Nickelsville campers rush to move before deadline

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by MITCH PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 31, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 1 at 12:28 PM

The deadline is Sunday, September 1 for campers to move out of the Nickelsville tent city.
 
The Seattle City Council voted in July to close the homeless encampment and help residents find more permanent places to live, but on its final night, the camp is as full as ever.

More than 100 people were still staying at the camp, and while work was still being done here and there throughout Saturday, there was still a lot of work left to be done.

A walk through Nckelsville Saturday revealed how unlikely it is all will be gone by Sunday

“You can see we're really doing our best, but we're really short on labor, wheelbarrows, money," said Michael Montanari, one of the camp's “move masters” in charge of coordinating relocation efforts to the three new designated sites throughout Seattle. He says the move will happen.

"And tomorrow is our main really work day, 10-6. That's our moving day," said Montanari Saturday.

In most ways, life continues on as usual - food is delivered, dishes are washed and the vast majority of tents are still standing for one more night in Nickelsville.

“We'd hoped that we could be more organized, but you know that always doesn't happen," said Diane Fillmore, camper.

Fillmore has lived at Nickelsville for more than two and a half years. On Saturday, she's helping take down the house of the camp's two goats, Richard and Sally, named in honor of city council members.

"And we tried to get somebody to do something about it earlier, but they drug their feet to the last minute of course," said Fillmore.

Union Gospel Mission, which received half a million dollars from the city to help find homes for Nickelsville residents, says they've moved out 53 people, but many more have moved in since and that those new residents aren't their problem, since they weren't living at the camp at the time the agreement was made.

There are some leaving, packing everything they own onto their backs in search of a new place to call home, but a day before closing, there seems to be very little sense of urgency.

Nobody with the city could be reached Saturday to talk about how the city will be enforcing the closure Sunday. As for the move, campers say the biggest thing they need help with is a forklift.

 

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