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Nickelsville neighbor files claim against City of Seattle for damages

Nearly 100 people live the homeless camp known as Nickelsville, with no water or sewer hook-ups and a lot of rats. (KIRO Radio Photo/File)

The future of Nickelsville, the unauthorized homeless encampment in southwest Seattle, could soon play out in court.

Nearly 100 people live there with no water or sewer hook-ups and a lot of rats.

The camp’s only neighbor is a marine parts business owner. Greg Jacobsen of Seaway Marine, is the only adjacent property to Nickelsville. Their camp is about 10 to 15 feet away from the north side of his building.

He has filed a damage claim against the city for over $1 million.

Jacobsen’s property has been devalued, but he doesn’t blame the residents of Nickelsville, he says it’s from the spill over.

He said when someone is turned away from Nickelsville because they don’t meet their no-drug policy, for example, they’ll turn to his property.

“There’s a theft hazard here. The property has been damaged a few times – my doors jimmied, they’ve broken my water spigots off trying to get water.”

Jacobsen started looking at a possible relocation for his business and began talking with a commercial real estate broker. “I realized it was going to be a situation I was going to have deal with,” he told KIRO Radio’s Luke Burbank. “My property wouldn’t be worth as much with Nickelsville next door.”

There is one solution that Jacobsen is hopeful about. He has a handshake agreement with Food Lifeline to buy his property. It comes with a caveat, Food Lifeline must first purchase land surrounding Jacobsen’s warehouse from the city and the state. It appears to Jacobsen that the transaction has gotten held up on the city’s part.

With the property, Food Lifeline would build a facility that serve homeless people up and down the I-5 corridor, Jacobsen said.

“(Food Lifeline’s) proposal would solve all the issues, except for the folks of Nickelsville.”

Neighborhood representatives have asked the city to move Nickelsville out no later than June 13.

As for the claim Jacobsen’s filed, he hopes it can speed things up for the city regarding his property, and the possible sale of theirs.

KIRO Radio’s Val Stouffer and’s Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.

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