Monday, September 30, 2013

Flyers distributed, local businesses supportive


A couple of us were out on Sunday distributing flyers to local businesses and booths at the Ballard Sustainability Festival. We were pleased with how many people had already heard about us from My and King 5 News, and how supportive everyone was, including the crowd that had gathered on a very muddy lawn at the Ballard Commons to hear Mayor Mike McGinn speak.
We emphasized that we aren't simply complaining about our own individual situations, but rather trying to draw attention to the larger issue of what kind of city we're becoming, how we treat the most vulnerable, and what we allow the most privileged to get away with. No one begrudges the new owners of the Lockhaven the right to improve their property and to profit from it. It is rather how they have gone about it, with no regard for the law or even basic human decency.

Our flyer on the counter of Annie's Art and Frame


Sunday, September 29, 2013

We're now on Facebook

So there's apparently there's something called "Facebook" that young people are into? We don't pretend to understand it, but if you want to be our friend in "that way," you now can.

So when are we meeting?

More than a few people have asked when we are going to have an actual meeting of the Lockhaven Tenants Union. The answer: soon! We hope to find an evening next week. We will most likely have it at the Ballard Senior Center. To make the best use of everyone's time, we want to make sure we have a solid agenda, and have someone from the city or some other expert on the law present to answer your questions.

Do you have something you would like to add to the agenda? Please write to or leave a comment on the blog.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Awesome! Coverage from King 5!

Well, this is very cool.

King 5 came out to see us on this very rainy Sunday and talked to our neighbors Tavish Donahue and Beverly Gibson. Anyone who has talked to Beverly knows she's quite the raconteur, and she definitely gave the reporter an earful:

All tenants will now have six months to relocate so the property can undergo extensive renovations, including new amenities like granite top counters, two new fitness centers and a yoga studio.
“That’s sick, it’s ridiculous,” said Beverly Gibson, who’s lived at the complex since 2008.
Kudos to Tavish and Beverly for speaking up for all of us. Nice going!
Unfortunately, the story fails to mention the Lockhaven Tenants Union by name, but I've written to the reporter to tell him about us, thank him for his excellent work, and urge him to stay on the story, as it's part of a much larger story about what kind of city we're becoming, and what we're allowing developers to get away with.
If you missed the segment, you can see it here.

To sign or not to sign?

I'd like to highlight a comment left in an earlier post by Haymarketgal:

The current Lockhaven management wants us all to sign for a Tenant Relocation Assistance packet. The City of Seattle's web site says: "A tenant household has 30 days to apply for relocation assistance after receiving the Tenant Information Packet." So, if you don't apply within 30 days of signing for the packet then you lose any possible eligibility unless you get an extension. I wonder what's the upside vs. downside of signing for the packet sooner rather than later. I know what the upside is for Pinnacle, but what about us? What's our downside?
I myself did sign, but wondered about my decision, and don't have an answer to this very good question. If anyone has any info or opinions, please drop us a line or leave a comment. 

Condition of walls becomes dire with heavy rains

The walls of 3015 have been stripped bare for about a month. Under the bare wooden slats is the interior drywall, which is becoming slowly saturated by water with the heavy rains. Though 3015 may be the worst example, other buildings are similarly exposed and dilapidated. I spotted some birds today attempting to nest in the exposed wall material of 3014.

Just now, we talked to a few residents out taking photos and videos of the state of the buildings in the rain today, documentation which they may share with the city. If you've got your own photos, videos, and stories, please send them in. (YouTube links would be best for video.)

What's going on? One theory is that the owners want the building to be condemned, so they can tear it down and build a new one. This is only speculation. But the owners are certainly treating their new investment with inexplicable shabbiness. If the buildings become uninhabitable, it would definitely help them get rid of us faster to make way for newer, richer tenants.

There have been reports that the owners have been fined by the city, but we have been unable to confirm this. Please leave info in the comments or drop us an email:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Coverage in My Ballard! Also, comments issue fixed.

Thanks to for this write-up. We've gotten 100+ Facebook mentions from this piece, and some Twitter  action as well. The writer, Danielle Anthony-Goodwin, has pledged to stay on the story, and ends her piece with this invitation to all of us:
If you are or know of a tenant from Lockhaven Apartments email us at and let us know your thoughts.

Know of a building code violation? Want to tell her about how losing your home will affect you or your neighbors? Drop her a line.

Thanks also to our neighbor "haymarketgal," who instructed me how to enable comments for everyone. Try leaving a comment now. She had tried to add this comment to the previous post:

Yes, thank you for your efforts. I was afraid something like this would happen when I heard that Earl and Denise had sold the place and even more afraid when I found out the "Pinnacle Family" was the new owner.
I've lived in my Lockhaven apartment for more than four years. In a more just and cooperative society the first right of refusal when Earl and Denise decided to sell would have gone to the tenants with tax incentives to help us become owners as part of cooperative housing or a condominium conversion. I'll stop dreaming now.
You can stop dreaming, haymarketgal, but don't stop sharing information. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


This evening we distributed this flyer to all Lockhaven buildings, as well as to all the cars in the parking lot. (Note that this activity is specifically protected by city law: "Organizing activities include passing out flyers and information to your neighbors.") We had some great conversations with our neighbors, many of whom shared details about what's been going on, and what they know about the new owners. If you have information or stories you'd like to share, please send email to The more information we amass collectively, the more powerful we are.

Some people have said they've been unable to leave comments on this blog. I think you need to sign in with a  Google account to do so. Sorry for the inconvenience. If there's something you really want your neighbors to know, send it in email and  I'll post it here.

There's no info yet about any scheduled meetings. Please check back again. And if this is your first time visiting this blog, welcome!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Garbage and destruction

UPDATE: Just talked to the Lockhaven manager. She says that they hired someone to clean up the garbage strewn about, and some of the loose papers have in face been cleared. This does nothing to address the larger problem of the condition of the buildings. She says construction is supposed to start back up this week, and that there will be multiple crews working on the site at once to expedite the process. I explained that we tenants--being given the boot while the buildings we live in hang in tatters--feel that we're under attack, and that we have trouble trusting owners who have already tried to illegally evict nearly two dozen tenants.


Replacement of the siding on some buildings at Lockhaven was begun about a month ago in a chaotic and slipshod fashion. No contractor's name was ever displayed, and the project proceeded seemingly at random, with some buildings ripped apart and then abandoned before other buildings were finished.

Construction has now apparently come to a complete stop, leaving us with unsightly strips hanging from many some buildings, garbage strewn about the grounds, Styrofoam particles ground into the soil, and construction materials piled up in random corners. With the rainy season upon us, how long will the ownership leave buildings exposed to the elements? Management as of this writing has ceased responding to emails and calls.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Know your rights

The right to organize

Who is in the Lockhaven Tenants Union? You, if you live here and want to join. Please check back here for info about the next meeting. We've only just begun, so you haven't missed very much.

And don't be afraid.  The right of tenants to organize is expressly protected by Seattle law:

SMC 22.206.180(7): Prohibited acts by owners
Under the Seattle Housing and Building Maintenance Codes, Seattle landlords are prohibited from preventing or discriminating against tenants who are organizing in their buildings. Organizing activities include passing out flyers and information to your neighbors, posting information in common areas, creating connection with your neighbors and inviting them to get involved, and holding meetings that are unattended by management or agents of the landlord in the building. If the landlord takes any undue negative action against a tenant who has participated in one of these organizing activities, it is automatically assumed to be retaliation and is illegal. If you would like more information or want to report retaliation by your landlord for organizing in your building, contact the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) at 206.615.0808.

The right to compensation

Tenant Relocation Assistance Law mandates that if the Lockhaven owners kick you out, you may be able to get 3000+ bucks if your household earns less that 50 percent of the median. Here is a PDF with details about this law.

And more

You've got more rights and power than you might think. Find out more:

Our story

The short version of our story: This summer, the Lockhaven Apartments were sold to the Pinnacle Family of Companies. Shortly thereafter, construction on the siding of some buildings started. This construction has been done in a shoddy and unsightly fashion by a no-name contractor. Walls of some buildings have been ripped off and left hanging in strips for weeks at a time, and garbage and equipment has been left strewn about the grounds.

20-day vacate notices were then issued to the tenants of three buildings (all the tenants of one building, and half the tenants of two others). That's right: With no warning, these people were given less than three weeks to get themselves and all their belongings out. A complete lack of empathy added to the stress of this situation. When asked about it, Lockhaven management freely admitted that the plan is to displace ALL residents, renovate the units, and raise rents by as much as double. But it turns out that those initial 20-day vacate notices were blatantly illegal, and the new owners were compelled to rescind them. The plan to evict all of us is apparently still intact.

The Lockhaven is home to many elderly residents who have lived here for decades, cultivating gardens and friendships. This is their home. The Lockhaven is the last bastion of affordable housing in Ballard for them, and for all of us. What Pinnacle has planned is nothing less than the destruction of a community. 

But a group has formed. This group. The Lockhaven Tenants Union. We will share information, address legal concerns, and provide help to those who need it. We have power when we stick together.

This is the short version. Details, documents, and resistance to follow.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


The purpose of this site is for tenants of the Lockhaven Apartments to share information and empower each other. We are strong when we stick together.