Monday, August 25, 2014

Why is Alliance Management harassing this woman's family?

Goodman Real Estate has no monopoly on treating Ballard tenants disgracefully.

Meet Crystal Kennedy, resident of Leva on Market, whom I ran into this past Sunday as she picketed her own building, accompanied by her two remarkably patient sons. Since Alliance Management took over from the previous building managers, Crystal and her family have been subject to a non-stop campaign of intimidation. This has ranged from illegal threats to evict her to staff blowing smoke in her face and physically blocking access to her mail box. All because she's asked them to fulfill their basic responsibilities to their tenants.

Alliance will soon learn what Goodman Real Estate already knows: Illegal tactics won't fly when people know their rights and fight back.

Stay tuned for more details.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The new symbol of Goodman hypocrisy

I recently took a stroll through the Lockhaven grounds. Hadn't been there in a while, having been displaced like most other residents, and the changes are striking. Most of the buildings are now brown and taupe, the underlying rot covered with layers of paint. Some gardens cultivated by my neighbors have been removed and replaced with the kind of hardy ground cover favored by developers who want to reduce maintenance costs. There are now fancy wooden gates over some walkways, and where once there were picnic tables and funky brick planters there's now outdoor furniture of the kind you might find at poolside at a Marriott Inn.

Among all these cosmetic renovations that seek to give Lockhaven the kind of image that Goodman hopes will attract tenants willing to pay upwards of twice the previous rents, none struck me quite as much as the bicycles on the new building number signs. Bicycles! Trendy symbol of walkable, bikeable, sustainable communities. What could be more bitterly ironic than the appropriation of this symbol by a group of men who destroy those very qualities for a living? In their quest to add to the billions they already have, John Goodman and his cohorts break the law, lie, endanger the health of their tenants, and retaliate against those who dare oppose them.

I happened to see Goodman employee and investor Josh Obendorf on my walk-though. I almost wanted to compliment him. Most of the renovations are bland and generic, but some of them look pretty nice. But we have a message for Josh and all of Goodman Real Estate: There are too many of us. Too many of us who know the truth about what you're doing, and see through the shiny surface of your gentrification efforts. We see the rot underneath, and we aren't going to stop talking about it. Most of us may be gone from Lockhaven, but we will keep fighting you. Don't mistake your shameless new bicycle signs for flags of victory.

Oh, also they're also apparently changing the name. from Lockhaven to Cadence Apartments. Maybe because this blog is one of the top results when you search "Lockhaven." Don't worry, Goodman, we'll make sure potential new tenants know all about you, no matter what you call the place.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ballard News Tribune story about Goodman's retaliatory evictions

Great write up in the Ballard Tribune about the evictions of Michelle Kinnucan and two other members of the LTU. Shame on you, John Goodman. Your disgraceful actions are not going unnoticed. Each act against your own community, the community in which you grew up and enabled you to become so prosperous, becomes another part of your legacy. Seattle will not forget what you've done.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Goodman Real Estate lies again: eviction times radically accelerated

Josh Obendorf: Lying, or merely making another "mistake"?

In a letter on Goodman Real Estate letterhead dated October 31, 2013, one of the new owners of the Lockhaven Apartments, Josh Obendorf, admits, without ever actually apologizing, that their sudden, unexpected eviction of 22 residents in September 2013 was illegal (in corporate-speak this comes out as "not in accordance with the City of Seattle's Tenant Relocation Program"). Elsewhere, Obendorf calls the evictions "a mistake."

Nowhere in the letter will you find any evidence of any ethical qualms with springing 20-day evictions on so many people. However, you do find this pledge in Obendorf's letter: "As we move slowly forward, we are committed to deliberate and thoughtful communication with you to insure there are no surprises during these changes" (emphasis added).

Well, residents of two Lockhaven buildings were very surprised to learn recently that John Goodman, George Petrie, and the gang had lopped months off the relocation schedule. Since November, residents of 3053 and 3044 have been told repeatedly and in writing that they did not have to expect to leave their homes until the ends of October and September, respectively, and that Lockhaven buildings would be vacated and renovated in their entirety. As of now, half of 3053 is to be vacated by the end of April, shortening the relocation schedule by a full six months, and the residents of 3044 have to be out by the end of May, robbing them of four months to find new homes.

It appears that the "no surprises" pledge of Mr. Obendorf and the schedules given to tenants by Mr. John Goodman and his associates aren't worth the paper they were written on. But perhaps this is just another "mistake." Please help Lockhaven tenants get to the bottom of this matter by calling or emailing John Goodman (206.448.0259;, George Petrie (206.215.9789;, and Josh Obendorf (206.215.9893; Faxes can be sent to: 206.682.8996. Ask them what happened to "no surprises" and what good is a schedule that can change so dramatically on such short notice?

If you're a Lockhaven tenant in another building and have also been surprised to learn that Goodman Real Estate Lockhaven is breaking their pledges to you regarding the eviction schedule (or even if you're not surprised) then please reply to this email with more details so we can spread the word.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rally against Goodman on Pier 70

Yesterday's rally on Pier 70, held in conjunction with our allies at the Theodora Apartments, was a smashing success. From My Ballard's account:

At 12 p.m. today tenants from across Seattle picketed the offices of Goodman Real Estate at Pier 70 downtown. The picket was organized by Ballard organization Lockhaven Tenants Union and Ravenna organization Theodora Rescue Committee.
Since hosting a press conference last month, Lockhaven Tenants Union has been continuing their ongoing battle against owners Goodman Real Estate to stay in their homes after being served with eviction notices last September.
This event was also covered by KUOW, the Ballard News Tribune and King 5. The King 5 report was especially gratifying, as it finally highlighted John Goodman's pattern of predatory business practices. Lockhaven is not happening in a vacuum. It's part of a business model that is draining our city of diversity and re-making for the benefit of the wealthy few.

The KUOW piece is also worth a listen, as LTU ally Eliana Horn is allowed to speak at length to Marcie Sillman about the reasons for the picket.

This is great news, people. This shows the power of tenant solidarity. We and our friends at the Theodora are telling our story and people are listening. Our voices have been heard on every TV station in town, in the Seattle City Council, and in Olympia. The actions of John Goodman and company will not be without consequences.

One of the comments on the My Ballard story shows how John Goodman's local reputation is deteriorating rapidly:
A local boy with so much potential should pay more attention to the existing urban fabric and social construct rather than pursue profit in a manner that will exclude many old time residents.
Shame on Goodman Real Estate and bravo to those who sacrificed their time to represent the predominant viewpoint.
This is especially despicable in light of donations, etc. (i.e. B & G club) to make the company and Goodman himself look like a respectable member of the community.
We would only add that it's definitely not too late for John Goodman to restore that respectability. We call on him again to do the right thing and not displace tenants from their homes.

Monday, March 10, 2014


 The Lockhaven Tenants Union distributed several hundred copies of our this "Wanted by the LTU" poster to passersby at or near the Bergen Place Park on Sunday, March 9. We plan to go out next Sunday for another round of raising awareness about predatory development in Ballard and hope you will join us.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

YELP against gentrification!

Our friends at the Tenants Union of Washington State have organized this fantastic action you can easily be part of. From their site:
The Lockhaven Tenants Union and Theodora Rescue Committee are asking for your solidarity in their fight against displacement by developer Goodman Real Estate. They are asking supporters to post reviews on the Lockhaven and the Viktoria (another building Goodman Real Estate is trying to fill) that may include points about Goodman Real Estate's practices such as these: 
  • Paying rent to Goodman Real Estate is contributing to the gentrification of Seattle. Goodman Real Estate is gentrifying Seattle by issuing massive rent increases and displacing working people and seniors all over the city
  • John Goodman is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  Why are you paying so much rent from someone who doesn’t need the money?
  • Goodman Real Estate is making this city increasingly unaffordable by making cosmetic renovations to justify rent hikes in what was once affordable housing. Take a closer look at those renovations--how “luxurious” are they really?

Why YELP? You help tenants organizing to win affordability by shining the light on Goodman Real Estate's predatory habits, such as...

Pushing tenants out of Ballard: Goodman Real Estate purchased the Lockhaven Apartments, a 138 unit building in Ballard, in September 2013. The Lockhaven was market-rate affordable housing for working folks, seniors, and tenants with Section 8 vouchers. After Goodman Real Estate attempted to illegally evict tenants without relocation assistance, tenants have been organizing for five months asking Goodman Real Estate to keep rents affordable for the current tenants that live there. As of this writing, Goodman Real Estate has not put a single proposal forward to keep part or all of Lockhaven affordable, and plans to cosmetically renovate the  building, and raise the rent by as much as $700. In April, 6 buildings of tenants will be displaced.

Pushing tenants out of Ravenna: Goodman Real Estate has entered into a purchase and sale agreement with the Volunteers of America to purchase and redevelop one of the few remaining HUD Section 202 buildings left in Seattle. The tenants have formed the Theodora Rescue Committee to save their building. 

Pushed tenants out of the International District: Goodman Real Estate purchased the Downtowner, a 240-unit building that once had a HUD rent supplement contract. The Tenants Union of WA supported tenants in a campaign to get the federal government to fund vouchers for tenants covered by the rent supplement contract. Goodman Real Estate used low-income housing tax credits to rehabilitate the building, dubbed it the “Addison on Fourth”  and then raised the rents beyond the payment standard for tenants with vouchers. Only a handful of the original tenants at the Downtowner remain in their homes.  

“Goodman’s talents lie in carefully identifying and quickly purchasing distressed, underperforming or mismanaged properties. We reposition them…”
 - Goodman Real Estate Informational Video. "Repositioning" "underperforming" apartments is code for raising the rents in affordable housing!

Post a review on Yelp about Goodman Real Estate's gentrifying practices today! Click HERE to post to the Lockhaven Apartments page, and HERE to post to the Viktoria page. 

Poison at Lockhaven: An update

On February 12, 2014, the Lockhaven Apartment were visited by Will Perry, Health & Environmental Investigator II, of the King County Public Health department. Mr. Perry's visit came the day after a visit by Bob Angeline, a Washington Department of Commerce Lead-based Paint Compliance & Enforcement Specialist, that was reported earlier. As a result of the February 11 visit by Mr. Angeline GRE Lockhaven's contractors began complying with the lead hazard signage and containment standards. There was a noticeable difference in the workers' efforts to contain and clean hazardous materials released by their work. Nevertheless, according to the results I received today, two of the four samples Mr. Perry collected in or near 3053 NW 56th St. tested positive for lead levels exceeding US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule lead standards.

A surface dust sample collected in the stairwell at the back door of 3053 #1 contained a lead level of 62.0 µg/ft2, more than 50% higher than the EPA standard of 40 µg/ft2. A second dust sample collected from the opposite side stairwell also contained measurable lead, 26.0 µg/ft2.  A paint chip sample collected outside near the front, courtyard entrance tested positive for lead 1.1%, more than 100% higher than the EPA standard of 0.5%. The only sample that did not contain measurable lead was a dust sample collected from the kitchen floor of one of the occupied apartments.

Now, don't forget, these results came from samples collected only after GRE Lockhaven's contractors started doing their job properly and complying with the law following a visit by Mr. Angeline. Renovation work has been going on at Lockhaven for months with no regulatory oversight and inquiring minds want to know what kinds of toxic exposures resulted from that?

If you are concerned about your exposure to lead as a result of work at Lockhaven and wonder whether you or your family need lead blood testing you may call Will Perry at 206-263-8477. There is no safe lead level for anyone but lead is especially hazardous to children. If you see ongoing work that you think may be resulting in the release of lead or asbestos then please contact one or more of the following agencies:

Washington State Department of Commerce
Tel.: (360) 586-5323
See also:

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Tel.: (206) 689-4058
You can also make a complaint online.
See also:

Lead and Asbestos
King County Public Health Department
Tel.: 206-263-8899
See also: and

Friday, February 21, 2014

Press conference a stunning success

Yesterday's press conference was a triumph.

We have already gotten coverage in the following outlets:
A lot came out of this conference. Nick Licata, who helped organize this event and has been a tireless champion of LTU, took to his Facebook page to tell his constituents about  Lockhaven highlight the need for legislative reform at the state level:

This morning, the Lockhaven Tenants Union (LTU) held a press conference to preserve affordable housing in their 138 unit apartment complex in light of a new owner planning to make improvements and increase rents on average from $900 to $1,500.
I attended in support of LTU’s efforts to convince the new owner, GRE, to keep a number of their units affordable to the tenants who are low income.
Unfortunately the state legislature has denied Seattle the right to control or moderate market rental rates. I believe the City Council must address the concerns of the many renters that are being displaced by rising rents.
In the My Ballard account, reader comments have been directed at the perpetrator of Lockhaven's destruction, John Goodman. One reader draws attention to the nature of John Goodman's private residence, just up the street from Lockhaven:
Yes, Goodman owns what used to be Azteca and converted it, against the intent of the Shoreline Management Act…but he is cozy with the City….to non-public access by claiming it also serves as a marina. You will occasionally see a “yachts wanted to moor” sign near the gate. Beyond shady in his real estate practices
This clearly shows how John Goodman is doing damage to his reputation right here in his own neighborhood. We still believe it's possible for John Goodman to be the hero here. But if he goes forward with his plan to destroy Lockhaven and displace its residents, this damage will last much longer than the fancy-colored sidewall he's installing. 
Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make this event happen. No matter what happens, we are winning. We are getting the word out. The world will know what is being perpetrated in our community. Those responsible are not getting away with it. They're being named publically. We have become an example of how to fight back and regain our dignity and community. In some form or another, we will be a permanent part of the effort to fight for housing justice.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Press conference tomorrow!

Tenants at the Lockhaven Apartments in Ballard call on developers to keep homes affordable in face of imminent eviction.
WHEN: Thursday, February 20th at 8:30 AM.
WHO: Tenants of the Lockhaven Apartments; Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, Joshua Koritz, representing Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant; Sharon Lee, Executive Director of the Low Income Housing Institute (to be confirmed). 
WHAT: Tenants facing displacement after the Lockhaven’s sale to Goodman Real Estate will hold a press conference at the Lockhaven Apartments, speaking about their 6-month struggle to save their homes and their plans for future action to maintain Lockhaven as one of Ballard's last bastions of market-rate affordable housing for workers, seniors, and people with disabilities.
WHERE: Lockhaven Apartments in Ballard, near the flagpole just east of 3038 NW Market St., Seattle, WA 98107
The Lockhaven Tenants Union is made up of Lockhaven residents, former tenants, and supporters working to save the historic 138-unit complex as affordable, market-rate housing in Ballard. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Poison at Lockhaven

The photo above is from the main, common entry way to a Lockhaven building where five of seven apartments are still occupied, including one by a family with a toddler.
For months tenants of the Lockhaven Apartments have expressed concerns about our possible exposure to lead and asbestos due to ongoing work on the property and in our buildings. To date, the response of Lockhaven's owners* and the on-site manager, Anissa Olberg, has been to essentially stonewall residents. Although, in a meeting with Lockhaven owners, John Goodman and George Petrie, the two men did indicate that: "The property [Lockhaven] is unsafe with asbestos and lead throughout the complex and lead inside the apartments." This is according to notes provided by Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata's office of the January 6, 2014, meeting.

Despite the acknowledgement of the prevalence of these two known toxins at Lockhaven there was no mention of this when residents were notified on January 31, 2014, that "our contractors will begin demo[lition] and framework for several vacant units." Nor was there any mention of steps residents could take to protect themselves and their children from hazardous exposure to asbestos and lead.

The photo above was taken on February 12, the day after a visit by a Washington Department of Commerce Lead-based Paint Compliance & Enforcement Specialist. Before that, there was no signage and dust was tracked through common areas of the building and made its way onto a door and windows with no clean up. After the inspection dust containment and clean-up improved but the contractor and Lockhaven's owners have still not provided tenants with a lead hazard information pamphlet.

Regarding asbestos, the law requires that an AHERA-certified inspection for asbestos be undertaken before renovation commences and according to Section 4.02 of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's Regulation III, "A summary of the results of the asbestos survey shall either be posted by the property owner or the owner's agent at the work site or communicated in writing to all persons who may come into contact with the material." As of this writing, no such summary has been provided to Lockhaven residents despite repeated requests for information about the lead and asbestos at Lockhaven.

 * Lockhaven's owners are: John Goodman, George Petrie, John Harle, Matt Parent, Josh Obendorf, Tom Eyler, Kelli Jo Norris, and Donol Fosseen.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Follow-up to KIRO story

George Petrie: False statements to KIRO last night

Tenants Union of Washington State member and tireless LTU ally Stina Janssen has written to some of our City Council allies to correct the misstatements of George Petrie. Her letter reads in part:

Last night, KIRO News reported on the displacement, rent increases, and negotiations at Lockhaven.
Many thanks to Councilmember Licata for interviewing for the segment.
We did want to point out an inconsistency we noticed: when Mr. Petrie of GRE met with the tenants in early January, he said by GRE's projections, only 27% of current Lockhaven residents would be able to afford the new rents, or just under under 1/3 of current residents.
In the news segment, he stated that only 1/3 of residents would not be able to afford the increased rent, indicating 2/3 would still be able to afford the new rents (in direct contradiction to his earlier assertion that under 1/3 of residents could afford the new rents). Unfortunately, he switched his own numbers, a significant error.

KIRO covers Lockhaven (again)

LTU stalwart Susan Hernandez did a terrific job talking to KIRO TV for this story that aired yesterday. The story is a mixed bag. We are certainly grateful for the coverage, but it's frustrating how essentially the same story keeps getting reported by the media: Rents are rising, the neighborhood is changing, tenants are unhappy. In fact KIRO itself did basically the same story on Lockhaven just a few months ago.

It would be great if the local media would remember what it's already reported, and not continue to cover this as an isolated, one-off story. Instead, we need a deeper look at what's happening to our city, and how we are allowing Seattle to be re-made to allow developers to suck as many dollars out of their properties as possible.

One thing unique to this latest KIRO story is that George Petrie agreed to be recorded, which as far as I know has not happened before, and shows how Goodman Real Estate is feeling the heat. However, Petrie is allowed to make the extraordinary claim that only "only about one third of residents will be truly unable to pay the new rents" without being challenged. Wow, OK. News to us. Where does this number come from? Also, the rent increase at Lockhaven is said to be 50 percent, which is wrong. I personally was given a figure that was 100 percent higher than my previous rent.

It was nice to see our ally Nick Licata on camera, though his remarks were edited to the point of banality. He's basically allowed to say that rents are higher and people don't like that. We're sure he must have had more trenchant comments that did not make it into the broadcast.

Overall though, we'll take it! All press is good press. And we hope KIRO will keep an eye on coming developments. We are not passive victims. We and our growing contingent of allies are not even close to being done fighting for our dignity.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thanks to Kshama Sawant!


Lockhaven on CNN Money

We're making national news now!

Well, kind of. A reporter from CNN money talked to me yesterday and used part of what I said in this story. Unfortunately, he included only the part about how rents are rising, and not the part about how we're fighting back. In fact, he fails to mention the existence of LTU at all, or that, partly thanks to our efforts, treating renters like garbage is becoming politically unpopular, as witnessed by the increasing involvement  in our cause of city and state officials.

We are not passive victims of some abstract forces known as "the market." We are being targeted by the specific actions of specific people, and we are fighting back. At any rate, it's good to get some national exposure, even if it's imperfect. I've written to the reporter and asked him to do a follow-up to cover the other half of this story.

LTU letter to John Goodman and George Petrie

John Goodman and George Petrie

The following is a letter sent to Lockhaven owners John Goodman and George Petrie. As you can see, the list of people who received copies of this letter includes not only other Goodman Real Estate and Pinnacle employees, but also Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, who was instrumental in arranging our Jan. 6 meeting with Goodman and Petrie. This is a long letter, but worth reading for the wealth of information it provides on the state of both Lockhaven and our current negotiating position.

January 27, 2014

Dear Mr. Goodman and Mr. Petrie:

This letter is follow up to our January 6, 2014 meeting where we discussed improving communication and transparency; relocation assistance for those that have moved or are considering moving; the status of the “protected list”; and maintaining Lockhaven’s affordability. As Councilman Licata’s office has provided consolidated notes, we present only a broad overview of our discussion and propose next steps. 

  •  Maintaining Lockhaven’s affordability for the greatest number of units and for the longest time possible is our primary concern. 

Next Steps
  • Affordability is the LTU's top priority; specifically, our goal is to see rents at Lockhaven maintained at no more than 35% of 50% of the area median household income. Our survey results and other information indicate that current Lockhaven rents are at or below this benchmark. We realize that this goal is significantly different from what you plan for Lockhaven, but we have contacted Sharon Lee, Executive Director of the Low Income Housing Institute, and she is willing to explore funding options to achieve this goal while providing you and the other Lockhaven owners with a fair return on your investment. We understand that Ms. Lee has worked productively with Mr. Petrie in the past and we hope that one or both of you will agree to meet with her soon to see if she can help us all arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to the Lockhaven piece of Ballard's affordable housing crisis. We will contact Natalie Quick about scheduling a meeting with Sharon Lee and one or both of you. 

Communication & Transparency
  • We discussed increasing transparency about changes to the renovation timeline distributed on November 14, 2013, and notification of any other construction on the property. 

a) We propose updated timelines continue to be posted in monthly newsletters, above mailboxes at lobby entrances of buildings, and tenant doors. We propose that Pinnacle management email tenants with these updates. We also propose Pinnacle contact tenants impacted by timeline revisions and/or construction immediately in order to allow enough time for tenant planning. In addition, we propose management be more forthcoming about construction issues such as lead and asbestos, or any other hiccups in renovation which may have an impact on tenant health and information on how they are being dealt with.
b) Finally, although we are legally (Seattle Municipal Code 22.206.180) allowed to communicate with other tenants through postings in public places, such as “in lobby and other common areas and at or under tenants doors,” in order to maintain the aesthetic integrity of the property and to avoid conflict with Pinnacle management (which we have experienced) we want greater access to public spaces such as locked bulletin boards, above mailboxes, and tenant doors. We propose working with Pinnacle management, as needed, to schedule time when we can be provided building access for interior postings.
c) We will work with Anissa Olberg in the next few days on this issue; we understand she will be fully empowered to have these follow-up discussions with us.  

Relocation Assistance
  • As acknowledged during the meeting, the majority of Lockhaven residents do not qualify for legally mandated relocation assistance; however, the cost of relocation poses an economic hardship to many tenants. In addition, some former tenants did not have the opportunity to apply for assistance because they were misled by the illegal 20-day notices posted in September. We confirmed with the City of Seattle Department of Planning & Development that all the Relocation Assistance packets had been issued, and filing deadlines have passed. 

  • Based on 47 responses from our survey, we propose relocation assistance of $2,500 for tenants who did not qualify for the mandatory relocation assistance. We think this is a reasonable amount since the city relocation assistance requirement is $500 above this request. As a first step, we will discuss this proposal with your relocation assistance specialist, Kerry Lynch.

“Protected” Tenants 
  • During the meeting you stated that management had begun contacting "protected" tenants about their status. However, several "protected" tenants state they remain uncertain about their future at Lockhaven. We spoke to several affected tenants and they had some general comments and questions which we summarize below with a proposal of next steps. 

Questions and Comments
  • How long are the terms good for protected tenants? 
  • Will they be asked to move?  If so, who will pay for moving expenses? Will terms covering their “protected” status transfer to a different unit? 
  • If they are not asked to move, how will noise be mitigated (e.g., soundproofing) during renovation? How will potentially toxic dust be prevented from entering occupied units? How will changes to existing electrical wiring impact them? 
  • Will their unit be renovated at all? Will the brick buildings have insulation added to the walls? 
  • Will there be additional charges or unbundling of rent amounts? For instance, will they have to pay for storage units or water and sewage?
  • Will there be scheduled rent increases? If so, they would like a written timeline of those potential increases and amounts. 
  • Will shared laundry facilities be maintained in each building?
  • Verbal communication is a great first step, but they want written confirmation to these questions, as well. 

  • We will work with Anissa and Kerry to clarify their comments and questions.  

In closing, we would like to thank you both for meeting with us on January 6th. We think this meeting was a great first step in improving dialogue between both groups. As the city continues to grapple with the affordable housing crisis, we hope you, a local business, will be a pioneer in finding a solution. As proposed during the meeting, we would like to meet with you again to discuss progress on the various concerns some time during the week of February 9th. We will contact Natalie Quick to schedule our next meeting. 


The Lockhaven Tenants Union

cc: John Harle, Matt Parent, Josh Obendorf, Tom Eyler, Kelli Jo Norris, Donol Fosseen, Nick Licata, Lisa Herbold, Natalie Quick, Sharon Lee, Anissa Olberg, Kerry Lynch

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lockhaven Tenants Union Meets with Seattle City Council Members

LTU met for nearly two hours on Monday night with Seattle City Council Members Mike O’Brien and Nick Licata and aide to Kshama Sawant, Josh Koritz, at the Lockhaven apartments, in the home of a tenant who is going to be displaced by new owners GRE Lockhaven.  

All three Councilmembers expressed their support for LTU’s efforts. There was a wide-ranging discussion on the issues of affordable housing in Seattle, predatory actions by greedy developers, and displacement relocation assistance for all who need it. The Councilmembers agreed to support the LTU in our efforts to secure a second meeting with Goodman Real Estate.

The LTU has sent a proposal to Goodman Real Estate and its staff, including Kerry Lynch and Anissa Olberg,  requesting a second meeting with Goodman Real Estate, Sharon Lee of the Low Income Housing Institute, and the LTU to negotiate for affordability, relocation assistance, transparency, and clarity in the protections for protected tenants. We have requested a response by the end of the day this Friday, February 7. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lockhaven mentioned in Washington State Senate hearing

We heart Sen. Kohl-Welles!

The Lockhaven fight is a small part of a larger struggle for housing justice. Stina Janssen of the Tenants Union of Washington shares this info about a battle in this struggle going on right now, and how Lockhaven is already part of it:
At a hearing last Thursday at the State Senate, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles of our 36th District testified to the critical need for SB 6292, citing the experiences of Lockhaven tenants. 
The bill, of which she is the primary sponsor, would increase the eligibility cap for who can qualify for relocation assistance from people making 50% of the area median income to people earning 80% of the Area Median Income.The bill would also increase the state's notice period for rent increases from 30 days to 90 days.
Many a Lockhaven resident found themselves to be just over the income eligibility for relocation assistance, but still greatly harmed by the high costs of unanticipated moving.
Senator Kohl-Welles talked about the Lockhaven tenants in her address to the committee, mentioning the illegal eviction notices and the relief that expanded relocation assistance could provide to renters like those at Lockhaven. 
You can watch a video of the hearing here.
Please thank Sen. Kohl-Welles by phone (206-281-6854) or email, and get in touch with your other legislators to urge them to support SB 6292. Here's a guide from the Tenants Union of Washington's website about speaking up for legislation on tenant rights.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coalition of anonymous developers sue the city

The Stranger's Anna Minard has an excellent story about a coalition of developers who have filed a suit against the city over a 2006 agreement to make some units of housing moderately affordable in exchange for easing height restrictions downtown. This modest, commonsense agreement is called "extortion" by the coalition. Translation: "We, the rich, must be allowed to get richer at any cost, including the well being of the city and its inhabitants. Residents without the means to support our growing richer are not welcome here." This is a classic case of developers trying to dictate what kind of city we are. City Council member (and friend to the Lockhaven Tenants Union) Mike O'Brien has spoken out against this suit, calling it "maddening."

These developers have remained anonymous, so we don't know if Lockhaven owner John Goodman is a party to it. We will ask Goodman Real Estate for this information and let you know if we find out anything. In the meantime, drop Mike O'Brien a note to thank him for his great work on behalf of affordable housing.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

LTU meets with Lockhaven owners John Goodman and George Petrie

The Lockhaven Tenant’s Union (LTU) scored a victory in our efforts to keep Lockhaven affordable  Monday evening when Lockhaven’s new chief owner, John Goodman, Chairman, Goodman Real Estate (GRE) and GRE President and CEO, George Petrie, both Seattle residents, sat down at the table with our negotiations team of current and former Lockhaven tenants.

Having the meeting in itself was an accomplishment as the LTU had been working hard for months to get the owners to the table to discuss ways to ameliorate the many hardships we have encountered since Goodman Real Estate executives purchased the building in August 2013. Goodman himself echoed the uniqueness of the gathering, “we don’t usually do this sort of thing,” he said.

Many factors contributed to the planning and realization of the informative face-to-face dialogue, including an information campaign, reaching out to all tenants, including those who have already departed, help from the Tenant’s Union of Washington State, facilitation by the office of Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, and the interest of GRE Lockhaven partners in reaching out to the community.

Viewpoints of both owners and the LTU were discussed openly, with the former evoking a willingness to be flexible and to consider extending some monetary assistance to tenants facing particular difficulty in relocation, more transparency regarding renovations to the complex and its effect on remaining residents, and further dialogue on the multi-faceted topic of “affordability”.

No decisions were made on either side but good progress was made and we are hopeful we can continue to move in a positive  direction through continued work with management and ownership.  GRE Lockhaven indicated they would consider a more detailed proposal based on the understandings put forth at the meeting and to meet again once it is time to make decisions and to commit to solutions. For those who have been wondering what is going on at Lockhaven, please be informed: your union is at work for you and invites your participation in the process of constructive change!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

90 day notices from GRE Lockhaven

Earlier this week GRE Lockhaven distributed a "90-Day Notice of Development Activity ...". This was expected and is consistent with the relocation timeline presented by GRE Lockhaven on November 22, 2013. Simply put, this notice means that the City of Seattle has approved GRE Lockhaven's application for a license to relocate tenants as part of its renovation plan. After the end of the 90-day period, on March 28, 2014, GRE Lockhaven could conceivably issue 20-day Termination of Tenancy Notices to all Lockhaven tenants.

However, at this time, the Lockhaven Tenants Union (LTU) has no reason to believe that GRE Lockhaven will depart significantly from their earlier relocation schedule calling for phased evictions of three or fewer buildings per month over the course of ten months. The LTU is hopeful that our negotiations with the two principal shareholders of GRE Lockhaven, which begin next week, will result in changes that will preserve all or part of Lockhaven as affordable housing and lessen the impact of GRE Lockhaven's plans on current tenants. The LTU needs your input and support now more than ever to achieve a good outcome for all Lockahaven tenants. If you haven't already completed the Lockhaven tenants survey then please do so.