SeaTac, Wash. -- City officials are expected to approve a relocation plan for tenants of a mobile home park soon, setting off a chain of events that likely forces more than 200 people to find a new place to live.
The low-income and largely Hispanic Firs Mobile Home Park is slated for redevelopment into hotels and apartments off International Blvd. Attempts to reach the landowner and park manager Thursday were unsuccessful.
"We want to stay here," said renter Cruz Medina, "This is our home. We're going to fight as much as we can."
By law, mobile home park tenants must have a relocation plan from landowners when a change in use is submitted. That plan must first be approved by the city, then by the state. Once the plan is with state officials, a 12-month clock towards moving out begins.
"As prices go up, as rent goes up in Seattle and everywhere else, that forces a lot of people to get further pushed out," said Monica Mendoza-Castrejon with Tenant Rights Union, which is working with renters.
Mendoza-Castrejon said mobile home parks in particular are dwindling because of property value and the desire by landowners to redevelop.
Besides the likely move, renters at Firs Mobile Home Park said they are "insulted" by the landowner's offer to pay families $2,000 each as value for their house.
"It's like a slap in the face," said longtime tenant Hugo Zamora, "You know what, you're not worth anything."
"We don't have responsibility or authority to help find places to live," said Acting SeaTac City Manager Joseph Scorcio, "There's not much left to do before we sign off on the plan."
City and county staff are working to help, however, and state lawmakers are involved as well.