As about 100 homeless residents of the "Nickelsville" tent city in the University District gather up their stuff today for a diaspora to Lake City, there had, perhaps, been some hope that their new neighbors would welcome them in with open arms. It now seems clear that that's not going to happen.
Some of the new site's closest neighbors like Best Cleaners and the Bill Pierre Chevrolet Service Department tell the Daily Weekly that having an influx of transients is about the worst thing they could ask for in terms of trying to run a business.
The new Nickelsville site will be the old Fire Station No. 39 at 2806 N.E. 127th St.
Frank Facinelli, the general sales manager at Bill Pierre Chevrolet (located at 12528 28th Ave. NE) says the move is "crazy."
"Think about it. How would you feel if you roll up and see a bunch of homeless people hanging out everywhere?" he says. "It's crazy. Obviously it's bad for business."
At Best Cleaners, located at 3008 NE 127th St., owner Stephanie Lee is a bit more delicate when it comes to the Nickelsville residents' plight. But she still says she deals with too many transients as it is. Having an established shelter, she says, will only make things worse.
"I understand there should be a shelter," she says. "But, for business, it's not a good thing. We already get a lot of homeless people drunk, or smoking or cursing outside. I work the store alone sometimes and my customers are always coming in and asking if I'm OK. This will just make it worse."
Elsewhere, the Lake City Chamber of Commerce is in an uproar over the plan, with Chamber President Peter Lukevich telling the PI that:
"This is another example of the mayor just thrusting something on Lake City without consultation. I have put a call into Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, I have not yet received a call back. The initial reaction by business leaders in the area is negative, both from a process point of a view and the City of Seattle's inability to deal with the homeless situation."
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn hatched the plan to move the camp when the lease for the current site ran out. He wants the "Nickelodeons" to stay at the fire station until a permanent home is found.
At the top of that list is the old Sunny Jim peanut-butter factory in SoDo.
He's hoping it will take about six months or less to get them in.
That's if the owners of Lake City businesses don't chase him down with pitchforks and torches before that.