Ballard Chamber, City of Seattle at odds over homeless alternatives

Oct 15, 2015, 8:55 PM | Updated: Oct 16, 2015, 6:25 am
The site at 2826 NW Market Street is owned by Seattle City Light and is being converted into a home...
The site at 2826 NW Market Street is owned by Seattle City Light and is being converted into a homeless encampment in Ballard. (Kipp Robertson /MyNorthwest)
(Kipp Robertson /MyNorthwest)

The Ballard Chamber of Commerce is calling the City of Seattle’s plans for its neighborhood “disappointing,” after it failed to reach a compromise over a controversial homeless camp.

The city, however, isn’t entirely turning its back on the chamber’s idea. It just needs more time to make it work.

“Despite efforts made by the chamber and the community to champion a viable alternative site location in Ballard, the decision yesterday by Mayor Ed Murray and Council Member Mike O’Brien to move forward with Nickelsville’s plan to sire a homeless encampment at 2826 NW Market Street is disappointing,” a statement from the Ballard Chamber of Commerce states.

“The Ballard Chamber remains strongly opposed to the use of the Market Street site as a homeless encampment,” it continues.

Related: UW students want to make Ballard homeless camp more than a place to pitch a tent

The city has moved forward with plans to establish homeless encampments within the city, including the site in Ballard. Some local residents and business owners have voiced opposition to the plan.

The Ballard Chamber of Commerce responded by developing plans and partnerships for an alternative site. Its alternative would work with a private party in Ballard to establish an encampment, but one that was larger and could accommodate more homeless individuals. The chamber claims that Nickelsville, the organization partnering with the city on its project, actually preferred the chamber’s location.

Related: Seattle can’t cure its homeless issue with tent cities

“Let’s be clear: a viable alternative location in Ballard has been identified and could be available for use in the coming months,” the chamber announcement states. “Rather than move to Market Street, the city could have directed Nickelsville to first locate at a larger, city-authorized Sodo encampment site and then transition to the [chamber’s] alternative Ballard site as soon as it is available. Instead, the city has chosen to disregard this option and is moving forward with opening the Market Street site.”

The chamber argues that even Nickelsville preferred its alternative, because it would house even more homeless individuals. It further claims that it would not cost taxpayer dollars, because no rental fees would have to be paid to Seattle City Light.

But the city may sees things differently. In a letter signed by Mayor Ed Murray and Council member Mike O’Brien, the two officials claim to have been working with the Ballard community, and did consider the alternative site &#8212 six alternatives in fact &#8212 but could not find them fit for use.

“… After a thorough analysis, we have determined that the sites were either not available for encampment or did not meet code requirements,” the letter states, further noting that the city wishes to have a site up and running as soon as possible as winter is coming.

That winter deadline has the city rushing to get the encampment up and running. Despite getting its Market Street camp ready for the cold months ahead, it hasn’t turned down one of the chamber’s ideas, entirely.

The city is still considering the one potential alternative in Ballard that the chamber backs. But there is action the city would have to take, legislatively, to make the sites work. And that takes time; more time than the city has.

“However, for it to work, this location will require the city to address a number of outstanding legislative, environmental, and safety issues first,” said Michael Fong, the Mayor’s chief of staff. “This will take months to complete. Until those issues are resolved, the city will move forward with the process to stand up the Market Street site.”

In the meantime, the city will move into the Market Street site.

“… it is vital that we provide those experiencing homelessness with safe, secure places to stay as soon as possible,” the letter states. “Due to the great need in our streets, we will move forward with siting an encampment at the Market Street location. We know that some members of the community have expressed concerns about the use of the Market Street site, but we ask for support to the people who will be living there.”

The letter continues to note that the encampments are not permanent solutions to Seattle’s “growing crisis,” but the city intends to use them as points of contact for those experiencing homelessness to provide further services and help to exit homelessness.

Local News

Kim Wyman...
Nicole Jennings

Washington state GOP worried about state’s future as Kim Wyman

As Secretary of State Kim Wyman announces she has taken a job with the Biden administration, the chair of the Republican Party is concerned.
15 hours ago
stolen school bus...
MyNorthwest Staff

Man arrested in Seattle after stealing empty school bus, ramming vehicles

Seattle police arrested a man in the Central District on Tuesday after he stole an empty school bus and rammed it into other vehicles.
15 hours ago
covid pill, vaccines, vaccination...
Kathryn Altena

Seattle to open new COVID vaccination clinic in West Seattle

The City of Seattle will be opening a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Neighborhood House in the High Point neighborhood, in West Seattle.
15 hours ago
Lorena Gonzalez...
MyNorthwest Staff

Lorena Gonzalez removes campaign ad labeled ‘racial stereotype’ by opponent

Seattle mayoral candidate Lorena Gonzalez apologizes for a campaign advertisement criticized by Black civic leaders for perpetuating racial stereotypes
15 hours ago
Renton couple, wildfire...
Heather Bosch

Renton couple recounts unimaginable loss, road to recovery following escape from 2020 wildfire

A Renton couple who suffered unimaginable loss during an Eastern Washington wildfire in September of 2020 continues to recover.
15 hours ago
Lawsuit chicken manufacturers...
Nick Bowman

Washington AG files lawsuit over ‘sweeping conspiracy’ involving chicken manufacturers

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday that his office has filed a lawsuit against 19 major chicken manufacturers. 
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Ballard Chamber, City of Seattle at odds over homeless alternatives