Occupy Seattle now occupying abandoned Seattle house

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 21, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 21 at 7:21 PM

SEATTLE - A long abandoned duplex is now occupied with a big sign – “occupy everything.”

Over the weekend, seven protestors moved in to the decrepit property.

"Some people would call them squatters, some would call them occupiers," said Cameron, a member of Occupy Seattle.

It’s an Occupy Seattle splinter group, saying they have a right to take over the house.

"Working class folks built these houses and it’s wrong that working class folks can’t aren’t allowed to use them,” said Cameron.

Neighbors say the house has been abandoned since the previous owner passed away. One neighbor wants the occupier – squatters - to go.

"Just because its abandoned doesn’t mean you have the right to take over somebody’s property,” said Rita McPhaul.

According to King County, the house was purchased by a real estate development firm five years ago.Last year, the city fined the owners for broken windows and junk in the yard.

The occupiers say the house has been foreclosed and they're fixing it up to become a homeless community center.

One neighbor stopped by to welcome the group and offers to lend a hand.

"Nobody’s using it, there are thousands of homeless in the city, and we have all these vacant homes. It doesn’t make sense,” said Chris Derrah.
 
But the house is right across the street from Garfield High School, and critics of the occupation think it’s a bad example.

"What kind of message are you telling the kids? That it’s OK to be homeless once you graduate and just take over property?” said McPhaul.

The mayor says the building owners have not complained about the occupants ... yet.

“Seattle police are investigating, but we have to hear from the property owner what thier expectations are,” said Mayor Mike McGinn.

The protestors say they're not leaving. It’s not known if they intend to occupy other foreclosed properties.
 

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