It's morning on Occidental Avenue in SoDo (South of Downtown), a neighborhood in Seattle's Industrial District populated by warehouses, factories, and rail yards. The street fills up as cars park and their drivers emerge, sleepy-eyed and hurried in the pre-work rush. They drink coffee from travel mugs and file themselves away in their respective places of employment. Many walk by a beat-up RV wedged between the tightly parked cars, but few give it a second glance.
This is the home of 52-year-old John Worden, who has been living in his RV for the past several years after an apartment fire left him effectively homeless. He bought his RV for a few hundred dollars, and though it isn't in perfect driving condition, Worden can relocate his home around the neighborhood when an orange slip appears on his windshield instructing him to move.
Amid the alleyways and vacant parking lots in SoDo, many other RVs, vans, and makeshift shelters occupy the public space that isn't marked with restrictions. Some are lucky enough to stay in one spot for years at a time, or come to agreements with local businesses, while others are forced to change spots frequently. One RV resident had said that he prayed to God to find a place where he could be completely invisible, while still remaining visible to the world.
Though they lack access to the kind of private interior space we give an address, Worden and others like him find life and community in the in-between spaces of urban society, in plain sight, whether noticed or ignored.