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'This is unacceptable:' Shoreline family pushes for renters protections in extreme heat

The family said they've been doing everything they're supposed to do to keep cool but their rental still sits around 90 degrees.

SHORELINE, Wash. — Seattle and King County Public Health has said extreme heat will become more intense and last longer, which is prompting people to call for more resources to keep residents cool. 

Seattle has now seen historic heat waves two years in a row. An estimated 56% of households in the Seattle metro area do not have air conditioning. 

RELATED: Seattle sets all-time record longest stretch of 90 degree highs Sunday

"Having five to six fans inside, plus an AC unit is what I currently have going on and it's still 87 (degrees) in my house," said Shoreline renter Kathleen Parrish. "It was 90 (degrees) plus the other day. This is unacceptable."

Parrish lives in a two-story Shoreline apartment with her husband and 11-month-old daughter, Lilly. She said the layout traps heat. While there are several windows, only a few can open. Parrish's landlord gave her an AC unit to borrow, but only after a tragedy. 

"I was feeding Lilly eggs and next thing there were eggs everywhere and my dog is convulsing," Parrish said.

The 9-year-old, boxer-lab mix named Belle suffered a heatstroke. Parrish said Belle had at least two seizures. 

"They said based on her age, the severity of the heatstroke at that time, the most humane option was to put her down," Parrish said. 

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Parrish said she took all the right steps to keep Belle cool, including wet towels, lots of water and ice cubes. She said as a new mom, the family was not financially in a place where they could afford an AC unit. She's worried about her young daughter and the next heatwave. 

"It's just been a constant headache of heat, dizziness, and actually heat sickness that I've felt and feeling helpless," Parrish said.

Parrish has reached out to her property manager in hopes of finding a solution, but she said they've been slow to respond. 

She's calling on the people with the power to make changes to take action as extreme heatwaves become a predictable part of Seattle summers.

In response to the 2021 heatwave that killed 30 people in King County, the county is in the process of developing its first extreme heat mitigation strategy. 

Parrish hopes to see protections for renters without AC. 

"I just can't imagine the next few years how it's going to continue rising," Parrish said. "We see this as a pattern. We know it's going to happen. I think apartments need to commit to funding renovation and making it [safer] living conditions."

   

    

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