Saturday, November 5, 2011

Olympia's Camp Quixote

"Camp Quixote began on February 1, 2007 as a protest in downtown Olympia parking lot.  When local authorities moved to clear the camp, a church offered it sanctuary on its grounds.

Although it was very controversial when it started,  local opposition to the Camp melted away within a matter of months.  Other churches stepped forward to host the camp.  The City of Olympia (and neighboring jurisdictions as well) passed ordinances that allow the Camp to exist, but require it to  move from one church parking lot to another every 90 days.  (The County ordinance allows for 6 month stays, and the City of Olympia is considering a similar change.)

From its beginning, the Camp has been a self-governing community that elects officers, makes and enforces its own code of conduct, and provides mutual support and accountability to its members.

As of April 1, 2011, the Camp will have moved 20 times.  Each move is difficult and traumatic for people who are struggling to recover from adversity, illness, unemployment, and disabilities of every description.

The Camp is supported by a non-profit organization called Panza that grew out of the faith communities that have hosted and supported the Camp financially, and provided hundreds of volunteers to help Campers meet their basic needs and get back on their feet."

The transformation from a camp to a village:

"From the very beginning, the residents of Camp Quixote hoped to find land on which they could build a permanent village. Their vision was – and still is – to build a central community building that includes bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a shared kitchen and social and meeting space, and about 30 one-room cottages. They want to plant a vegetable garden and fruit trees, and start one or more micro-enterprises that could bring in income to support the Village and its residents.

We have a site for Quixote Village, generously provided by our wonderful County Commissioners. It’s on Mottman Road, about half a mile west of South Puget Sound Community College. This county-owned land is within the Olympia city limits, in a light industrial zone. We are now working with the City of Olympia to get a zoning change that will allow us to build in this location.

We are also working with two architecture firms – KMB Design and MSGS – that are providing pro bono design services. Very soon we will have a firm budget estimate for the cost of infrastructure, permits, construction, and landscaping. The design for the Village is based on the experience of community living – a model that provides private sleeping space, and shared space for cooking, eating, and socializing. This model makes it impossible for people isolate themselves; it draws everyone into family life, shared responsibility, and a common quest for a better future."

 
 




-  Quixote Village website


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