By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Supporters of Little Saigon were shocked by Nickelsville’s (also known as “Tent City”) intent to relocate to the International District.
Residents of the ID are concerned that the neighborhood is already rife with crimes.
In June, there was a shooting close to the Seattle Deli on 12th Ave. S. and the recent stabbing on S. Main St. from another homeless ground. Already, there are approximately 30 homeless people living under the freeway in the ID. With Nickelsville moving to the area, it will double the homeless population in the ID (adding more than 40 to the homeless population).
Don Blakeney, executive of the CID-BIA, Chinatown/International District Business Improvement Association, said he received a call on Friday from Sharon Lee about the Nickelsville transition.
Blakeney responded: “We just found out about this late last week, so we have been rushing to gather information. Considering that this deadline has been on the radar for over a year, this Sept. 1 move date emergency feels largely like an avoidable drama. Community members in Chinatown and Little Saigon are tracking this closely. We have a follow up meeting with the City, today, and LIHI on Thursday. We are hoping to extend the timeline so this isn’t a rushed decision.”
Lien Dang, owner of Huong Binh Restaurant, said the quick move of Nickelsville’s planning committee has been in the works for sometimes, and yet, they didn’t give notice early enough to allow the community to understand and learn and respond. She feels it has disregarded Friends of Little Saigon’s (FOLS) efforts for the past years to make this a more vibrant neighborhood.
Blakeney also added, “How do you expect to relocate this program in two weeks?”
Another member of FOLS said, “The process is broken. This is not working for the community.”
FOLS is preparing a response, but it was not available at press time.