UPDATE: City proposes new options for Barton family in ongoing legal fight; Hearing today aired both sides no decision yet
By Tim Clifford
UPDATE 10:40pm Aug. 8
In a hearing today in King County Superior Court forced by Triangle Properties filing of a Writ of Mandamus naming Mayor Ed Murray, and Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, both sides had a chance to be heard regarding the dispute over the home between the Barton family and Triangle. The writ was filed to force the city to take action on the eviction of the Barton's from the house. Previously the family was evicted in a highly contested action that brought out demonstrators from SAFE (Seattleites Against Foreclosure and Eviction). That resulted in the halting of the eviction procedure and the subsequent re-occupation of the home by the Bartons. In a press release SAFE said, "Rather than support the Mayor's decision, Triangle Properties chose to jump the gun, using up valuable county resources by bringing Mayor Murray and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole to court today, August 8th. Prior to the court hearing, SAFE held a press conference that included speakers Jean Barton and 43rd District candidate Jess Spear.
Unfortunately, the judge was not given anything approaching adequate information about the Barton's case; it was clear that Assistant City Attorney Patrick Downs had not conducted proper research about the Bartons' case, and it was only in the last five minutes of the hearing that the Judge received the Mayor's legal response."
Earlier in the day two members of SAFE were slapped with restraining orders following a visit they paid to the offices of Triangle Properties LLC near Lake Sammamish. They were ordered to stay 300 feet away from both the Barton home on 41st Ave. S.W. and the Triangle offices.
No ruling on the writ was issued following the hearing. An outcome is expected next week.
The mayor’s office has released a letter from the Director of the Office of Housing, Steve Walker, that outlines possible resolutions in the ongoing battle between the Barton family and Triangle Properties.
In it Walker summarizes that in the last 3 weeks he and other representatives from the Office of Housing and the Human Services Department have been proposing options to the family for relocation.
The options, as outlined in said letter were:
Suggested the family connect with the Veteran’s Administration (VA) to inquire about receiving a VASH and/or SSFV voucher, which are respective long- and short-term rent subsidies
Provided information about services offered by the City of Seattle. These services come from multiple providers and are offered to those at 50 percent of AM. They include rent and utility assistance and housing search support, among other things.
Facilitated a connection to assistance in relocation from the Lifelong, a local non-profit that has offered assistance in this instance
Provided notification that the family may qualify for King County housing assistance for veterans.
Walker goes on to say that “most of these programs are dependent on income and hardship verification, and the city is unable to guarantee that applications for services will be accepted."
The letter also goes on to point out that the conditions and state of disrepair observed within the household were a cause for concern for the health of Byron Barton.
Triangle Properties brought legal action against the City of Seattle when they filed a "Writ of Mandamus" which was heard today. We will bring you that story and reactions from the parties involved in an upcoming story.