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Nickelsville moving to former Lake City fire station

Flickr photo by javacolleen
The Nickelsville camp is pictured here Oct. 11, 2008, when it was located in Seattle's University District. The latest move will find it in the northeast Seattle neighborhood of Lake City.

The Nickelsville homeless encampment will soon occupy a former Seattle fire station in Lake City.  Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the camp could have immediate use the old Fire Station 39, left vacant after a facility was constructed next door.

The hundred-plus residents were facing eviction from the camp's current U District location. This morning, McGinn announced he'd given approval for occupancy at the Lake City site.  In a statement, deputy mayor Darryl Smith said:

“With snow forecast for this weekend and warnings of a long winter ahead, we moved fast to get the tent city residents into a secure and warm spot,” Smith said. “During this time of economic hardship and limited resources, it is incumbent upon the city to make use of resources, such as the former fire station, with creativity and compassion. It is our hope that the temporary use by Nickelsville will be met with understanding.”

"Nickelsville" is named as protest of former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels policies on homeless camps, including city-ordered sweeps. Intended to address public health concerns, camp dwellers say the sweeps resulted in the destruction of personal possessions.

The move will maintain a temporary site for the camp until the city can secure a more permanent facility. According to The Seattle Times:

The mayor announced last week that he wants to clear the burned-out Sunny Jim peanut-butter factory in Sodo, find an organization to manage the encampment and, by March, open a long-term pilot site there for 100 to 150 homeless people. That location, at Airport Way South and South Snoqualmie Street, would also offer services for the residents.

The Sunny Jim site was damaged by fire in September.  Money for the planned "pilot" location has not been identified.