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

This topic contains 77 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Kate 5 years, 3 months ago.

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    Sorry, you lost me on that last post, GI. However, happy 4th of July to you and all others who visit this forum.



    …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.

    Do you have a citation for this Mondo? I can’t recall any “rapant lawlessness” reported in any of the articles I’ve read about Nicklesville in the last couple of years.



    The kerfuffle at Nickelsville lasted about a week and things were worked out amongst the residents and their sponsors. Here’s a brief description of what happened from the website

    Nickelsville Hits a Bump in the Road
    posted Feb 21, 2015, 12:35 PM by Nickelsville Works

    You’ve probably read and heard in the media that back on January 29th Nickelsville Staffperson Scott Morrow was given a vote of “no confidence.” Essentially, what happened was that one of the elected camp leaders failed to enforce Nickelsville rules against verbal threats and harassment made by her partner. In addition, a number of Nickelsville “old timers” got into housing in December. While that’s good news for them, it left the camp with a large population of new-comers who were easily intimidated by this strong-willed couple. When Scott asked to take the leadership out to breakfast to discuss solving the rule enforcement issue he received the boot the next day. The camp was given five days to name a new sponsor, but was apparently unable to find support. Neither our religious sponsor, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, nor the property owner, Coho Realty, were comfortable working with the new leadership and were on the brink of terminating their contract. The following Saturday documents were quietly circulated among Nickelodeons to bar the individuals at fault for not enforcing the camp rules and a separate document reinstating Scott as their Staff person and he came back.

    This is the kind of information that you can’t get in the Seattle Times – their actual printed newspaper reported Scott got canned, but not that he got rehired (although they did put that news on their obscure online political blog.)

    Since this drama all parties have sat down and figured out ways to avoid the problems that led to this in the first place – thank you Coho Realty, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, and the Low Income Housing Institute!



    Ernie and NW,

    My recollection is that the surrounding community, which had worked with the camp leadership, was so fed up with the disruptions and drug-dealing in and next to the camp that they wanted it gone.

    This blog posting gives some of the flavor of the situation from a party not directly involved:

    ‘Nickelsville’ updates: HPAC wants move-out date; encampment says ‘returning to stability’; Food Lifeline waits

    Here’s an ST story from about the same time:



    What’s with all the hobo trash piled=up at 9th NW and Leary Way?



    NWCitizen, I would hardly consider a post on to be an unbiased report.

    Scott Morrow, let’s not forget, is the same person who has resisted requests from the city that his organization collect data on its clients to help assess needs and progress made in serving homeless people. That data is critical in determining how effective services such as tent cities are, who they are serving and to what degree these services are making an impact on homelessness.

    Scott Morrow runs an organization that gets more than half a million dollars of taxpayer money annually, yet he refuses to speak on the record. How’s that for public accountability?

    It is insanity to continue advocating for the same failed policies that have led to the current homeless crisis. We’ve had tent cities in Seattle since the late 1990s, and it’s clear where that’s gotten us. We have more tent cities and more homeless people than ever before, and no one even has a handle on where the swelling ranks of homeless people are even from. A police office and others have told me that they’re coming from many other places – including out of state – and not just Seattle. So it’s worth asking whether our homeless policies are inadvertently adding to the problem by encouraging homeless people to come to Seattle from other areas, and if that’s the case, how to prevent that.

    Scott Morrow also refused a request from a previous tent city host to conduct random weekly background checks on its residents – AFTER an alleged child rapist and a meth user were discovered to be living at Tent City 4. (Story here:

    Enough is enough. Seattleites are finally starting to demand accountability and outcome measures for homeless services. People are finally realizing that what we’ve been doing has been an abject failure, and that continuing to throw millions of dollars at useless measures is both fiscally irresponsible and inhumane.



    We saw that yesterday as well – it’s actually a small encampment in the traffic triangle there. Its been there quite while now, though it seems to have gotten bigger. My husband noted the camper over by the PO facility with a huge stack of pallets – he used to have client back in the day who sold them back to the pallet yard for $2 each to fund a drug habit. No idea of thats the intent, or if firewood was the impetus.

    As to issues with Nickelsville – any community is going to have problems – heck, there’s a fair amount of citizens that would like to kick our leadership out with a no-confidence vote :) I don’t think thats a valid reason for preventing encampments. Nor do I object to encampments per se. I just think the city did a lousy job of managing this particular situation (as do the nearby businesses, based on today’s front page story).



    I don’t disagree, Crownhiller – leadership issues aren’t necessarily a valid reason for preventing encampments. The fact that they are not a solution to homelessness, do nothing but perpetuate homelessness and let the city off the hook for coming up with effective solutions, is a valid reason.



    great idea

    hah! that stranger article does not paint Ballard residents in a very good light, but it’s probably accurate.

    Mondo, I went back and read my previous post. sorry if it was not clear.

    my basic premise is that there are intangible, yet positive results from sanctioned encampments.

    folks like you, Compass Rose, and Chris keep harping on this need to see statistics that folks using these resources somehow move forward. I would bet that they do better than those who don’t have a protected place. there could obviously be better record-keeping on such data, but it makes common sense that this would be true.

    honestly, the whole ‘results, accountability, etc.’ rhetoric doesn’t always work when the human element is involved. I’d guess none of you three have kids, but if you did I’m sure you’d be blaming their teachers when your kids didn’t learn (and see that their pay is lowered accordingly).



    GI – ok. I get your point. Can you see mine? I put this up on NextDoor several hours ago and am cross-posting for those who haven’t seen it. It is, especially when translated from bureaucratic language, not pretty.

    I always find it interesting how valuable Google searches for even basic terms, like, for instance, “city of Seattle homeless services”, plus a little bit of curiosity, can be. The first link that comes up is the home page for Seattle’s Human Services Department, where a little bit of clicking turned up this link: The full text at the link, as well as a link to the full audit, from late 2013, and contains, in short, a pretty scathing indictment of the city’s efforts / results, is below.

    “On September 30th the Washington State Auditor’s Office issued its Report on Federal Single Audit for the City Of Seattle. According to the audit, HSD does not have adequate internal controls to effectively monitor service providers for grant compliance. The Department has submitted an action plan to take corrective measures to address the concerns raised in the audit and to institute better performance and increase transparency within the department. This action plan is included in the State’s Audit Report.”



    there could obviously be better record-keeping on such data, but it makes common sense that this would be true.

    Wow really GI? I think if the city is going to spend millions on something like this, then maybe, just maybe, there should be something better than “common sense” to go on.

    I don’t object to helping people get out of homelessness in the slightest and in fact donate to several organizations that work with at-risk populations. However, I remain unconvinced that this particular approach works, because if it did, then, shouldn’t there be an decrease in need for encampments? Because there is a directly correlated decrease in homeless due to the program’s success? I honestly don’t know the answer to that, but “it makes common sense this would be true” ;o)



    Nah, Crownhiller. Let’s just keep throwing millions of dollars at the problem and hope something finally sticks.

    I’m glad you’re not on city council, GI. You’re about the last person I’d want as a steward of public funds.


    great idea

    and I’m glad that your grievances sometimes fall on deaf ears, CR.

    if I recollect, you were also vehemently against the bicycle greenway on 58th.
    that didn’t turn out so bad– did it? (hopefully they will still remove parking on one side;)

    honestly this is a media sensation.
    they probably could’ve put up this camp for a few months before most of you even noticed it existed.



    GI – you’re right about the greenway on 58th, and I’m happy to admit that my concerns about putting it on that street have turned out to be unfounded.

    Regarding teachers, the prevailing attitude in the education establishment is *exactly* that if a student isn’t learning, it’s the teacher’s fault.

    I find it sad that proponents of e.g. the Growth Management Act proclaim the necessity of “evidence-based policymaking”, yet bend over backwards to avoid even asking for evidence about homeless services.


    great idea

    “Regarding teachers, the prevailing attitude in the education establishment is *exactly* that if a student isn’t learning, it’s the teacher’s fault”

    that’s precisely my point Mondo.

    do you really believe the trend of accountability in education (teaching students to take a test) is producing young adults better prepared for the challenges of life?
    this essentially ‘dumbs-down’ the teaching profession in my opinion.



    Adding shanty towns for drunks isn’t progress.




    I do have a kid, who did have a crappy teacher. I would not have fired him on test results alone (there were many, many other reasons), but the fact that every single kid in his AP class flunked the tests, was a strong indicator. Unfortunately, in the Seattle Public Schools being a really bad teacher was not good enough reason to get fired.

    Anyway, back to the homeless. If they don’t track who is in the camps, where they came from, how long they stay, what services they use, and why they leave, how will we know that the programs are effective? If they aren’t effective, then we should be doing something else that is. What is the problem with having data?



    Exactly, Kate.


    great idea

    Kate– my kids have had crappy teachers. they still did well and learned that year because they understood the teachers were bad and continued to have parental support at home.

    they went to a local public elementary school that highly-regarded as being an ‘arts’ school.
    there was tons of artwork incorporated throughout the curriculum and instruction happened in creative fashion.

    I have heard from parents and teachers alike that there is significantly less art in the daily works as they spend more time preparing the students for standardized tests.

    this is a totally different topic than tenure, which may be your issue.

    back to the homeless, it’s rather embarrassing to live in such a xenophobic community (perhaps a by-product of Scandanavian settlement).



    Having data on a program’s progress so that we can build on success and learn from failure = xenophobia? Really?



    GI used a word (xenophobia). It does not mean what he/she thinks it means.

    /Inigo Montoya


    great idea

    Kate, do you have any data that tent encampments are inherently less safe for the neighborhood?
    because those statistics don’t exist either. there is no proof that tent camps add to the crime rate.

    these encampments are not the solution to homelessness, but they certainly play a positive role.

    maybe all of you in your $600k houses can’t fathom this concept.

    Chris, I am quite sure I know what that word means.
    Ballard residents (at least the ones that chime in on the local blogs) are definitely fearful of any strangers coming into town, whether they’re Amazon employees moving into the big, mean condos, or homeless people looking for a safe place to lay their head.

    those that continue to demand real proof that this temporary solution helps people are merely using this as an excuse to not see icky people.
    it’s just a way to make people feel ok about rejecting a very direct way to help the homeless.




    No, I don’t have data either way, and I would be extremely happy to discover that this relatively cheap program actually works.

    Those who demand that we provide myriad services for the homeless, without any measurement of program effectiveness, just want to feel all warm and righteous without having to truly help anybody or strain their pocketbooks.



    ” it’s just a way to make people feel ok about rejecting a very direct way to help the homeless.”

    Um. No. Its asking pertinent questions about whether this method real DOES help the homeless. Asking pertinent questions does not necessarily equate to having a negative view of the process.

    But hey, call me crazy – I’d kinda like to be sure my tax dollars really ARE helping people get out of homeless situations. I remain unconvinced that after 25 years of this particular solution that fewer people are homeless. That should be the test right? If this was an actual “direct way to help” then it should, theoretically, become an obsolete solution as fewer and fewer people require its services? Isn’t that the end goal we’d all like to see? Less homeless people having to live in such a situation?

    That does not appear to be case. I fully admit, I don’t know that for sure, but anecdotal evidence would lead one to believe that because there ARE still tent cities 25 years after the first one in King County, this “very direct way” isn’t helping. It isn’t a solution. Its a stopgap that makes people “feel good”. I’d much prefer the city start really truly DOING something to require the provision of adequate affordable housing. Other cities do this. Why can’t Seattle stop twirling its thumbs in the wind and really truly directly help the homeless?

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