Sequim city officials begin talks about hosting mobile shower unit

Facility would assist homeless population

SEQUIM — Sequim city officials have started discussions about exploring sites to host a mobile shower trailer to help the city’s homeless population.

Council member Lowell Rathbun brought it up at the Dec. 12 council meeting, saying a committee of nonprofit leaders, which has the funds for such a shower, is struggling to find a location after nearly a year of searching.

His motion for city staff to investigate city locations that could host the trailer was seconded, but the motion was not voted on by the end of the meeting. The next council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday.

City Manager Matt Huish said he met with Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias about having a joint commissioner/council meeting to discuss if they can consolidate efforts for a mobile shower.

Ozias said on Wednesday the hope is to have such a meeting scheduled in the first quarter of this year.

Rathbun said via email that the infrastructure could be similar to a shower trailer used at the Caswell-Brown Community in Port Townsend.

“The unit can be towed by a pickup truck,” Rathbun said, “but if there were a permanent location, I believe that the unit is capable of connecting up to the existing water and sewer connections.

“There will definitely not be any greywater or black water released onto the ground as some people fear.”

Rathbun suggested three possible locations for the mobile showers: on city property recently purchased just north of the Sequim Civic Center on West Spruce Street; Gerhardt Park on South Third Avenue, or the city’s former city hall annex at the northeast corner of Sequim Avenue and Spruce Street.

He said the Spruce Street property is well-fenced and features a concrete pad, while Gerhardt Park has functional utilities.

Council members nixed use of the former city hall annex building because of its proximity to Head Start and its poor infrastructure.

Council member Rachel Anderson said she’d have to research mobile showers more, but she was inclined to recommend the pad next to the civic center.

Council member William Armacost said he feels there’s a tremendous need and they must balance that with citizens’ safety while considering liability.

“Unfortunately, as a city, we have certain additional liabilities because of that role we play in the community,” he said. “We need to be mindful of that. Not that there isn’t a need. It’s not a simple, easy fix.”

Council member Vicki Lowe said, “I think we’re forgetting the liability of people who are unhoused actually being victims of crime at a way higher rate than the rest of us. So there’s also that safety precaution to remember.”

Huish recommended amending Rathbun’s motion for city staff to also investigate other properties owned by businesses and churches that could be used too.

However, city attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said any analysis provided would be high level and not pointing at one or two non-city-owned properties.

The only other public shower facilities for adults are at the YMCA of Sequim.

YMCA of Sequim staff said they do not offer shower passes but do offer facility access to anyone with a photo ID, and if they cannot afford a day use fee or monthly fee, they are able to ask for financial assistance.


Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at

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