Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Please do not drive us from our homes"

The following letter was sent to John Goodman today on behalf of the Lockhaven Tenants Union. Lockhaven management and Various other members of Goodman Real Estate were cc'd.

Dear John Goodman,
Please do not drive us from our homes.
Your website says that you "specialize in distressed, underperforming, or mismanaged properties." Apparently you see the Lockhaven Apartments as falling into this category, and, having purchased Lockhaven this summer, you are currently proceeding with plans to dislocate all tenants from their homes, perform largely cosmetic renovations, and raise rents by as much as double. 
Lockhaven has existed for decades as a well-maintained complex of buildings, and is home to many elderly and low-income residents who have lived here for decades, and have invested their own love and labor into the grounds. It's blooming with flower gardens and pea patches cultivated by these residents. Wander the grounds on a sunny day and you'll see laundry drying on clothes lines that have stood since the 50s and signs urging you to help yourself to tomatoes. Distressed? Mismanaged? No. In fact all the things that Seattle often claims it wants to be—affordable, green, and sustainable—Lockhaven already is.
John Goodman, you have a reputation for philanthropy. You are also a native Ballardite and graduate of Ballard High School. You are our neighbor, your house/private marina a five minute walk from Lockhaven. It is because of your character and your background that we are confident you would not want to harm your neighbors. If you proceed with your plan to dislocate us from our homes, you will harm not only your neighbors and your community, you will do real and lasting damage to your reputation and to your company's reputation. The story of Lockhaven is attracting wide-spread attention from the media, the community, and elected leaders. It is a story that resonates with a city struggling with a housing crisis.
John Goodman, you have a fantastic opportunity to be a leader on this crucial issue. In addition to asking you to not dislocate hundreds of Lockhaven residents, we further call on you to partner with us and find a solution for Lockhaven that can serve as a model for the future of affordable housing in Seattle. We acknowledge your right to improve your property and to profit from it. Let us help you find a way to do that preserves Lockhaven and does not erode the special character of the neighborhood you love.
As a first step toward this vision, we call upon you to immediately withdraw plans to kick us out of our homes, and to inform us of this decision in writing.
We look forward to hearing your response soon.
Best regards,
The Lockhaven Tenants Union

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