Receding flood waters reveal garbage, rat problems at Nickelsville

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 26 at 6:37 PM

After days under water, things are starting to look up in Nickelsville.
 
"And it'd be a fine day in the neighborhood, don't ya know," said resident Buddy McArdle.
 
Residents at the Seattle homeless encampment were soaking up the sun Monday, raising hopes and raising homes.

"Yeah this whole area was flooded out. Man I'm tellin’ ya, I never saw so much friggin' water. It was unbelievable," recalled McArdle, who is now getting his tent to higher ground. He has a new roof, thanks to a new tarp, and a new front porch.

"You track stuff in your tent ya know, mud and stuff. It's a practical thing. It's not like you can run a vacuum in these things, you know," said McArdle.
 
Just some of the lessons learned after rain swamped their encampment.  Next to Buddy's place sits a pile of rotted wood pallets from sitting in the water.  So crews are building new foundations to a higher standard - about six inches higher - to keep the rain and the rats out.

Because when the water level rises, rats will chew their way in to stay dry.

"At night you just see the rats everywhere," said resident Heather Couture.

The city does provide rat traps, and on Monday a worker mades sure they were fully stocked with bait, but tenants like Couture prefer their own personal pest control system.
"Yeah he's become a little bit of a serial killer," Couture said about her 4-year-old black and white tabby named Sven. Sven is constantly on the prowl, he can't keep up.

"There was one point where even with the cat, one was in the tent,” she said.

Garbage pickup is another problem. Waste Management emptied the dumpster on Monday, but Nickelsville is struggling to keep up with its payments. And more garbage, most of it ruined possessions from all the rain, is piling up again.

Nickelsville would still like the city to connect them with power and sewer, but the city has denied that request. Our calls to the mayor's office went unanswered Monday.

Residents say they still need help. They’re looking for more tarps, more tents and also plastic containers to keep donated goods dry. And the other issue, of course, is the dropping temperatures, but campers are better protected, thanks to the hundreds of blankets donated by the community.

KING 5's Meg Coyle contributed to this report.
 

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