Tim Clifford
Joshua Farris and members of S.A.F.E. (Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction) staged a vocal and visual protest of the arrests of Jean and Byron Barton last week. The couple had been in the home they owned for 62 years but which had gone to foreclosure and was purchased by Triangle Properties. Following an eviction and re-occupation of the home, the Bartons were arrested by King County deputies for illegal trespassing and released. No charges have as yet been filed.

S.A.F.E. Protests Barton arrests outside King County Courthouse

By Tim Clifford

In a park near the King County Courthouse and within earshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office S.A.F.E (Standing Against Foreclosure & Eviction) and Jean Barton held a protest demonstration at 1 p.m. against the Barton Family arrests on Aug. 15.

The arrests, which surprised S.A.F.E. and other supporters of the Barton family sparked outrage from the protest group towards the King County Sheriff’s office and most acutely the head of that department.
“Sheriff Urquhart is a liberal cowboy! He’s a goon!” yelled S.A.F.E. organizer Joshua Farris from a bull horn in front of a large crowd of protesters and supporters.

Brandishing signs and banners the crowd of protesters took turns sounding off against Sheriff John Urquhart who ordered the family to be arrested on charges of criminal trespass, essentially securing the home for Triangle Property Development.

“I’m very disappointed in that he feels he should take the side of big money and corporate greed,” said Jean Barton of Urquhart’s decision to move forward with the arrests.

“I have a lawsuit that shows fraud and a bunch of stuff that I’m not going to go into that, that is in progress right now. If we prevail we get our house back, but in the meantime we’re thrown out on the streets and as far as I’m concerned it’s still our home and that we still own it” she continued.

At a press conference earlier in the morning where Sheriff Urquhart announced the appointment of former Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel to Deputy Chief of the King County Sheriff’s Department questions surrounding the Bartons case were brought up.

“They were violating the law so I made the decision that we were going to go in there and restore the property to the legal owners, Triangle Properties” said Urquhart after calling the Bartons re-entry into the home “squatting”.

“I’m very sympathetic to the SAFE folks and the message that they are trying to get out. We all know the banks were doing predatory lending…the banks created the recession and the banks created the mortgage crisis and the eviction crisis” he continued.

“I’m also sympathetic to Triangle Properties and the situation they found themselves in through no fault of their own. They bought this house at a legal auction, a trustee’s auction, and they were faced with not being able to use this $500 thousand dollar asset because people were violating the law, so we fixed that” said Urquhart.

“Urquhart you got no heart!” chanted the S.A.F.E. protestors outside the King County Courthouse. Bystanders walking through the park would occasionally join in with the chanting. One man dressed in full costume as Captain America showed up with a large American Flag on a pole to support Byron Barton for his Vietnam War service.

“There are two lawsuits. There is currently the lawsuit against J.P. Morgan Chase and Quality Loan Services, that’s in King County Superior Court. The second is an appeal of the unlawful detainer, which is where we are actually appealing the commissioners granting the unlawful detainer to Triangle Properties that never was granted” said the Barton’s attorney Jill Smith.

S.A.F.E. as well as Jean Barton assured everyone present that even though they won’t say all that they plan to do in the future the fight for over the house is far from over.

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