by Alex Garland
Tenants from the Columbia Gardens and Dakota apartment buildings, located in the Mt. Baker neighborhood, gathered in the small courtyard between the buildings on Oct. 22. Housing rights advocates and community activists joined for a rally in protest of alleged tenant abuse, ignored maintenance issues, lack of internet access, and lack of communication from management around changes made to community spaces. The issues tenants are experiencing caught the attention of the Tenants Union of Washington State (TUWS) and Be:Seattle, organizations that help protect and organize renters, and both helped coordinate the rally.
Both Columbia Gardens — apartments for senior housing — and the Dakota apartments are owned by SouthEast Effective Development (SEED), a nonprofit that owns more than 1,000 apartments in South Seattle with the aim of maintaining affordable housing in the area. These two properties are managed by Coast Property Management.
During the rally, employees from Coast Property Management sequestered themselves in an adjacent building and turned out the lights as the tenants approached the windows of the room where several were eating. As chants of “People Over Profit” echoed in the narrow space, tenants from Columbia Gardens stood on balconies and patios or joined their neighbors as they rallied.
Continue reading Residents at SEED Affordable Housing Properties Protest Poor Conditions, Rising Rents
by M. Anthony Davis
On Tuesday, February 9, Anais N. Valencia was murdered. She was 23 years old. Valencia, along with her best friend, sat in her car in the parking lot of the Urban League Village waiting for another friend who lived there when Gregory Taylor fired multiple gunshots into her vehicle. Valencia’s best friend, who can be heard in a chilling 911 call begging police to come to the scene where both young women had been shot multiple times, was left in critical condition. The friend they were waiting for came out of his apartment to find his friends in the car had been shot. Gregory Taylor, who worked for Coast Property Management, the private property management company hired by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle to manage the apartments in the Urban League Village, was then shot and killed by officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD).
There is no way to view this other than tragedy, a senseless act of violence that will forever impact three young people and their families and the whole community caught in its wake.
Originally, I thought I was going to write about community healing. After an event like this, how does the community move forward? How do we take care of the youth that were impacted? How do we address the tactics of Seattle police, who shot dozens of bullets into a park that sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood? There are so many layers to this story. It was hard for me to piece together where to begin. But early posts on Twitter answered that question for me.
Continue reading OPINION: In the Aftermath of the Shootings at Urban League Village, How Do We Navigate the Complex Layers of Accountability?