Skip to main content
Advertising

Picture This

Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

December 24, 2013 at 5:05 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (5)
  • Print

Camp Quixote residents move to permanent location


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Linda Austin, right, gets a hug from volunteer Linda Conklin while resident advocate Julie Montgomery looks on. Austin is showing them her new home at Quixote Village in Olympia on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. Austin moved into the camp a year ago and praised the family atmosphere. "They basically saved my life - they didn't give up on me," she said. "It helped heal my broken spirit."

Residents of the homeless encampment called Camp Quixote in Olympia moved into permanent homes on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. Called Quixote Village, the permanent location has 30 free-standing cottages and a community center. It was born out of the homeless encampment that started as a protest to the city of Olympia in a parking lot in 2007. When police forced the campers out of their original spot, local churches began offering them space for their tents and formed Panza, a non-profit organization to support the camp. "The original founders intended to build a village," said Jill Severn, a board member of Panza and a driving force behind the building of the village. "So, we just did what they asked."

The village is the first homeless encampment to be converted to permanent structures in Washington state. It loosely resembles Dignity Village in Portland, another encampment that built permanent structures, but it has a community center and some nicer amenities. Unlike many shelters, there is no time limit as to how long residents can stay. Leases are month-to-month, subsidized to cost 30 percent of the residents' income. The village is self-governed by an executive committee of residents and supported by a few staff members and Panza.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Richard Frank moves his belongings out of his tent at Camp Quixote while blasting Christmas music on their Christmas Eve moving day.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mitchell Eckert, 11, of Seattle, wears a Santa hat as he helps volunteers move Camp Quixote residents to Quixote Village on Christmas Eve. His mom, Wendy Eckert, works with Community Foundations, a non-profit housing developer that helped build Quixote Village.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Jimi Burnadubi plays his birthday present, Ella, a Washburn semi-hollow body guitar, while his neighbors pack on moving day, Christmas Eve, which also happens to be his 40th birthday.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dale Starkweather, one of the founding members of Camp Quixote, takes down power lines of extension cords on moving day. "I used to work at a carnival, so I'm used to teardowns," Starkweather said.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Volunteer Thomas Reeves helps pack up Ralph Blankenship's truck on moving day. Blankenship and his truck have been helping move the camp since its inception seven years ago.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Linda Austin, center, shows volunteer Linda Conklin her snowman Christmas decorations in her new home at Quixote Village in Olympia on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. "It's gonna be nice to sleep where it's warm again," said Austin. During the most recent cold snap, temperatures in her tent got down to 18 degrees.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Thomas Reeves helps a friend move into Quixote Village in Olympia on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. The village of 30 cottages is the first homeless encampment to be converted to permanent structures in Washington state.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Paul Sweet has an egg salad sandwich and a glass of milk before getting pumpkin pie for lunch at the new community center in the front of Quixote Village. The center includes a living room area with a fireplace, full kitchen, showers, laundry room and office area.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Residents wrote their names on a map to determine who gets which cottage.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Jill Severn gives Kenny Wyllys a kiss on the cheek as he reclines on a chair in the new community center at Quixote Village in Olympia. Severn is on the board of Panza, the non-profit formed by the Olympia faith community to support the camp. Panza was the driving force behind the building the village, and Wyllys was one of the first protesters-turned-campers to form Camp Quixote. "I went to jail twice for this place," Wyllys joked about participating in the tent protest in 2007. Severn was a board member of the Universalist Unitarian Church that first offered them sanctuary from police removal. She teared up when she talked about watching the residents move in. "These people have been through hell and back, some of them several times," she said.

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
It generally appears like Pride Town in Beaverton, another encampment that built long l... MORE
Congratulations to all involved parties. Good job!!! Hopefully this place is going to... MORE
What a wonderful story! Congrats to the new residents of Quixote Village, and kudos to... MORE

Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►