YAKIMA, Wash.-- Hundreds of tenants spent the day packing their bags and planning to move. They live in two apartment buildings in Downtown Yakima being shut down by the city. They have a history of safety violations.
Tenants with a few days to find a new home have been clearing out apartments. Yakima shut down both the Cascade and Senator Apartments for health and safety violations. Loren Mott has lived here for a month and says he wasn't even notified he had to leave.
"I just found out it's Friday right now you telling me that," Mott said. "It's Friday?!"
"Friday at noon," KIMA responded.
"Yeah, I have nowhere to go," Mott said.
Yakima code enforcers warned the owner of the two complexes last December to address the problems and bring the buildings up to standard or risk this shutdown.
"The dangers are obvious when you're talking about a fire alarm, a non-functioning fire alarm system," Randy Beehler, the city of Yakima spokesperson.
The closures will force out about 200 tenants. Almost a dozen of those are registered sex offenders. So that raises the question, where will they go?
Some tenants will get help from the Yakima County Department of Human Services, Northwest Justice and the Homeless Coalition of Yakima County. Sex offenders who live in the buildings will work on relocation with the Department of Corrections.
"I moved all the way over here from Everett because I couldn't find a place cheap enough to live," said tenant Keith Ward.
Most tenants live here for the cheap rent of less than $400. The apartment owner is required to help tenants with relocation expenses, decisions they need to make in a hurry.
"I would probably move back towards the west," Ward said.
"I might actually have to stay at the homeless shelter if I have to be out as soon as Friday," Mott said.
Right now, they pack what they can. As for the future of the apartments, they can open again if the owner finally brings them up to code.
To get all sides, we tried contacting the owner of the Cascade and Senator apartments. Our calls have not been returned.