly than others because of the seemingly unpleasant fact that there are community members who are far more invested than others, if only from a financial standpoint) is something that is immensely frustrating in the debate over this and multiple other political issues in our fair city.


    great idea

    thanks for the clarification, Chris.

    your comment “there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two” says it all.

    until a few days ago, I’m sure most of our neighbors would say that the unchecked growth was the biggest issue in the upcoming campaign. maybe not so much anymore.

    I’m curious how the new system will work. say our local council member is opposed to this tent city but the other eight members vote for it. would that be enough to push it through?



    No. What I said, in the context of the rest of the sentence / thought process, was that I don’t really perceive a lot of difference between the response I received from the current incumbent’s office, and the leading challenger’s Facebook post on this issue. I’m there are subtle differences, but there is no bright dividing line, as in “one candidate is in favor of putting a tent city into x part of Ballard, and one is not in favor of it. What I read, and what I reacted to, was that both of them focused on the process of getting to this decision, as opposed to, one or the other questioning the wisdom of making this choice.


    great idea

    I understood and was responding to that.

    that’s why I segued to the issue of development in Ballard.
    there is a perceived difference there; supposedly the incumbent is in the pocket of developers while the challenger speaks of more regulation in growth (both of under the pretext of more affordable housing).

    certainly there is a corollary between high-priced housing and this tent city.



    The thing I don’t get about the development issue as it relates to affordable housing is that housing affordability is pretty much a direct product of supply and demand. If we want more affordable housing, then the thing to do would be to either increase the supply, or decrease the demand. The latter, for lots of reasons, isn’t going to happen, so increasing supply is the sole viable option.

    In a place like Seattle, the geography pretty much demands that much taller/denser housing structures be built. When individuals or politicians propose this solution, they are perceived as being in the pockets of developers, or of ruining the character of a neighborhood (I’m simplifying, of course).

    There is way more to it, of course. These new buildings come with their own impacts that need to be dealt with which, unfortunately but necessarily, adds cost and makes housing less affordable.



    So i actually walked past both the 15th Ave site & the Market St site today. was surprised to notice the 15th ave site (future encampment?) has an old abandoned structure on it and a lot of room in the back. my guess is the main reason for the market street & Interbay locales is that they’re both former substations and therefore already city property so easier for the city to just set up camp there if they so desire.

    another thing I learned is recently the smoke/vape shop next to the Sloop now houses a medical M.J. shop in the back, this really makes that site even better!! (sarcasm).

    I’ve tried to follow the NextDoor debate but it’s pretty long. Main point I’m glad to see brought up is the one about mental health, that’s were the real focus should be. I’ve known some individuals in the past who struggled with this and many simply refused the help that was available, some wound up being homeless for a time, some had family intervene. There’s no easy answer for it all but I don’t see how just putting up encampments which from what I am hearing are not exactly well run.



    Recieved response from the Mayor’s office today – it part it says:
    I understand the concerns raised by communities surrounding potential encampment sites, particularly regarding public input and notification.

    The identification of City-owned sites for encampments was only the first step in the process. Based on the strict parameters set forth in the ordinance, City staff identified City-owned locations that fit within those parameters and identified seven locations that seem to best fit the complex requirements. However, none of the seven proposed locations are final.

    The City Council will now review the locations identified, take public comment, and determine the final three City-owned sites to be available for tent encampments.

    So I guess this is the opening salvo in what should be a interesting time


    great idea

    “That’s just it, Crownhiller – tent encampments do not help people out of homelessness”

    CR, you sound like a bit like a broken record.

    maybe technically you are correct, but that is really not the function of a tent encampment.

    the true purpose is to provide a safe place for people and their belongings during this point of transition. in some ways, that does “help people out of homelessness” by giving them a permissible spot to dwell without being subjected to the elements, harassment, etc.

    we would all like to see ‘permanent’ solutions to these situations, but those typically cost more.
    do we ignore them in the meantime? (to me that’s like not bandaging a wound until I get to the hospital).

    it’s funny that Ballard residents feel singled out, when there have been plenty in other parts of town for years.

    a good friend of mine was a liaison between the tent residents and students at Seattle U. for tent city 3. I believe that was quite successful and it was twice as large as the proposed Market St. location.

    lastly, this isn’t the end of the world. it will be one year, two years max.
    that will go by extremely fast.
    if it was guaranteed one year, would there be any more support for this endeavor?



    Does anyone actually believe that this will be temporary, Great Idea? I know I’m only a recent to arrival to Seattle (I’ve only been here since 1998), but I’ve seen this movie before, and I’m feeling a little cynical.

    I’ll go ahead and ask the question, GI: you made the comment “a good friend of mine was a liaison between the tent residents and students at Seattle U. for tent city 3. I believe that was quite successful.”

    I’m glad that you believe that it was quite successful. Perhaps you can share with us the number of people, or percentage of the Tent City 3 population who used this transitional setting, with its extensive access to “services” to move from what is admittedly a difficult situation into a less-difficult situation.

    This is going to come off the wrong way, of course, because I’ve never seen a town where feelings are hurt more easily than this one, but belief in success is not really the same as actual success.

    The lack of actual success stories from Tent Cities 1…n (and, being cynical, if there were any, I’m sure that there would be extensive press releases) makes me feel like I need to ask difficult questions about the reasoning behind this one.



    GI, you talk about this “time of transition”, but neither SHARE/WHEEL nor Nickelsville tries to assist residents in transitioning. Thus, it’s more accurate to talk of tent cities being “warehousing,” not “transitional”.

    In addition, we already saw that the Nickelsville folks lost control of the Nickelsville camp, watched it degenerate into rampant lawlessness, and washed their hands of it. That doesn’t seem like a good track record for any managers I’d like to have in my neighborhood.

    Finally, the Market St and Interbay locations are quite close to each other if you walk or bike across the Locks; they’re much closer together than the Market St and 15th Ave locations.


    great idea

    ok Mondo, maybe these neighborhoods are not so much physically divided, but it is certainly enough that one would choose to live on one side or the other based on this issue.

    I can’t think of a scenario where a tent city on one side detrimentally affects the other.

    You and CR talk about this and the lack of statistics to prove some make it out of this situation.

    maybe that does not exist.

    maybe the real statistic is how many homeless did not freeze to death last year which this does not count.

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