Left, Vera Johnson, owner of Village Green Nursery just south of West Seattle, faces foreclosure on her idyllic home/business property. She hosted White Center folk musician Del Rey and Steve James who performed a concert on her grounds Sunday afternoon.
Village Green Nursery's Vera Johnson cautiously optimistic
Folk artists perform protest songs at her nursery Sunday
A few dozen folk enthusiasts, and Vera Johnson supporters, clustered around acclaimed musician Del Rey, a White Center resident, who played a show at the Village Green Nursery, 10223 26th Ave SW Sunday, Aug. 28. Del Rey plays concerts world wide and also presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women in American Music. She was joined by colleague Steve James. The nursery was an idyllic venue, bathed by the pleasantly warm sun, tall shade trees, colorful flowering buds, potted plants and vegetable gardens.
But within this bucolic setting blew an air of anxiety as nursery owner Vera Johnson has been awaiting the news on whether the Bank of America forecloses on the near-acre on which her home and business sit, or assists her with a new loan modification. She has faced financial challenges since her divorce, and as has been widely reported, including here, and here, sites a David and Goliath struggle with the BOA for financial assistance spanning 18 months.
"The V.P. of the West Coast of Bank of America came here on Friday to pick up paperwork," Johnson told the West Seattle Herald as Del Rey was gearing up to perform a Jelly Roll Morton tune. "I think they are actually using stuff my ex husband assumed for my credit report so they needed documents in writing through one of my property settlement agreements. They appear to be really trying to help me, but I have reservations about trusting that. I am supposed to hear by the end of next week."
That vice president, Dennis Day, was kind, she said. He bought some plants from her nursery and told her he worked for Metro in her neighborhood at one time.
"It's kind of hard to plan for things, like planning any weddings for next year," she said. She rents out the gardens for weddings and other special occasions. "I mean, I know I'm going to be here, but it's kind of hard to live like this."
She has collected 10,000 signatures from citizens expressing their support for Johnson with her ordeal.
"I think it was somewhat productive to collect signatures," she said. "The BOA phone calls have stopped, the constant five to seven phone calls a day. The CEO's office as called me a couple of times since the campaign started. The CEO's office gets an email every time someone signs the petition."
Johnson said that when her situation got into the news, se received 10 to 20 calls a day from others who told her, "I'm going through this, too." She said most people told her they had problems with Bank of America, some with Chase Bank.
"Nobody has gotten gotten any loan modifications from BOA that I heard of," she said. "Someone from Mayor McGinn's office is coming Wednesday morning to try to help me."
She said that her property is zoned R-8, meaning up to eight dwellings can squeeze into her lot.
"It's a bird sanctuary with wetlands, part of what makes this place so magical," she said.
A fundraiser, featuring musicians Rats in the Grass is set for Vera Johnson this Wednesday, Aug. 31 at Big Al Brewery, 9832 14th Ave SW, in White Center beginning at 6:00 pm. It was organized by Aileen Sison of WC B.O.S.S. and Justin Cline of Fill Tilt Ice Cream.
Please be aware that AUG. 31 is the accurate date for the fundraiser, and had been changed from an earlier date.