Nickelsville homeless camp moves to former Lake City fire station

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @NSwabyKing5

KING5.com

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 15 at 7:54 PM

SEATTLE - Monday was moving day for the Nickelsville homeless camp that has been in Seattle's University District for the last three months.

City officials announced just after noon that the camp would temporarily move to Lake City at the site of the former Fire Station 39, located at 127th Street and 30th Avenue Northeast.

The camp is expected to stay there through winter for the next four to six months.

For the last three months, Nickelsville has been at the The University Congregational United Church of Christ parking lot, where the church allowed the more than 70 campers to set up make shift shelters.

"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," Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith said.

The camp at Fire Station 39 will be managed by the Seattle's Department of Finance and Administrative Services, the same organization which also manages city fire stations.

Fire Station 39 recently vacated after a new station was built next door.

It was in 2008 that the homeless group formed. As many as a one hundred homeless people have been part of the roving camp. But what they want now is a permanent site.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn recently said he would like the former Sunny Jim peanut butter factory to house Nickelsville by March. The plant was destroyed by fire in September.

City officials also announced they will continue moving forward with considering that plan and getting a non-profit organization on board to help support the encampment. According to the city, if the site is deemed viable, it is not expected to be available until next spring at the earliest.

Camper Peggy Hotes told KING 5 News early Monday morning that a moving truck was expected at the U-District site by 11:30 a.m.

Hotes is also Nickelsvilles' liaison with the organization Veterans for Peace.

She says this is at least the group's 16th move. Hotes adds the campers are upbeat about the new location.

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