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Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 28, 2013 at 7:22 AM

The end is near for Nickelsville

Bulldozing encampment is inhumane

An overall shot of Nickelsville shows only a portion of the dwellings that have been constructed sitting off the ground to guard from flooding. [Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times.]

An overall shot of Nickelsville shows only a portion of the dwellings that have been constructed sitting off the ground to guard from flooding. [Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times.]

Nickelsville is counting the days to Sept. 1, the date set by the Seattle City Council for evicting residents from their encampment of over two years.

This threatens to be “not a good photo op” for the city, as Councilmember Nick Licata put it, but it will be more than that: If Nickelsville is bulldozed, this will be a moral wrong, a breach of the fraying bonds of decency that keep us human.

Having a home means more than being sheltered by a roof and four walls. It means being sheltered by one’s fellow human beings, able to rely on their aid in times of need. It means having a community. By these standards, the Nickelodeons have, through their own ingenuity and hard work, built more of a home than most of us can claim.

If the mayor and the City Council destroy Nickelsville, they will be destroying this home. They will be breaking up families and couples and forcing more than 150 men, women and children onto a demoralizing merry-go-round of case management.

Until we as a city and as a society create a way of life that is affordable, Seattle has a moral obligation to recognize and support self-managed homeless encampments. It is remarkable that homeless people in our city have come together and built democratic organizations for their own safety, dignity and collective well-being.

Rather than bulldoze Nickelsville, the city should work to find it a long-term site.

Katie Wilson, general secretary of the Transit Riders Union, Seattle

0 Comments | More in Economy, Politics, Seattle | Topics: community, homeless, homelessness

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