Homeless play waiting game in Nickelsville
The 5 p.m. deadline came and went on Thursday, and no city workers or cops arrived to sweep away Nickelsville.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The 5 p.m. deadline came and went on Thursday, and no city workers or cops arrived to sweep away Nickelsville, its 150 illegal fuchsia tents and its 100 or so residents.
Most everyone at the encampment expected that sometime this morning, the city would evict the encampment's residents and arrest those who won't leave voluntarily.
Nickelsville is spread over a grassy area, parts overgrown with Scotch broom, near West Marginal Way Southwest and Highland Park Way Southwest.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' office said it won't say in advance when the sweep will take place.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, workers with the Seattle Department of Transportation posted 2-by-1-½ foot "NO TRESPASSING" signs that promised those in violation could be charged with criminal trespass. The bulk of the land where the encampment is situated is owned by the SDOT.
As the workers put the signs in the ground, a couple of Seattle police offers stood by and watched. There were no confrontations.
The 150 tents were set up by the homeless and volunteers in the predawn hours Monday.
On Thursday evening, about 200 of the homeless and volunteers milled around. Some, like volunteer Joe Taylor, 23, who's just starting on his master's degree in engineering at the University of Washington, became de facto foremen. Taylor led a group of men putting together a small camp-administrative office using two-by-fours and wood from pallets.
He said he knew the structure might only last a day.
"I kind of designed it to be taken down," said Taylor.
Some of the volunteers, such as Lindsay Andersen, 25, a program assistant at the Alzheimer's Association in Seattle, had to learn on the job how to use a hammer or a pry bar to pull apart a pallet.
Andersen is 5-foot-2 and weighs 120 pounds. "My arms aren't very strong," she said.
If the cops arrived, she said, "I'm bailing." Jail time doesn't look that good on a résumé, she said.
There was an air of resignation at the camp about what will happen next.
Aaron Colyer, 28, was using donated pink paint to put color on a large wood structure now surrounding his tent and propping it off the ground.
He and volunteers had nailed it together on Thursday. He was listening to a Christian radio station as he painted.
Colyer said that when the city arrives to evict, "I'll just sit on my porch, listening to the radio. If they want to take me to jail, let them take me to jail."
Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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