For now tenants stay at troubled apartments

YAKIMA, Wash. -- There is progress on two troubled apartment buildings in Downtown Yakima that could keep the tenants where they are. Today Cascade and Senator Apartment tenants were told to stay put, at least for now. Yakima city management extended the deadline to next week after work started being done.

Contractors chip away the old walls to replace them with something safer. Work that Yakima has been asking the owners to do since last year.

Work that lets Vanessa Little stay in her apartment.

"It's a real load off my mind because I don't know where I was going to go."

Vanessa is one of about 200 tenants told she had to leave the Senator and Cascade apartments because they were being shut down.

Poor insulation, lack of a fire system along with holes in the ceilings and walls all need to being fixed. Management finally started to act on the problems.

Tenants who were angry about their possible evictions blamed the city for forcing the issue. But, the owner was given notice last year.

"We found ourselves in that situation, the city did, the tenants did because the owner of the properties ignored for eight months the need to address unsafe living conditions", said city Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler.

To address the fire issue, two security officers will be on fire watch around the clock. Basically, acting as human fire alarms.

Management argues the city is playing politics.

Edward Lanegan Cascade and Senator assistant manager told KIMA, "the only reason the mayor or whoever gave us this extended thing is because it would make him look bad at reelection time if he kicked kids and everybody out."

City inspectors will take another look at the buildings after all of the work is done. Tenants hope it means they'll be able to stay.

Yakima says next Thursday's deadline could be pushed back again if it's clear progress is being made to correct the violations.