The Nickelsville homeless camp in Seattle was a giant puddle Tuesday morning following Monday's rain storm, but a nearby rental company came to the rescue.
The encampment, located at 7116 West Marginal Way SW, ended up in a huge pool of water about 30 feet wide and almost knee high in places. About 30 tents were flooded.
“When I got in last night, it was like coming into a lake,” said resident Bud McArdle.
“No, I have not seen it like this before. Last winter, we had a big problem with the snow melt, but not flooded like this,” said former tent coordinator Mark Matthews.
Residents were using a generator and small pump to clear the pool, but progress was slow. Pacific Rim Equipment Rentals, located a few blocks away, brought in an industrial size pump to help out.
A donated pump was working overtime. And so is George Sidwell: "I've only been out since eight this morning, something like that."
Soaked since yesterday and knee deep in water and sludge, Sidwell had been manning the pump for hours.
"I want to encourage a break for you, ok? I'm dead serious," said Treasa Sides.
Sides is the camp bookkeeper and, today, the cheerleader. It isn't easy. Seeing George in his tennis shoes and no socks, she scolded him: "My God George, what size boot do you wear?"
"I'm alright," George said "Lemme see," insisted Treasa. "No you're not. You're not ok." She yelled out to the camp, "I need someone else to come do this!"
Seattle Public Utilities and public health workers arrived late Tuesday morning to assess the situation. Some people drove up to donate basic necessities such as clean clothes, rain boots and blankets.
The city gave residents cinder blocks to place their belongings on and garbage cans, but residents say they'd like to see more.
The residents of Nickelsville technically do not have a permit to live on the city-owned property, but they have an arrangement with the city to squat there.
"What would help us is if somebody would, especially the city, could put us at a spot or locate us in a situation or a place where we could have a little bit of drainage going and few simple amenities would help us,” said McArdle.
Mayor Mike McGinn said his office is looking into the problem.
“This is an ongoing issue about how we provide sufficient shelter to people and we've sent various proposals to council about how to expand shelter. We want to keep working on that so that everyone has a safe and secure place to be at night,” said McGinn.
Flooded out Nickelsville residents were being allowed to stay at the Frye Hotel and the King County Administration Building.
The City of Seattle said Tuesday there is an immediate need for the following: Firewood, gasoline (for generators), blankets, sleeping bags, tarps, socks and water proof boots, flashlights and batteries, rope, nails, hammers and duct tape, access to industrial size washer and dryer . Monetary donations used for purchasing propane, servicing porta potties and garbage pickup,
Items can be dropped off at Nickelsville at 7116 Marginal Way SW at 2nd Ave SW and W Marginal Way SW.