No trespassing signs and boarded up windows signify the end of a flophouse operation at the corner of 36th and Morgan in West Seattle on Oct. 4. The homeowner decided to kick her tenants out after receiving citations and threats of legal action for the unsavory behavior (drug and stolen goods trafficking) neighbors said was happening every day.
Windows boarded up as Morgan St. 'flophouse' tenants move on
We brought you the news on Sept. 21 that several neighbors living around the intersection of S.W. Morgan St. and 36th Ave. S.W. were living in fear of having personal property stolen - and possibly worse - at the hands of a group of people living in a "flophouse" (as described by the neighbors) at the intersection.
As of Oct. 4, all windows are boarded up, "No Trespassing" signs are posted on the front door and fence, and it appears the troublesome tenants have decided to move on ... at least for now.
Neighbors believe the flophouse tenants were busy stealing and trafficking stolen goods and dealing drugs. Lt. Pierre Davis with the Southwest Precinct, at a recent meeting, confirmed he was aware of several people who frequented the home and they had known criminal pasts.
According to Seattle City Attorney's Office S.W. Precinct Liaison Attorney Melissa Chin, things changed rapidly in the case after a group of ten residents brought their concerns to the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting in September. They had been in contact with police and the city several times over the past five years about the problem house to no avail, and figured they would give the more public platform a shot (with police and city attorney higher-ups in attendance, and a few reporters to boot). It appears to have worked.
Chin said it appears the tenant decided to move voluntarily after an interdepartmental city and county assault was launched. Seattle's Department of Planning and Development and King County Public Health cited the property for "junk storage and rodent issues" (neighbors said a lot of that "junk" was property that walked away from their homes, backyards and garages), the Southwest Precinct Community Police Team started working with the homeowner's power of attorney (the actual homeowner is an elderly woman not living there - it was believed her nephew ran the flophouse), and Chin personally send a letter to the homeowner "explaining the legal ramifications if the public safety issues continue to occur on the property (chronic nuisance property decleration or civil suit by the neighbors)."
"I can only assume that the added pressure has caused (the homeowner) to board up the house," Chin wrote in an email.
A nearby neighbor of the flophouse (we'll protect their identity) contacted the Herald after seeing the windows getting boarded up and shared elation with the apparent move, saying "I think it is pretty great!"