Schram: Yesler Terrace residents at mercy of developers?

Schram: Yesler Terrace residents at mercy of developers? »Play Video
Babylonia Aivaz storms the Seattle City Council meeting to speak out against the gentrification of Yesler Terrace in Seattle (Joshua Lewis / KOMO News)
Up on Seattle's First Hill, Yesler Terrace has provided low-income homes to families for almost three-quarters of a century.

There's something like 1,200 people living there now.

But with plans to sell off part of the property to a private developer in order to put in several thousand market-rate condos and apartments, the question of what happens to those people is stirring concern and controversy.

The Seattle Housing Authority has been working up plans on what to do with the 561 aged units in the complex, including much needed renovations to its water and sewer systems.

Cause for worry includes the proposal to sell off more than 40 percent of the property to developers and the central question of what will the displaced current residents do for the up to 15 years that it would take while new low-income housing is rebuilt.

One Housing Authority commissioner has resigned because he feels needs of the current tenants are not being given the right amount of attention.

I think the $290 million vision of the Seattle Housing Authority is tainted by developers whispering in Housing Authority ears with promises that are speculative and uncertain.

Hope is that with the Seattle City Council set to begin a review of the Housing Authority plan, a more critical level of common sense will prevail.