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Mobile Home Residents March Through SeaTac In A Bid To Save Their Community

Will James
Hundreds of residents are face eviction from the Firs Mobile Home Park in SeaTac.

Residents of a SeaTac mobile home park marched through the city Friday to protest their community's pending closure.

The owner of the Firs Mobile Home Park is planning a motel project and has given residents until October 31, 2017, to move out, according to a notice at the park's entrance.

About two dozen residents and activists walked to a hotel three miles away that's owned by their landlord, Jong S. Park. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Demonstrators, hoisting signs and red balloons, chanted in Spanish: "What do you want? Justice! When do you want it? Now!"  Many of the park's approximately 280 residents are from Mexico or Central America.

Residents are calling for negotiations with Park and are also appealing to SeaTac city leaders for help.

Mobile home residents typically own their homes by rent the underlying land. Park is offering tenants $2,000 apiece to relocate.

That represents a hefty net loss to residents like Luis Alexis Moreno, a landscaper who said he paid $8,300 to Park for a mobile home three years ago then poured thousands more into repairs.

"We're living... check by check, so the little bit I saved, I invested on fixing the mobile home," he said.

Many of the mobile homes are too old to move or have alterations that make them impossible to move, he said.

Residents were notified of the park's closure in October, weeks after the Angle Lake light rail station opened a half-mile away.

Alejandro Gonzalez, who commutes to Seattle for his job as a cook at a bar, said he's especially worried about children being displaced. He said the park is a good environment for them.

"It's quiet, it's a beautiful place," he said. "It's close to the train, right here, close to work and close to school. Everybody is happy here."

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