The Nickelodeons, facing a deadline tonight to vacate the state-owned parking lot they moved to Friday, are packing up again, moving this time to another undisclosed location. They plan to be on their way sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight. (The city had threatened to fine the state up to $150 per day for maintenance of an illegal encampment beginning at 5 p.m. tonight.) In addition to the continued relocation, the camp is evolving into a more structured organization with members volunteering for security duty and setting up mediation when arguments arise. Residents say life on the parking lot, a much smaller space than the SDOT-owned field they'd originally inhabited, has been tense at times. "We've had team meetings and have asked people to leave," says Aaron Colyer, who's been in charge of security. "It's worked OK." They've also instituted a few basic rules including no smoking, or open flames, around the tents-- and the Nickelsville Web site has been updated to accept donations and register users for announcements.
Meantime, the city today blasted a press release asking the county and the state for more help taking care of the homeless. According to numbers from the mayor's office, Seattle provides 94 percent of the region's shelter beds for single adults, while 54 percent of the people living in these shelters are coming from Seattle. About 20 percent are coming from the county or somewhere else in the state and nearly 27 percent of the city's homeless are coming from outside Washington, the mayor says. "City taxpayers should not shoulder the entire cost and impacts of the region's homeless population." Nickels' "compassionate" budget proposal for 2009-2010, released earlier this week includes, $2.1 million for shelter beds and services.
Residents of Nickelsville, still about 100 strong, say that's not enough. They remain resolved to make the encampment permanent.
Update: The camp has moved to United Indians of all Tribes' property in Discovery Park. Fitting, considering the tribes gained control of the land by occupying it, and a subsequent battle with the federal government, 38 years ago. More later.