Lockhaven Union members and supporters at the demonstration Feb. 20.
After resolution rejection Lockhaven Union demonstrates
At 8:30 a.m. on Feb 20, the Lockhaven Union and supporters demonstrated in front of the Lockhaven buildings on Market Street (3038 NW Market St). The group was protesting the evictions and what they said is the “immoral action” by the new owner, John Goodman of Goodman Real Estate (GRE).
The demonstration i the latest action to come after Goodman purchased the property last September and gave the residents a 20-day eviction notice in order to make updates and renovations. The group says the renovations are being made to increase the rent cost of building residents. Rents have doubled. Since September, the union has tried to negotiate ways to keep the rent low and keep current residents living there. GRE met with the union and later said that they would not budge on their plans.
Lockhaven is made up of 22 buildings and 138 units. Currently just under 100 tenants live there and
all but 10 would be displaced. Moreover, two thirds of tenants would not be able to afford the new rents and would not be able to return.
The union said that they sympathize with the capitalistic nature of GRE's motive but to displace that many working and elderly people is unacceptable. Moreover, they said to displace that many residents of Ballard for a capitalistic gain is not congruent with the goals of the community. Goodman is a resident of Ballard.
Barbara Jewett, a long time resident of Lockhaven, said, ”My mother and I lived at the Lockhaven for over 35 years. Lockhaven was a special place, affordable for an office clerk with a parent to help support. Will any such housing stay in Ballard?"
City council member, Nicholas Licata, was a speaker at the demonstration and has been a long time supporter of the Lockhaven Union. He was instrumental in arranging the meetings between GRE and the union.
Licata said in a press release, “For several years the City has been debating policies requiring inclusion of affordable housing in market rate housing. The City needs to act more quickly to strengthen these policies and increase affordability-housing options. In the interim, I appreciate the continued conversation between the owners of Lockhaven and the residents towards maintaining some affordability in this building now.”
Michelle Kinnacan, a tenant at Lockhaven said “GRE says they’re in the business of providing workforce housing. Their version of workforce housing leaves a lot of people out in the cold.”
GRE representative, Natalie Quick said,” said that GRE has already spent $30 thousand on relocating the tenants.
GRE released a statement after the demonstration.
“Affordability in Seattle is a complex topic and one that we are sympathetic to. We are all apart of this community and housing that is affordable is critical to maintaining a vibrant neighborhood. It's why we not only worked with the City to provide relocation assistance for all residents who qualified for it, but also retained an on-site relocation specialist to work one-on-one with each resident to help us understand their specific needs
and how we can best help them. ...We will continue to work with all residents to do what we can to help. Additionally, welook forward to continuing a dialogue with the City about the tools that can be used to help
address affordability in our growing City. “
The Union believes that Lockhaven is part of a larger trend in Ballard where developers buy a property and change it in order to get a greater rent. The union said that the Goodman has violated several Seattle housing laws and that they should be held accountable to displacing residents.
Eliana Horn, Tenants Union of Washington State Organizer said in a statement, “As developers continue to feed a housing bubble in Seattle, it is tenants who pay. The temptation of profit drives developers to take out predatory loans premised on displacing tenants and raising rents. Organizing and collective bargaining are alternatives to policy solutions that as yet have been unable to address the dramatically rising rents fueled by
development in Seattle,”
According to the union the resolution is to allow more time for the residents to move to another location. They also want Washington to make a law that prevents developers from being able to buy and evict residents in the manner that they currently are able to.
State representative Jean Kohl-Welles was pushing for a bill that would change that but it failed to gain traction this session, but plans to push it again next session and thinks it will pass if the bill stays in the public eye.