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Friday, August 23, 2013

A Short Photo Tour of Nickelsville

Posted by on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 1:43 PM

When I went down to Nickelsville for the story in this week's paper about the camp's impending eviction from its West Seattle site, I brought Kelly O along to take some pictures. People were welcoming and the pictures turned out great, and I wanted to share 'em. There's plenty more after the jump.

Meet John Jolly, who gave me a tour of camp the first time I went. His dogs name is Sadie.
  • Kelly O
  • Meet John Jolly, who gave me a tour of camp the first time I went. His dog's name is Sadie. When I asked him why he lives at Nickelsville, he told me he used to live in Alabama, but "things went bad for [him] there" when the economy crashed. "I lost everything." He moved up here to be near his kids, and got a job but not his own place. After wearing out his welcome sleeping on an ex's couch, he found out about Nickelsville. And, he says, "I found a family 2,500 miles away from home."

This is Rachel Johnson and her cat, Precious. Shes lived at Nickelsville for six weeks. Theyre my family, she says.
  • Kelly O
  • This is Rachel Johnson and her cat, Precious, in front of their tent. She's lived at Nickelsville for six weeks. "They're my family," she says.

Nickelsvilles goats, Richard Conlin and Sally Clark, like to climb on their structure. They were originally gotten just to clear brush. Theyd be up on a berm, eating blackberries, says Jolly. Dont know what were gonna do with the goats. He laughs: I think we should eat em.
  • Kelly O
  • Nickelsville's two goats, Richard Conlin and Sally Clark, love to climb on their shelter. They were originally brought in to clear brush from the land, which is covered in blackberry bushes—"they'd be up on a berm, eating blackberries," says Jolly—but now they're pretty much pets. "They're spoiled rotten," he laughs. He doesn't know what'll happen to the goats when Nickelsville packs up and moves. He laughs again: "I think we should eat 'em."

N-2.jpg
  • Kelly O

A sign posted by the city in front of Nickelsvilles gate warns campers of a looming shutdown by city officials
  • Kelly O
  • A sign posted by the city in front of Nickelsville's gate warns campers of a looming shutdown by city officials.

This is Nickelsvilles kitchen and pantry; the shelves are almost bare. Is this less food than usual? Oh, its way down, says Jolly. They used to get so many donations that this was full and they stored overflow in a smaller tent nearby. But since news of the camps shutdown has been public, he says, Everybody thinks after September 1, theres no more Nickelsville.
  • Kelly O
  • This is Nickelsville's kitchen and pantry; the shelves are almost bare. Is this less food than usual? "Oh, it's way down," Jolly says. They used to get so many donations that these shelves were full and overflow was stored in a smaller tent nearby. But since news of the city's intention to shut the camp down, "Everybody thinks after September 1, there's no more Nickelsville," he tells me, so they've stopped getting donations.

N-18.jpg
  • Kelly O

Because theyre staying on this city land illegally, Nickelsville hasnt been able to hook up to water or utilities, something theyd love to address in the future.
  • Kelly O
  • Because they're staying on this city land illegally, Nickelsville hasn't been able to hook up to water or utilities, something they'd love to address in the future—and something a city ordinance permitting encampments run by nonprofits instead of only by churches could've helped with.

Says Jolly: This is probably not the answer to homelessness. But its the best weve got right now. He says, only half-joking, Columbus didnt come over here with a bunch of condos. This country was birthed out of a tent city.
  • Kelly O
  • Says Jolly: "This is probably not the answer to homelessness. But it's the best we've got right now." He continues, "Columbus didn't come over here with a bunch of condos. This country was birthed out of a tent city."

 

Comments (23) RSS

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MacCrocodile 1
Quick question: can I vote for Richard Conlin the goat for city council?
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on August 23, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
2
That last quote, on the last photo, from John Jolly is a gem.
Posted by Kelly O on August 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
3
I thought a berm was a round black thing with a fuse in the top, used for blowing stuff up. Goats should stay away from berms.
Posted by originalcinner on August 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM · Report this
4
@3 "a round black thing with a fuse in the top, used for blowing stuff up" is called a Mudede.

Goats, and horses and well everyone is advised to keep at a safe distance.
Posted by Rowlf on August 23, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 5
John Jolly's a loveable character and all, but his story fits the cliche of "Freeattle" that people point to when frustrated by the growing number of homeless on Seattle's streets.

He moved here from Alabama already indigent? How is the 10-year plan to end homelessness supposed to work when we're responsible for Alabama's homeless, too?

I suspect that the 10-year plan might take a couple additional decades...
Posted by Max Solomon on August 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
stirwise 6
@5 - it's not unusual for someone to say "shit, this town is too small and I can't find work," pull up stakes and move someplace with a bigger/better economy. Mr. Jolly said he came to Seattle because his kids are here. Nothing about this sounds like "oh shit now we have to take care of Alabama's homeless." It sounds like "I found work but couldn't find affordable housing, so I came up with a plan B."
Posted by stirwise on August 23, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 7
@5,being the good guys means we take care of anyone who comes into our borders. It's actually one of the more positive "Christian" values that's a good one.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 23, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 8
@ 7: well, yeah. i've defended Seattle's high homeless population to my own visiting family with that argument. my sister saw it as evidence of our neglect of the homeless, when the fact is we're a magnet of sorts - for weather, services, tolerance, etc.

though i don't believe Nicklesville counts as "Agape".
Posted by Max Solomon on August 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM · Report this
leek 9
I really liked a drawing that Seattle Sketcher (Gabriel Campanario) made of a resident of Nickelsville--didn't look at the whole post though because it was behind the Times paywall.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=…
Posted by leek on August 23, 2013 at 4:42 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 10
Is this a bad time to point out that Columbus and his men enslaved the local population to establish their colony? Or that the first successful colony in North America followed the mantra, you don't work, you don't eat just to ensure the colonists' basic survival (and, for that matter, threatened violence to get the local population to provide them food)?
Posted by keshmeshi on August 23, 2013 at 4:52 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 11
Oh Keshmeshi you spoil sport; I had the same idea. Columbus did not come with condos, he came with Commandos, and they butchered every human they met. But that would not be a "gem".
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on August 23, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
12
Great stuff, Kelly.

Glad some folks are using the luxury of their Internet access to throw shade at these brothers and sisters of ours.
Posted by UberAlles on August 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
13
@Anna Minard (or anyone else)

"a city ordinance permitting encampments run by nonprofits instead of only by churches"

is there actually an ordinance that limits encampments to churches? That can't be legal can it?
Posted by gdcv on August 23, 2013 at 7:31 PM · Report this
TVDinner 14
Thank you for humanizing these folks a bit. The craven abdication of responsibility shown by the Council on this issue is stunning. I seriously don't know how they sleep at night.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on August 23, 2013 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 15
Awesome post.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
treefort 16
Yes, very nice photos. More photos of Precious please.

And the church only thing is ridiculous.
Posted by treefort on August 23, 2013 at 8:06 PM · Report this
meanie 17
If every church in the city took in one of these people, the problem would be solved. Instead on the night of the eviction they are going to hold a candlelight vigil and pray for someone else to fix the problem.

praise Jesus!
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on August 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM · Report this
18
@13,

Actually - it's sort of the inverse of that - the First Amendment prevents municipalities from banning encampments on church property (as Bothell and Bellevue have learned, among other places) http://hpn.asu.edu/archives/2002-June/00…
Posted by Mr. X on August 23, 2013 at 8:27 PM · Report this
19
@18

And I suspect the city would be quite willing to look the other way if a private property owner were to set up an encampment, provided it had a nice buffer of blackberries or berms or what have you, and wasn't too close to a nice residential neighborhood.

And even if it had no fences at all and was right smack dab in the middle of a bedroom community, the city might not have an easy time fighting it. If there were some private property owner ready to give his or her land over to a homeless encampment, that is.
Posted by robotslave on August 23, 2013 at 8:49 PM · Report this
20
Precious is not impressed.
...what a cute cat.
Posted by Le Meow, Le Purr on August 24, 2013 at 3:13 AM · Report this
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on August 24, 2013 at 2:56 PM · Report this
22
"@5,being the good guys means we take care of anyone who comes into our borders"

So how many bums on your couch?

"If every church in the city took in one of these people, the problem would be solved"

Seattle doesn't have 2700 churches. Apparently it also doesn't have 2700 bleeding heart liberals with a couch for a bum.
Posted by Sugartit on August 25, 2013 at 6:05 PM · Report this
23
"is there actually an ordinance that limits encampments to churches? That can't be legal can it?"

I guess you've never heard of a thing called a "city planning department"? Are you really that dumb that you think society would be better served with a deregulated land use policy, a free-for-all?
Posted by Sugartit on August 25, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this

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