Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Residents of SeaTac mobile home park reach settlement with owner seeking eviction

Firs Mobile Home Park in December 2016.
Will James
Firs Mobile Home Park in December 2016.

Residents of the Firs Mobile Home Park in SeaTac have reached a settlement with the park owner, who wants to redevelop the land. For nearly three years, the tight-knit, mostly Latino community has fought eviction.

The families living in the park didn’t get what they hoped for — to stay, permanently — but they did get more time to move and more relocation money. Misael Salinas, president of the Firs home owners association, says families have until June 2020 to vacate the premises. Until then, they'll live rent free. Families also will receive $10,000 each from the landowner, Jong Soo Park.

“It’s not the result we wanted at the beginning," Salinas said, "but it was the best on the table and this is what we got.”

The residents own their manufactured homes, but pay rent to the landowner. Salinas said he bought his home for $15,000, but won't be able to move it to another location because of its age. The same is true for the other residents. 

It was in 2016 that closure of the park was first announced. At the time, Jong Soo Park announced he planned to build a hotel and apartments on the land, which is near the Angle Lake light rail station.  But the community rallied to save the park. They took the owner to court and got a reprieve. They even tried to buy the land and got the Legislature to kick in $2.5 million to help with the purchase. But, in the end, it wasn't enough to stop the redevelopment.

On Tuesday, Firs Mobile Home Park residents rallied in front of SeaTac City Hall. Salinas said they want help from the city to find a suitable place to move. He said the desire is to stay close to the schools their children attend and maintain the sense of community they've built at the mobile home park.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.