The city council has scheduled a vote Monday on legislation, sponsored by council members Nick Licata and Mike O'Brien, that would expand the areas of the city where temporary homeless encampments like Nickelsville—the camp, currently located on city land in SoDo, is likely to be evicted September 1—can locate. (Currently, encampments are only allowed on city- or church-owned property; the legislation would allow them on some private, non-residential land).

The legislation is controversial among both proponents and opponents of encampments—proponents, because they believe camps should be allowed everywhere, including residential areas; opponents, because they oppose loosening restrictions on encampments. 

Council member Bruce Harrell, who left a committee hearing where three of his colleagues moved the legislation forward minutes before the vote (Harrell, who pushed for several amendments that placed additional requirements on future encampments, said he had a family emergency), has been rumored to be planning to vote against the legislation. 

However, after a mayoral forum in the Rainier Valley last night, Harrell (who's running for mayor) said that he plans to vote for the legislation. "I'm voting for it," Harrell said. That leaves council member Jean Godden as the swing vote (in addition to Licata, O'Brien, and Harrell, Sally Bagshaw voted for the legislation in committee); we have a call out to Godden's office to find out how she plans to vote on the proposal.

In the meantime, the Union Gospel Mission has received $500,000 from the city to help Nickelsville residents transition to new housing and to hook them up with services (which aren't allowed at Nickelsville); although the central committee at SHARE/WHEEL, the homeless advocacy group that runs  Nickelsville, has been skeptical about UGM's involvement, Harrell says lots of residents have already accepted help from the group in "transitioning" out of Nickelsville.

Filed under
Show Comments