Is anyone surprised by this picture of trash overflowing at Nickelsville’s Skyway site?
Nobody should be surprised.
The trash photo was taken by some intrepid and anonymous photographer and posted on the West Hill Community Association’s Facebook page on October 30, 2013.
If you’ll look at Nickelsville Temporary Use Permit application that was approved a few days ago [click here], you’ll see that one of the things Nickelsville’s sponsors claim they will have on-site is a Dumpster. But there hasn’t been any Dumpster there and there probably never will be. From what I’m told, Nickelsville still owes money on the Dumpster and port-a-potty services they were using at their Highland Park site. And remember: they didn’t foot the bill for any of the massive clean-up costs after they left there.
[To see a slideshow on what the place looked after the last “Nickelodeon” had gone, check the sidebar.]
And don’t be fooled by the applicant names you see on that Temporary Use Permit. Jam for Justice isn’t running the Nickelsville Skyway site. And Nickelsville isn’t running itself either. SHARE is running it. And Scott Morrow is running SHARE. Scott Morrow is the guy who fills out the permit applications, he’s the guy who picks up the mail (at the SHARE PO box), and he’s the guy all the so-called Executive Committee reports to for final approval of their “decisions.” So make no mistake: Skyway Nickelsville is a SHARE/Scott Morrow project, just like all the other Nickelsvilles.
It’s clear that, whatever grand dreams Mr. Morrow purports to have for rescuing homeless people, this guy is just not up to the task. Not even for the relatively small number of people at the Skyway site. Hell, they can’t even afford Dumpster service to keep the place clean. By any reasonable and fair standard, King County’s Department of Permits and Environmental Review (DPER) shouldn’t have granted this permit, retrospectively or otherwise. What DPER should have done when Nickelsville showed up with their tents, is just call the Sheriff’s office and hustle those guys right along. They had two months’ notice to bug out of their previous digs at Highland Park, and that was MORE than enough time for anyone who really wanted help finding housing to get it.
But no, instead DPER appears to have fallen for that classic Scott Morrow line of bullshit: SHARE is saving lives. Dumpster or no Dumpster, it’s still better than having people sleep under bridges.
But is it? I’m not so sure of that anymore. I’m not so sure that the people in SHARE’s squatter camps are better off just sitting there among the trash and squalor than they would be on their own. A few of them might be. But most aren’t. When you consider some of the nasty stuff that goes on in these places, and when you consider how vulnerable some of the folks there are, I wonder if they might not ALL be better off on their own. At least then they’d be motivated to try and get help. But as long as they keep chanting this mantra of “We’re staying together and staying safe” –they’ll just be stuck there, subject to control by Mr. Morrow and his cronies. It’s like some kind of cult, really.
No, but isn’t that how cult members talk? Don’t they claim to prefer the loving arms of the cult leader and their cult “family” to life on their own? [See also “Manson Family.”]
If you look at page 6 of the Temporary Use Permit application, the so-called Permit Narrative, you’ll see that SHARE puts a lot of emphasis on the idea of homeless people living together and “staying safe” even though Nickelsville accounts for only a tiny, almost insignificant proportion of the homeless population:
OK, so Nickelsville is helping a few homeless people stay together. Theoretically these people are safer there than anywhere else.
But what about being clean? Isn’t that part of being safe?
And what about getting off drugs and alchohol? Isn’t that part of being safe?
And what about getting mental health services? And permanent housing? Isn’t that part of being safe?
Show me the evidence that SHARE has programs in place at Nickelsville to encourage people to stay clean and get the help they need. Show me the evidence that Nickelsville is anything more than a government-approved dumping ground for poor people. And a nuisance for everyone else.
If you can show me that, then I’ll fill out the next permit application myself.